Budgies need water like any other living creature, but some birds drink too much.
A budgie drinking to excess is known as polydipsia. There are many explanations for excessive thirst in budgies, ranging from dehydration due to high temperatures to medical problems like diabetes.
You’ll know if a budgie is overhydrated by its droppings, which will be thin and watery, with less fecal substance, which makes them impossible to pick up.
Polydipsia has an underlying cause, which must be determined and treated. Taking water away from a budgie to reduce intake isn’t an option, as it harms the budgie’s health.
How Much Water Should Budgies Drink?
Budgies don’t need to drink water regularly or in comparable quantities to larger pets. Despite this, hydration is essential for budgies due to their rapid metabolism and regular elimination habits.
The average captive budgie will consume around one teaspoon of water per day.
This doesn’t sound like much, but consider the diminutive frame of a budgie. A single teaspoon is required to keep the internal organs functioning optimally.
In addition, be aware that budgies don’t drink this full teaspoon of water in a single serving.
Most budgies will visit a water bowl or bottle multiple times per day, and the budgie will sip at tiny quantities of water each time, hydrating as it goes about its daily activities.
Can Budgies Drink Too Much Water?
If a budgie drinks too much water, it’ll become bloated and sluggish, leading to lethargy. Excessive hydration can also flood the body and organs, impacting performance.
The most apparent impact of overhydration is found in the droppings. As budgies poop every 15-20 minutes, new waste will always be found on the cage floor. These droppings should be comparatively solid and can be picked up while cleaning.
If your budgie’s stools are watery and loose, bordering on diarrhea, it’s likely the budgie has drunk too much water. Urine and feces are released simultaneously in budgies, so if a budgie has consumed too much water, the uric acid exceeds the fecal matter.
If you supplement your budgie’s diet with fresh fruit or vegetables, water will also be obtained from these foods. Cucumber and lettuce contain a lot of water.
This could lead to all the symptoms of polydipsia without drinking from the water bowl. Hold back these foods if your budgie’s droppings are loose and watery, but it’s not drinking more than usual.
Why Does My Budgie Drink So Much?
There are many reasons why a budgie may develop polydipsia, but here are some of the possibilities:
The budgie may enjoy the taste of fresh water. This is possible if you have changed its water supply after your budgie refused to hydrate.
The water may be treated with various chemicals if you live in a hard water area. A budgie may have refused to drink water as it could smell or taste chlorine and associated additions.
Switching to filtered, bottled, or flavored water makes a more appealing flavor.
You may be encouraging a young budgie to drink to excess through positive reinforcement. This can happen during stick training, potty training, speech therapy, or any other behavioral enhancement.
A study published in the Journal of Experimental Analysis of Behavior found that lab rats took a drink every time they received a reward. The same action can arise in budgies and become a compulsion.
If training your budgie, consider doing so outside the cage, away from water.
Budgies flourish with an ambient temperature of 70–75OF. Anything hotter than 85OF leaves the budgie at risk of dehydration. Naturally, a budgie will drink water to avoid this situation.
If your budgie is panting, yawning, and fluttering its feathers – as well as drinking substantial amounts of water – relocate it to a cooler location. Budgies can’t sweat, so the bird will rely on you to keep it cool.
If your budgie isn’t getting the nutrition it needs from food, it’ll drink to excess. Polydipsia has been connected to insufficient Vitamin A and calcium levels in a budgie’s diet.
While excessive thirst is linked to an absence of nutrition in food, it can also stem from too much. If a budgie’s diet contains disproportionate levels of protein or especially too much sodium, it’ll be increasingly thirsty and drink more water.
Consider if your budgie’s feeding schedule is playing a part in polydipsia. Physiology and Behavior explain how caged birds that grow frustrated waiting for food drink large quantities of water after eating.
This shouldn’t be a concern if your budgie is fed a balanced diet within the confines of a reliable schedule, receiving food at reliably scheduled times each day.
Whether a budgie is awake or asleep, relaxing in its cage or exercising outside, budgies instinctively release waste. If your budgie isn’t pooping, it is likely constipated.
As budgies are used to purging their bowels near-constantly, constipation can be painful. One of the ways that your budgie will look to resolve this concern is by drinking more water. The budgie hopes to ease any clumping of waste, making it easier to pass.
If the budgie still can’t poop after drinking more or only releases wet urine without any sign of feces, offer the budgie some vegetable oil to get the digestive tract moving again.
A budgie will soothe itself with comforting behaviors if it feels insecure or concerned.
Consider if you are causing stress to your budgie through accident or design, ceasing any behaviors that could provoke such a reaction. These include loud noises, excessive handling, unbalanced light or dark schedules, and a lack of routine or exercise.
If your overhydrated budgie shares a cage, ensure a conspecific isn’t causing this sense of disquiet. Budgies can grow territorial, leading to bullying if left unmanaged.
An example could be one budgie guarding a water source, refusing to allow the other to drink. In this scenario, the victim of the bullying may snatch any chance to drink it can.
Excessive, unquenchable thirst is a common symptom of diabetes in humans, but can budgies get diabetes? Some budgies are genetically predisposed to diabetes, but obesity and inappropriate diet are commonly linked with this concern.
Symptoms of diabetes in budgies include increased urination (polyuria), lethargy and depression, and sudden or inexplicable weight loss. A budgie that seemed to gain weight then lose it sharply may be diabetic, especially if a drop in energy accompanies this.
Diabetes is a serious concern, so if you suspect your budgie is living with the issue, seek help ASAP. Your budgie will need to make changes to its diet and exercise regimes.
Prescription medication to manage the illness will also be administered. Oral medications, such as metformin, glyburide, or glipizide, are considered safer and more effective than manual insulin injections when treating diabetic budgies.
Senior budgies can be prone to renal problems. Like all animals, the kidneys of budgies start to work less effectively with age. Sadly, budgies hide illness well as a defense mechanism.
Drinking more water is a symptom of renal failure in budgies. Electrolytes and Blood Pressure explains how progressive kidney disease prevents the organs from efficiently concentrating urine. The kidneys need more water to perform their role – water the budgie needs to replace through drinking.
You will also notice that your budgie urinates more if it has kidney failure. This is known as polyuria; you’ll see that droppings are almost exclusively urine, and your budgie has a wet, stained vent.
Present to a vet if you think your budgie has kidney disease. Fluids and replacement electrolytes may stabilize the condition and prolong your budgie’s lifespan.
Consumption of Toxins
Toxins are a constant threat to budgies, especially when airborne.
If you’ve used bug spray, a strong antiperspirant, or painted rooms with a product containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs), your budgie may be at risk.
As befits their small size, budgies have a delicate respiratory system. To this end, using the products profiled above anywhere in a house can lead to toxicity.
If your budgie drinks excessively, look for other warning signs of toxicity, such as diarrhea, gasping for breath, blood in the droppings, or dizziness and clumsiness.
Polydipsia is a sign of an underlying health concern in budgies, so it should always be taken seriously.