You want to ensure your pet budgie lives a long and healthy life. One way to do this is by giving them the right diet for their needs. Here’s what you need to know about these special little birds, their weight, and how to properly care for them.
Budgies also referred to as parakeets in some parts of the world, usually weigh 1.1 to 1.4 ounces. Over or under this mark can signify serious health concerns including obesity, fatty liver disease, and malnutrition.
What You Need to Know About Budgie Weight and Diets
Just like humans, budgies have an optimal target weight for proper health. Under 1.1 ounces can signify nutritional concerns related to not eating enough. Over 1.4 ounces can cause serious health conditions or even early death.
As a bird owner, your goal is to monitor your pet’s weight and alter their food schedule accordingly. You also need to make sure they receive as much exercise as possible. The combination of the two is usually enough to keep your pet at a healthy weight, but if there is still a problem you should contact a veterinarian for guidance.
How to Accurately Weigh Your Pet Bird
If you’re wondering how exactly to weigh a pet bird, here’s the answer. They make special bird scales with little perches to make tracking your pet’s weight extremely easy. These are usually found at your local pet store or you can ask your veterinarian for a good recommendation of one to purchase online.
Another option is to train your budgie to sit on a digital food scale. It might sound a bit counterintuitive if you’re monitoring your bird’s weight to offer a treat, but soon enough they will hop right on and stand still long enough for you to get a fairly accurate reading. Spray millet works quite well for this, but you might have to try multiple times with your pet to get the process to work.
The best time to weigh your budgie is generally first thing in the morning. You’ll want to make sure they’ve defecated at least once before putting them on the scale. This helps give you the most accurate reading possible. Keeping weight tracking at the same time each session also keeps your data as similar as possible.
You should check your bird’s weight once a week at minimum to log where they are within the desired range. Keep a small journal or a note on your smartphone to accurately track fluctuations that might signal a problem. If you start to notice any large fluctuations, it might be time to talk to your veterinarian or a trusted bird expert to determine the cause.
Is It Common for Budgies to Become Overweight?
Weight issues are actually quite common for budgies. This is usually due to a sedentary lifestyle and overfeeding by the owner. Extra treats involving human food like crackers and bread can also be a big problem when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight. Why? These high-calorie treats are designed for large mammals, not small brightly colored birdies.
This seems to be especially common with owners who purchase parakeets as pets but don’t seem to know a lot about owning and raising birds. Most pet stores won’t warn you about the dangers of weight gain for something that only measures a few ounces, so there isn’t really a lot of basic information for new budgie owners to go by. Generally, it takes until the bird is ill or a veterinarian intervenes before healthy routines are established.
However, ensuring your bird has good habits like a healthy diet and plenty of opportunities to exercise can help keep them out of the high-risk category. Reviewing guides like this one and even talking with experienced budgie owners and breeders can shed tons of insight into how to properly care for your pet bird.
The Risks of Allowing Your Budgie to Become Overweight
If your parakeet becomes overweight, there’s a good chance they could experience numerous health risks. The most common health issue associated with a poor diet is fatty liver disease. This horrible condition is fatal when left untreated.
Why does this happen? Birds like parakeets tend to store excess fat in their livers. Over time, this severely compromises their liver function and makes it difficult for their tiny bodies. In the end, their bodies cannot process appropriately and they succumb to the disease.
Symptoms of fatty liver in a budgie generally include a distended abdomen, lack of energy, refusal to eat or drink, depression, and more. Generally, if you notice your pet is acting strangely or is refusing food or water, it is time to contact a veterinarian that specializes in bird care immediately.
Exercise is Important for Parakeets
One way to help combat bird obesity is by offering your pet plenty of opportunities for exercise. Just like with humans, this allows the budgie to burn off excess calories and stay in a healthy and fit condition.
The easiest way to allow your parakeet exercise time is by keeping them flighted. Spending time outside of a cage and flying around takes a lot of effort and is an excellent way to ensure they’re getting enough exercise. But, if this isn’t possible, there are other options.
A large, roomy cage with plenty of toys is a great alternative. Choose items that involve climbing, swinging, and more. Birds love bells and other objects that make sounds. And mirrors tend to lead to flexing and posturing, which is basically like a miniature aerobics class for your parakeet.
Plenty of time outside the cage playing is important, too. Spending time with you while crawling, jumping, exploring, and interacting can help give your bird the physical exercise he or she needs to stay healthy and happy. Plus, doing this always seems to improve spirits and make their overall quality of life much better.
Proper Pet Budgie Diet
Of course, a proper diet is important when caring for your budgie. In fact, this is generally the most important aspect of ensuring they do not become overweight and develop a potentially fatal health condition.
So, what should you feed your bird? Generally, mixes designed specifically for budgies are the most important. In some areas, you might see this listed as a parakeet mix or some other similar wording on the package. General bird seed and treats designed for bigger birds such as parrots should be avoided.
If you’re going to feed your bird fresh food, consider fruits and vegetables. Often, this is a great way to ensure they are getting all the nutrients they need. And, since they are small in stature, it really isn’t all that expensive to try to do. Most produce items ideal for birds are just tiny samples of items you likely already have in your kitchen.
What to Do If Your Budgie is Already Overweight
If you’re finding this article a little late and your pet parakeet is already overweight, it is important to start taking steps immediately to restore their health. Much like a human, it is never too late to start a diet and exercise routine to promote optimum health.
by changing your bird’s diet to the recommended parakeet mix or organic
produce. Then cut back on the treats and eliminate all instances of human food.
Yes, like us, your bird might get a little cranky during this process. Dieting
is hard, you know!
Then you’ll want to switch to a bigger cage or introduce more instances
of physical play. Within a few weeks of tracking their weight, you should start
to see a difference in where they’re at on the recommended scale. If not, it is
a good idea to call your trusted veterinarian for advice.