Owning an exotic bird like a parakeet comes with a steep learning curve and a lot of responsibility. There are a lot of things you need to take into account to keep these birds safe and healthy. One of your biggest responsibilities is keeping them warm. This plays a fundamental role in their general welfare and well-being but it also prevents them from contracting illnesses. But what temperature do they need and what is considered too cold? Here is what you need to know.
So, can parakeets die from cold? Parakeets can die from the cold. Anything below 40 degrees Fahrenheit is too cold for your parakeet and at this temperature and below it can be life threatening. Instead, parakeets do best and thrive in moderate temperatures, between the range of 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Parakeets are found in the wild in the warmer regions and climates of the world. It is no surprise to learn that domesticated parakeets respond best to similar environments.
Let us now explore the topic further where we will look at how this bird responds to colder temperatures, how to tell if they are cold and then look at some of the things you can do to ensure they remain warm.
Temperature Of Their Natural Environment
One of the coolest parts of getting a pet is you get the chance to form a companionship with an animal you would not otherwise be able to interact with.
Seeing all of those tropical fish, wolf descendants, and fancy birds would be almost impossible to witness without the phenomena of domestication and keeping animals in captivity.
There is a reason why these animals are from a particular place. They have specific preferences that go in line with what they require from their natural habitats.
Parakeets, for example, are not from typically cold places. In fact, quite the opposite; they are actually considered an exotic bird.
Because of this, you need to make sure that you mimic their natural habitat as best as possible. Parakeets can die from the cold.
It helps to understand where these animals came from.
There are no living breeds of parrot in North America. There used to be a native species known as the Carolina Parakeet, but it hasn’t been seen since the 1920s.
If you have seen a little parrot or parakeet flying around in the U.S., it is most definitely the result of an escaped (or released) pet.
There are still several different kinds of parakeets found all over the world (although they are different species). The one that you probably find most familiar is the “budgie.”
You would have to be living under a rock not to recognize one. Whether or not you have taken one of these charming birds into your home, you have likely seen one at a pet store.
These colorful budgies are actually from “down under.” Other pet parakeets may come from places like Brazil.
Although they are native to Australia, the birds you see are likely not shipped straight from the outback.
For the most part, pets you see in a pet store are bred in captivity and having lived on that side of the world for generations.
Although they may have never experienced that side of the equator, it doesn’t mean that they have fully adjusted to their new lives.
Genetically they are primed for warmer climates. However, living in captivity means that they have not had to adapt to challenging external environments and climate changes. As such they are far less resilient than you might expect.
For this reason, the cold is almost more problematic for your pet parakeet than it would be for a wild one (who has built up resilience to the colder climates that their environment offers, and at night).
What Temperature Does A Parakeet Need?
Surprisingly, parakeets don’t like scorching heat. They actually prefer nice, moderate temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
This is the temperature that they will thrive in. If the temperature of your home wanders from this range, it should be okay. So long as it is infrequent and not for extended periods of time.
While parakeets can intermittently withstand more extreme temperatures, it is uncomfortable for them and will not enable them to be fully happy and satisfied in their habitat.
When parakeets are uncomfortable, it makes them more likely to become agitated and contract diseases.
Can Parakeets Survive In Cold Weather?
While parakeets can survive extreme weather, you shouldn’t count on it nor accept it. This is particularly true if you naturally have a cold home, live in an area with cold climates, or that suffer swings in temperature by day and by night.
Owners have reported that they have managed to keep their parakeets healthy at temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Again, this is not preferable nor advised.
It is also unlikely that you live in an environment that you can control the climate closely. When you are at the lower extremes of temperature, you have less room for error.
Especially if you live in an area that gets a lot of storms and harsh winters. It is a bad idea to keep your parakeet exposed to the elements.
Keeping them in moderate temperatures is a much better idea because to do to prevent a stressful life and taking on any unnecessary risk.
It is also important for you to remember that no matter where you are, the temperature drops (quite significantly) at nighttime.
Do Parakeets Get Cold at Night?
It gets cold at night. You may have noticed that a sweater is enough for the day, but you need those blankets once it’s time to sleep.
This is due to a number of reasons – namely that there is no sunlight visible to warm up the earth.
This is true wherever you live, no matter how close to the equator that you live.
The truth of the matter is it is colder at night. Some areas more so, but temperature swings can be quite severe.
You should be prepared to deal with this as your parakeet will get cold at night.
While our feathered friends prefer these moderate temperatures during the day, their threshold holds true at night as well. This 40-degree limit is the limit for nighttime as well.
If it drops below this, your bird will likely experience hypothermia. This can get fatal and dangerous very quickly.
It’s a medical emergency and will require immediate attention from a specialist vet. Of course, the best treatment is to avoid it completely.
One of the best things you can do is educate yourself to recognize the signs your parakeet is cold. This way you can act ahead of time and address the temperature before any ill affects arise.
How Can You Tell If Your Parakeet Is Cold
Parakeets will not suffer in silence. Unlike a lot of other pets, they will actively let you know if they are too cold.
They actually act a lot like a person in some aspects. For one thing, they will shiver.
Just like someone who has just felt a cold breeze, a bird will shiver when it feels a chill. Its usually seen in the form of shaking.
This is a common phenomenon of the animal kingdom as it is an involuntary reaction to colder weather.
When the body gets cold, it attempts to heat itself up by rapidly moving the muscles in its body. This movement theoretically causes you to heat up a bit.
This may be a little difficult to recognize if you see your pet from far away. Another thing to check out for is the texture of their feathers.
Unlike us, a parakeet can’t go put on a little jacket. This doesn’t mean that they don’t have a similar concept. When a bird is cold, it may ruffle up its feathers and puff out. This is done in an attempt to trap the heat in.
Consider the fact that expensive comforters and winter jackets for humans are commonly made from bird feathers.
Feathers are excellent at helping birds stay warm. However, they are there as a precautionary measure and are not intended to be needed/required or used for heat all of the time.
Once your parakeet is cold to the point of puffing and shaking, you should seek out a solution. Its a clear indicator they are uncomfortable.
Other signs that your parakeet is cold include increased sleeping and a general lethargy (as keeping themselves warm requires a lot of energy) and this process will tire them out.
How Can I Help My Parakeet In Cold Weather
The truth is, not all of us live in warm climates. Our houses can be subject to colder temperatures and its impossible to control the weather.
That being said, thankfully there are some proactive steps that we can take to increase the temperature in our homes and rooms we house our parakeets in.
To keep your bird nice and toasty, there are are several things you can try as recommended by bird experts within the field.
First, it can be a good idea to get a heavy comforter to cover the cage.
- Made of a durable, light-weight non-toxic nylon fabric, dark blue color
- Fits cages size up to 18.1"L x 12.1"W x 31"H
- Provide a dark and secure environment for promoting sleep for any bird, reptile, or small animal(ferret, hamster rats guinea pigs etc.)
- The front flap is easily lifted with zip
- Great for keeping food and debris from hitting the walls
Having a blanket over your birdcage is a good idea in general. It helps regulate their exposure to light so that they are on a set schedule while simultaneously helping regulate the sound they make at night.
One of the other benefits is that they can help keep the heat in during the nighttime.
If you notice the temperature is dropping just a little bit, it is a good idea for you to go ahead and invest in a good cover.
Just be sure to switch it out during the summer months where things begin to get a little warmer. Otherwise you risk overheating them.
It is also not a solution during the day time. You should not keep your bird in the dark beyond nighttime. Otherwise you will mess up their natural circadian rhythm and sleeping cycles.
Secondly. its a good idea to invest in a good quality bird warmer.
If it is still cold during the day time, it can be a better investment to get a small heater. These products will keep the temperature high both night and day and are adjustable so you can simply shut it off when you don’t need it.
- PROTECTION: Protect exotic birds from the harmful effects of air conditioning and cold drafts
- PERFECT TEMPERATURE: Thermostatically controlled to an optimum body temperature for birds to snuggle up to
- LOW VOLTAGE: Uses harmless 12-volt, low voltage electricity to heat the bird warmer and is easy to clean
- SAFETY: Safe, consistent source of warmth, stabilizes the bird's environment
- HEALTH: Can reduce avian stress contributing to good health - Small size recommended for small to medium sized birds like parakeets, cockatiels, etc
This heater does require that you have an outlet next to the cage, but you can safely use an extension cord. It is designed to be used in bird cages and are perfectly safe.
You should also invest into a recognized bird warmer, because cheaper ones that could fit in a cage or an enclosure may not be prepared for prying beaks or direct contact. They may also be loud which could be stressful to the birds.
Moreover, using a typical space heater made for people may prove dangerous and they do not tend to be as adjustable.
Parakeets are an exotic bird that are genetically primed for warmer, more temperate climates. As such, they generally struggle in the cold and should not be exposed to temperatures around or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit very frequently.
This does not mean that they cannot live in colder regions; it just means you have to take the appropriate steps and considerations to keep them warm.
First and foremost, you want to ensure that the room that you house their cage in is sufficiently warm. It should not have any drafts or windows that are regularly left open.
Other than this, thankfully there are a lot of solutions for you to try and a lot of products on the market that can make life a little bit easier.
It is important that when you get yourself a parakeet, you do everything you can to keep them happy and healthy. Temperature goes a long way in ensuring this, so don’t overlook its importance.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.