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what does an overweight budgie look like?

How Can You Tell if Your Budgie Is Overweight?

Budgies kept in their cages long-term can gain weight as they overeat and can’t properly exercise.

Birds are covered in feathers, making it difficult to tell if their weight is fluctuating. Even an obese budgie may just appear fluffier than normal.

If a budgie is overweight or obese, the area around the keel bone will feel convex or rounded, protruding from the chest. The keel bone should be even with the chest.

Alternatively, you can use bird scales to determine if a budgie is getting fat. Weigh the budgie once per week, ideally first thing in the morning.

You can return your budgie to a healthy weight by controlling its food intake, offering more toys, providing a larger cage, and letting it out of its cage to play and exercise more often.

Can A Budgie Be Overweight?

Budgies can get fat. In fact, overweight budgies are common, especially those:

  • Fed an all-seed diet
  • Left in cages for the majority of the day
  • Deprived of additional toys and exercise items

This applies to many budgies that belong to new owners. Even experienced owners may be misinformed about dietary and exercise requirements, leading to budgies gaining weight.

Unfortunately, excess weight will negatively impact the health of budgies.

How Much Should A Budgie Weigh In Captivity?

The correct weight for a budgie depends on its breed. There are two main budgie species:

Budgie BreedAverage WeightObese Weight
Standard (Australian Budgie)35 grams40+ grams
English Budgie55 grams65+ grams

What Does An Overweight Budgie Look Like?

Budgies have thick plumages with feathers that disguise their bodies.

Likewise, budgies usually carry any excess fat in the armpit area. So, your budgie won’t have a protruding belly or a puffy face. It may just appear well-feathered, not obese.

This makes it hard to visibly tell when your budgie is overweight.

Is My Budgie Too Fat?

You can leverage the keel bone technique to determine if a budgie is fat or obese. It’s less accurate than scales, but it’s a quick and easy way to check a budgie’s size and shape.

Here’s how to use the keel bone technique:

  • Touch the chest of the budgie with your fingers to explore for the keel.
  • The keel is a bone that juts out from the middle of the chest. It should feel long, thin, and flat, running from the middle of the chest and down to the belly. On either side of the breastbone are the muscles that form the chest. 
  • Compare how the keel protrudes or sinks in when compared to the muscles on either side. Budgies that are a healthy weight have a keel that is even with the muscles.
  • If a budgie is overweight, it can be hard to find the keel bone, so the area will feel rounded.

Poop changes the weight of a budgie, but not by that much. According to The Auk, poop can account for 0.5% of a small budgie’s weight.

how to help budgie lose weight

How To Weigh A Budgie

A digital food scale is the most common type used to weigh budgies. Despite being more readily available, their readings aren’t as precise.

A specially-designed bird scale will give you more accurate readings. They have a perch, which your budge can stand on. With this, budgies will move less, providing a more accurate reading.

Also, high-quality scales are better calibrated, providing greater accuracy.

How Often Should You Weigh Your Budgie?

Budgies should be weighed at least once per week to allow you to track any patterns or changes.

A budgie’s weight naturally fluctuates throughout the day, becoming heavier in the evenings. After all, budgies will be eating and drinking up to this point, adding extra ounces.

Always weigh a budgie at a consistent time to create an accurate baseline.

Keeping a record will be useful when visiting a vet. Note down your budgie’s weight, the date, and any symptoms. Keep your records in one place so that you can check for any patterns and deviations.

If you have a young budgie (less than two years old), don’t be as concerned about sudden weight fluctuations as baby budgies experience growth spurts.

It’s normal for a thin baby budgie to suddenly grow to the weight that it should be. Likewise, baby budgies that look obese may shed excess weight quickly as they grow older.

How To Reduce Fat In Budgies

Reducing a budgie’s weight involves helping it to develop better habits.

Here’s how to get a budgie to lose weight:

Dietary Changes

An all-seed diet used to be the accepted way to feed budgies. Nowadays, it’s been revealed that budgies need a more varied, nutritious diet, including:

  • Formulated pellets
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Grains
  • Nuts

Seed and millet are high in fat and lack essential nutrients, leading to malnourishment. It’s common for budgies to become addicted to millet and sunflower seeds.

If your budgie is used to a seed diet, you’ll need to slowly transition them to healthier meals. Do this by slowly mixing pellets, fruits, and vegetables into its meals and lessening the number of seeds.

Avoid giving your budgie food meant for humans. More often than not, human foods are too sugary, salty, and high in carbohydrates for birds. Also, certain human foods are toxic for birds.

how much should a budgie weigh in captivity?

Additional Exercise

Exercise is essential for keeping budgies fit, strong, and healthy. A budgie that engages in more physical activity will live a longer, more fulfilling life.

To keep your budgie well-exercised, move its food and water dishes from the center of the cage, as this forces a budgie to walk or fly to eat and drink.

Budgies are often kept in cages that are too small. Consider providing a cage that’s at least 18 x 18 x 22 inches, as this will provide more room for flying and exploring, thus expending more energy.

Budgies get bored, so provide lots of toys and switch them up regularly. If money is tight, you can provide DIY budgie toys using bits of rope, toilet paper rolls, and pieces of wood.

When you interact with your budgie, be creative. Make play sessions that include climbing, flying, and hopping around. You can play fetch or dance together to music.

This should help your budgie lose weight. However, if you find that it isn’t effective, reach out to a vet. Keeping accurate records of its weight and what you’re feeding your budgie will be beneficial.