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How to Make a Budgie Live Longer

Jana worked in animal welfare with abused and unwanted pets. She loves sharing her hands-on experience regarding domestic and wild critters.


A Budgie's Lifespan

When it comes to lifespan, budgie evolution hit the genetic jackpot. Of all parakeet species, they live the longest but even so, many die as young as two to five years old. This happens so often that many pet owners believe that budgies have naturally short lives.

The sad fact is that death at this age is not normal. When given prime care, a budgie can live between eight and fifteen years. That is the same age range as a dog. Indeed, there are even reports of birds reaching twenty years. That's beyond most dogs!

Fun Fact: Australia's oldest budgie, Charlie, reached the wonderful age of 29 years and 2 months. His age was certified by the Guinness Book of Records.

Stress is the Problem

A happy budgie doesn't hide its mood. It mutters and chirps, engages with other budgies, feeds, and looks perky. It might even brawl a little.

When there is something wrong, it will quickly become obvious. A sick budgie looks ill and a stressed budgie will behave in a frightened manner. However, it can be difficult to discover the root of the problem that is bothering your pet but in most cases, it is caused by some kind of stress.

Nothing shrinks a pet budgie's lifespan as fast as stress. A parakeet can experience agitation due to several sources. It can be environmental, physical or mental. This article will deal with the main stresses and how to lessen their impact.

How to Avoid Stress for Your Budgie

Budgies like space and a feeling of safety and security. They appreciate a daily routine and mild days. A successful environment for a pet parakeet consists of a large cage that you can semi-cover at night for comfort and darkness. Always avoid placing the cage in a location where there is a draft or in a room that develops too hot or cold temperatures.

Many owners also like to treat their budgie to the fresh air of the outdoors. But when you place your pet's cage outside for a little while, this should ideally happen under supervision, since predators might try their luck. Budgies can also overheat when they are placed directly in the sun.

Environmental stresses can also include:

  • Loud noises, like kids yelling or dogs barking
  • The cage is in a part of the house where foot traffic is heavy
  • Smells; chemicals and cigarette smoke, even perfume or cooking
  • A small cage
  • Quick movements from the owner while cleaning the cage
Budgies are at their happiest when bonding and grooming each other.

Budgies are at their happiest when bonding and grooming each other.

Budgies Need Companions

To understand why budgies experience stress, one also needs to understand an essential biological fact about these birds. They are hardwired to be social.

Budgies can and do live alone in cages. However, this is not ideal. Budgies prefer their own kind because their species thrive on being social with other birds, they de-stress by grooming each other, raising families and finding safety in numbers.

A lone bird often develops mental issues due to boredom, loneliness and fear - all because it is the only bird around. Even toys and human companionship cannot offer all the benefits of another parakeet.

Budgie Healthcare Tips

Physical stress can be caused by injury, disease, or incorrect diet. When you notice that something is physically wrong with your pet, resist the urge to treat him or her at home. Deciding to deal with a hurt or sick budgie at home can have fatal consequences.

Sure, a trip to the vet can cause a busload of stress for the bird but unless you are an experienced handler, one cannot always successfully treat injuries with remedies. Certain afflictions and diseases can be treated without a professional, but to stay on the safe side; nothing beats veterinary input.

The best course of action is preparation. Brush up on the most common injuries and diseases that befall budgies. It lessens stress for the owner to understand the “enemy” before a crisis hits. Self-study reveals which cases one can be dealt with at home (and the treatment supplies needed), and which needs professional help straight away.

The Best Diet for Your Pet Budgie

Insufficient diet is another major cause of early death among budgies. A seeds-only diet cannot provide the energy and nutrition these highly active birds need. The seeds you choose for your pet should also be high quality and preferably not the cheap, supermarket stuff that smells dusty when you open the box.

Budgies also need:

  • Plenty of greens and fruit
  • Iodine nibble blocks and cuttlefish bones for calcium.

For greens and fruit, raw is best and avoid anything that might clog the bird's throat or nostrils (so, no banana). Consider apple, carrot, parsley, spinach and pumpkin (cooked and cooled). There are plenty more, but always research a new food before offering it to your pet and begin by introducing it in small quantities. Research is a must, since some edibles, like avocado, is deadly.

How to Help Your Budgie Get Exercise

The notion that a budgie is happy in a medium cage where it can hop from stick to stick, clamber the bars and swing upside down from a toy, is not healthy. Returning to the fact that budgies are flock birds, they need exercise.

If you look at the shape of your budgie, you will see it was designed to fly— that bird is aerodynamic down to the last feather! Experienced breeders and keepers have flight cages but keeping a giant cage is not always practical for everyone. If possible, buy the biggest home you can and add toys that challenge these highly intelligent birds.

A budgie left with no stimulation, physical or otherwise, can weaken and develop a lower resistance to infections and most probably, suffer a shortened lifespan.

Healthy budgies are the clowns of the bird  world and bring hours of entertainment with their antics.

Healthy budgies are the clowns of the bird world and bring hours of entertainment with their antics.

Tougher Than They Look

When you choose to invite a budgie into your life, you can look forward to spending years with a pet that has charisma, humour, and high intelligence. With such amazing traits, why not make sure that they stick around for as long as possible?

Budgies are fragile when persistently neglected in certain areas, like being exposed to a bad diet or stress but overall, budgies are resilient. Indeed, they are easy to care for and many novice bird enthusiasts start with budgies before moving on to other birds that require more complicated care.

To give your budgie a lifespan boost, all you need is awareness of the most common stressors and dangers - and the willingness to prepare against them.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

Question: How far does the budgie cage have to be from the kitchen?

Answer: Definitely not inside the kitchen. It's too busy and full of aromas. The best way is to assess your home. Which room away from the kitchen is quiet, level temperature and doesn't get a lot of foot traffic? Make your decision based on that. Also, never put a budgie cage in a hallway or corridor. They are way too busy.

Question: Can a Parakeet eat kiwi fruit?

Answer: Yes. Remember to remove the seeds. Additionally, take away any uneaten fruit after two hours.

© 2018 Jana Louise Smit


shoog on August 04, 2020:

actually I have a question I was wondering about it for a while, i do have two lovely playful budgies, always play and sometimes fight with each other.

I was thinking, can budgies eat jasmine flower? and if so, can they eat the tree leave two? I do have a jasmine tree in my house and my budgies just love to chew tree leave or any leave for that matter, and I thought of letting them play around the jasmine tree, although I'm afraid it will cause harm in any way, I would be so delightful for the response and thank you

Jana Louise Smit (author) from South Africa on June 28, 2020:

Hi there, yes, that's probably just her temperament. You get gentle, quiet budgies. But keep an eye on her that she is feeding and active. Unfortunately, this might also be a sign of illness. As long as she's munching away, I wouldn't worry.

Sharonnicholls on June 24, 2020:

Hi I've just got 2 budgies both female,but the one seems quiet compared to the other one

Connie corbin on August 23, 2019:

My parakeet is 11 years, she is so happy, hes name is "Fiona" and she is green. She only eats parakeet food with fruit, and millet branch