How to Buy Budgies Online Safely and Ethically

Last Updated on December 18, 2022 by Ellyn Eddy

Can you find a healthy pet or exhibition budgie to buy online?

It’s 2022. Shoppers have long been comfortable with buying physical products online. But using the internet to find live animals is a different story. Is it really safe or ethical to buy budgies online? 

If you find a budgie breeder online, how do you evaluate whether he or she takes good care of their animals?  Can you really tell whether their animals are healthy or good show-quality from their photos?  Is it safe to purchase birds sight-unseen and have them arrive via a transporter?

Well, let’s dive into some answers! It can be safe and ethical to buy budgies online, but it needs to be done right to avoid breeders who would take advantage of you.  In this article we’ll cover:

Table of Contents

  1. What is an exhibition budgie?
  2. How to find a breeder of show-quality budgies online
  3. How to evaluate the health and quality of their birds from photos
  4. Questions to ask a breeder before purchasing
  5. How to avoid buyer’s remorse in sight-unseen purchases
  6. Our recommendation for an excellent budgie breeder
is it a good idea to buy budgies online?
It can be safe to buy budgies online — if you do due diligence!

What is an Exhibition Budgie?

Exhibition budgies are a type of budgerigar that have been bred to have specific physical characteristics that meet the written standards. People sometimes call them “English Budgies.” They tend to be larger than your pet-store-variety birds. Rumor has it that exhibition budgies are more temperamental than pet ones. This is only true, however, if the breeder has selected for color and body shape and not for personality also.

What colors do Exhibition Budgies come in?

The colors that exhibition budgies come in are the same as pet-store budgies. However, they often come in more varied and vibrant shades. For example, you may find a blue exhibition budgie that is a deep azure rather than the powder blue you would find in a pet store. The colors and patterns have unique names, such as rainbow, cinnamon, cobalt, sky blue, and mauve.

How much do Exhibition Budgies cost?

The price for an exhibition budgie can vary greatly, but typically they cost more than pet-store budgies. You can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $200+ for one of these birds, depending on their rarity, quality, and the breeder’s pricing.

Where do you Buy Budgies Online?

When it comes to finding a breeder of show-quality budgerigar parakeets for sale, there are a few different options to consider.

One is to search forums or Facebook groups dedicated to English Budgie enthusiasts. These forums and groups can be a great way to connect with other budgie fans and find breeders who may be able to help you find the perfect bird for your needs.

Another option is to search Google for budgie breeders.  Look for websites that have lots of pictures of their birds and seem to be updated frequently. Specifically, search for those that are willing to ship their birds or have experience working with transporters.

Look for Budgie Association Members Lists

The Budgerigar Association of America (BAA) and regional exhibition budgie associations often publish members lists.  These are sometimes available online with links to breeders’ websites or social media.

Even if you can’t find a list of members, you can ask an officer or director from your area if they know someone they’d recommend.

It’s important to remember that just because an aviary is listed as a member doesn’t mean that it comes recommended by that association.

Word of Mouth is Still the Best Way to Find Budgies For Sale

The traditional wisdom still holds true: word of mouth is the best way to find a breeder you can trust.  Facebook friends can be a great help in finding a reputable breeder because they can provide personal recommendations.

If you don’t currently have friends that keep budgerigars, you can quickly befriend some in facebook groups.  Ask them where they got their birds and if they were happy with the experience. If they were, ask for the breeder’s contact information. If they weren’t happy with the breeder, ask why and see if you can get a recommendation from them.

Even if you see a breeder with a shiny website, good photos, and a friendly demeanor, always ask other breeders about their reputation before committing to a purchase.

This Budgie is an Exhibition Quality Clearwing
Exhibition Budgie – Cobalt Violet Normal Split Clearwing

How to Evaluate the Health and Quality of Budgies from Photos

These tips apply whether you are looking for a pet budgie online or interested in one of exhibition quality.

It can be tricky to tell if a budgie is healthy just by looking at photos, but the key is having lots of photos to choose from.  First, ask the seller for photos from all angles.  You should ask for clear, closeup photos of the following:

  • Eyes
  • Bill
  • Both sides
  • Back
  • Belly
  • Feet
  • Vent area

Check for Signs of Disease

First, check to see if the budgie you’re considering adopting has any signs of disease, such as crusty eyes, discharge from the bill, or feathers that are falling out.  The vent area should be clear, clean, and not red or swollen.

Second, take a look at the budgie’s plumage. Healthy budgies have bright glossy feathers.  The overall appearance should be smooth with a bulging abdomen and no bones showing.

If the budgie’s feathers are dull, ragged, or there are large patches of bare skin, ask why.  Budgies regularly groom themselves, so if you see any dirt or stain, that means the birds are housed in a dirty environment or aren’t well enough to practice normal hygiene.

Third, take a look at the bird’s posture. birds that are healthy and comfortable will typically have their chests out and be perching or standing in a relaxed manner. Birds that are stressed or sick often have hunched backs, drooping wings, and closed eyes.

Ask for Video to Evaluate the Bird’s Behavior

If you’re unable to tell whether a budgie is healthy just by looking at photos, try asking the breeder to send you videos of the bird. This will give you a chance to evaluate his personality and behavior.  Healthy budgies are active and playful, while sick or stressed budgies may be lethargic or aggressive.

Photos can help you determine the quality of budgies you are buying online
Photos can help you rule out health issues when buying budgies online.

Questions to Ask a Breeder Before Purchasing

What questions should you ask an English budgie breeder before committing to buy their exhibition animals?  Well, remember these rules:

  1. There are no stupid questions.
  2. You can’t ask too many of them.

In other words: ask, ask, ask away.  Don’t feel bad about taking the breeder’s time; chat with them.  Ask about the bird’s health, personality, behavior, breeding history, and parentage.  If you are going to adopt this budgie, it will be a long-term investment that you’ll want to protect.

Ask how the breeder is involved in the show budgie community.  Ask them how they’ve dealt with challenges in their aviary.  Look for a breeder who is open, passionate about their hobby, and encouraging to newcomers.

Adopt this budgie
Wouldn’t you want to adopt this handsome dude?

The 23 Most Important Questions to Ask a Budgie Breeder

When you are planning to buy budgies online, these topics will guide you as you consider how to talk to a seller. Make sure you get answers to all these questions, even if you don’t ask them directly.

Questions about the Bird

  1. What age is this bird?
  2. What date were these pictures taken?
  3. Is he/she healthy?
  4. Does this budgie have a pedigree?
  5. What is his/her breeding history?
  6. What can you tell me about his or her personality?
  7. How likely is he/she to compete well in the show ring?
  8. What are his/her conformation and color strengths or faults?

Questions about the Breeder and their Aviary

  1. How long have you been breeding budgies and how did you get started?
  2. Who are your mentors in the hobby?
  3. What are your goals for your aviary?
  4. What do you feed your birds? Are they hand fed?
  5. What kind of housing do you use? 
  6. Do you have any champions or Grand Champions in your bloodlines?
  7. Are your birds treated for parasites and diseases?
  8. Do you have a sales policy, refund policy, and/or health guarantee?
  9. What organizations or associations are you a member of?
  10. Is your aviary certified, inspected, or licensed with the USDA or other another agency?

Questions about Budgie Husbandry

  1. What size cage will the bird need?
  2. What type of food and water dishes do you recommend?
  3. Do you have favorite toys for budgies?
  4. What are the most common budgie health issues and how do you prevent and/or treat them?
  5. Can you send me your favorite resources for learning more about budgie care?
buying budgie cages online
You can buy budgie cages and supplies online as well.

How to Avoid Buyer’s Remorse in Sight-Unseen Animal Purchases

Buying a budgie (or any live animal) online is a huge risk.  Always.  It is almost impossible to ensure that sellers are treating their animals well or providing truthful information.

Is it legal to buy an animal sight-unseen? At present, in most states, yes. However, that may change soon. Legislation has been passed to regulate the practice of selling animals “sight-unseen” over the internet.  This legislation requires licensing and regular inspections of animal breeding facilities that sell pets or livestock online. But legislation isn’t always enough.

The phrase “buyer beware” carries double weight when talking about live animals.  Although you can’t rely on a 30-day return policy and free shipping, as you can with physical products, you can certainly can follow these tips to help reduce your risk of buyer’s remorse.

7 Tips for Safely and Ethically Buying Animals Sight-Unseen

  1. Ask all the questions.  As we covered above, you can’t be too thorough.
  2. Ask the budgie community about the breeder’s reputation.  Don’t rely solely on what they say about themselves.
  3. If the breeder requires a deposit to hold the animal, ask if the deposit is refundable should you decide to not take the animal after seeing it in person.
  4. If working with a transporter, make sure the transporter has the right to refuse to take the animal if it look unhealthy when they pick it up. 
  5. Don’t send money through Paypal “friends and family.”  This means you can’t rely on their buyer protection policy.
  6. Stay very guarded as you explore this purchase. Buying a budgie is kinda like dating.  You can’t let your heart fly away before you’ve done all the homework, no matter how beautiful Miss Budgerigar may be.
  7. Most importantly, do not ignore red flags.  If something doesn’t make sense, or if the breeder is not happy (not just willing, but happy) to answer all of your questions, take this seriously.  It is better to wait a little longer to get your new pet home than to send money to an unethical breeder.

A Note about Biosecurity in Aviaries

Many breeders choose not to allow visitors into their aviary. This is not always a bad sign. Breeders need to take precautions to protect their birds from diseases, so they may be careful about letting people into the aviary.

If the breeder doesn’t allow visitors, see if they will provide photos of their setup.

Are you looking for show quality budgies for sale on the internet?

Even though I don’t sell budgies myself, I have helped other people purchase animals online many times.  I’ve seen the good and the bad.

I’ve met breeders who give youth members their own top animals.  In fact, I recently met a breeder who went out of her way to share medication with a stranger’s animal in a time of nationwide shortage.

I’ve met a lot of breeders who take advantage of newcomers. Unfortunately, I think I’ve seen more of this type than the good ones.

Bedazzled Budgies — Breeder in Colorado

Our Recommendation for an Excellent Budgie Breeder

Thankfully, I know one budgie breeder I can recommend without hesitation.  I’ve known Marlo Byars at Bedazzled Budgies for 9+ years and have personally worked with her.  She pampers her birds and knows their individual habits.  I believe you will be pleased to buy her budgies online.

Marlo at Bedazzled Budgies Aviary has budgies for sale in Frederick, Colorado.