Budgies also known as parakeets are native to Australia.
And so, they thrive in moderately hot and humid climates.
While they endure gradual temperature fluctuations associated with sunlight exposures and dark hours, however, they cannot undergo drastic changes in temperature.
Budgies cannot live outdoors during winters.
As winter is just around the corner
This article will cover the following
- Can budgies be outside in the winter?
- How cold is too cold for a budgie?
- How to tell if your budgie is cold?
- Can budgies survive in the cold?
- How to keep an outdoor budgie warm in winter
Lots of interesting topics and very important ones too
Let’s get started!
Can Budgies (Parakeets) Survive Outside In The Winter?
You see, budgies are extremely small birds, with adults weighing about 30-40g.
Though they puff up to conserve heat.
However, regulating temperatures within such small statures is quite difficult.
Budgies are naturally prone to colds.
Besides, budgies are from Australia where the temperature ranges from 45°C to -5°C.
But wild budgies are exposed to gradual temperature changes, with usually no more than 8-degrees change within 24 hours.
Also, the nights are only 3-5 hours long.
To stay warm, thousands of wild budgies roost together in ground crevices or sheltered caves.
However, pet budgies live either alone or in extremely small groups.
So, huddling together won’t provide them as much heat.
Additionally, a pet budgie is likely to have been kept at consistent temperatures.
Pet budgies normally have less tolerance for temperature fluctuations, than wild ones.
It’s just like humans that live around the equator, may even find 40°C as a chilly day.
Similarly, people living at the north pole may even find 25°C as a hot day.
It’s best to keep your budgies indoors during the winters.
How Cold Is Too Cold For a Budgie?
Anything less than 10°C (50°F).
Most budgies feel comfortable at 21-25°C (⁓70-80°F).
But freeze tolerance depends on a budgie’s regular surrounding temperature.
However, changes in seasons require a living bird to adjust its internal systems accordingly.
For instance, budgies molt more for summers to reduce heat.
Also, they have more feathers in winters to keep them warm. S
o, a wide temperature range is only possible with gradual changes.
A budgie cannot endure more than 4-6 degrees of temperature change in a single day.
Therefore, such an arrangement is not appropriate for household birds.
So, it can be assumed that:
A temperature below 4°C (40°F) is too cold for any budgie.
Question is – how can you tell if your budgie is cold?
Especially when it’s winter
Because I’m sure you want to make sure your little birdie is nice and warm
Let’s find out..
How Do I Tell If My Budgie Is Too Cold?
You can tell if a budgie is feeling cold by looking for the following signs:
- Puffed up feathers.
- Crouched in cage corners or in-built birdhouse.
- Breathing heavily.
- Loss of appetite.
- Frequent urination.
- Sneezing, coughing, or shivering.
- Fluid secretions for eyes or cere.
If you see any of these signs, I strongly recommend you rush to a vet as it is a medical emergency.
Now you may be wondering,
Can Budgies Survive In The Cold?
Depends on a budgie’s cold tolerance, the cold temperature, and its exposure time.
For instance, an old budgie is not likely to survive even two hours of cold.
However, an adult budgie may survive up to 6 hours of night cold.
Surviving a few hours of cold does not guarantee a budgie’s health.
Freezing colds may result in:
1. Upper Respiratory Tract Infection
Brief exposure to extreme colds may cause a budgie to contract rhinoviruses or bacterial growth in the upper respiratory tract.
The fluid may even block the trachea causing breathlessness.
Furthermore, since birds’ immune system is quite weak, even common colds can be fatal for budgies.
Besides, with an overhead COVID-19 pandemic, any cold can be lethal for both you and your bird.
So, see a vet immediately.
And so, such a budgie may develop hypothermia.
If a budgie is drowsy and shivering a lot, then, it is already in a state of hypothermia.
Though, this can be reversed by warming the budgie to normal temperatures.
Hypothermia results in extreme hormonal fluctuations.
A budgie experiencing hypothermia may even lose some brain activity or body functions.
Though uncommon among birds, if a budgie lives in an outdoor aviary with frequent snowfalls, then it may get blisters with cold, causing sudden death.
Since cold turns humidity into ice, extreme colds cause the dryness of a budgie’s skin and feathers.
That said, CBC News reported a case in 2016, where an escaped pet budgie survived a whole month in winter in Southland Park around Island Lake Area.
The budgie was adopted and cared for by a flock of sparrows.
Later, the wildlife services rescued the budgie and reunited it with its owner.
While it gives us hope for our escaped parrots.
Do remember though, it was an isolated case.
Okay so now that you know how to tell if your budgie is cold
Let’s look at how you can keep an outdoor budgie warm during winter
Carry on reading..
How To Keep My Budgie Warm In Winter
1. Relocating the Cage
Though an outdoor aviary has its own perks, it is impractical for winters.
I suggest you move your budgie to an indoor facility for the winter.
Here’s what you should do
- Keep your budgies in a separate room.
- Get the biggest available cage to allow your budgie to fly freely.
- Don’t put the cage in the middle of the room, rather along a wall. This will make your budgie feel secure.
- Put the cage near a glass window for the day to allow a view of the outside world.
- Move the cage away from the window to avoid the night cold.
2. Sealing Off Air Drafts
- Close off the windows.
- Ensure that there are no door cracks.
- Cover the whole cage with a thick cover to stop the heat from leaving the cage.
I discourage towel-based blankets.
Instead, use a fleece-made blanket so that your budgie does not eat away threads.
3. Installing Infrared Bulbs
- Uniform heating.
- No fire hazard.
- No toxic gases.
- No overheating of cage panels.
I suggest installing these outside the cage, as the bulb surface may be too hot for budgies.
4. Affixing Warm-Mist Humidifiers
So, I suggest you get them humidifiers.
Getting budgies mist humidifiers will warm them up as well as moisturize them.
So, your budgie will not have dry, flakey, or itchy skin.
Furthermore, these humidifiers may also cleanse your budgie’s breathing space.
But, if a humidifier is not an option, then you can simply put a wet towel on the radiator.
Otherwise, you must mist your budgie in winters, twice a day.
Here’s a really cool humidifier you could get for your little birdie
You can have a look at this and see if it’s something you’d be interested
Get this over on Amazon by clicking here
5. Setting Up Heated Perches Or Warmers
A heated perch is simply a perch set up to normal bird temperature.
This also helps circulate blood by warming the birds’ feet.
Alternatively, “Snuggle-up Warmer” can be attached to a part of the cage.
These warm the entire cage. Otherwise, you can just slide a heating pad underneath the cage.
But make sure to buy all these products from reliable sources to avoid the random electrocution of your feathered friends.
Here’s one you could check out
You can get this over from Amazon by clicking here
6. Providing Insulated Bird Homes
A cozy birdhouse within your birdcage will allow your avian family to huddle and get warm.
Besides, it will also serve as an indicator of early winter colds.
Though you can use any material,
I recommend using a fluffed-up hide or tent to provide maximum heat conservation.
7. Getting Thermometers And Thermostats
Having a thermometer in your aviary will allow you to easily monitor your budgie’s surroundings.
But getting a thermostat will allow you to even regulate it.
Thermostats may help in de-icing the drinking and bathing waters for your budgies.
Otherwise, you must replace your bird’s water pots every few hours.
8. Changing Your Bird’s Lifestyle
You can do so by:
- Enhancing your budgie’s freeze tolerance. You can do so by exposing your budgie to mildly cold temperatures during the fall. But make sure your bird is always comfortable.
Here are a few things to avoid
- Never expose your budgie to more than 5-degrees temperature change in a single day.
- Don’t keep your budgies near the kitchen. Otherwise, you may accidentally expose your budgie to toxic fumes from non-stick pans.
- Don’t burn any scented candles or incense.
- Make sure there are no toxic indoor plants around.
- Don’t keep your budgie near vents, as the outgoing air may be warm but still toxic.
- Never use gas-based heaters around your budgie because:
- Budgie feathers easily catch fire.
- Fire fumes may be too toxic for your budgie.
- The heater may cause over-heating the cage at certain places.
- It may cause a lack of oxygen resulting in suffocation.
- Don’t try the deep dung method. If you think that collecting the bird poop over the winters will bring your budgie warmth, you are wrong. It’s just unhealthy.
- Don’t put your budgie in dark basements as it can cause stress.
- Don’t decorate your budgie’s cage for the festivities as your bird will simply chew on tinsel.
Related article you may be interested in
Budgies are accustomed to hot and humid environments.
And so, they are exceptionally prone to colds.
Therefore, they usually cannot survive extremely low temperatures.
Budgies live well between 60-70°F, though you can tell if a budgie is feeling cold.
However, the rule of thumb is that if you are uncomfortable, then it’s the same for your budgie.