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What Not to Feed Budgies (11 Things)

Budgies are beloved as pets due to their bright personalities and endearing physical characteristics. These vibrant birds, known for their constant chatter and mimicry, require mental stimulation and well-balanced food to keep them healthy and growing. So, knowing what not to feed budgies is as important as knowing what to feed them. 

Whether you’re a new budgie owner or an experienced bird lover, this article will help you understand and recognize the foods you shouldn’t give your budgies.

What not to feed budgies – 11 things

1. Dairy products

Assorted dairy products
Assorted dairy products | image by Marco Verch Professional Photographer via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Most birds, including budgies or parakeets, have lactose intolerance. They can’t tolerate milk and other dairy products because they don’t produce enough of the enzyme lactase required to break down lactose. Dairy can cause diarrhea, bloating, and pain in lactose-intolerant pets because of undigested lactose.

It’s also important to note that the high-fat content of some types of dairy, such as cheese and yogurt, might be problematic for birds, even though they contain less lactose than milk. High-fat foods can contribute to obesity and other health problems in birds. Furthermore, many dairy products can also contain additives or flavorings that may harm your pet.

2. Salty foods

In the wild, the diet of parakeets doesn’t contain large levels of sodium since the natural food sources they consume have only small amounts of salt. As a result, their bodies aren’t well adapted to digest excessive sodium levels.

Salty food can have several adverse effects on budgies’ health, including the possibility that their kidneys will be damaged. The kidneys of these birds that consume excessive salt are forced to exert more effort to eliminate the body’s extra sodium. This can cause damage to the kidneys over time.

3. Chocolate

Chocolate bar
Chocolate bar | image by Marco Verch Professional Photographer via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

It’s strongly discouraged to provide chocolate to birds of any kind, including budgerigars, because chocolate is particularly toxic for birds. Chocolate contains both theobromine and caffeine, two chemicals that are principally responsible for this effect. Theobromine is difficult for birds’ metabolisms to break down, leading to digestive issues, heart illness, nervous system failure, and even death in extreme situations. 

4. Caffeine

Because of several different factors, caffeine seriously threatens the health and even the lives of many different kinds of pets, including parakeets. Caffeine is a potent stimulant, and as such, it affects the central nervous system. Due to their smaller size and rapid metabolism, smaller animals, such as budgies, can find this stimulation overpowering and potentially lethal. 

This stimulation is often bearable in humans, but it can be fatal in these smaller species. Caffeine is known to cause major cardiac difficulties in small birds, including an accelerated heart rate that can lead to arrhythmias or even cardiac collapse. 

5. Alcoholic beverages

Alcoholic beverages
Alcoholic beverages | image by Sarah Stierch via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

It’s extremely risky and not in the least bit advisable to give pet budgies any kind of alcoholic beverage. The primary reason is the inherent toxicity of alcohol to birds. Since they don’t have the physiological capacity to metabolize alcohol as people do, even a moderate amount of alcohol can be fatal for these animals because of the rapid onset of alcohol poisoning, which can significantly damage the liver and kidneys. 

Additionally, budgies are very small species, and because of their low body mass, even a small amount of alcohol can have fatal effects. 

6. Beans

Feeding raw, undercooked beans to your pet budgie can be hazardous owing to hemagglutinin, a chemical present in these beans. Hemagglutinin is a naturally occurring substance that functions as a protection of plants from pathogens.

This substance is poorly tolerated by birds due to its unique digestive system, and birds also lack the ability to detoxify it. Hemagglutinin can interfere with the ability of red blood cells to transport oxygen, resulting in potentially severe health issues, such as respiratory distress, convulsions, and even death in extreme cases.

7. Avocado

Avocados | image by whologwhy via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

The Avocados contain persin, a fungicidal toxin that’s toxic to numerous avian species, including budgies. The amount of persin found in various areas of the avocado varies, and the lethal dose for parakeets is approximately 3.5 grams.

In budgies, having this quantity of persin through avocados can result in severe health problems. Ingestion can lead to symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and respiratory distress. 

8. Sweets

There are several potential dangers associated with giving sweets to your pet. Budgies require a balanced diet of seeds, fruits, vegetables, and grains, offering nutrients for their overall health.

Sweets, on the other hand, don’t offer essential nutrients and might lead to nutritional imbalance if consumed in large quantities. The high sugar concentration in sweets may cause harm to your budgie’s delicate digestive system, which has evolved to process only its natural diet. 

9. Citrus fruits

Citrus fruits aren’t inherently hazardous to budgies, but they do have a lot of citric acid, which can be harmful in large doses. An upset stomach, diarrhea, or even more serious health problems might develop in a budgie if it consumes a high-acid meal like citrus fruits. The high acidity can also mess up the pH balance in their gut, making it hard for them to digest food and upset their gut bacteria, which can cause several health problems.

10. Garlic and onion

Garlic and onion
Garlic and onion | image by via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

Both onions and garlic are known to be toxic to many different kinds of animals, including birds. Because they have the potential to cause harm to red blood cells, they pose a threat to budgies and many other species of pet birds as well. This can result in a condition known as hemolytic anemia, which is defined by the breakdown of red blood cells.

11. Raw meat

There are several reasons why you shouldn’t give your budgies raw meat. Raw meat, in particular, is a common carrier of bacteria such as Salmonella and Campylobacter, both of which can cause severe gastrointestinal tract infections. 

Budgies are naturally granivores, meaning their digestive systems are adapted to consume seeds, grains, and occasionally fruits or vegetables, but not raw meat. As a result, your pet could have difficulty adequately digesting meat.