As many bird enthusiasts know, parakeets are social creatures and need the company of other birds in order to live a happy life.
However, what happens when a parakeet is left alone and without another companion?
Can Parakeets die from loneliness?
It turns out that parakeets can die from loneliness.
This is because they need to feel safe and secure in their surroundings to thrive. A single bird can’t do that on its own so if you’re going to get one, make sure you have two or more!
However, this isn’t entirely for the reasons you’d expect.
Social Behavior of Parakeets
Parakeets are naturally social birds, forming large flocks in the wild. This gives them plenty of advantages for finding food, water, and mates.
They’re famously loud when doing so, too. Parakeets socialize extensively with other members of their flock throughout their life.
Parakeets are so social that many owners buy at least two of them, and sometimes more. This helps ensure they have enough companionship throughout their lives.
Happy parakeets are noisy parakeets. For them, silence means predators, so they don’t like it. Conversely, frequent chirping is a sign of happiness and safety.
Parakeets often begin chirping as soon as the sun rises. A single parakeet can be loud, but several birds can be a cacophony.
You can moderate this by getting blackout curtains and only letting light in later in the day.
Also read: Do Parakeets Recognize Their Owners?
Why Do Parakeets Die Of Loneliness?
There are two primary reasons why parakeets can die from loneliness.
The first is that they naturally want to communicate with other budgies. A lack of response can make them feel depressed and limit their interest in exercising and flying around.
That’s a health issue for budgies. They usually spend a lot of time each day playing with each other.
The second reason parakeets can die from loneliness is because they have a hard time grooming themselves. Parakeets typically help each other groom, so lacking a friend can lead to health issues with their skin or feathers.
Can I be a Substitute For Another Parakeet?
Theoretically, yes, but most parakeets clean themselves daily.
If you can’t give them constant attention, you won’t be a good substitute for having another parakeet in their cage.
Should I Use Pre-Recorded Budgie Noises?
No. While this can sound like a good option at first, it’s important to remember that budgies chirp to communicate with other birds.
While they may be excited at first when hearing a ‘new’ bird, the lack of response in recorded messages can upset your parakeet. They may become agitated, or even frustrated by the lack of proper responses.
For humans, this would be like hearing a message on a telephone and trying to talk to a human, then realizing it’s an annoying pre-recorded sales message. That’s the point when we usually hang up, and parakeets are the same.
Typical Lifespans of Parakeets
The average parakeet lives about seven years, although some can live almost twice as long. The primary factors that influence lifespan are companionship, diet, and exercise.
Wild parakeets typically have healthier diets than pets but also face dangers from predators. Proper parakeet diets should include vegetables and other green foods low in carbohydrates.
What Can I Do To Make My Parakeet Happier?
You can do several things to help improve your parakeet’s help.
The first and best option is having at least two budgies. This lets them keep each other company and solves the loneliness problem.
You don’t need to get more than two birds. However, some parakeet owners like having a small flock. This allows plenty of opportunities for complex socializing. Parakeets generally like that.
Parakeets are also small birds, so adding one doesn’t significantly affect your budget.
Parakeets can bond extremely closely. If you want to be part of their group, keep them in separate cages.
If the weather is good, consider leaving them in an area with open windows. This lets them talk to birds outside of your house. Parakeets often enjoy this, and it’s significantly better than leaving them alone.
Try to pick a time each day to talk to them. You can whistle from an adjacent room, then respond when they whistle back. This type of interaction is great for helping parakeets feel involved.
Finally, if you can’t manage any of the above, leave a radio on. Parakeets tend to be relaxed when listening to human voices. They also appreciate many types of singing.
Avoid pre-recorded parakeet noises, though, for the reasons explained above.
Finally, if the environment permits, try putting your parakeet’s cage outside occasionally. This gives them a place to interact naturally with other birds. Outdoor play also provides extensive mental stimulation.
Exterior contact can result in transferring parasites, though. Make sure to give them regular health inspections and contact a vet if you see any problems. You can minimize risks by preventing all physical contact between your birds and wild birds.
For example, you can put your parakeet’s cage inside a larger cage to prevent the birds from touching each other.
How Should Parakeets be Housed – Care Guide for Parakeets
Parakeets do best in cages that are much wider than they are tall. This gives them room to fly around the cage and move between perches.
Flying is an important exercise for parakeets. The more opportunities they have to fly around the area, the better.
Cages should be at least 18” wide, 14” deep, and 22” tall for a single bird. Double this if you have two parakeets, which is best. Generally, it’s better to get the largest cage possible.
Rectangular cages are significantly better than round, dome-style cages. Many parakeets like resting in corners because they feel safer. Rectangular cages are naturally more comfortable for them.
Put the cage in a room that’s reasonably warm and active. Parakeets don’t do well with rapid temperature changes, so avoid vents and windows.
Similarly, never put a parakeet’s cage in the kitchen or on the floor. Use a tabletop or a special stand instead.
Hard floors are a good choice. You can expect some water, food, and even bird droppings to occasionally escape the cage. Hard floors are easier to clean and can help you prevent bacteria from growing.
Once you’ve picked the cage and location, it’s time to start filling the cage. Parakeets should have several perches of different sizes.
This mimics the environment they’d experience in the wild and provides some variety in their life. Similarly, try to get perches of different materials. This can help prevent issues like arthritis.
Try to place perches at different angles and different heights. Generally, the more variety you have, the better.
You can also vary the position of the perches occasionally to help them feel fresh and new. This is particularly good for smaller cages, but also viable in bigger ones.
Food And Water
Parakeets should always have access to fresh food and water. Many people prefer using water bottles instead of bowls. Bottles tend to be cleaner while also being easy for parakeets to access, so they certainly have advantages.
However, it may take parakeets some time to learn how to use a water bottle. Make sure they have a water bowl until you’re confident they know how to use the bottle.
Have at least one food bowl for each parakeet you have. This ensures they can eat whenever they want, without needing to fight over anything in the bowl.
Similarly, put the food bowls on the side of the cage. Parakeets tend to feel vulnerable at ground level, so elevating food bowls halfway up the cage will feel safer. Avoid bowls with hoods on them.
Other Health Needs
Cuttlebones and mineral blocks are excellent for parakeets. First, and most importantly, they provide valuable minerals and micronutrients. These are things that might not be in their regular food but contribute to a longer life.
These types of chewable items also help parakeets satisfy their desire to chew something. Chewing actions also help them keep their beaks in proper shape.
If either item gets noticeably worn down, replace it with a new one. Broken mineral blocks or cuttlebones may become dangerous.
Toys are an essential part of keeping parakeets happy, especially if they can use them to play with their friends. Try to give your birds several different types of toys.
Softer wood and rope toys provide a chewable alternative to cuttlebones. Don’t forget to check their nails and trim them as necessary to help them avoid getting entangled.
Food-based toys can help provide intellectual stimulation. Parakeets are surprisingly smart and often enjoy puzzles, so have a few toys like that.
Rotate the toys in their cage every few weeks. This helps them remain interested, rather than growing bored with an unchanging environment.
Optional: Let Them Fly Freely
This isn’t necessary if you have a sufficiently large cage. Otherwise, try to let your parakeets fly for at least an hour a day in a safe area.
Remember, things that are safe for humans can be dangerous for parakeets. Hot surfaces, toilets, drains, holes, fans, and similar things are all dangerous for birds.
Make sure you make their flight space safe before you open their cage. This means removing anything that could be a threat while they’re moving around.
If you have plenty of space but can’t clear out a room, get an extremely large cage instead. If you can’t get a large cage or clear enough space for them to fly, parakeets may be a poor choice as a pet.
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