How To Keep Budgies Warm And Plump For Winter

Wintertime in NSW Australia

G’day from Down Under,

Here in Tamworth, we are just about to go into winter.

Editors note: that’s early June Endnote

The temperature can occasionally get as low as -10c (14f), usually about 0 to -2c.

I was hoping you can advise me on what to do to look after my two little budgies and green cheeked conure through the worst of it.

I should mention that Bella, my yellow budgie, (she is about 3 yrs) seems to have real trouble breathing as soon as the weather starts to cool down and I worry about her the most!

 

Their main birdcage: 82L x 52W x 154cm H, is located in our laundry, but when it gets really cold I put them in a smaller cage: 40 x 72cm and wrap them up in a couple of blankets.

 

I also move them into a smaller, warmer room.

 

Is this enough protection for them do you think? Otherwise, what else do you recommend?

Peggy Gilchrist

Queen of the Country Piano
PA to Shaza Leigh
CEO LBS Music Group
336 Goonoo Goonoo Rd
Tamworth NSW 2340
0412 605 488

 

Hi Peggy,

 

We follow the rule of thumb that says “if you’re cold your bird is cold if you’re comfortable your bird is comfortable”.

 

It’s not necessary to heat the home or even a whole room in order to keep your birds at an acceptable temperature.

 

We’ve always kept our nightime thermostat set at 66f (19c) but we focus on keeping one side of the cage warm.

 

This way if the ambient air temperature rises in your home by introducing a little too much heat on the one side of the cage the birds have the choice to move to a cooler area.

 

It’s best to ensure that they have similar perching spots on both sides so there’s no confusion.

 

Here’s a picture of our aviary where 10 rescue budgies Bacon – Eggs – Toast – Jam – Biscuit – Gravy – Chicken – Waffles – Bagel – Creamcheese (the Breakfast Club), make their home.

 

heater next to budgie aviary

Please note on the left of the cage there’s an oil-filled electric heater and two thermo perches that maintain a temperature of 102°f (39c), on the warm side of the birdcage.

bacon 7 eggs budgies on thermo perchg

 

Bella’s heavy breathing is triggered by cooler winter air which is denser than warm air, but I would check your heating system especially if it’s forced air.

 

A lot of dust collects in these systems when not in use during warmer periods, then gets blasted into your home like confetti coming out of a party popper on New Year’s Eve the first time you fire it up.

 

If you have a fireplace in your home be aware that if there’s any sort of build up like soot or creosote, the fireplace may not vent properly.

If so poisonous byproducts from the fire can’t escape and will enter your home which could be very bad for pet birds.

 

A cheap but very effective hack is using an air filtration system shown in the video above that you will learn is as effective as an $800 (USD) unit the costing only about $30 USD to make.

Hope that helps.

 

Best

MitchR

 

Mitch, often, I receive your emails with information on parrots.

 

Although I have a few parrots, my questions pertain to my little parakeet.

 

She had very wet droppings and I took her to the veterinary.

 

He believes she has a kidney problem.

 

He treated with an antibiotic which was filled regularly for some time and advised he was trying to keep her comfortable.

 

Since we did not see much improvement,  we researched kidney issues online and treated the parakeet with a small amount of baking soda in her drinking water.

 

This seemed to help and she did well.

 

Now the symptoms returned but she has a bigger problem.

 

There is a growth past her belly close to the tail area. 

 

Just interested if there is any help or natural treatment.

 

Thanks for any advise.

Jane Jones

 

Hi Jane,

 

It’s impossible to know what the growth is without an examination by your avian vet.

 

As for your budgie’s diet, a parakeet seed mix can be anything.

 

Some are just that – seed mixes.

 

Higgins Vita seed and Hagen Living World seed mix both contain proprietary pellets mixed in with the seeds.

 

The corn is providing empty carbohydrates and the sugar peas are contributing a lot of sugar.

 

Millet is very high in fat and should be used sparingly.

 

Your bird’s diet needs to be improved to help with any correction in its health.

 

Here’s a post we wrote on how do get your budgies to eat more vegetables.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Best

MitchR

 

 

Diane Karslian replied

My vet said that my budgie is a little thin.

 

He’s 30 grams and very picky.

 

I gave him pellets several times and he refuses to eat them no matter how I try to trick him.

 

I grow sprouts for him but it seems that he won’t eat any of the lentils, beans or sesame seeds.

 

I always have Nutri-berries, honey orange blossom seeds, and Avi-cakes along with fresh greens which he likes.

 

Is there anything you can recommend that will put some weight on him?

 

Thanks!

Diane

 

Catherine Tobsing replied

 

Glad you are weighing your budgie.

 

That is the number one way to know if your bird may be ill.

 

Sprouts are great for birds, especially if they don’t get other fresh green foods.

 

However, they don’t do much for weight gain.

 

For that you may want to offer more seed, Nutri-berries, even Egg Food in a dish will be appreciated.

 

Here are some we have to offer.

 

Egg Food.

 

Diane Karslian replied

 

Hi Catherine.

 

Thank you for your advice!

 

I do weigh my guy, though it’s not easy (since he probably knows that it’s good for him). 🙂

 

He does eat Nutri-berries minus the fruit, of course.

 

I give him organic millet and a variety of grain seeds that are organic and specifically sold to be sprouted.

 

He also eats a bit of lettuce, dill, cilantro, etc.

 

I just purchased 6 lbs of Higgins Sunburst Parakeet seed with egg food, a separate package of egg food, in the very off chance that he likes it. 

 

I didn’t want to buy a lot as it could just end up with the 20 lbs of Lafebers pellets, mineral grit, dried fruit treats, toys, (the graveyard as I call it., etc.

Besides a couple of mirrors and some perches, his favorite things are free, branches I pull off trees, Q-tips wrapped with leather laces.

 

I look forward to receiving my order.

 

P.S.

I got $5 off. 

I didn’t realize that I had always been checking out as a guest.

 

Thanks again,

Diane

 

Dear Diane

 

Another thing to consider is warm cooked foods to fatten him up. Like oatmeal, scrambled eggs, or Higgins Worldly Cuisines cookable mixes.

 

Your order shipped yesterday.

 

You mention checking out as a guest.

 

I show that until this order you placed all other orders with us through eBay.

 

This was your first order on our website and you received the promotional discounts.

 

Thank you

 

Hi Catherine.

I will try some cooked food.

Ya’ never know?

Ebay, right, now I remember. 🙂

 

From: Weezie Barendse 

 

I had two little parakeets until yesterday when I found one on the bottom of the cage.

 

I would like to know if you think it’s best to get another feathered friend for the one I have had for 6.5 years.

 

I know she is missing her buddy.

 

Many thanks!

 

Catherine Tobsing replied

 

I am sorry for your loss.

 

It always hurts to lose one of our feathers friends and I understand being concerned about the remaining one.

 

If you get another bird for the one left in the cage, you may want to adopt an older parakeet, perhaps from a rescue rather than a baby from a pet store.

 

The older bird left in the cage may appreciate not having a youngster bouncing around it.

 

If you feel that you would like to not get another keet then I recommend a small mirror as a companion.

 

Budgies often find happiness in a buddy in the mirror.

 

And if you do bring home a new buddy, before placing the new keet in the cages, take out the older one and put in a holding cage or carrier.

The rearrange the cage somewhat. Then put the new bird in first, then the older one. That way the original bird does not get territorial and pick on the new comer.

 

I hope this helps.

 

From: Weezie Barendse 

 

Thanks so much for your input on this.

 

There are no rescues anywhere near me … pet store either. I live in South Georgia.

 

I think Jacksonville Fl is the closest.

 

But I might in a few days.

 

She seems a little lonely.

 

Wish she was tame!!

 

Thanks again!!

 

How about bird clubs near you?

 

Or Facebook bird groups?

 

You might find someone willing to part with an older budgie.

 

Good luck

Catherine

Mitch Rezman

He's handled a 1000 birds of numerous species when they visited monthly birdie brunches in the old Portage Park (Chicago, IL) facility. The one with the parrot playground. Mitch has written and published more than 1100 articles on captive bird care. He's met with the majority of  CEO's and business owners for most brands in the pet bird space and does so on a regular basis. He also constantly interacts with avian veterinarians and influencers globally.

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