Knowing the best ways to keep your birds comfortable makes for a rewarding experience and a healthy pet. This guide is about caring for parakeets.
I have 3 parakeets, and the easiest way to clean their cage is to simply pull the slide out tray to the utility sink and use the sprayer and a putty knife to scrape. First I dump seeds into the trash then spray with hot hot water, then I feel secure in knowing it is sanitized.
Parakeets love music, I discovered this when they tweet like crazy when the Monkees theme song comes on. Also, I play the harmonica for them, they love it, they are in awe as they listen. They do not sing along, but close their eyes and cackle with happiness.
They also love when I plant wheat berry seeds in organic soil. It sprouts and I put it in their cage and they eat and play with it. I had to laugh one day, one of the birds, all you could see was his hind end sticking up with his head in the pot, then he jumped up and was flinging dirt clods out of his cage.
Lastly is a important tip, chlorine is hard on little birds' kidneys, so I fill a plastic jug and let it set uncapped for 24 hours so it goes away. Then I put a few vitamin drops in their water holder and add the water. It is best to do the vitamins freshly, if it were to be added to the jug as it sets it would lose it's potency.
By Linda from Bellevue, N.E
I was privileged to photograph these little parakeets last week. It was 28 degrees! The owner has acclimatized them and keeps them outdoors year 'round. He has a heat lamp in a back enclosure, but the birds never use it. He said it's for his wife because she worries about them.
He has every color I've ever seen, and I have never seen tufted parakeets before. It was like being in heaven for a little while!
By Coreen from Rupert, ID
I had put on here a long time ago how my parakeet Perry loved to unravel string in his cage for entertainment. He really did love to do this. Just the other night, he became entangled in one of the strings that he often played with even though his claws were really not overly long.
I finally got him untangled, but he had hit his head on the cage by the time I got him undone from the string. He ended up passing away that night. He would not have died if he had not had that string toy in his cage.
I want everyone to know, don't buy the string toys if they can unravel, or even if they cannot unravel, because they like them so much they won't leave them alone and they could, like my baby, get entangled in the string toy.
Blessings, and RIP Perry. We love you. You brightened our lives so much! Run free and fly free at the Rainbow Bridge!
By Robyn Fed from Tri-Cities, TN
By gaboong 1
My parakeet loses his feathers and has a bald spot on the belly area. He is eating and acting normally. What possibly could have happened? We got him Thanksgiving of 2010. Thank you.
By gaboong from Fountain Valley, CA
February 4, 2012
Maybe your parakeet is molting. They have special food at the pet store when a bird is molting.
Our female parakeet keeps laying eggs (we have a male but he doesn't get in her cage). She is losing her chest feathers. She doesn't seem sick and she doesn't itch. Could you please help us? Thanks.
February 6, 2012
This is called a brood (incubation) patch and is completely normal. Since the male is not in the cage to breed with her simply remove the eggs as soon as they are laid. I learned about brood patches when I had a couple of finches (Romeo and Juliet) quite a few years ago. Here's more information about it so you won't worry that something is wrong with her:
We have 2 parakeets. We our new bird owners. What can you tell us to help us take good care of them? We want them to live a full life span. What kinds of toys do they like? Can we make our own handmade toys for them that are safe to play with? Thanks bird lovers!
By Trudy from in the woods, PA
June 14, 2011
Most of our toys for our Parakeet are home made and are the best toys at low cost! We even made her a swing for her from bark and wire. She loves it! We also made her perch from a tree branch in the back yard. She ate all the bark and now it looks store bought! She is also able to jump to diff. branches. We gave her a cat ball w bell in it and she plays w it on the bottom of her cage w her beak. I went to the dollar store and bought X-mas bells and tied it to the side of her cage and she plays w it all the time w her beak. I went to a Craft store and bought a very small wind chime for one dollar and we can hear her every morning playing w it. :O) There are so many toys that you can make if you are creative and research the Internet for ideas... :O)
Lana - Des Plaines, IL
My boy parakeet seems to be feeding the girl. What does that mean and is she getting all her nutrition she needs?
By Michy from Chicago
I have two parakeets. One is perfectly fine, but the other one's eye looks kind of yellowish and runny. It looks kind of bald too, but only around one eye. What could this be? and what can I do to make it better?
By Destiny W.
October 10, 2011
Caged birds often get fatty livers from not flying. Cold Tea is often given to birds that are "under the weather". I hope this helps.
I use Walmart brand triple anti-biotic cream on. and in the eyes of my kittens, but I don't know if it can be used on birds.
I have 2 parakeets and when I talk to them they move their beaks like they are talking back to me, but nothing comes out. They will also cock their heads to the side. What does that mean?
By Kayla from Miles City, MT
January 4, 2010
Your birds are attentive to your voice and recognize you with the tilting of the head while being spoken to. Not making any sounds with the movement of the beak doesn't mean they won't make any noise at some point; only they may be trying to imitate the sounds they pick up on and aren't successful at it yet. Keep talking to them and say the same phrase repeatedly and maybe you'll get that response you're hoping for some day. I own three parakeets and they love music. Try playing music to get them singing.
I think someting might be wrong with my parakeet. His feathers are gone on his head. It's sort of like the feathers are gone and only the little stick that holds the feather is there. On his chest, the blue feathers are going away and the white feathers are starting to show. I have to sweep almost every night because of all of the feather loss. Does anyone know what's wrong with him?
Jitterbug from Oneonta, AL
Call your state veterinary school, ask for the ornithologist. (03/06/2006)
By the Oracle
It's that time of year... usually a bird will molt twice a year, and March is the time for the molt. I have had birds for years, and if your bird isn't stressed from something else, this is normal. The new feathers will grow in soon...but in the meantime, they look pretty sad. (03/06/2006)
Parakeets lived in my home at least 16 yrs; there were no local vets who cared for birds so i got a book at the pet store that told all about how to care for them including when they're sick, what to look for and how to treat them.
One of my parakeets developed a problem similar to your bird's. Hers was due to stress. Budgies are extremely sensitive to stress. Repair work was being done to my apt's roof; after hearing the hammers' pounding noise a couple days, her reaction was to pick out her feathers (none of the other birds did); from thereafter, she never allowed the feathers to grow back; she was normal 'n healthy otherwise, tho and even raised babies.
The stick you're referring to is the shaft of the feather. Do you have any other birds in the same cage?
What's the temperature in your apt? Budgies fare best when it's 70-78 degrees. Below that they get cold and possibly sick. Above that, the heat will stress them and also affect their health.
If it's too hot, the birds will/can molt an extra time that year. Because the temp. inside my home was constant, my birds didn't always molt seasonally and sometimes not at all.
You could also check for little mites which could be a factor. What you get at the pet store is a round metal container-about the size of a lady's compact-that attaches to the top of the cage; it has an insecticide specifically for birds that will kill the parasites and not harm the bird. I attached mine above where the birds preferred sitting most of the day. Change it every couple months.
Budgies also don't do well if they're in a draft of any kind; keep their cage in a spot away from air currents, and temperature extremes. If your bird moves back 'n forth, she's bored. If your bird starts to sit low on her perch, she is 'feeling poorly' and needs extra care.
When my birds were ill/feeling poorly, I added extra liquid vitamins to their water plus added stuff to their seed cups. There's also antibiotics, available in tablets when I had birds, that you can dissolve in their water. Make sure their seeds are the best you can afford-varied w/added vitamins 'n nutrients; they will live longer and remain healthier. My oldest bird lived 14 1/2 yrs.
Change their water daily; more often if providing them medicine in it. Change the bottom-of-cage newspaper daily. If you keep your supplies handy, daily maintenance should only take 20 minutes.
During the colder months, it's okay to drape the back 'n sides of the cage w/a large beach towel... even tho you keep inside temps constant. My birds also got a heating pad, on the low setting, placed atop their cage, beneath the draped beach towel, to keep them warm, to compensate for far-away drafts from opening and closing doors, during winter.
Get a good book that explains exactly how to keep your bird healthy; read through what's available and get the best one, or get both. Make sure the cage is large enough for the bird to fly around a bit to exercise its wings and maintain muscle strength. Also provide things for it to play with, chew upon, and provide a cuttle bone for its added nutritional and beak-sharpening benefits. If the beak gets too long, you'll have to clip it gently w/fingernail clippers. Be gentle and patient. It's also a good idea to take your bird outside its cage; it likes attention and also needs the exercise...even tho the cage is large. Drape their cage after dark so they feel secure and have time to rest from the day's activities. Try to keep things around them quiet or they can get stressed.
Beyond this, contact a veterinarian who treats birds. (03/06/2006)
Could be stress or could just be a usual molt, my budgie and chickens do this too... buy or borrow a book from the library or look on an internet site that specialises in this type of bird, you could email them to ask... much cheaper than the vets unless your bird needs immediate attention... if he is eating and drinking normally you may not need to go to the vets, just wait for feathers to regrow.
It's a good sign you can see feather shafts as new feathers will grow from there. Definately cover the top of the cage and 2 or 3 sides with a large towel, it will help the bird to feel secure. Good luck. cx (03/07/2006)
Regarding some of the advice... DON'T TRIM YOUR BIRDS BEAK. (02/03/2007)
My parakeet is acting strange. I'm afraid he's got what my other parakeet died from - respiration problems (wheezing etc). The only signs he's showed are some loss of feathers around the eyes and from my sister's accounts - sitting on the bottom of the cage, but I'm not sure for how long. When she just told me this she said he was sick like the other one. How can I know for sure? My parents refusing to take him to the vet? :
Are you using Lysol or some other form of anti-bacteria spray? If you are then stop. It is toxic to birds, lizards and other small animals. (09/20/2007)
Sounds like he has mites go to Petsmart for some mite spray and spray your parakeet. Good luck. (12/15/2007)
My Parakeet is losing feathers. What could be causing this?
I had a canary whose cage was covered every night and placed where there were no drafts. He lost all his feathers except for a few top and tail feathers. He looked awful! He didn't have mites but we finally figured out what was wrong, he was too hot.
As soon as we quit putting the cover on his cage and quit worrying about drafts etc. he was fine. At the ripe old age of 12 we had to have him put to sleep as he was arthritic!
Hope your parakeet has the same long life. Good luck! (12/28/2007)
My Parakeet keeps picking its foot, could it have mites? It is also plucking feathers. Could it be stressed?
Here is a good site that will answer your questions. letstalkbirds.com (08/10/2009)
It seems as though you only have one bird which can be a problem, because birds in nature will preen (pluck feathers) from other birds. A solution for this is to put a feather duster in the cage. Your bird should preen the duster instead of over-preening itself. A dollar store duster should work well especially if you can find one a similar color to your bird. (08/11/2009)
Might be moulting. (08/12/2009)
Your parakeet might be bored or lonely. If you can't afford a bird-cage sized mirror, you might be able to use one from a cosmetics compact. My mom's parakeet, a lifetime ago, chirped happily to his reflection all day. (08/14/2009)
My parakeet is losing feathers from the neck region and the underside of the wings. He is starting to slowly lose feathers around his chest and I really want to know what is causing this. Can someone please tell me?
Michael from Irvine, CA
Take him to a vet that has experience with birds. (03/13/2008)
If the cage is kept very clean by daily changing the papers, and by washing out the water and seed dispensers, that helps. You can check for mites by putting a white cloth over the cage overnight. If your bird has them, they will be on the cloth in the morning. Treat with an approved miticide.
If you suspect the bird is sick, check around his vent. If it is clean and feathered, you're okay. Are his stools watery and loose? Or coming out in giant globs? Does he sit all ruffled up and almost horizontal? He's sick. Do you feed him anything besides parakeet seed? He needs bits of cut-up fruit, parsley (our birds are nuts about parsley), dark green lettuce, tender young grass, grated carrot, and even some chopped hardboiled egg.
I don't worry a lot about temperature requirements as long as the change is gradual. Mine are outdoor birds, and it is snowing right now, and they are happy little campers with babies. Hope this helps. (03/15/2008)
My parakeet is losing his flight and tail feathers. He is now around 8 months old. His wings were clipped when I first got him 4 months ago. He jumps off his perch a lot and tends to break his feathers. Now he has no tail feathers and only a couple flight feathers on his left side. Is this normal or is he sick? He is very mild mannered and mellow, but has been that way since I got him.
By Chana from NY
When parrots get stressed, they feather-pick. The fact that the feathers are gone on one side more than the other could signify that he is picking them out himself. The way to tell if a bird is picking his own feathers, is to check the shaft, the bare part that is right next to the skin on the bird. If the shaft is smooth, chances are the feather came out on its own. If the shaft is a bit ragged, that usually means that the bird is picking his own feathers out.
The only thing that you can do is to take the bird to an avian vet, and let him/her make the diagnosis. Treatment will depend on what the vet tells you to do. Most of the time, if the bird is doing it to himself, it becomes a habit, and this habit is extremely hard to break once it becomes established. The cockatoo in the picture is a rescue that has feather-picked ever since she has been at the avian rescue facility, where I volunteer. She is currently wearing an acrylic collar to help prevent her from doing this, but the collar is not really helping to solve this problem. There are other solutions, which I have used on my personal birds, (who are all rescues), that do not work either. Once this becomes a habit, you are very lucky if you are able to help the bird to break it. Good luck to you and your bird. (07/20/2010)
<img src="http://img.thrfun.com/images/database/tff66866475.JPG" width="400" height="533" alt="RE: Parakeet Is Losing Its Feathers" />
Sometimes they get bored and have no stimulation. Does your bird have enough toys to play with or things to chew on? Buy some new toys or make some that can be safely chewed and destroyed. Rotate toys every couple of weeks to keep him interested. Good luck. (07/23/2010)
Please look for a certified avian veterinarian and make an appointment. Good luck (07/23/2010)