Can Parakeets Live in Cold Weather?

Birds make wonderful pets. With all the different types of birds available, it is pretty easy to find one that fits in well with your family.

One of the birds that people love to have for pets is a parakeet. These birds can also be referred to as budgies. They are part of the parrot family, which has some special needs but not many.

Can I Own a Parakeet if I Live in Cold Weather?

The short answer to this question is yes, you can own a parakeet if you live in cold weather. Doing so is possible with minimal living adjustments, none of which should deter you from ownership.

Parakeets thrive in warmer weather like that of their native home below the equator. Their ideal internal temperature is 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit. The lowest temperature they can be exposed to is 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

This makes it hard for those of us who live in colder climates. Winters can get quite chilly in different areas of the world. Many days will never even rise to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

But this doesn’t mean we can’t have them. We just have to plan strategically.

Parakeets are not found naturally in most areas of the world. That is important to remember for their care. They are native to Australia but can also be found in South America.

Given where their home is, their bodies aren’t easily able to handle cooler environments. They are more adapted to warmer weather.

You may have seen a parakeet flying around outside of their native areas. Those are likely house pet escapees. Like all pets, at times, these birds escape accidentally from their owner’s homes.

What Does a Parakeet Need?

Simply put, it needs comfort, and that starts with exposing them to a temperature that meets the needs we addressed above. We have to keep them out of sub-40 degrees Fahrenheit weather.

The nice thing about this is that we rarely have our homes heated below that temperature, especially during the colder months. Our homes are equipped with heat sources that keep us at a comfortable temperature.

There are a few times that this can become an issue. A few situations we need to pay attention to are:

  • Power outages where the heat goes out.
  • Turning the heat down at night for conservation
  • Rooms exposed to the elements (three-season porches, sunrooms)
  • Phases in-between seasons where heat or air isn’t yet needed for humans

It is during these times that you have to be more diligent. Although a human body can tolerate temporary changes like these, a parakeet cannot. Practices may need to be changed to allow for the bird’s needs.

How Can Make Parakeet in Cold Weather?

There are several things you can put into practice.

All of these suggestions are simple but immensely beneficial. These will help you to care for your parakeet in the best way.

  • Keep your house at a comfortable temperature.
  • Have an alternate source of heat in the event of an outage.
  • Choose the room that you house your bird in carefully. Avoid rooms that experience extreme temperatures.
  • Purchase a cage cover to keep in heat at night.
  • Utilize a bird warmer when needed.

If your parakeet does get exposed to extreme temperatures, move quickly. It is crucial to get them back to what is appropriate as soon as possible.

However, it isn’t dangerous if the exposure is for just a short period. No more than four hours in it is ideal. Anything more than that could prove problematic.

If you are in a situation like that, watch for sure signs. These will tell you if your bird is in danger of hypothermia. When you see those, act quickly.

Signs That Your Parakeet is in Danger

There are specific ways to tell if your bird may be too cold. Similarly, there are signs that show when they are overheated.

Signs of Hypothermia in Parakeets

  • Fluffing up their feathers. A parakeet’s feathers act as a coat. When they are cold, they will fluff them up. This creates additional heat for them.
  • Sleeping More Than Normal. Most parakeets can adapt to the same sleep schedule as adults. When you see them more sluggish than usual, that can be a sign of hypothermia.
  • Shivering. Just like humans, birds can and will shiver. If you witness this, your bird likely needs additional heat.

It is worth noting that birds with a higher fat content can do better in the cold. This doesn’t mean that they can be in the cold. It just means they can tolerate it a bit better than others.

It’s also notable to remember that many blankets for humans are made of feathers. It provides extra warmth. This is why a bird’s feathers mimic a coat for them.

Signs of Overheating in Parakeets

  • Making loud noises. A parakeet will screech more than usual, and also at night. Parakeets are typically quiet during sleep hours, so this will be unusual.
  • Moving wings away from the body. To allow cool air in, parakeets will extend out their wings. This will cool their bodies down.
  • Frequently having an open beak. At times a parakeet will leave their beak open during times of heat distress. This will be a sign that you need to get them cooled down.
  • Drinking extra water. If you see your parakeet drinking more water than what is expected, take caution. This could be due to overheating.

Although birds with a higher fat content handle cold better, they do worse in heat. The extra padding causes them to overheat more quickly.

It’s imperative to monitor your pet for these symptoms. Hypothermia and overheating can both be fatal for a parakeet.

What Do I Do if My Parakeet Gets Too Cold?

If your parakeet exhibits signs of being cold or hypothermia, take action. It is important to move quickly. You can do several things to raise the bird’s temperature in a timely fashion.

  • Move the cage away from windows and doors. At times, a draft or poor insulation will make these areas colder than others.
  • Use a thick cage cover. This will trap heat into the cage and allow the bird to warm up.
  • Utilize a bird warmer near the cage. Be careful to keep it a fair distance away. Birds are known to peck at things that they shouldn’t.

Do remember that even in summer weather, the nights can get quite cold. Most of us still use blankets during the night. Depending on where the cage is, your bird may get too cold during the night hours.

Additionally, try not to use a cage cover during the day. This will throw off your bird’s circadian rhythm. Try to use other options before going that route.

As a final note, some people utilize space heaters instead of bird warmers. This can be okay as long as it is closely monitored. At times a space heater can get too warm and will cause overheating.

What Do I Do if My Parakeet Gets Too Warm?

Just as with hypothermia, it is crucial to act quickly if your parakeet overheats. Pet parakeets aren’t as acclimated to warmer temps as native ones. If you see signs of overheating, implement cooling techniques immediately.

  • Move the cage away from heat sources. This may include windows or warm rooms.
  • Mist your pet with a light spray. This will help the parakeet to start regulating his body temperature.
  • Put cool water on the bird’s feet. This will allow your pet to feel some relief from the heat and cool down.
  • Bathe your pet in a lukewarm bath. Do not dunk the parakeet or douse it in water. A light and calm bath will help them get to their average temperature.

One thing to keep in mind is that you should not use extra cold water with your parakeet. This could cause your bird to go into shock. When trying to regulate, utilize lukewarm or cool water instead.

Enjoying Your Pet Parakeet

Even with having a few special needs, parakeets are very low maintenance. They quickly adjust to a human’s sleep schedule with proper training. They also have a straightforward diet to adhere to.

All pets come with requirements, some more than others. You can easily put guidelines in place to protect them from harm. This is especially true in the case of parakeets.

All caretakers must know these guidelines. In the event of travel or illness, continuity of care is essential. Make sure each family member knows how to appropriately care for your parakeet.

Any type of pet is an investment, both in time and with finances. Different parakeet breeds come with different life expectancies.

Depending on which breed, your pet parakeet could live for up to 15 years!

Take the time to research which breed you would like for your family.

Be sure to implement the proper care strategies for your new pet. Get all family members and caretakers on board.

With that, you will have a new family friend for many years, one that will provide joy and companionship for you and others.

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