Budgies or budgerigars came to us from the Australian continent and became the most popular birds for home keeping. And this is not surprising: these small parrots are easily tamed, love their masters, not difficult in care and even able to reproduce human speech. The length of an adult parrot is about 20 cm, and the life expectancy is 10-15 years. For these reasons, the budgerigar is ideal for children and people with no bird keeping experience.
Naturally, the species is green and yellow with black, scalloped markings on the nape, back, and wings. Budgies are bred in captivity with colouring of blues, whites, yellows, greys.
Budgerigars are social animals and require stimulation in the shape of toys and interaction with humans or with other budgerigars. Budgerigars, and especially females, will chew material such as wood. When a budgerigar feels threatened, it will try to perch as high as possible and to bring its feathers close against its body in order to appear thinner.
Fun fact: budgies can amass large vocabularies. A budgie’s voice sounds like a sped up recording, so an owner might not even recognize that their budgie is talking!
Lovebirds and Cockatiels are popular birds to have at home. Lovebirds are very colourful and have a cheerful character. They are active parakeets, which need a spacious birdcage and daily jaunts around the room. Lovebirds are also excellent climbers, they use their strong beak to move across branches, furniture and the birdcage. It is well known that they enjoy ‘talking’ to each other, play games or just sit huddled together on a perch to take a nap. These birds got their name because they are very attached and connected to their fellow species and partners. It is said you can only fully tame a lovebird if you feed it right from the start instead of its mother.
Cockatiels on the other hand are really easy to tame and quite interested in human interaction and seek contact with them. Like every other parakeet, Cockatiels need the attention and care of their owners and good pet-parenting.
A well-trained bird enjoys playing games, will do tricks and actively takes part in his master’s life when he or she is in the room. He might sit on their hand or head, walk across the computer keyboard, checks new things with his beak and would also quite happily play with the dog or other pets. Like us humans, parakeets have different personalities which makes them individuals and interesting to have around and observe.
All medium-sized parakeets are very curious and monotony will quickly bore them. This also applies to their diet. That is the reason why the mix of grains, which their owners use as the daily feed, needs to be full of different ingredients so the bird has a good selection to chose from. Additionally, it is recommended to serve vegetables, fruit, dandelion leaves, berries etc to vary and balance the bird’s diet and make it more exciting for them. Every now and then during the breeding period animal protein, such as boiled egg or low-fat quark, can be added to the feed. And last but not least it is important to also make grit available to the parakeets as they need the mineral mixture for their digestion.
Grey parrots, Cockatoos, Parrots of the Amazon and the fabulous Macaws are all common species to be found in big aviaries.
Every one of them has got its own personality and characteristics. Parrots of the Amazon for example, are less irritable than Grey Parrots, they are more gentle, easier to tame and will get used to new situations quicker. Grey Parrots need constant observation and can potentially get very jealous. Since all big parrots are very intelligent, they need lots of activities to keep them entertained.
The less time an owner can spend with his bird the more different toys should be offered. You can play with parrots and teach them various tricks. Experts recommend changing the toys around in the cage on a regular basis to prevent the parrot from getting used to them. Only few people know that you can take big parrots out for a walk.
In some European countries you can see them being taken to the park during the warmer seasons quite often. Big parrots are friendly birds and love to interact, so it is beneficial if more than one person in the family is taking care of them. That way it is less unsettling for the animal if one of the owners is away. Big parrots need special care, lots of space and a tailored diet.
It is remarkable how well parrots are able to imitate the human voice, especially grey parrots are very talented. Some are able to retain and articulate over 200 words. The smartest parrot in the world was an African Grey Parrot with the nickname Alex who used to be famous for his abilities to talk. Not only was he able to repeat the words, he also knew their meaning, he recognised and named 7 different colours as well as 5 different shapes. Scientists believed Alex to have the intellect of a 5-year-old child. Unfortunately, Alex passed away in 2007.
The Canary is the unrivalled master singer amongst our feathered pets. These small birds originate from the Canary Islands and were brought over to us because of their beautiful song. In 1450 Spanish sailors started to bring them back home and sell the birds on. Over time the number of sing and pet Canaries in Europe has risen steadily.
Even though the Canary is quite frugal when it comes to his keeping, it will take some patience and attention to tame them, they want you to talk to them or whistle in answer to their song.
Their most favourite pastime however is bathing. Therefore, they need a roomy cage with a bath either at the bottom or hung up. They also prefer their cage to be in a bright spot, kept away from little children, other pets and cold draught.
Canaries are very active birds, hence they need a constant supply of grain feed. Since a Canary will only eat the top layer of the food it is necessary to check the feeders daily and clean out the empty husks and shells. Besides the grain feed it is highly recommended to also offer grated carrots, fruit and other vegetables to the birds at least once a week.
One of the Canaries’ remarkable abilities is their sensitivity to methane. This special characteristic made them very valuable to miners who took them below ground as a warning system. As long as they heard the birds sing they knew it is safe, once the bird song stopped for some time the miners knew the gas concentration was past a safe level and they needed to make their way back out of the mine.
Amandines, Estrildas and other Estrildid Finches are the most common exotic birds to be found in our homes. These birds originate from Australia, Africa and Asia and have been introduced at the same time as the parrots. Because of the impressively coloured plumage they are very popular pet birds. Amandines and Estrildas can be tamed, however not as well as the parrots. Generally, they are most popular amongst people who like to observe birds.
Exotic birds need to be kept in pairs as they would suffer on their own. Amandines and Estrildas are breeding quite successfully at home and the breeders can arrange for all sorts of colour variations. However, said breeding is best left to people who have experience in looking after these feathered friends. The feed of exotic birds needs to be chosen carefully. In their natural environment the menu is very varied. At home it is recommended to use grain mixes specially made for exotic species. It is beneficial to add germinated food, fresh vegetables and boiled eggs to the diet.
Fun fact: 3 lovely Gold Finches were chosen as the logo for a famous American screen manufacturer. The company management named the birds’ saturated colouring and their clear markings of the plumage as the main reason for the choice since this symbolises and reflects the quality of the monitors!
Some bird enthusiasts prefer to have indigenous birds at home, which isn’t surprising since Finches and Siskins have a beautiful plumage and a pretty song. These birds are relatively easy to tame and bring lots of joy to the homes of their owners.
Usually Siskins and Finches are quite peaceful birds and can be kept easily with other species without causing issues. Some breeders cross forest finches with domestic Canaries. The Siskin Canary crossbreed has an unusual colouring, a long life expectancy and they are able to sing like a Canary as well as hit the notes of a Siskin.
Indigenous forest birds are extremely active. In the wild they spend most of their time looking for food. If they are kept indoors it is recommended to spread the feeders and water containers out as much as possible to encourage the birds to move around. Experienced breeders can keep various species of forest birds successfully independent of their diet, however it is easiest to provide for grain feeding birds. In that case a specially for wild birds developed grain mix can be bought in most pet shops, which will make up the base of the birds’ diet. During the time when the birds provide parental care to their young they will require live food in addition to their normal feed.
During winter food for birds living in the wild is scarce. It is especially difficult for larger tits. These birds have a small beak for cracking nuts and to get to the insect nymphs under the bark of the trees. They do not build themselves a small stock of food like other birds do, so survival is quite hard for them during the colder months.
Ornithologists estimate that 9 out of 10 tits die during winter. The cold isn’t the worst for these birds, if they have enough to eat, they can weather low temperatures quite well. But they have to fight for their food. There are reports of larger tits attacking smaller species of their own. Weaker birds risk to get killed or freeze to death if temperatures keep dropping. It is really easy though to help the birds in the wild that live close to towns or villages to get through the long winter months. It is already enough to put out some food on the balcony or the nearest park.
Our RIO range offers special fat balls made of all-natural ingredients. They come in a special net that prevents city birds, like sparrows, pigeons or ravens, to steal the feed from wild birds such as tits, nuthatches, bullfinches, chaffinches or yellowhammers. Everyone who owns a garden will appreciate if these wild-living birds settle close by since they will support the gardeners to get rid of harmful insects during spring and summer. We hope our products also contribute to social awareness, as by hanging up fat balls and feeding nets you’ll get to experience nature close up, you might see rare bird species and will teach your children love and respect for the environment and nature.
Hamsters are rodents from the subfamily Cricetinae. There are 25 species of hamster and they come come in a wide range of sizes. The European breed can grow as large as 34 centimeters long and are some of the biggest varieties of hamsters. The dwarf hamster lives up to its name. These tiny hamsters grow to around 5.5 to 10.5 cm long. The most common pet hamster, the Syrian hamster, also known as the teddy bear hamster or golden hamster, usually grows to about 15.24 cm long.
The first hamsters were discovered in Syria, though they also live in Greece, Romania, Belgium and northern China. In the wild, they like to live in warm, dry areas, like steppes, sand dunes and the edges of deserts.
Hamsters are really funny little creatures - they are ideal house pets because they are gentle and are easy to take care of.
They are not as social as other rodents, but they are extremely curious and love to explore new things and places. If you fit bridges, runways and tunnels into their cage you can be sure the hamster will make use of it and delight the children watching.
Hamsters spend a lot of time cleaning their fur and pull a lot of funny faces whilst doing it, which amuses children and adults all the same.
Everyone knows the hamster’s special skill to build up big stashes of food. He will load up the bags in his cheeks and take his treasures to a quiet corner. In case his stock gets ‘raided’ (for example by his owner when cleaning the cage) he will simply start all over again.
This activity keeps the hamster busy and in shape. The hamster cage should be spacious so the little fellow can wander around freely. Since they are quite prim animals, they need a clean living space and fresh food on a daily basis to ensure their health and happiness. The feed should be varied and tailored to the hamster’s needs.
Hamsters have very poor eyesight. Their scent glands on their backs secrete an easily identifiable smell. To find their way around, they leave a trail of scent by rubbing their backs against objects. When a hamster needs to find their way back home, they will use this scent trail as a guide. Hamster's teeth grow continually.
Chewing on wood or twigs keeps their teeth short. Without something to chew on, their teeth would grow so long they would injure the roof of the mouth and lips
Guinea Pigs are cute and good-natured animals, which makes them one of our favourite pets. Since they are not familiar with aggressiveness, they are an ideal friend for children to teach them respect and responsibility for all living things.
Guinea Pigs were named after their original home Guinea and their ability to squeal and grunt, not as sometimes stated for their love of bathing. They are very sociable, easy to tame and they love to be petted. Guinea Pigs do neither bite nor scratch which is important if children are handling them.
They are able to recognise their name and can perform simple tricks. Currently there are several different breeds of Guinea Pigs which differ in terms of colouring and type of their coats, so there is one for everyone who wants to become a pet parent.
The Guinea Pig’s diet should consist of a specially tailored feed which needs to be subsidised with fresh greens, fruit and vegetables to keep them healthy and in good shape. It is vital the food contains a lot of Vitamin C.
Hay and water should be available at all time. Guinea Pigs’ teeth are growing during their entire life, that is why they also need things to gnaw on. Since they sometimes swallow little bits that have broken off it is recommended to only give them edible toys or special branches to nibble on.
If Guinea Pigs are well looked after by their owners, they can live for 6 to 8 years.
Guinea pigs have 4 toes on the forefoot and 3 on the hind foot.
Each guinea pig has five different types of hair that makes up their coat.
The oldest guinea pig was 15 years old and is in the Guiness book of records.
Pet rats are incredibly smart, active and loveable animals. They are very sociable, know their owners well and will come if called. Some enthusiastic breeders will take their rats out for a walk, carrying them on their shoulders or in their hands.
As mentioned already, rats are very sociable and it is best to keep them in pairs or more. Every rat has its place in the hierarchy of the pack which will be obvious if you have more than one. They love to climb on racks, crawl through tunnels or into boxes and generally enjoy exploring their environment.
If you want you can teach your rat several tricks; like climbing up ropes, going through an obstacle course or run up poles. In the past rats would board and disembark ships via the rope they have been moored up with in the harbour.
Keeping rats is quite easy, however, you should still read up on it and maybe have a chat with other rat owners before getting your own, as there are quite a few potentially dangerous things in our modern flats (power cables, poisonous plants and flowers or even other pets). The cage should be spacious - a two-story rodent home would be ideal. You need to make sure there is at least one cosy spot for the rats to hide in.
The feed for the rats should be varied and contain grains, nuts, fruit, vegetables and animal protein. If you offer them a good home and a balanced diet your rats will live a happy life and bring you much joy.
Rats are able to fit into the smallest spaces even if it looks impossible to do so. They are very skilled in using their paws to clean themselves, to hold food and to cling to almost every surface.
Decorative mice are the smallest pets we keep amongst the mammals. Like most rodents they get used to humans quite quickly, they are very active and curious. Mice are sociable animals and are happiest if they are kept together with at least one other mouse. They love to play together, run around the cage, spend time on the running wheel, crawl through tunnels or climb up ladders. When it is time to rest mice prefer quiet places like a small house or a cosy corner, where they can sleep and clean their and their partner’s coat.
Mice are remarkable little creatures. They will sit on their owner’s hand, climb up sleeves and into bags. Since mice mostly live on a plant-based diet the main feed should be grains and pieces of fruit and vegetables. Every now and then animal protein can be added as a treat, such as cooked chicken or a hard-boiled egg.
Chinchillas are beautiful animals that are famous for their thick and soft fur. With 25,000 hair per square centimetres it is the thickets in the entire animal kingdom.
Chinchillas are fairly sociable and active pets, but don’t like it much to be picked up and held. The Chinchilla home should be a tall cage or a showcase fitted with a little house, some climbing options and a safe running wheel. Since they are nocturnal, their most active time is during the evening when they spend their time playing or gnawing on everything they find.
Chinchillas love bathing in volcanic ash. When keeping them at home they should be offered a bath at least three times a week. The bathing sand is a special blend of volcanic material that can be purchased in most pet shops.
The Chinchilla is indigenous to the South American mountains where they live a fairly frugal life. In the wild their main diet consists of dried grass and leaves, grains and fruit. If a chinchilla is kept as a pet the diet should be similar. It is recommended to make grass pellets with embedded grains, dried carrots and apples the base of their daily feed. They also need access to hay and water at all time.
Make sure you DO NOT feed the Chinchilla any fresh greens, fruit, vegetables, nuts or sweets. From time to time you and offer them special treats that are based on a rodent’s diet.
Ask in your local pet shop for advice. To help them wear down their teeth you should offer fruit branches and edible toys that support dental care.
Gerbils are tiny, cute and diurnal animals. In the wild you can find them living in colonies in the Asian and African deserts and savannahs. At home, gerbils are usual kept in same sex pairs so that the animals don’t get bored. One of their favourite pastimes is digging tunnels, therefore it is better to keep them in a terrarium and cover the floor with sand or another appropriate filling. Another advantage of the terrarium is that you can actually see them in their tunnels.
Gerbils are very active little fellows. They move fast, love to play and communicate with their owners. They enjoy wandering about in runner balls, use spinner wheels or simply sniff around and explore their environment.
Bathing is a very important part of the Gerbil’s life, it helps them to maintain and clean their coat. Like in most rodents, Gerbil teeth are growing all their life and need to be constantly worn down. Little fruit branches or special edible toys are suited best to provide the dental care needed.
The Gerbils diet should consist of a specially developed grain mix, seeds and dried vegetables. Every now and then they do enjoy some fresh greens and vegetables.
Degus are small rodents originally found in South America. They may look like gerbils, rats or even squirrels, but their closest relatives are in fact chinchillas. Degus are becoming more and more widely recognized as ideal pets. This is not surprising given that they are not only cute, but also smart, sociable and inquisitive animals, which makes them very popular pets. Among their advantages is the fact that they are active during the day and so are unlikely to disturb their owner’s nighttime sleep. Degus are friendly and quite happy to interact with humans; they can easily remember simple commands or tricks. Another definite plus is that degus have practically no smell, which is an important quality for a pet likely to be kept in a city apartment. Degus can be bought as companions for children. If they are correctly handled, they will make a perfect friend for your child.
Degus should be kept in spacious multilevel cages or display cases. They do best if kept in groups of two and more. They will suffer if they are deprived of social interaction with other degus. It would be a good idea to place a safe running wheel in the case, which will go some way towards satisfying their need for exercise. Experienced owners also recommend constructing special tunnels, nests and shelves to add some variety to your pets’ lives. In their natural habitat, degus feed on grass, leaves, seeds, fruit etc. When they are kept in captivity, the owners have to remember certain diet restrictions that apply to them. Degus cannot eat any sweet food or some types of succulent feeds such as cabbage or tomatoes, while grass, vegetables and fruit are better served slightly dried. When these rules are followed, degus are likely to delight their owners for a long time.
Important: never grab a degu by the tail! They can be scared and shed it. Unfortunately, it will not grow back. It is also not recommended to try to pick up a degu from above, holding it by the back. This can cause the animal a considerable fright.
Rabbits make wonderful indoor pets. They come in a variety of breeds, shapes and sizes and each bunny has there own unique personality. Typically they'll live for 8 - 12 years, but some may live for longer. Small bred rabbits are funny, sociable and easy to keep animals which have become a popular pet and can be found in a lot of homes. They are quite active and curious. You can let them roam around the room without hesitation but keep an eye on them. During the warmer months you can even walk them on a leash on grass. Rabbits are interested and friendly towards other pets and children, but as already mentioned, do watch them as they are programmed to nibble and gnaw everything they find, this includes power cables, poisonous plants and other inedible objects.
The rabbit’s teeth grow constantly and need to be worn down to ensure the dental health and happiness of the pet. The easiest way to help with the maintenance of their teeth is to provide little fruit tree branches or edible toys and hard treats. Another body part that needs regular looking after are their claws. It is recommended to already pick up some nail clippers when you buy your rabbit.
Rabbits communicate with each other with poses and noises. Over time you will learn their language and know when your furry friend is curious - they’ll stand on their hind legs). When t unhappy - they’ll put their ears back and start sniffing.
The diet of the pet rabbits should be carefully chosen as they have a delicate digestive system. Make sure you’ll get some guidance when you pick them up from the shop or breeder. The basis of their diet should be made up from grass pellets, dried vegetables and puffed wheat. It is also recommendable to add some fresh greens, fruit and vegetables. Hay is another important part of their daily feed as it is essential for their digestion, together with water it must be available at all time.
Rabbits have an unusual digestive system. Food is passed through their gut and special droppings, called caecotrophs, are produced. Rabbits eat these caecotrophs, allowing the food to be re-ingested. Ensure your rabbit's digestive system is kept in tip-top condition by providing a healthy diet.
Rabbits have continuously growing teeth. A rabbit's top front teeth grow at a rate of 3mm a week!
Rabbits are intelligent. Pet rabbits can be taught to respond to commands using positive reward-based training.