Budgies’ feet vary in temperature, depending on circumstances. Expect the feet to feel cool to the touch after a wash or perching on a cold surface.
If a budgie’s feet always feel cold, there could be an issue. Pet budgies flourish in ambient temperatures between 70–75OF, so check the thermostat in your home.
If the room temperature has slipped into the 60s, your budgie may feel the chill, often resulting in a bird puffing up its feathers and shivering.
If the ambient temperature of a room is too low and the budgie has permanently cold feet, there could be a circulatory problem due to an inappropriate diet or cardiovascular problems.
Why are My Budgies Feet Cold?
Budgies’ feet are a good barometer of their overall temperature.
Unlike the rest of a budgie’s body, the legs and feet aren’t covered with protective feathers, while the skin is thin and has a reduced blood flow.
Encourage your budgie to perch on your hand or arm so you can assess the temperature of its feet and legs.
Often, a budgie’s feet will be hot to the touch, which is a positive sign unless the feet never cool down. Equally, some budgies will have cold feet, which can be perfectly normal.
If the feet are constantly cold to the touch, this suggests something is amiss in a budgie’s environment, lifestyle, or health. So, undertake a process of elimination to determine the cause.
Ambient Low Ambient Temperature
A low ambient temperature is the most obvious explanation for cold feet.
As discussed, the legs and feet have no protection from the elements. In addition, most of a budgie’s blood flow is directed to the internal organs.
The standard room temperature should always be between 70–75OF. You must keep this steady, as lurching from higher to lower temperatures can plunge a budgie’s body into shock.
If you live in a cold climate, keeping the room heated this warm may not be realistic. If that’s the case, cover the cage to retain heat when you retire for the night.
Usually, a budgie will warm up its feet. If your budgie is squatting or lifting one leg into its plumage (unipedal position), it is warming the feet up using the feathers.
What Temperature is Cold for Budgies?
Any ambient temperature below 70OF is considered cold for a budgie. The bird may not react to a room heated to 65OF at first, but over several hours signs of coldness will start to set in.
Even if a room is heated to 70OF or 75OF according to a thermostat, remain vigilant about checking the temperature of a budgie’s feet.
If the feet are cold, check for draughts and consider relocating the budgie away from a window.
Poor Quality Diet
If your budgie constantly has cold feet, it may have malnutrition. It’s essential to understand that malnutrition isn’t a consequence of not consuming sufficient calories.
A budgie can eat heartily but still be malnourished if it eats the wrong foods.
The Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery explains that malnutrition is commonplace in companion birds, especially those fed a seed-only diet.
Budgies rely on a balanced food plan to keep their fast metabolism moving. Budgies process food quickly after eating, hence why they poop so frequently.
Without appropriate vitamins and minerals, the metabolism slows down.
When this happens, budgies grow uncharacteristically sluggish and lethargic. More concerning, the internal organs, most notably the heart, struggle to keep up with demands, impacting blood flow.
Stress or Excitement
if a budgie is stressed or excited, its heart will beat faster. Initially, this will lead to hot feet – the heart is pumping blood all over the body.
Eventually, this strain will tell, and the heart will slow down. In this instance, the budgie’s feet will grow considerably colder. A slow heart rate means that blood won’t reach the extremities.
If you leave your budgie in a constant state of stress, it may eventually go into shock.
If you feed your budgie well, protect it from life’s stresses and strains, and maintain an appropriate temperature in your home, the bird may be unwell. Budgies do their utmost to mask sickness.
The main concern is a heart condition. Pet Bird Diseases and Care warns owners that a lack of exercise leads to this issue, as the metabolism suffers if a budgie is caged excessively.
A respiratory infection can lead to a reduction in body temperature. If so, a course of prescribed antibiotics from a vet will be required to clear up the issue.
Signs That a Budgie is Cold
Cold feet are just one warning that your budgie is struggling to stay warm. Be vigilant about the following additional signs your budgie is cold:
- Fluffing up to trap cold air between the feathers
- Tucking the head into the chest
- Squatting down to keep legs under feathers
- Shaking and shivering
- Sleeping more than usual and lethargy
Be vigilant about managing the ambient temperature of a budgie’s room.
What To Do if Your Budgie is Cold
If your budgie is feeling the cold, don’t ignore the concern and wait for the bird to adapt.
If your budgie needs to warm up, put it back in its cage and increase room temperature to 85–95OF. This isn’t a sustainable temperature, as your budgie will grow too hot if the room stays this hot.
You can steadily reduce the temperature to a standard 70–75OF. You may also need to move the cage away from windows to minimize exposure to draughts.
Some of the techniques you could use include to warm up a budgie include:
- Putting a towel or blanket over the cage at night
- Using a heat lamp
- Underground heating
- Heated perches
- Putting a heater a few feet from the cage
There are risks, as any artificial heat source is a fire hazard. Don’t leave any exposed wires and cords.
While a budgie’s feet will vary in temperature throughout the day, you should never flinch from the chill when a budgie perches on your skin.