Parrots are very intelligent birds and make wonderful pets. But domesticated parrots require a lot of human attention. We all love our pets and take good care of them, but what happens when you need to go away for a few days? How long can you leave your parrot alone for? What about the food?
How long can your parrot live without food? The rule is no more than 24 hours since the last time the bowl was full. If the bird is young, it’s possible after just 24 without food that the bird becomes seriously ill. It is also important to know that the ability to survive without food for a few days is determined by the health, age, and size of your parrot before it is deprived of food.
Due to their high metabolism, parrots must eat frequently. If the bird hasn’t had any food and water for 24 hours, the internal organs suffer damage caused by starvation and dehydration, and it will become weak, seriously ill, and in the worst case, it will die.
How Long Can A Parrot be Left Alone?
Let’s say you need to spend a few days in a hospital, and there is no one to take care of your parrot. Leaving a parrot alone for 2 full days is tolerable, as long as the bird hasn’t been conditioned to be too needy.
A healthy parrot that is on a pellet diet could live in its cage for 24 to 48 hours on a couple of full bowls of pellets and at least 2 water bottles/ water bowls.
If you are not able to go back home after 48 hours, you need to call someone to go and check on your parrot, change the water and refill the food bowl with fresh food.
How long your parrot will survive without food and water, depends on other factors too, such as the type of parrot, (they are not all the same species), its size, age, and health.
It is important to note that a parrot that was never left alone and is being taken care of every day will likely feel more stressed than a parrot who is not needy and spends days or hours on its own regularly. In such cases, the parrot may not be able to handle the separation well.
If you have a needy parrot, you need to practice pretending you are gone when you are actually still at home. You must not interact with your parrot at all or let it see you.
This is a perfect way of teaching your parrot to keep itself distracted and be less attention-seeking. As a result, your parrot will feel better and less stressed out when left alone for a few days.
Since birds are incredibly social creatures, it would be a great idea to get a second parrot. They will keep each other company while you are gone, which will definitely help reduce stress.
If you plan on leaving your parrot alone, or if you keep only one parrot and are a working person, we highly recommend reading our article on that here: Can parrots be left alone?
What If Your Parrot Refuses to Eat?
Parrots need to be fed daily and require clean water every day. The bigger and fatter the bird, the longer it will be able to sustain and strengthen itself.
In case your parrot suddenly stops eating, even after you tried giving it his/her favorite food, you need to take it to an avian veterinarian before its body gets too weak.
You can try mashing up some of its favorite food and giving it to your parrot through a plastic syringe by the time you take your parrot to the veterinarian. This way, you are at least boosting energy into its body with all the nutrients that will most likely contribute in faster recovering.
Remember that every sip of water counts too, which stops your parrot from dehydrating.
You have tried giving your parrot everything, and it still won’t eat?
There could be many factors causing this behavior such as stress from a new environment, other underlying problems like parasites and infections, genetic diseases, or a new type of food when you try to switch their diet too fast.
In the last case, switching your parrot’s diet should be done gradually over a period of weeks. Slowly introducing the new food will help your parrot adapt better.
Parrots and Hydration
Parrots can live longer without food than they can without water.
Since your parrot is made up of approximately 75 percent water, it needs to drink water on a daily basis to compensate for the water loss from evaporation, respiration, and excretion.
Some birds eat more than their body weight daily, and they need more water to remove wastes, transport nutrients, and regulate body temperature.
Without enough water, the blood level will increasingly drop, and vital organs like kidneys, heart, and liver will seize to function normally. The bird deprived of food and water will suffer dehydration, the cells will dry up, and it will die.
Hence, it is vital for your parrot to drink clean and fresh water every day. Some birds require a change of water even twice a day.
However, like many other bird species, your parrot should never go for more than a day without water and more than 48 hours without food, if the parrot is big and healthy. It is 24 hours for a smaller parrot with a medical history.
Parrots require a lot of human attention. If you are unable to take proper care of your parrot every day, due to lack of time, money or other reasons, it is better if you gave it to someone who can take good care of it, or not have one at all.
We know it sounds harsh, but keeping parrots is a huge commitment and most people do not take it as serious as they should.
What Are the Signs of Malnutrition in a Parrot?
Birds are great at hiding or masking illness, so watch for these symptoms if you think there is something wrong with your parrot.
- Lose of balance
- Poor looking feathers, dull or discolored
- Brittle feathers
- Feather plucking
- Sneezing with clear discharge
- Irritable mood (Sudden aggression in parrots can have various reasons. We show you 11 reasons for that and what you can do here.)
- Constant health issues
- Swelling around the eyes
- Cracks on the beak or feet (If your parrot’s beak is peeling, we show you why in this article.)
- Overgrown toenails
- Wet or soft stool that is dark black to light green
In situations like these, you need to consult with your veterinarian first, before changing your parrot’s diet. Usually, if a bird is malnourished, you need to make dietary as well as environmental changes.
In most cases, organic pellet diet will be beneficial and help with faster recovery. Including more raw fresh fruits and vegetables daily will provide the organism with nutrients and will help boost energy.
Be careful with the number of fruits you give to your parrot, as they have a high sugar content, which is dangerous to the health of your parrot. Not sure whether or not and how much you should feed of a common fruit? Read these articles:
You may find taking you parrot outdoors in the sunshine very beneficial for its behavior and overall health.
Can my parrot die from stress? While they can’t die of heart attack, parrots can certainly die from being held too long or from exhaustion from being chased about for too long. If the bird is old, it is not unusual for it to die while flying. If you are not sure your parrot is stressed, look for feather plucking. If your parrot is extremely stressed out, it will pull out its feathers.
How long does a parrot live on average? Parrots have the highest life span out of all birds. Big parrots like Amazonian parrots and cockatoos can live up to 75 years or older. Even small parrots like budgerigars have an average life span of 25 years, which is still remarkably long for such small animals.
Should I remove food from the cage at night? Birds don’t naturally eat at night. If you are worried about your parrot needing food while you are sleeping, it is safe to leave some dry food in the cage, like pellets and seeds, and water of course. Any fresh food leftovers from the day should be removed from the cage at night to avoid bacterial growth.