While budgies may initially doze more in a new home due to the stress and excitement of the experience, prolonged periods of sleep are perfectly normal for all budgies.
Budgies need lots of sleep because they have extremely fast metabolisms.
While a budgie is awake and active, it burns energy rapidly, leaving it feeling exhausted. The budgie’s body heals and restores lost energy during sleep, enabling it to wake up full of vigor once more.
Many people adopt budgies due to their playful, energetic, and entertaining personalities. This can be concerning if a budgie sleeps during the day, but budgies need 10-12 hours of sleep per day.
Why Do Budgies Sleep So Much?
When a budgie is awake and active, it’ll burn significant energy.
According to the Journal of Nutrition, budgies require a daily intake of 48-128 calories per day, which are immediately metabolized. A budgie’s energy burns brightly and briefly.
When a budgie runs low on energy, it’ll become tired and lethargic. This is anathema to the instincts of a budgie. In the wild, budgies are a common prey species. Snakes and larger birds, in particular, are a constant threat, so budgies need sharp reflexes to stay alive.
A budgie can only achieve this by replacing lost energy through rest.
How Much Sleep Do Budgies Need?
Most budgies will spend up to 12 hours each day and night sleeping. Also, budgies will take a handful of naps during the day.
As per PLoS Biology, it’s a deep sleep overnight that continues into the morning that matters most.
During this period, the budgie will cycle between slow-wave and REM sleep. The budgie’s body will heal, replenishing its energy during slow-wave sleep.
Most budgies can choose when they enter slow-wave sleep.
As the budgie’s at its most vulnerable at this time, it’ll likely sleep at night when the house is quiet and dark. Enable this as much as possible and ensure the budgie’s deep sleep isn’t interrupted.
Many budgies will also take short naps during the day.
Do Older Budgies Sleep More?
All animals need more rest as they age, and budgies are no exception.
The average lifespan of a captive budgie is up to 8 years, sometimes 10. This means that most budgies enter middle age from 5 years onward.
This doesn’t mean that a budgie becomes geriatric from its fifth birthday and shows no further interest in interaction. Happy and healthy budgies remain playful and cheerful throughout their lives.
An older budgie may need a longer, deeper sleep to restore energy.
What Happens if a Budgie Does Not Sleep Enough?
If your budgie is awake longer than it should be, there will be physical and emotional consequences.
If your budgie is struggling to sleep, consider the possible explanations. Common causes of, and solutions to, budgie insomnia include:
- Excessive sunlight: Cover the cage with a cloth or draw the blinds.
- Noise: Turn off any TV and radio around the cage.
- Feeling too cold: Ensure room temperature is 70-75 degrees.
Ensure your budgie can rest when it wishes.
Lethargy And Depression
A budgie that hasn’t slept enough will be sluggish and lethargic.
The bird is unlikely to chirp and will likely show no interest in playing with toys. A tired budgie that hasn’t slept will also turn its back on any cage mates.
This lethargy isn’t a sustainable lifestyle for a budgie.
Eventually, it will give way to depression. In this instance, a budgie may reject food or water. If your budgie hasn’t eaten food or water in 24 hours, consider it a medical emergency.
Budgies are popular companion birds due to their even temperament and cheerful disposition.
If your budgie is being kept awake longer than it would like, this good nature can dissipate. Sleep-deprived budgies can quickly become aggressive.
If your budgie lives alone, this will manifest as guarding the food bowl, nipping at your hands when you approach, destroying toys and contents of a cage, and making loud noise at antisocial hours.
Budgies that share a cage with conspecifics are a danger when sleep deprived. These budgies may attack each other, biting, pecking, and causing serious damage.
Budgies are playful, so ensure you’re not mistaking play between budgies for fighting. Common warning signs that budgies are in conflict as opposed to having fun with each other include:
- Raising the wings.
- Rasping, throaty hiss sounds.
- Biting and pecking at another bird’s feet. This will never be done as part of a grooming routine and thus should always be considered an act of aggression.
- Pecking at the head determinedly.
- Constantly chasing other budgies, rather than taking it in turns to be the chaser and chasee.
If your budgie is demonstrating aggressive behaviors, and you can connect these to a lack of sleep, do all you can to encourage your budgie to fall back into a healthy sleep pattern.
A weakened immune system is among the main dangers of a budgie failing to sleep enough.
Just because your budgie doesn’t venture outside doesn’t mean it can’t grow unwell. Budgies, especially when senior, can be prone to ailments.
Common concerns for captive budgies include:
Avian Gastric Yeast infection
AGY is a contagious illness common among budgies and other companion birds.
The most apparent symptom is rapid weight loss as the condition impedes digestion. The Bulgarian Journal of Veterinary Medicine also warns of diarrhea and lesions.
If AGY is caught early enough, it can be treated with a course of drugs.
The antifungal remedies Amphotericin B and Fluconazole are often used. Your budgie will also need to undergo dietary changes, avoiding any food containing sugar or yeast.
While this treatment may clear up the symptoms of AGY, it doesn’t mean your budgie will be cured. AGY can lie dormant and reappear. If your budgie gets sufficient sleep, this is less likely to occur.
Like AGY, Candidiasis is a yeast infection that begins in the digestive tract.
Candidiasis can be considered an avian-specific form of the thrush virus. The symptoms are identical to AGY but may also include tremors and lack of balance.
An oral drug called Nystatin will be prescribed to treat Candidiasis in budgies. Again, the diet will need to be carefully reviewed to avoid feeding yeast with extra sugars.
Candidiasis takes around a week to clear up.
Psittacosis (Parrot Fever)
Psittacosis is among the most common and well-known diseases to impact companion birds, primarily because it is zoonotic and is thus considered a human concern.
Around 30% of captive budgies will develop psittacosis at one time or another. In some cases, the infection will be asymptomatic. In others, common symptoms include loose stools, ruffled feathers, and a blocked nasal cavity.
Budgies with psittacosis will be treated with the antibiotic doxycycline.
It’ll take around 45 days for the virus to pass. The budgie must be isolated throughout this time, and any handling must be completed while wearing protective clothing such as gloves.
A budgie that’s not well-rested can be increasingly susceptible to respiratory infections, resulting in nasal discharge and sneezing. A budgie with a respiratory infection may wheeze and struggle for breath.
If you believe that your budgie has a respiratory infection, seek veterinary advice. A course of antibiotics will usually resolve the concern.
It sometimes surprises new owners how much time budgies spend sleeping. If your budgie is sleeping a lot but eating normally and shows no other signs of distress or ill health, there’s rarely a concern.