Budgies are naturally social birds that thrive in the company of other budgies, hence why it’s always advisable to keep them in pairs.
Aside from providing companionship and a playmate, keeping budgies in pairs allows them to groom and preen each other, which keeps them healthy and happy.
Unfortunately, when one budgie dies, the surviving budgie may struggle to adapt to the loneliness. The death of a cagemate is a hard time for a surviving budgie, impacting its physical and mental health.
While the bereaved budgie can still live alone, the loneliness and grief caused by the death of its companion will cause it to become lonely, sad, and depressed.
Budgies require interaction to live happy, fulfilling lives. Wild budgies usually live in flocks of 3-100 birds, which protects them from predators and provides companionship.
Wild budgies develop strong bonds of attachment with their partner and other flock mates.
Like their wild counterparts, captive budgies have an ingrained need for social interaction, so it’s always recommended to keep budgies in pairs.
Budgies that share the same cage usually play together, have their meals together, and groom each other. This inevitably causes them to become emotionally attached.
So, when one of the budgies dies, the surviving budgie grieves and feels lonely. The signs of loneliness that your budgie might exhibit following the death of its companion include:
Lack of Appetite
Humans and other animals experience a lack of appetite when lonely or stressed out. It’s no surprise that budgie feels the same way when grieving.
Plucking Off Feathers
According to the Italian Journal of Animal Science, feather plucking is a behavior in many parrot species. In most cases, budgies pluck their feathers when:
- Sexually frustrated
- Deprived of proper nutrition
Unless a medical condition’s involved, your budgie’s reacting this way due to loneliness. If the behavior happened just after your budgie’s friend died, it’s easy to determine the reason.
If you’ve interacted with budgies, you’ll be aware of how active and boisterous they can be. They’ll chatter, sing, and play for hours when they are happy and feeling social.
So, if your budgie suddenly stops singing and refuses to participate, it’s a sign it’s unhappy.
Lonely budgies will often engage in self-destructive behaviors, like chewing their skin. This can result in major injuries, putting them at risk of infections.
In extreme cases, a budgie can even die from self-mutilation, depending on the degree of the injuries.
Depending on the severity of their self-harm, your vet might recommend fitting recovery cones to discourage further self-harm.
Budgies often isolate themselves from their owners when they feel sad and lonely. So, when your budgie’s cage mate dies, it may become more withdrawn than usual.
For instance, it might refuse to come out of its cage when you attempt to draw it out for playtime or shy away from you when you try to interact.
Your budgie can still live a happy and fulfilling life after the death of its cage mate. However, this depends on the quality of care and attention you provide during and after the mourning period.
Things you can do to help your budgie feel less lonely following bereavement include:
The grieving process can be very distressing for budgies, just as it is for humans and other intelligent animals. That’s especially true if they have lost their partner.
According to the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, budgies learn to mimic the vocalizations of their mates during courtship. So, when your budgie’s mate dies, the surviving budgie will mimic its voice to get it to respond.
This can go on for many days, weeks, or even months, depending on the personality of your budgie. So, remain patient with your budgie and increase the care you provide it throughout the mourning period.
You should pay extra attention to your budgie’s emotional needs if it’s lonely after losing a mate.
Make a conscious effort to schedule a time to connect and play with your pet. Doing so will help lift its spirits and make it feel loved, thus keeping it from spiraling into a low mood.
While no amount of toys can compensate for the loss that your budgie will feel after its companion’s death, they certainly make for a good distraction.
Providing your budgie with fun puzzles and foraging toys gives it the mental stimulation and entertainment it requires to stave off sadness and loneliness.
Being confined in a cage for long periods can cause a grieving budgie to feel even more isolated and alone. So, allow your budgie to spend more time out of its cage as it recovers from the death of its mate.
Having regular interactions with your budgie is a great way to keep it engaged and active, particularly when it is dealing with the loss of a cage mate.
Sit next to its cage and talk about whatever is on your mind for a few minutes occasionally. Talking to your budgie makes it feel included and can deepen the bond of friendship that you share.
If your budgie has recently experienced the loss of its cage mate, the chances are it’ll be experiencing sadness and loneliness.
Budgies that share the same cage do everything together and inevitably become close. So, when one of them dies, the surviving budgie will go through a mourning period, which can be deeply distressing.
While you can distract your budgie with toys, ultimately, what they need to recover from their loss is one-on-one interaction with a living companion. So, you should consider getting a new friend for your bereaved budgie in time, as this will help it recover from its loss and return to its happier self.