Budgies are beloved pets with their vibrant colors, cheerful chirps, and playful personalities.
As a budgie owner, it’s natural to want to provide your feathered friend with the best possible care to ensure they live a long and healthy life.
However, many owners may not be aware of the hidden dangers that can pose a threat to their budgie’s well-being.
In this article, we will explore the top 10 things that can kill your budgie and provide valuable insights into how to prevent these dangers from harming your feathered friend.
From toxic foods and household items to environmental hazards and health issues, we will cover everything you need to know to keep your budgie safe and healthy.
So, if you’re a budgie owner who wants to provide the best possible care for your feathered friend, be sure to read on.
Your budgie will thank you for it!
10 Things That Can Kill Your Budgie
For your budgie’s sake, you ought to be wary of the following hazards:
1. Toxic Fumes and Air Pollutants
On average, a human is about 1500 times more massive than a regular budgie.
But a bird’s respiratory system is at least twice as efficient and delicate.
Most budgies that die of toxic fumes are the end result of a culinary adventure.
You know, when a budgie keeper wants nothing more than to impress their bird with his/her awesome ‘Masterchef Skills’ by using all the seasonings to cook.
So, a budgie will surely die if you fry spicy nuggets in a non-stick pan next to its cage.
Now, it goes without saying that Appliances that contain non-stick surfaces can also produce toxic fumes on heating.
Also, fumes from paints and varnishes have been reported to kill budgies.
Finally, dry ice fumes are just carbon dioxide which will cause a budgie to suffocate.
2. Toxic Substances
This means your birdcage shouldn’t contain toxic materials like lead paint or galvanized steel which has a coating of zinc heavy metal.
But then, most commercial budgie cages are made of safe materials.
The real issue of toxic substances begins when a new budgie keeper assumes that cleansing the budgie cage or its surroundings with household detergents and disinfectants such as bleach is a ‘healthy’ plan.
In fact, some birders even go as far as spraying insecticides or pesticides near their birdcages so no cockroaches or flies bother their ‘feathery cutie’.
In contrast, a budgie is ‘smol’ and if it ingests even small quantities of these chemicals, it may go into temporary shock or die down within a few hours.
So, it’s best to neither use these materials around birds nor store them in their vicinity.
Finally, you can create your budgie’s toys at home but I’ll advise against using your old jewelry for that.
It’s because you don’t know what materials your budgie will be chipping away and if they’ll be toxic enough to kill your bird.
3. Toxic Foods
While most people learn what to feed a budgie, things go awry only when they start to assume things on their own.
So, a common myth is that everything that’s safe for humans is safe for budgies.
Now, that’s partly true but here’re foods that defy that norm:
- Avocados contain a substance called ‘persin’ in their skin, flesh, and pits. While it’s safe for humans, it’s fatal for budgies.
- Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine which can alter a budgie’s heart rate. But if consumed in large quantities, chocolate can cause cardiac arrest.
- Onions and garlic if fed to a budgie on a regular basis can cause hemolysis which results in severe anemia or potentially death.
- Seeds from fruits like apples, cherries, apricots, and peaches contain minute amounts of cyanide which can kill a budgie.
- Though Mushrooms like buttons, portobello, and cremini are often considered safe for budgies; several cases have been reported otherwise. And so, it’s best to avoid feeding your budgie mushrooms at all.
- Seasonings and Spices can cause a budgie’s blood and heart rate problems. Also, long-term use of salt and sugar may cause the bird’s kidney to fail thereby, reducing its life span.
4. Electrical Appliances and Power Sockets
Electrical appliances pose three kinds of fatal risks for a budgie.
The first risk is electrocution and it normally involves a budgie coming in contact with a naked wire or a power socket.
Whether the budgie survives from this shock depends on voltage exposure but most of the time, the bird’s heart stops beating.
You’d think that budgie would be secure in its cage from this electrical hazard.
But then, some new birders put their birdcages against the wall in such a way that their birds can easily access an electrical socket.
In rare cases, budgies do get electrocuted inside their cages.
The second risk is from a functioning electrical appliance and it usually starts with the question who let the budgie out with a running fan?
Or who was responsible for turning off that heater?
Such accidents either severely injure the bird or cause instant death.
For the same reason, letting your budgie fly freely while you cook, iron, or do your laundry; isn’t a good idea.
But then, there’re those isolated cases when someone keeps an eye on your freely flying bird but your budgie finds the spot behind the refrigerator which can result in death too
Finally, the third risk is a bird chewing on an electrical cord.
Surely, if the bird reaches the naked wire, it will die from electric shock.
But even if a budgie chews on a non-functional cord, it may swallow a toxic insulation material such as PVC, PTFE, Synthetic rubber, and nylon.
Say, a budgie miraculously survives all those hazards and reaches the safe copper core of the wire.
The problem is, copper cores are often coated with toxic heavy metals like zinc for corrosion resistance.
And so, it’s best to not give your budgie those old useless wires as toys, even if your budgie loves chewing on them.
5. Small Objects
Just as toddlers explore everything by putting things in their mouths, budgies do the same.
But a toddler with a coin lodged in his mouth will grow suspiciously quiet, and a budgie will likely give no indication of such a crisis – unless it’s too late.
Small objects like buttons, beads, rubber bands, tiny toys, and jewelry pose a risk of killing your budgie by choking it.
Now, if you find out your budgie has something stuck in its mouth; I suggest you rush to the vet immediately
Otherwise, you can try to stop its death by opening its mouth and taking out that object yourself.
However, that would require a lot of tact as budgies are pretty small creatures and your hands are big enough to hold that entire bird.
Also, you might need forceps as it wouldn’t be the same as using your fingers to take out a coin from a toddler’s mouth.
6. Household Plants
Since budgies live in trees and eat a vegan diet, therefore, new birders assume that their household plants will be safe ‘mini trees’ for their budgies.
Only budgies are allergic to several household plants and some plants are toxic enough to kill them.
So, here’re are a few houseplants to be wary of:
- Philodendrons cause respiratory difficulties in the budgies because of their calcium oxalate crystals.
- Lilies including Tiger and Easter lilies have been reported to cause kidney damage and death of several birds.
- While English Ivy only causes digestive issues; Devil’s Ivy or Pothos can kill the budgie as it contains calcium oxalate crystals.
- Oleander can cause fatal heart arrhythmia in budgies.
- Dumb Cane or Dieffenbachia can constrict a budgie’s respiratory tract, thereby, killing it.
- Daffodil ingestion causes tremors, drooling, and cardiac arrhythmia in several birds.
- Azaleas and Rhododendrons contain toxins like grayanotoxins which may trigger heart problems in various birds.
- Castor beans contain ‘ricin’ which can instantly kill a budgie.
Now, this list of toxic ornamental plants for budgies is not exhaustive as there several other such plants including yew, the sago palm, Morning Glory, and Lily of the Valley.
So, consult authentic sources before letting your budgie sit on any plant.
7. Intentional Releases and Accidental Escapees
Recently, there’ve been various influencers talking about how it’s only ‘right’ to free your budgies.
In fact, I’ve witnessed a few tik tokers even declaring that caging a bird is just as bad as human slavery. And so,
It’s become quite a trend to let go of a domestic budgie in the wild.
Now, there’re two issues with these kinds of intentional releases and statements.
Firstly, only a snob and bigot has the audacity to claim that human slavery can ever be equated with caging a bird or any other animal for that matter.
It’s because there can’t be in a million years anything worse than being treated as a lesser human and certainly not, being cuddled for your ‘feathery cuteness’.
Secondly, letting your pet budgie fly freely in its wild habitat sounds “Divine” – because it’s literally a shortcut to some bird heaven.
After all, your pet came from a family of well-fed domesticated birds and so, they’ve not just grown to have limited genetic variation but zero training for survival in the wild.
And so, that pet bird in the wild either dies of starvation if it’s lucky or becomes a colorful delicacy for a hawk, cat, or sometimes a snake.
This is precisely why that accidental bird escapee from an opened door, window, or gap in the ceiling is essentially a ‘dead bird flying’.
Such accidents are common when bird keepers only draw fiber screens or thick canvas curtains to cover windows instead of wire screens or glass shields.
8. Atmospheric Changes
Budgies are most comfortable at 18-29°C and will tolerate as much as 35°C.
However, they cannot survive in either extreme for much longer.
So, if the temperature becomes too hot then the budgie will flap its wings before it gets hit with a fatal heat stroke.
This is often the case if a budgie’s cage gets direct sunlight in summer.
Meanwhile, a temperature below 15°C will cause the budgie to puff up and stand on one toe to minimize heat loss.
If such a condition prolongs, the budgie will get hit with hypothermia where it’ll shiver and die within a few hours.
But even if it’s not cold, direct exposure to cool drafts can cause a budgie to become severely sick which may become a fatal disease.
Finally, stagnant and poor-quality air with humidity is a breeding ground for respiratory infections and may also cause a budgie’s immune system to slow down.
Lack of proper ventilation can also kill a budgie.
9. Pets and Other Creatures
There’s a myth that every pet in your house is your family and so, they like any other ‘Disney family’ won’t hurt each other and will get along pretty well.
Therefore, it’s not uncommon to see these pet keepers feeding all their cats, dogs, and chicks in one container or well, at least one spot.
Some bird owners allow their birds and cats and dogs to mix freely but it can be dangerous so it’s something you really need to think about
I would advise to keep them separate just to be on the safe side
Letting your budgie mix with cats and dogs, there’s a chance it may contract some parasites or infections from these mammalian animals such as salmonellosis and campylobacteriosis.
This is also true if you put budgies in a large cage with large birds which may either attack them or transfer diseases like avian influenza and psittacosis.
Finally, you may have no other pets besides a budgie but you may still have the most lethal creature at home – a human toddler.
Now, I’m not saying your little baby is a ‘monster’ but deep down, we all know that’s not true and we’ve all been there.
A toddler has no idea how powerful he is and so, there’s no telling if the kid will crush the budgie or just try to explore it by putting the bird in its mouth.
So, if you raising budgies just to keep your kids entertained; then know that you are a responsible adult and you must never let your kid get alone time with your birdie.
10. Miscellaneous Objects
Now, here’s a list of things that don’t normally cause budgies to die. But they have been reported to do so in a few cases:
- Reflective Surfaces like mirrors can cause a lonely budgie to become obsessed with its very reflection. And so, the bird may repeatedly hit the surface under frustration which may cause fatal physical injuries.
- Exposure to toxic furniture finishes like lacquers, varnishes, and paints may cause a budgie to die.
- Particleboard or pressed wood often contains formaldehyde which is a preservative and may cause healthy cells to die in a few minutes. And so, such wood may also kill a budgie.
- Chewing in upholstery and foamings may cause a budgie to choke to death.
- Galvanized steel contains zinc coating which may kill a budgie through heavy metal poisoning.
Looking at all these things that can kill a budgie, you may be wondering about ways to keep your budgie safe.
Let’s look at some quick tips in keeping your budgie safe at home
Quick Tips On Keeping Your Budgie Safe At Home
You can keep your budgie safe at home by simply being a little careful. Here’re a few tips to consider:
- Keep your birdcage in a bright and well-ventilated room but with protection from direct sunlight and air drafts.
- Don’t use detergents, paints, or sprays on any other chemicals in your budgies’ room unless you move them to a different place for a few days and completely air the room of toxic fumes.
- Don’t cook near your budgies, especially in the non-stick pans.
- Only feed your budgie their recommended diet and always double-check for safety whenever you try to feed them something new.
- Set up mobile apps and door alarm systems to keep you wary of unlocked doors and windows.
- If you’re unsure of a household plant’s safety, it’s best you don’t let your budgie come in contact with it.
- Use vinegar in water to disinfect the cage, containers, toys, and other surfaces. Otherwise, use dawn dish soap but properly rinse everything with water before providing it to your budgies.
- Instead of using air fresheners, perfumes, or incense near your budgie, you can put organic flowers like roses nearby. You can also use cat litter to soak some smell off budgie droppings but it will just make cleansing harsh and ineffective.
- Before letting your bird have a free flight out of the cage:
- Close all doors, vents, and windows.
- Switch off all appliances including fans, extra tube lights, heaters, etc.
- Cover mirrors, household plants, and risky furniture.
- Remove all electrical cords, small objects, and toxic materials out of sight.
- If you feel an out-of-cage flight will be too risky to handle, get a big enough cage so your bird doesn’t suffer a lack of exercise.
- Don’t mingle all your pets together and don’t let an untrained person sit near your bird in your absence. Make sure to double-check on budgie cage doors as well as bird room doors.
- Keep track of temperature, cage’s insides, your bird’s appearance as well as anything else that looks out of the ordinary.
Finally, all this may sound like a lot of work on your first read and some of you may even get overwhelmed.
But to be honest, all of this wouldn’t take more than a few minutes on a daily basis, and in time, you’ll feel the joy of keeping your budgie healthy and safe.
While I hope this article helped you improve your bird’s living standard, I’d also hope that you share and preach these cautions to all the new birders.
After all, no budgie deserves to die just because someone wanted a bird’s affection but couldn’t read a bird’s manual.