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What To Do When Your Parakeet Won't Stop Squawking

Updated on April 5, 2017
Kristen Haynie profile image

Kristen hails from Modesto, CA. She is self-employed, raises chickens in her backyard, and bakes her own bread.

I've had parakeets my whole life. They've always been well-tempered, social birds that I can get along very easily with. They chirp in the morning, and whistle back and forth with me. I've always found my parakeets to be absolutely delightful, a joy to have in the house.

Then again, I've never owned a male parakeet... until now.

When my last parakeet, Hedwig, passed away two years ago, I was sad. She was the third parakeet I ever owned since I was 14, and I didn't know what I was going to do without a bird in the house.

That's when my lovely boyfriend decided to bring home a couple of parakeets for me as a gift. He picked out a male and a female this time, concerned that a single parakeet might get lonely by itself while we're at work.

Things went great for the first few months. I immediately began socializing them. I noticed right from the start that the male was much harder to tame than the female. She loved to interact with me, and learned tricks right away. The male on the other hand, always acted like I was trying to kill him anytime I got too close. He would scream and throw himself around in true Drama King fashion. Still, I wasn't going to give up on him.

Parakeet squawks nonstop!
Parakeet squawks nonstop! | Source

My Parakeet Won't Stop Squawking!

About six months after getting these birds, I began to notice a real behavior problem with the male. He squawks a lot! Actually, it's more like a scream. A really high-pitched, shrill, gut-wrenching scream.

Why does he do this? Let me tell you, after two years I still have no clue. He seems to be irritated by literally everything.

He screams if he hears someone talking. He screams if the TV is on. He screams if he sees you move. He screams at the other bird when she eats. He also screams at her when she dares to move. He screams if anything in his cage changes. If I put a new toy in there, he will scream non stop for hours. Heck, he even screams for no reason at all, all day long.

This bird has pushed me to within an inch of my limits. I've tried everything with him. I do everything I can to keep him busy and entertained. It doesn't work, he still screams. He is healthy, eats a proper diet, has plenty of toys, gets a ton time out his cage. He has everything he could ever need, and more. He still screams all day.

I've tried paying a ton of attention to him. He still screams (and he still freaks out when I get near him). I've tried ignoring him when he's loud, it doesn't help. I've tried screaming back at him. That helps for about 5 minutes. Then the screaming starts again. I've tried separating him from the other bird, that just makes it worse. I've tried moving the cage to different rooms, and even outside during the day. He still screams.

Does this sound like you? I know I can't be the only one who owns a parakeet from hell!

Nothing I've tried has solved the problem completely, but here are some things I've found that make it a little bit better.

AviCalm For Birds

Avitech Avicalm Calming Supplement, 4 oz
Avitech Avicalm Calming Supplement, 4 oz

I use this on my parakeet, and I'm pretty happy with it. You just mix it in with their food, and it calms them down. It's natural and totally safe.

 

Tips- How To Stop The Squawking

1. Try moving the cage. This is my first course of action every single day. Put it outside or in a different room. Change up the scenery a little bit.

2. Get AviCalm. This stuff was recommended to me by a friend who has an agressive bird. It's a powder that you can mix in with their food, and it calms them down. This is one of the most effective tactics I've found. I have to give it to him every single day though, as it seems to wear off after a while. And many days it only helps the situation, it doesn't make him stop entirely.

3. Get a squirt bottle. I'm serious. I know it sounds harsh, but I have to resort to this on the days when I literally contemplate killing him. I'm not kidding, this bird has irritated me to the point of tears more times than I can count. I spend 30 minutes sitting right next to the cage. When he acts like a demon, I give him a squirt with that bottle. Every time he screams, I give him a squirt. This tactic is particularly useful when he's being mean to the other bird. He likes to spend the entire day kicking her butt every time she gets near the food bowl. Every time he goes near her while she's eating, he gets a squirt. He catches on pretty quickly and cuts down on the crappy behavior... for a while.

4. Time out. When none of the other things work, I put him in time out. I have a separate cage that he goes in... alone. He has his own food and water in there, and a few toys. I cover the cage with a blanket, and put him in a room by himself. I play classical music in hopes that it will calm him down. It's usually a 50/50 chance that this will work. If he is quiet after about an hour, I will return him to his cage with the other bird. Usually he is fairly decent after that. If he continues to scream during time out, I resort to more extreme measures...

5. Extreme measures. I am well aware that this bird hates me. I have recently decided to use that to my advantage in the fight against his crappy attitude. Even though I usually don't like clipping wings, I clipped his recently so he can't fly away from me. I grab him out of his cage, walk away so he can't see it, and then I put him on my shoulder. He tries to get away a few times, but I just put him right back on my shoulder. He will scream for a good 10 minutes straight. I just let him scream. After that, he usually burrows into my hair and hides. I just let him chill there while I'm going about my business. I occasionally offer him food, which he has yet to accept. This usually gives me up to 2 hours of peace and quiet. It seems to be a huge relief for the other bird as well. She usually takes this time to eat and play in the bath... two things he never lets her do while he's around. I honestly think that this tactic only works because he's terrified, but I don't really care because it actually shuts him up for a short time.

6. Finally, when nothing else works, I have to just lock him up in a room and turn music up loud to drown out the sound of him screaming.

I work from home, so I'm at home with this bird all day long. After 2 long years of hearing him scream all day long, that really starts to weigh heavy on a person's sanity! I get a little desperate sometimes and have tried everything I can think of to resolve the issue and get him to be quiet. It would be so nice if he could just chirp all day like normal birds do, like all my other parakeets have always done! It's like he doesn't know how to communicate without squawking.

Just to give you an idea of what I go through, imagine a really shrill-sounding blow horn going off right in the next room. Now imagine that sound repeating over and over in 1 second intervals for long, drawn out periods of time.

Squawk. Squawk. Squawk. Squawk. Squawk. SQUAAAAAAWK. Squawk. SQUAWK!

That is my life every single day. I'm wondering right now how I haven't pulled my hair out yet...

Are You In The Same Boat?

Do you have a similar parakeet-from-hell situation? How do you handle it? Do you have any tips and tricks that I haven't thought of?

Please share in the comments!

© 2017 Kristen Haynie

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    • profile image

      dee 3 weeks ago

      maybe adding another female will change the dynamics of the "social structure"?

    • profile image

      AJ 4 weeks ago

      I have 2 male parakeets and one of them has an occasional sqwak attack but once I start talking to him he stops. I think he just wants extra attention lol. Those sqwaks are def stressful! Anyways, I've never owned a male and female together because I was afraid of them making attempts to mate. Have they tried mating? Could his behavior be related to the fact he can't/isn't mating? Is there some type of male instinct which isn't being met so he acts out? I've only known people who got a male and female so they could mate them so I'm very curious about this little guy. Keep us posted if another method works out for you.

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      Tanya Blalock 4 weeks ago

      Why not get rid of him. Would you like to live with a guy who tortures you if you want to go to the bathroom or take a bath or even eat and he beats you up if you do? No that would suck so why are you making that other bird live like that? For your sake? Is it for selfish reasons so that YOU don't feel guilty, getting rid of him because that would be mean to do and people would judge you? You're completely disregarding the fact that the other bird is living a life of torture just like if you lived your whole life with a son-of-a-bitch husband but you're married to him and so you stay married till death do you part just like they did in the old days I mean it's okay cuz that's a marriage where u take an oath BUT we're talking about birds right now. I say get rid of him definitely he's not happy and she's not happy and you're not happy. I don't understand what's the delay.

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      Daran 5 weeks ago

      Hi....I have a blue rumped parrot (male).He was so quiet until a female bird which was in the same cage was attacked by a cat .Sadly it didn't survive.Since from that incident he started to squawking loudly every time.I used to hand feed him but now he's like so scared to come near me.Pls help!!!

    • Kristen Haynie profile image
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      Kristen Haynie 6 weeks ago from Modesto, CA

      Hi Nitree,

      Thanks for reading and commenting! It makes me feel a lot better knowing I'm not alone in this. I have always felt a bit guilty for getting so annoyed with these birds, but sometimes they drive me to the very edge of my sanity. I wish you the best of luck with your birds!

    • profile image

      Nitree 7 weeks ago

      I feel better knowing I'm not the only one that is having a difficult time with their male budgie. What really gets me, is when the females decide to squawk back. I have been in tears thinking these birds are making me crazy. I love the little chatter and chirps, but the squawking is making me want to get rid of them.

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      Melissa 4 months ago

      Yep. I have 7 and they are budgies from hell! They scream on and off all day for no reason. They have a huge cage, heaps of toys, heaps of food but nothing keeps them happy. They all get along to so i dont understand their behaviour. The screaming actually started around when i was 7 weeks pregnant, im 28 weeks now. I need peace and quiet and the only way i can get it is covering them up. Nothing else works. I live in a small unit so there's no other rooms for them to go to. Im at my wits end and like your bird these drive me insane and nearly to tears.

    • Kristen Haynie profile image
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      Kristen Haynie 4 months ago from Modesto, CA

      Hi Bebbie,

      I've tried moving their cage to the back patio. He still screams. Sometimes it seems worse because there are other things going on around him like the wild finches coming to visit them and my free range chickens moving around. All of this gets him all worked up and in a frenzy. At the very least though, if I close the back door then the sound of his squawking is muffled from inside the house. It allows me to get at least a little bit of work done in peace! LOL!

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • profile image

      Farhan 4 months ago

      Hi I have the same problem but not this bad. If I’m not right next to the cage he/she (I don’t know if he/she is a boy or a girl) he/she will scream. Since this bird has a weird behavior and he is scared of me (unless he is tired or woken) he stops screaming when I come near him. But if I’m away he screams. but the other bird I have is peace ful

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      linda 4 months ago

      I'm wondering if it's a mating thing. Mine has been doing that also, but he is trying to get on top of her. She gets mad!

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      Anonymous 4 months ago

      Keep the squawking bird in the other cage by itself with its own food and water that way it stops bullying the female. As you know talk to the bird gently at face level or below so he doesn't feel threatened. Play YouTube videos of parakeets chirping and hope that he mimics this. Chirping is much easier to deal with than squawking. Cover the bird for 30 minutes after each fit until he learns to stop squawking with cover on.

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      LauraLooo 4 months ago

      Oh my goodness Kristen.

      Once, before I learned to love parakeets, I had a cockatiel that was squawking wayyyy too much. Long story short, I found a woman with multiple cockatiels who was happy to rehome him with her group. And voila, happily ever after. AND ... it led me to my next bird, a Budgie, who was the love of my life AND my sons' lives. He went everywhere with other us; camping, vacations (by car or camper), etc.

      My advice to you would be to consider finding him a home with an experienced Budgie person who would LOVE to add him (or both of them) to his/her aviary. Then, go find yourself another Budgie or two to love, whether from an animal shelter or Craigslist or a budgie breeder that hand feeds babies.

      The stress that this bird causes you is not worth it. Believe me, I do not see pets as disposable, and my dogs and one of two budgies are from rescues or shelters. I have never gotten rid of a single pet other than that one cockatiel. But I did learn with my cockatiel that releasing yourself from a bad match can lead you onto the path to finding your true birdie-match.

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      Bebbie 4 months ago

      WOW, I feel for you! We have a parakeet who skwaks, but not to THAT extent! Since you live in a warmer climate, have tou tried a little fresh air & filtered sunshine? Whether with the other bird or solo, it's worth a try. Look out for local predators or pests, like squirrels or larger birds. Share any results if you try this!

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      Anynomous 4 months ago

      My male parakeet actually is more easy to train than my female, but then again, it was probably because he came from a breeder, not a pet store. He's also really loud, but doesn't scream at absolutely everything. It's fun to see so many different characteristics in birds.

    • Kristen Haynie profile image
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      Kristen Haynie 5 months ago from Modesto, CA

      Melissa,

      I definitely know how you feel! Hang in there! I wish you the best of luck with this. Come back and let us know which method ends up working for your parakeet!

    • profile image

      Melissa Neveux 5 months ago

      I have a beautiful pale blue female budgie and she is displaying this EXACT same behavior! I also am home all day but that's only because I sleep during the day and I work at night so it's extremely frustrating having the screeching 24/7 when it's day light! I'm only 25 but she makes me feel like a crazy old lady hehe!!

      On a serious note thank you very much for sharing your story I will try some of your remedies- as well as continuing the timeouts

      for her. I wish you good luck with your little guy and God bless!♥️

    • profile image

      Corinna Goodlett 6 months ago

      I have a female budgie that has this same behavior and I don't think I cam take it much longer, she squawks when he Tv is on, when my husband nd I are talking, when the water is running, when she hears the toilet flush, every little noise and she feels the need to be louder. I've tied moving her to another room, I've tried covering her, I've tried the water bottle. Nothing works!

    • Kristen Haynie profile image
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      Kristen Haynie 7 months ago from Modesto, CA

      FlourishAnyway- Thanks for commenting, and for the advice! It's so tough having a pet who just can't keep it together! You just can't help but love them even though they drive you mad! I guess we're kinda crazy ourselves... LOL!

      I've tried covering the cage. He's only quiet if he's in total darkness. I feel terrible doing that to him though. I only resort to that at times when I just don't think I can take any more of him screaming. I don't think it's a crowding issue, they have a ton of space and they get plenty of time outside of their cage. I think that this bird is just a jerk.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 7 months ago from USA

      I've never had birds because they don't mix well with 6 indoor cats but I totally empathize with your predicament. Sometimes you get a pet who is behaviorally challenging and it seems like nothing works. I have a cat who is now on psychiatric meds because she is so undone. I don't know if parakeets process human language but when you use your squirt bottle, be sure to say no then squirt. You might also try positive reinforcement but I don't know what your parakeet finds rewarding for temporary silence. Have you tried covering the cage to quiet him? Is crowding perhaps an issue? Best of luck.