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Parakeet Behavior Problems

The only problematic behavior you are likely to encounter from your parakeet is aggression due to hormones or jealousy, and sexual behaviour triggered by the madness that is the mating season. If one bird is causing grief to another on a regular basis, it may be easy to seperate them. Don’t leap to conclusions though, as low-level nagging is the norm in parakeet society.

parakeet overcrowding aggression
Bickering is all part of busy budgie life

Unwanted sexual behavior, which includes the parakeet rubbing its rear end on your hand or shoulder, can usually be discouraged by distracting it with a toy or tasty treat. This helps divert the bird’s attention and help prevent a recurrence of unwanted physical affection.

Parakeet Behavior: Biting

A parakeet having a quick, gentle nibble of your finger is one thing; and aggressive attack is something else. There are several reasons that birds bite. In the early days it’s most likely due to fear. Bonding with your bird will take a long time, and in the early days your bird may still see your hand as a potential threat.

With time, some birds may become more territorial than others, and these birds will try to defend their cage space. Ironically, this usually happens after you have finger trained them. The problem usually stems from allowing your bird to go to and from their cage without your assistance. When bringing your bird out for free-flight sessions, always remove him by letting him perch on your finger first. If possible place him back in the cage in a similar way.

A bird that you have formed a strong bond with may attack you out of jealousy. This bird views you as its mate. Should you give anyone else attention, your parakeet may express his annoyance by biting. The only way around this is to let other people socialize with the bird as well.

Worn out or tired birds may resort to biting as a way to get some peace and quiet, after all, who isn’t a bit cranky when they're tired? The answer here is to establish a regular bedtime (ideally no later than nine o’clock), and not to play with them after that hour.

parakeet in hand
Your parakeet should be happy on your hand, not biting it!

There is also the possibility that your bird is biting you because they think that you like it. Although this may sound rather odd, parakeets crave action and attention, and if you respond to his bite with some stern, but affectionate words, they may reinforce the behaviour. You’re unlikely to yell at the bird and therefore your bird won’t be scared. If your bird has been finger-trained, then you can respond to the aggression by just completely ignoring the birds actions. After a while the bird will learn that biting brings no reward and will eventually stop.

Some birds may bite because they know that you’re about to put them back into the cage and they don’t want to go. In this situation the best thing to do is break the routine -- take him out at different times of the day and perhaps give him a treat once he is back in the cage. If the biting becomes a nuisance, hold the parakeet gently, but firmly in your hands when returning him to the cage.

Parakeet Regurgitating

If you catch your bird regurgitating seed, don’t assume that he is sick. It’s a natural response in makle birds to regurgitate seed, usually for his female mate. Hens may do this too if their breeding urge is strong but unfulfilled. Sometimes the instinct may misfire, and your bird will offer seed to a mirro, toy, or even you. Before the seed appears, the bird will bob his head and stretch his neck -- further clues that he is feeling amorous rather than ill.

It is possible for parakeets to fall ill, tell-tale signs of this are vomiting without head-bobbing, loose or discolored droppings, a humped posture with feathers fluffed up, a messy tail and vent, or just general lethargy. If regurgitating is ever paired with one of these signs or oth4er out-of-character behaviour, consult a vet.

Parakeet feeding mate
Cock parakeets feed their mates regurgitated seed

Parakeet Regurgitating on Toys or People

If your parakeet happens to be parking his undigested seed on people, furniture, or any object that would be better off without his messy attention, you might want to discourage the behaviour. Whilst your parakeet is just trying to be affectionate, most owners are unappreciative.

If your bird is outside their cage when this happens, simply place them back into the cage when the incident happens. If you happen to notice that this act is mainly centered around one toy in particular, remove it from their cage. Eventually your parakeet should realize that regurgitating on things results in them being taken away, and this should hopefully discourage the behaviour. Try not to raise your voice or shout at the bird as you return him to the cage, or they will become anxious and confused.

Parakeet Regurgitating a Lot

As stated above, a parakeet who regurgitates regularly needs the stimulation removing. However, a bird that throws up anything more liquid than a seed-puree, or a bird who allows the vomited food to make a mess on his feathers, is not being affectionate -- he is ill, and needs treatment. There can be a number of causes for this -- see the Parakeet health section below.

Parakeet Sleeping in the Day

Like many other animals, parakeets need to rest during the day. Anything from ten minutes to an hour is normal parakeet behaviour. Birds in a flock tend to nap at the same time. Some just fluff themselves up and doze right off, others may perch on one leg; some rest their heads on their backs and tuck their heads under their wings.

If you happen to notice that your bird is acting unusually sleepy, it may mean that his nights sleep was disturbed. This could be due to a number of factors, but artificial light, a prowling pet (such as a cat) or nocturnal noises are the usual culprits. A tired parakeet could also be ill, so watch closely for the other signs of illness mentioned in the Parakeet Health section below.

Parakeet Bored

If your parakeet is perched (sometimes on one leg), but isn’t showing any signs of sleepiness, they are probably bored. This is something you will only encounter if you keep a single bird. If you notice this in your bird then the best thing to do is socialize with them or change their toys. Parakeets require mental stimulation, and a dull cage with no one to talk to is as bad as it gets.

If your bird is quiet, it could also be a sign that they are ill. Make sure to check for any other signs of illness.

Parakeet Behavior Change

Most changes in your parakeets normal behavior will be down to hormonal shifts during the mating season (as described above). It could, however, also indicate a health problem, so make sure to study your bird carefully. Changes to look out for include:

  • Poor appetite. Cause: illness, moulting or stress.

  • Reduced vocalising. Cause: illness, a disturbed night, or moulting.

  • Fluffed-up feathers for a large part of the day. Cause: illness, a disturbed night or low cage temperature.

  • Excessively aggressive. Cause: hormones (mating), moulting, or jealousy (if a new bird has been introduced into the cage).

  • Loose droppings. Cause: illness, poor diet (possibly too much fruit), or hormones (hens often have loose droppings in the mating season).

  • Regurgitated seed. Cause: hormones – the parakeet is feeding his mate/mirror/you to show his affection.

  • Squatting on perch with wings out. Hens do this as a mating invitation to cocks.

  • Rubbing rear end on perches or other surfaces. This is a simulated sexual act.

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Comments Leave a comment

Virginia, 22 September 2022

I had 2 parakeets in one cage for 3 1/2 years. One passed away suddenly. Bluebell and Buttercup. BC is the one who passed. At the time I was sitting for their “cousin” Cozi. (Separate cage). BB is quite social and never appeared to mourn fo BC. Wants Cozi’s attention all the time. Cozi is more reticent but does reach out. They seem to enjoy each other. BB of course is more needy of attention. Now Cozi might be going back to family. I’m thinking of getting another bird for BB. Question. Separate cage or place him in same cage w BB? Please respond asap. Thank u so much

Ronald, 11 August 2022

Disgusting, vile, noisy, stinky creatures They should all be exterminated

Georgette, 13 July 2021

I have 3 parakeets 6 months old and have noticed that 2 are males. The female has paired herself with one of the males but squawks when the other male comes close to her and won't even stay on the same perch with him. They are in a moderately large cage. Should I separate them?

Becky, 12 July 2021

One of my male budgie keep sleeping all the time and he's loves his food as well

Steven, 29 June 2021

I have a male and female in the same cage the female has been the dominant bird but this has now changed and the male is now the dominant one. I haven't seen the female eat seeds for a week she is being fed by the male. If I put my hand in the cage and offer a treat the male will hop on my finger and eat the seed bell but the female won't come anywhere near it. Both budgies used to take turns jumping on my hand for the treat I can only put it down to the male wanting to breed. Both birds are getting along they are not fighting.