Aside from a reliable shelter, there are two things that all living creatures need in order to survive – food and water. It’s no secret that many animals, and humans too can go for days, and sometimes even weeks without food and water, although it’s more likely that they can dehydrate, so it’s more necessary to establish a steady flow of water for every living creature. However, it’s important to note that not all animals are the same, and some may have more, while some may have less endurance.
People who own small pets are concerned whether their pets will be able to survive on their own if they went out from their homes for a bit more than a few hours, or if they went on a vacation that’d last for several days.
While it’s never advised to leave your pets at home, while you’re traveling around the country, continent, or even the world, many people still keep this horrid practice despite the fact it may be hurting their pets, and not only leaving them hungry and thirsty, but also anxious, depressed and scared.
Parakeets are the type of birds that can’t survive for a long time on their own, which is why they often don’t live long if they manage to escape. The owners need to meet their basic needs like providing enough food, water, and entertainment and keeping their cage clean and well-maintained for their best behavior.
Unfortunately, many parakeet owners leave their homes for several days without caring whether leaving their pets for a long time leaves them hungry and thirsty and whether it risks their lives. In simple words – it does.
That’s why we wrote this article to help you understand how to take care of your parakeet, and how long they can go without meeting their basic needs met. Continue reading our guide, where we answer the question of how long can parakeets go without food, and many other questions that relate to the care of these interesting pets.
How Long Can Parakeets Go Without Food?
So, let’s say that you’re headed to a nice weekend vacation where you can unwind for a little and enjoy some time with friends, family, and nature. Unfortunately, no one you know likes the bird pets or even has enough time to commit to them and take care of them for the weekend.
In such situations, you’re presented with two choices – cancel the trip and stay at home, and take a bold and risky step and leave your parakeet home alone. What do you do?
Parakeets are known as birds that have extremely fast metabolism, so fast in fact, that you can leave them food to eat and they’ll digest it in a matter of a few hours. As such, they also need a consistent flow of food and if they don’t eat in continuity, they can starve to death.
A parakeet can go up to 24 hours without food, after which it will start showing symptoms of extreme starvation and within 24 hours to 48 hours from their last meal, they’ll die. That being said, if you leave for a weekend trip and don’t organize the food supplies in the right manner, chances are your whole trip experience may be ruined due to your pet’s death due to starvation.
Don’t get us wrong, it’s more than possible to establish eating cycles with automatic feeders and other ways to distribute food to your parakeet, but it all needs to be done in a very organized manner, to ensure your parakeet won’t overeat itself, and it will have enough food for your entire weekend retreat.
As mentioned earlier parakeets have very fast metabolism, and they need to eat at least 2 to 3 times a day. Once they go for 24 hours without food they will begin to get sick, and after another 24 hours, they’ll probably be dead.
Unfortunately, the water can’t replace their feeding supplies and the nutrients that come with it, so even if your parakeet had enough water but not enough food it would still die from starvation.
With that in mind, whether you’re traveling out of town or not, it’s important to check on your parakeet regularly, and always ensure that they have enough food in their feeder and that the automatic feeder is not broken.
Many people who want to establish a healthy and nutritious diet for their parakeets feed them twice a day – once in the morning and once in the evening. That way, they will always have enough food throughout the day, as well as in the night if they prefer staying awake.
Feeding them snacks now and then throughout the day will also help keep their bellies full without compromising their extremely fast metabolism.
Additionally, even if you forgot to give them a snack, or forgot to feed them once, they will still be patient enough to last because you fed them at least once in the last 24 hours.
It’s worth noting that parakeets are animals that depend on temperatures too. They’re extremely sensitive to temperature fluctuations and colder temperatures could affect their metabolism negatively. That said, if they will feel cold, they’ll get extremely uncomfortable, so it’s a no-go to keep them near open windows or a running air conditioning system.
When they feel cold, parakeets consume more energy to keep themselves warm, and as such they will eat more.
If they don’t have enough food and on top of that, they’re cold, they’re more likely to die before the full 48 hours expire. It’s only enough for 24 hours without food to pass before they become ravenous for food and start getting sick.
How Much Food Should a Parakeet Eat?
The food presentation matters a lot to parakeets and they may not want to eat it unless it’s nicely organized. That being said, even if they require a lot of food on a daily level, they know when they feel full and will stop eating even if there’s still food in their container.
But, if you want to talk about quantity, here’s some. They will eat a lot of bird seeds per day, and that’s the main source of food and nutrients for parakeets. That said, you can expect them to eat two to three teaspoons of fresh bird seeds.
The way they eat food is also quite fascinating because parakeets will only eat the top layer of food. If the top layer has been eaten and there’s food inside the dish, it’s likely that the parakeet will ignore it and won’t try digging it out or diving into the dish.
Experienced parakeet owners will use shallow dishes that don’t require your fluffy pet to dive searching for food. The dish also needs to be broader, so the dish wouldn’t be deep. That way, you can guarantee that your parakeet will eat all the necessary food per day.
There are different ways to establish feeding strategies and habits for your parakeet, but more about that will be said below. You can start by feeding them bird seeds twice a day, so that way you can ensure that your parakeet won’t starve to death, even if you forget about feeding time.
They’ll always have a supply of food, even when you’re away from home, and in between their main feeding times, you can give them snacks and treats which will ensure they’re getting enough vitamins and minerals.
Editor’s notes: The most important thing about feeding parakeets is providing them with a top layer of food at least twice a day, that way you’ll establish a clean eating habit.
How Many Times a Day Should a Parakeet Eat?
Parakeets should be eating daily, without meal skips. Some owners prefer feeding them once a day, but because of their tricky practice of eating only the top layer of food, it’s best to feed them at least twice a day.
Some overly-caring parakeet owners will be even more generous and feed them up to three times a day to ensure they always have enough food in their cage. That way, your parakeet will always have enough time to peck and nibble on and you can ensure that their bellies are always full.
However, if you lead a busy lifestyle, there’s no reason to worry. As long as parakeets ate at least once a day, you can rest assured that they won’t starve to death. However, you should still try to feed them twice a day, as that’s a perfect measure.
Parakeets will eat consistently throughout the day, so always make sure there are enough seeds on the top layer of their feeding dish or container. Keep in mind that you should also introduce them to fresh snacks throughout the day, but we’ll talk about that more in the next paragraphs.
Editor’s notes: This automatic bird seed dispenser from Amazon will help your parakeet eat consistently. It’s a perfect investment regardless of whether you have a parrot or a parakeet.
Types of Food that Parakeets Eat
Now, we get to the type of foods you should feed to your parakeet to make sure they’re healthy and getting enough nutrients throughout the day. Continue reading to learn more.
It’s worth noting that your parakeet will have unique eating habits, so if they’re pickier eaters, it’s best to research different diet options or communicate your parakeet’s needs with their vet.
Just like every bird, parakeets will enjoy eating bird seeds. Bird seeds are full of fiber, minerals, and vitamins, which are important for parakeets’ growth and development. You can find the bird seeds in different pet stores.
Given that bird seeds bought in the shop consist of different types of seeds, your parakeets will pick some that they like the most and ignore all the others, so it’s important to track their favorite types of seeds to ensure they stay healthy and enjoy their favorite foods in the process.
Editor’s notes: Although this is not exclusive to all parakeets, many breeds love millet seeds and if you’re afraid of testing out different seed options they may not like, you can try with millet seeds.
Many home pets eat pellets, and for many, for example, rabbits, this is not the healthiest version because it can make them gain weight and become obese. However, for parakeets that have a fast metabolism, pellets are no obstacle. According to a study, depending on the type of seeds and pellets they eat, pellets may even be more nutritious for parakeets.
Pellets are a healthier option to eat compared to bird seeds. Pellets are also the perfect alternative if you notice that your parakeet started becoming addicted to seeds and won’t try out different foods.
In such situations, it’s more than acceptable to give them pellets. Still, it’s recommended to take this transition slowly as those parakeets addicted to seeds won’t transition to pellets lightly.
Veggie and Fruit Snacks
We mentioned earlier that seeds can get fed to parakeets twice a day, usually in the evening and morning. However, during the day you can treat them with snacks like vegetables and fresh fruits which will complete their nutritional needs.
That way they can get more proteins, fibers, vitamins, and minerals. You can mix different fruits like berries, cherries, bananas, apples, apricots, and other fruits. As for vegetables, parakeets will eat carrots, cabbage, broccoli, celery, cucumber, and other veggies.
What to Do If Parakeets Stop Eating?
In rare situations, due to sickness, anxiety, or depression parakeets will stop eating. If you’re feeding the bird, and notice their feed is not tended to, your parakeet feels lethargic and not active, it’s likely it’s not eating.
For that matter, sometimes it’s necessary to check their food several times per day to ensure they’re getting enough food. If your parakeet is not eating, it’s a serious issue that should be addressed as soon as possible.
If your parakeet hasn’t eaten properly in several days, it’ll grow weak and it won’t recover from whatever ails it due to not getting enough energy from food. Sometimes, giving them more attention, proper nutrients, and time will help them recover. However, your vet may be more helpful in resolving this problem.
Not eating enough becomes extremely worrisome for parakeets when they haven’t eaten at all for more than 24 hours, as their life is truly compromised due to lack of nutrients. In that case, contact your vet immediately and see which options you have.
If you take your parakeet to the vet, they will need to find the reason why your parakeet isn’t eating and will prescribe therapy that will take place immediately. Sometimes, parakeets will become dehydrated which is the reason why they aren’t eating, so aside from checking for food, you should also check whether the water in their drinking container is fresh and whether there is food at all.
If your parakeet is still refusing food, your vet will feed them through an eye dropper or syringe and instruct you to do the same until it recovers.
Unfortunately, some underlying issues can cause your parakeet to stop eating, which is why it’s important to take your pet to the vet as soon as you notice these changes in feeding habits. Taking the right action will ensure your parakeet recovers in no time, and also detect an underlying condition it may be having.