Feeding your budgie can be a difficult task. If you’re new to bird-keeping, you might not know how much to feed your budgie, what to feed it, and how often it needs to eat. Poor nutrition is often seen in new owners of budgies, which can lead to an array of health problems in your bird later down the line.
How much do budgies eat? Seeds or pellets must be given every day (around 1.5-2 tablespoons), and they should be supplemented with a daily helping of fresh fruit and vegetables. You could also include egg food around once a week for an extra boost of vitamins and minerals. Drinking water must be changed regularly.
In order to keep your budgie happy and healthy, it is a good idea to thoroughly research what food it needs and why. Not fully understanding your budgie’s nutritional needs could be detrimental to your bird’s health.
Should I Feed Seeds or Pellets?
Seeds should be the main bulk of your budgie’s diet. A high-quality mix is imperative as they contain a good variety of millet, oats, egg food, grit, and seeds. (Even though you have to be careful with grit as we show you here!)
The disadvantage to seed mixtures is that budgies can pick out the parts they like best, which is generally the less healthy seeds.
To try and counter this, you should avoid topping up your budgie’s food dish until all the seeds are gone. Another way to dodge this is by introducing set hours for meals in the morning and evening.
Your budgie might not approve of this in the beginning, but it should eventually learn to eat as much as it can before its food is taken away.
Pellets could also be substituted for seed mixtures. Pellets are made of compressed seeds and fruits, and they are a complete food for your bird. Pellets eliminate fussy eating as your budgie can’t just simply pick out the bits it likes best.
The only downside with them is that not all budgies like them.
If your bird has been fed on seed mixtures for its entire life, then it may not welcome a change in its diet. Gradually replacing your bird’s old food with pellets can make the conversion easier, but it’s not always successful.
For single budgie owners, buying smaller packets of seeds or pellets is better. Bird food, like other food, loses nutritional value the longer it has been open. By purchasing a smaller size, you can ensure the food is fresher for longer.
How Much Fruits and Vegetables?
Fruits, vegetables, and greens are necessary for your budgie’s diet. They should make up 20-25% of what your budgie eats daily. Fruits and vegetables must be washed thoroughly before you serve them to your bird as they could contain pesticides.
You should cut fruits and vegetables into small pieces so your budgie is able to eat them.
Fruits and vegetables should also be placed in a separate dish to seeds and pellets.
Make sure you put fruits and vegetables in the same place every time you feed them as this will help your bird associate them as food. This is especially true when you are introducing a new fruit or vegetable.
Each bird has its own likes and dislikes. One bird might love bananas, another might not.
If you find your budgie is refusing to eat a type of fruit or vegetable, then don’t give up just yet. Sometimes it takes a few offerings before your budgie sees them as something edible.
Additionally, if your budgie appears to favor one fruit or vegetable over another, you might want to consider feeding it more sparingly.
This is so your budgie doesn’t start to refuse other food due to pickiness.
Some great fruits and vegetables to feed your budgie are apples, bananas, pears, carrots, broccoli, peas, cooked pumpkin, and asparagus.
Celery and lettuce can also be given, but they contain little nutritional value due to their high-water content. We show you better ways of using lettuce for budgies in this article!
However, make sure you avoid avocado, rhubarb and anything from the cabbage family. These foods are extremely toxic to budgies.
Egg food is a great source of protein for budgies. Some food brands already include egg food in their mixture of seeds or pellets.
You can also buy it separately to add to your bird’s diet. Although most people only offer egg food to their budgies during the breeding season, it is a good supplement to your bird’s diet in general.
Due to its high-fat content, it is best to only give your budgie egg food once a week. Birds recovering from an illness, especially if they are underweight, benefit a lot from egg food as it can help them regain their strength.
Some birds might not be interested in egg food due to its texture and flavor. If this is the case, be consistent and keep offering it. Mixing in egg food with your budgie’s main food might help disguise the taste and entice them to eat it.
The majority of birds prefer egg food dry, but you can moisten it if you want.
Other Things You Should Know
As well as understanding the different types of food your budgie requires, there are other factors you need to comprehend to keep your bird safe and healthy.
- Fresh water must always be supplied for your budgie. You should refill water dishes daily. If you live in an area where tap water is undrinkable, then you should use bottled water instead. As strange as it sounds, you can also give tea to your budgie. Although tea should not be used in replacement of water, it can be a nice treat for your bird. Make sure you don’t add any sweetener to the tea and allow it to cool down completely before you serve it your budgie. You should prepare the tea with more water than you normally would. Good types of tea include black tea, fennel tea, chamomile tea, and thyme tea. Giving tea to your bird can provide some health benefits to your bird, such as boosting the immune system and aiding with diarrhea.
- Millet is a popular treat for birds. Almost all budgies love this delicious snack, and it is often used to teach a young budgie to consume seeds. It is also a great taming method for new birds not properly socialized. Millet is very fatty and not the healthiest food (which is probably why budgies adore it!), so it should only be given to your budgie once a week or less.
- Honey sticks are another common treat for birds available at most pet stores. They’re made up of seeds that are stuck together with honey. Due to their extremely high sugar content, they should be fed very, very sparingly. It’s best if you avoid them altogether as they are extremely unhealthy and can cause obesity, crop infections, and diabetes in budgies.
- It should go without saying that you should never, under any circumstances, give your budgie human food. Even if your bird looks longingly at the packet of cookies you’re eating, don’t be tempted to feed any to your budgie because “one can’t hurt!”. Food not designed for budgies contains a lot of sugar, salt, and other things in them that not good for budgies. They could also contain toxic ingredients that could be detrimental to your bird’s health. Chocolate, coffee, alcohol, bread, onion, garlic, crackers, and cheese are some examples of foods that should not be given to your budgie. There are many more foods not included in this list that are also bad for budgies.
Each Bird is Different
It is important to do further research about budgie feeding habits to improve its diet and maintain its wellbeing. It isn’t enough to just throw in a bunch of seed every once a while and expect your budgie to be happy. Budgies are prone to weight issues, iodine deficiencies, and more if they are not fed correctly. A varied diet promotes good health.
It should also be noted that each budgie is different and how much you feed it depends on each individual bird. If you have a larger than average budgie, you might want to consider feeding it less to avoid obesity and potential health issues. In turn, if your bird is underweight, then increasing its food intake might help it gain weight.
If you find you have uneaten seed the next day after feeding, then you are probably overfeeding your bird and should start reducing the amount you feed it.
If you have more than one budgie in a cage, then ensuring that both birds are being fed equal amounts is crucial. You should include more than one feeding dish in the cage so that birds lower in the pecking order are still able to eat.
All birds have their own personal tastes. Just because one budgie hates apples doesn’t mean another one will. You need to learn what your own bird likes and doesn’t like. Offering new fruits and vegetables to your budgie frequently means you’ll be able to see what their preferences are.
Eventually, you’ll be able to create a diet tailored specifically to your budgie’s needs, and you’ll have yourself one happy, healthy bird.
Can I feed my budgie seeds meant for wild birds? It is best to avoid seed mixes targeted for wild birds. Wild bird seed mixes are usually unhealthy and contain fatty seeds like sunflower seeds. These mixes typically aren’t as clean as standard budgie food, which could make your bird unwell.
Can I feed my budgie meat, such as chicken? Budgies can eat meat, but they don’t tend to need it. If budgies are fed a well-balanced diet, then they will get their protein from other sources.
How long can budgies live without food? Not long. After a few days without food, your budgie will be very weak and unwell. Birds have fast metabolisms and begin to lose weight after twenty-four hours without food. It is important to arrange for someone to feed your budgie if you are going to be away from home for more than one day.
Do budgies make good pets? Budgies can make wonderful pets provided they are taken care of properly. They’re sociable, playful, interactive, and can be very affectionate towards their owners. Budgies are one of the best pets for first-time bird owners.
How long do budgies live? Budgies, on average, can live between five and ten-years-old in captivity. If cared for appropriately, budgies can frequently live over the age of ten.