If you are concerned that your budgie might be fat or overweight, this article is for you.
We will cover how to tell if your budgie is fat, the health issues that obesity can cause, and ways to slim down your feathered friend.
Why Is My Budgie Fat?
There are lots of reasons why your budgie might be overweight. The most common are diet and lack of exercise.
If you are feeding your budgie a seed mix, they are likely picking out their favorites and not getting a balanced diet.
A lack of exercise can also be an issue. In the wild, budgies spend all day flying and foraging for food. If yours is in a small cage, it is likely causing boredom and weight gain.
Dimensions of 12x12x18 are the absolute minimum for a single budgie.
Because budgies do better with more space and at least one other budgie to keep them company, 24x24x36 is ideal.
To prevent obesity, try using foraging toys for your bird’s food and give them lots of things to occupy them throughout the day.
How to Tell if Your Budgie Is Fat
It’s hard to tell from looking at your bird whether it is fat or simply fluffed up.
However, there are two sure-fire ways to see if your budgie is obese.
Feeling its keel Bone
The easiest way to see if your budgie is overweight is by feeling for its keel bone.
The keel bone is found in the middle of the chest and goes down to the bird’s legs. If your bird has a pronounced keel bone, it is too skinny.
If it has a recessed keel bone, it is overweight.
For a bird at an ideal weight, its chest will be flush with the keel bone and you can easily feel it.
Weighing Your Budgie
If your budgie is friendly, it’s a good idea to weigh them regularly. This will help you determine their baseline weight.
If you find any major gains or losses, you will know to visit your vet.
You might be wondering how to go about weighing your budgie. It’s pretty simple. All you need is a kitchen scale.
Most budgies won’t want to be placed on the scale directly, but you can place a small perch on the scale, zero it out, and then place the bird on the perch.
This will make the process easier for both you and the budgie.
The average English budgie usually weighs around 2.2oz, while a common budgie is about 1.1-1.4oz.
If your budgie is outside this range, it might be time to change up their diet and routine.
Overweight Budgies Health Concerns
Obesity can cause health issues in all sorts of animals, but it can be exceptionally problematic for birds.
Bird skeletons are extremely lightweight, and while they are great at allowing birds to fly, they can be quite fragile.
Obesity in budgies can cause them to be unable to fly, leading to atrophy in their flight muscles.
Obesity can also cause fatty liver, a condition in which excess fat is stored in the liver. This can be fatal and is very hard to treat.
Other dangers include:
- heart disease
- breathing difficulties
How to Get Your Budgie to Lose Weight
If you have concluded that your budgie is overweight, you are probably ready to help them make some changes and get healthy.
An ideal diet is a great way to help your feathered friend stay fit and healthy.
It’s a very common practice for people to feed seeds to their budgies; however, seeds can be very high in fat.
Also, your bird might pick out their favorites and end up eating an unbalanced diet.
Making the switch from seeds to pellets can be a hard one for many birds—just like going from a diet of fast food to healthy home-cooked meals can be hard for you and me.
When trying to switch your bird from seeds to pellets, your best bet is to do it slowly.
Start by replacing 10% of your bird’s seeds with pellets the first week, 25% the second week, 50% the third week, and 75% the fourth week.
By the 5th week, pellets should completely replace seeds.
If your budgie is having trouble making the switch, don’t rush them. Instead, try a few tricks to get them started.
When I was trying to switch my birds over, it took a lot of convincing. I started by grinding the pellets into a powder and adding it to their seeds.
This worked, but they still wouldn’t eat the pellets themselves. So, I tried softening the pellets with water and pretending to eat them myself.
This actually worked for my birds, who are always begging for human food. If it doesn’t work for you, you can try mixing the pellets with your bird’s fresh fruits and vegetables if they like fresh foods.
Ideally, once your bird has made the switch from seeds to pellets, the pellets will make up about 80% of their diet.
Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables should make up about 20% of your budgie’s diet.
You will want to chop them into small pieces for your bird or place them in a food processor.
Try to vary the fruits and vegetables by rotating them every few days. This will help ensure that your budgie is getting all the nutrients they need.
- Green beans
- Lettuce (excluding iceberg)
- Sweet potatoes (lightly cooked)
- How to prepare strawberries for your budgie
- How to serve kiwi to your budgie
- Benefits of feeding grapes to budgies
- How to feed bananas to your budgies
You will want to limit the number of treats your budgie gets while they are on a diet.
However, a healthy treat you can give your budgie is millet spray. You will want to limit these treats to a few times a month.
The sprays will encourage your bird’s natural foraging instincts and get them excited about eating.
Exercise for Your Budgie
Once you’ve figured out your budgie’s diet, you can also get them exercising.
There are lots of fun ways to encourage your feathered friend to move around and be active.
Try just one of these options, or for best results, incorporate all of them into your bird’s life.
One of the easiest ways to get your budgie to move more is to put them into a bigger cage.
Placing the food on one side and the water on the opposite side will encourage your bird to move back and forth throughout the day.
It will also give you more room for fun toys and new perches.
Budgies can get tired of toys rather quickly. To keep your bird engaged, try adding new toys and taking out old toys.
You can rotate which toys you keep in and which you take out every month. Try placing them in different areas to make them even more engaging.
There are a lot of types of toys out there, so try to get a variety.
Food foraging toys are great for making your bird work for their food.
I sometimes put my budgies’ fruits and vegetables in their foraging toy so that it’s more fun for them to eat.
Cardboard and paper toys are great for birds to destroy.
My birds love shredding new things and tossing pieces all over their cage and the floors. Sometimes they will even save pieces they really like.
Wood toys, plastic toys, and mirrors are all great longer-lasting toys.
These are usually more expensive, but they also tend to last longer and be a great investment in your bird’s health and happiness.
More Free Time
If you have a space where your bird can get out of their cage and fly around safely, this is a great way for your bird to exercise and trim their waistline.
If your bird has clipped wings, you can also take them out and allow them to play on your bed or a play stand on top of the cage.
Make sure that all windows and doors are closed and will stay closed while your bird is out, as it is very easy for them to get outside and lost.
Letting your bird spend time outside the cage with you is also a great way to bond and work on teaching them tricks.
While mental stimulation won’t help your bird lose weight, it will make them happy and keep them from stress eating.
Is my budgie fat or pregnant?
If you aren’t sure whether your bird is overweight or pregnant, check for certain signs. Most gravid (pregnant) budgies exhibit nesting behaviors.
If your female is exploring the cage more than normal or building a nest, she might be pregnant.
Also, gently feel her stomach. If you feel an egg, she is likely about to lay it. If you don’t, give her 7-10 days.
If there aren’t any eggs, your bird is likely just overweight.
Hopefully, this article has given you all the tools you need to get your fat budgie to a healthy weight and keep them there.
As you have learned, there is a lot more to budgie care than a simple cage.
A balanced diet, lots of toys, and room to be active are also critical parts of your budgie’s life.
A healthy, happy budgie is the best companion, and as pet owners, we want to give our pets the very best care we can.
My name is Niels Joensen, and I’m the creator of Wings and Beaks. I got my first two budgies at the age of 13, and right away, I fell in love with these beautiful tiny birds. Wings and Beaks is where I share my knowledge and passion for budgies with other bird owners.