Yeah, any birds can really make a mess on the wall. My solution is to hang a sheet over the back. Doubles as a night cover. FLAT sheet. I've been using an old twin fitted sheet and when I hit a rough patch with my health and it didn't get taken down and washed for a few weeks, the stuff that collected in those corners .... EWWWW!!!
My sister had parrots. Like big ones, a cockatoo, some kind of macaw. She had moved in on my dad. Eventually I had to go throw her out because she was letting those birds loose in the house and they were pooping EVERWHERE, it would dry up and aerosolize and my dad had pneumonia 3 times in about 15 months. Not good for an 87 year old man! Or anybody else for that matter.
Anywhoo. My son went over there with me after I got rid of her to help me clean. I kid you not, things crunched when you walked across the carpet in her room. He looked at the walls behind where she had had the cages sitting and said, "What is THAT?"
It was bird poop encrusted on the wall. Layers and layers of it.
BUT back to OUR birds, who are not allowed to get into those kinds of conditions.
Parakeets are noisy, but my parakeets are actually acceptably quiet to me since getting their diets straightened out. HOWEVER, they still get screechy at times. Such as when I am on the phone. Never fails. They're like 3 year olds, ignore you totally until you pick up the phone then they're hanging off your leg screaming "MOMMY! PAY TENTION TO ME!"
Yes, twice the birds is liable to be twice the noise. Also it took me a bit over a year to get their diet straightened out, so they were pretty dang screechy that whole time. AND THEN they got particularly attached to one particular type of feed I'd been giving them and when Trader Joe's stopped stocking it, they went totally off EVERYTHING I had worked so hard to introduce to them, even most of their old original "parakeet blend" feed. The only thing they ate happily was the oats, and secondarily the canary reedgrass seed in the mix. They wouldn't eat the millet for quite awhile, whereas they had been millet hogs when I got them.
Which is not a heartbreaker overall because despite its commonality in pet bird feed, millet is not all that great, and its AWFUL as the majority of their diet. But anyway. I did finally get them straightened out again and it thankfully didn't take nearly as long, AND in future I will be more careful about letting them get too attached to any one thing.
You could totally eliminate the teach-them-to-eat-right problem if you get your birds from a private breeder who already feeds her birds properly. Or HIS birds, not to be chauvinistic there, LOL!
My suggestion would be to go with a pair of finches. GUARANTEED to be quiet (as long as they're not zebras anyway, LOL!) and in my experience, way less picky about their food than any parakeet I've ever had. And really, I promise, way less mess than budgies. Mine are kicking up dust and dander and loose down and feathers all the time. The finches? Way cleaner, way less seed scattered (of course I do use very small feed cups and a gravity feeder so there's less to scatter) and way way way quieter even when the budgies are being well-behaved.
I suggest this cage for one pair of finches:
Prevue F075, WITHOUT STAND, 36x18x20
OR the same cage with the stand (and WITH the stand is actually cheaper at the moment than the one WITHOUT the stand)
Prevue F070 WITH the stand, 36x18x20
This cage (in either version) comes with a divider you can slide into the middle so you can isolate the birds on one side of the cage and clean the other side at your leisure without fear of escapes. This cage has a very nice all-metal heavy duty slide-out tray under each half that you just, well, slide out, dump, scrub, line, replace. SIMPLE.
It also comes with wire bottoms which I just leave out. They're more trouble than they're worth and not good for little birdy feet anyway. If you have very very small finches it's barely possible one could wiggle through the gap that leaves but my Bambi is actually quite small for a society and he has never gotten out. I'm not sure he's TRIED, mind you. And you can just slide the waste trays in ON TOP of the runners and it will close that gap back up.
With the wire bottoms in cleaning is a lot harder because now you have to clean the wire bottoms and they are not removable with the birds in the cage. At least not EASILY removable. If you line them with paper on top, now that waste tray is, well, WASTED. And its a lot harder to clean the cage because now all that paper and poop and dropped seed has to come out through a door instead of just pulling the whole drawer out.
This cage offers good flight space for a finch. It's bigger than the 30x18x18 cages that are the minimum acceptable size for a pair of finches. It doesn't SEEM larger to us hoomans, but I guarantee you, a little 3" bird thinks an extra 6" is a LOT of extra space, LOL!
You actually COULD keep up to 6 societies in one of these (because they are generally so low on the aggression scale) but then you'd probably experience some increased cleaning requirements. Zebras, I wouldn't put more than 2 in one of these. Not sure about other finches - Owl finches would probably be ok with a 6-bird flock, but really, I'd go with a larger cage for more finches anyway. One pair is a guaranteed winner.
The best thing about them in my opinion is how easy it is for me to clean. The worst thing is that I need help if I need to mount, say, a perch on the back wall because I'm a little bit of a thing myself and I can't QUITE reach through to hold the perch and then reach around to the back to screw in the nut, LOL!
It does have spring-type doors on either end as well as the doors on the front, that have hinges and a latch. It is heavier duty than any of their other cages that I own.
Toss the D-cups that come with it, they are Macaw size and your birdies will nest in them. Or try to. And poop in them and do all sorts of messy things with oversize feed cups. I use thumb cups but you can't get those any more.
Check on GlamGouldians.com for her current crop of feed cups, I use the flat narrow shallow "biscuit cups" mostly now, and a gravity feeder for their staple seed. Plus the thumb cups, which they stopped making (it turns out) in 2005 when the factory shut down and now the backstock seems to be totally depleted.
So I'm contemplating some very small round cups she has labeled "Mineral cups". The "egg cups" that look like actual eggs are too big IMO, my guys did try to lay eggs in them and did turn around and poop on their food. They don't do that with the biscuit cups (they're like rectangular trays more than "cups") though it sure looks like there's room for that, I am guessing the sides are so thin they aren't comfortable perching on them anywhere except the actual built-in perch.
And I use the JW products water silos. The short ones, not the tall ones. The tall ones tend to lean back away from the cage so the trough doesn't fill properly, I had to clip the one I use to the side of the cage to stop that. And they don't come with a clip. The short ones are fine though. Once you mount the holder part to the cage all you have to do is slide the silo itself up to remove.
Budgies MIGHT be doable if you get yours from someone who has already taught them to eat a proper diet, but I do think you would be "safer" from the noise standpoint with a pair of finches. Given your SO already has noise concerns that's just the safer route, IMO. And I wouldn't put even a pair of budgies in anything smaller than this cage:
Prevue F040 31x20.5x53 including stand, 30x20x47 cage only
I actually would bang 2 of the above together to give them 5' of flight room. I've been buying these when they go on sale. Which USED to be about $90 but lately has been about $100 (when they go on sale).
If I only had room for ONE cage I would at least go with the X-LG Prevue F050 on the same page (about $30 more) that is 37x23x60 (47" tall not counting the stand).
I have two of the F040s sitting out in the garage right now waiting to be banged together. Between losing a bird, a dog, and dealing with my own illness this past year, not a lot has been getting done here, LOL! Actually now that I think of it I am pretty sure I have FOUR of those sitting out there waiting to be banged together, one pair for the budgies and one for the finch(es). Used to be "finches", currently just "finch". But at least for the budgies I need to get that done soon.
One good thing about budgies: They are WAY less likely to surprise you with a bunch of eggs one day. Female budgies BURROW to nest. They actually sell sections of a lightweight wood "log" for the purpose. So - super simple, I have never had a problem with budgies trying to nest when you don't want them to. I've never even found so much as a single dropped egg.
Most finches are NOT sexually dimorphic (eg you can't tell which gender they are just by sight). Zebras are. Societies are not. Owls are not. Spice finches are not. Strawberries sort of are, or they are part of the year, or at certain ages, I forget. The vast majority of the breeds I like are not though. So that's one plus for zebras, you can for sure get 2 males to take home and not have to worry about egg laying at all. They are noisier than societies but (probably) not as loud as budgies can be. And just 2 will not be as noisy as 6.
Actually a pair of Javas would be an EXCELLENT choice for you, if you can get them in your state. They're BIG for finches, but very peaceable. I really really like Javas and they are legal in my state, but if there are any here, nobody knows where they live.
OK, now I'll go and answer the other thread where you posted, LOL! I only knew you posted here because I saw you posted there, and you TOLD me you posted somewhere else, LOL!