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how to care for a dying parakeet

How To Care For A Dying Budgie (In Its Last Few Hours)

Witnessing a pet budgie’s demise is a distressing experience for any loving owner.

Unfortunately, it’s something that you have to face up to yourself because you want your budgie’s passing to be as comfortable as possible.

Whether your budgie’s dying from old age or illness, those final moments are important. We’ll provide some advice and tips on how to help a dying budgie feel calm and loved as it nears the end of its life.

Signs of a Dying Budgie

Budgies are skilled at concealing the signs of severe illness until their condition worsens.

So, it can be hard to tell that your budgie is dying until it’s too late. These symptoms can be used to confirm if it’s time to soothe your budgie during its final moments or if something can be done to save its life.

Sitting on the Bottom of the Cage

Budgies often seem sluggish and tired when they’re ill or nearing their end. They’ll be unable to hold their weight and climb the top of their cage as easily as they used to.

Due to physical weakness, they’ll sleep on the bottom of the cage, which is a primary clue that your budgie is nearing the end of its life.

Breathing Problems

According to Progressive Brain Research, budgies have a complex respiratory system. If it’s disrupted, it can lead to suffocation and eventual death.

Signs to check for include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Loud wheezing
  • Open beak while breathing
  • Tail moving up and down rapidly, while the budgie is breathing harshly
  • Straining its neck to allow more intake of oxygen
signs of a dying budgie

Decreased Activity Levels

Healthy budgies are playful by nature, and their energy should be persistent throughout the day. However, you may notice that your budgie is less talkative, and its movement has decreased from what’s normal.

A budgie that lacks control over its body likely has a severe illness. Budgies have an amazing sense of balance, so falling off the perch or sleeping on the cage floor is indicative of nearing death.

Violent shaking fits are also a sign that your bird is close to dying.

Head Drooping

Budgies have difficulty keeping their head up high when they’re very sick or near death.

Their droopy head can be due to:

  • Pain and discomfort
  • Dietary deficiencies
  • Sleepiness
  • Breathing difficulties

Vomiting

According to Iowa State University, digestive disorders are common in budgies.

That’s true whether they have a minor cold or more serious conditions. Vomiting is a more sudden action than natural regurgitating. Your budgie might shake or bob its head violently before letting the food out.

Not Eating or Drinking Properly

Budgies sometimes pretend to eat to hide their ill state. Their act can last for hours or days unless you pay close attention to their behavior.

Here are some signs that your budgie is unable to eat and drink:

  • Vomiting is a sign that your budgie is having trouble ingesting its food.
  • Weight loss and weakness indicate that your budgie is skipping meals.
  • There may be leftover food or large chunks of bitten and abandoned food.

Loss of appetite is a common symptom of deteriorating health in budgies.

Unusual Excrement and Urine

A budgie’s waste is a good indicator of its health. Dark-colored feces and clear urine are signs of a healthy budgie, but some conditions lead to changes in color or texture.

  • If your budgie excretes white liquid droppings with no feces, it hints at a condition, like a pancreatic infection.
  • Blood in feces is usually due to internal bleeding or intestinal tumors.
  • Extremely yellow urine can be a sign of liver malfunction.
  • Sometimes, internal bleeding can manifest as blood drops in urine.

If signs such as these appear, that confirms that your budgie is nearing the end. In this case, the best you can do is comfort your dying budgie and ensure it passes away peacefully.

How To Comfort A Dying Parakeet

A budgie’s weak and resigned state is often a sign that it’s sinking fast.

Whether their health is worsening due to old age, sickness, disease, or a physical ailment, you should start preparing ways to comfort your budgie in its final hours.

Peace And Quiet

If your bird cage is placed in an area with heavy foot traffic and activity, it’ll make your budgie feel on edge. The constant loud chatter and slammed doors can disrupt its rest and unsettle its state of mind.

Therefore, move your budgie’s cage to a place that’s quiet and calm. A separate room where the door can be shut and any unwanted noise can be limited is ideal.

If needed, you can cover the budgie’s cage with a blanket to minimize nearby sounds. If the room is sufficiently dark, or the blanket is thick enough, it may even pass in its sleep.

However, don’t leave your budgie in constant darkness if it’s passing quickly. Rest is important for its comfort if it’s dying slowly, but your company is even more vital for its peace of mind.

Budgies are more alert when exposed to bright lights as they replicate daytime and encourage budgies to stay on guard in case predators are near.

White artificial lights, in particular, are known to increase alertness in budgies. So, dimming the lights will enable your budgie to relax and prepare for rest.

Dusk is often a calm time for budgies, as they wind down to sleep. If your budgie is nearing the end, replicate these conditions with soft, dim yellow lighting because this will relax your budgie and help comfort it as it passes away.  

Spend Time Together

If your budgie is not long for this world, it will be a stressful time. Budgies bond closely with their owners and take great comfort in their presence.

If you and your budgie are close, take this opportunity to spend time together during its last moments. It won’t feel the energy to play, sing, or dance with you like normal.

However, you can comfort your budgie by spending time near it. While reading, working or doing something else, let the budgie hear your voice and see you nearby.

It’ll feel better if it passes while you’re both together. However, avoid disturbing the budgie with activity or handling, as merely your physical presence is all it needs.

Speak Softly

Budgies are often soothed by the sound of their owners’ voices. So, using a calm, low tone, talk to your budgie and tell it that it will all be okay.

You can even sing it one of its favorite songs. Avoid loud noises or sudden movements, and merely soothe them with your voice. This show of tenderness can make all the difference.

Music Therapy

According to Frontiers in Psychology, birdsong is often similar to certain music.

Classical music is especially calming to budgies, while loud rock songs stress them out. With that in mind, it can be a great comfort to play soft, melodic songs for your budgie to enjoy peacefully.

Not only will this keep out uncomfortable sounds, like nearby traffic, but it can also distract your budgie from whatever ailment it’s experiencing.

If you normally play music for your budgie, this can remind it of calmer and happier times together.

how to help a dying parakeet

Keep The Budgie Warm

Provide warm conditions of 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit, so your budgie can remain cozy.

If your budgie lives in an outside aviary, the best show of empathy is to bring it inside, so it can be comforted during its remaining hours.

Even if the weather is not particularly cold, breezy drafts can fluff your budgie’s feathers and permeate through that extra layer of warmth.

If it’s dying, it will have difficulty maintaining its normal body temperature. In this case, you can place a bird-safe heat lamp near the cage to radiate gentle warmth back into your budgie’s body.

Another option is using an air humidifier to increase the temperature while also getting rid of dry and stuffy air.

Wrap The Budgie in a Soft Blanket When Holding It

When a parakeet feels ill, it won’t stand or perch on your hands like it normally would. If you need to handle your budgie for any reason, consider using a soft, snuggly blanket while holding them.

Blankets resemble the soft materials birds use to make their nests in the wild. Therefore, being held in a soft blanket gives a budgie the feeling of being enveloped in a warm nest.

While holding your budgie, be mindful of your strength, or it will start flapping its wings and attempt to flee your grasp. Hold it close to you to share body warmth and make it feel secure and protected.

This may be necessary if your budgie is convulsing or experiencing other tremors. To prevent it from harming itself, and to comfort the budgie during this difficult time, hold it close with a soft blanket.

Keep The Sick Budgie Away from Other Birds

Budgies are social birds that love the company of others. However, that’s unlikely to be the case when they’re feeling weak or frail. Having several budgies roaming and flying around is stressful and unsettling for a very sick budgie.

Consider isolating your budgie to avoid negative outcomes. If your budgie is sick due to a viral illness, keeping them away from cage-mates will prevent the spread of sickness and disease.

The best way to keep a near-death budgie calm, comforted, and ready to move on in peace is to isolate it to a single cage by itself. Here, you can provide it with your company and everything it needs in its final moments.