Budgies come from Australia and are used to dry heat there. If budgies get too hot in summer, they retreat to cooler places. Since they are predominantly kept in cages when in human hands, budgies cannot protect themselves from heat stress. Thus, these attractive birds rely on your help.
How To Get Budgies Through The Summer
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Heat stress with budgies in summer
Birds have a thick plumage responsible for heat regulation, amongst other things. Since they have no sweat glands, unlike us humans, they have to give off excess body heat in a different way.
When the temperatures in the ambient air increase, budgies put up their feathers and stretch their wings. They also open their beak and breathe faster. The normal respiratory rate of budgies is around 75 to 96 breaths per minute. In some cases, budgies suffering from heat stress can even begin to pant.
How can I protect my budgie from the heat?
The following tips will help you to make your budgie feel at ease even in summer temperatures:
Offer shady spots
The cage should never be positioned in direct sunlight even from mild temperatures of 20ºC. Make sure that it is always in a shady spot in spring and summer and that sufficient fresh air exchange can take place in the room.
If your budgie spends its summer days outside in an aviary or on the balcony, you have to pay attention to the movements of the sun. If you go to work in the morning and your budgie is in the shade, the blazing sun could already be beating down on its feathers by midday.
Provide sufficient drinking water
In general, budgies and other pets always need to have access to fresh drinking water. This has to be guaranteed on hot summer days in particular, because the body consumes a huge amount of water in summer.
The rules state that budgies need on average three millilitres of water per day. However, this need for water fluctuates depending the outdoor temperature, body weight and activity level.
Never leave budgies in the car in summer
Every year, countless animals need to be freed from overheated cars. The problem is that heat accumulates in cars and can't be sufficiently emitted even with open windows. With sunshine, the temperature inside the car is proven to rise from 20ºC to 24ºC after five minutes. After 30 minutes, it could even reach 36ºC!
Along with dogs, cats and other pets, there is no place for budgies and other exotic birds in cars in summer.
Ensure that your budgie can cool down in summer
Everyone enjoys a fresh cool-down on warm days – including your colourful budgie. You can achieve this by occasionally spraying your budgie with lukewarm water in summer or by setting up a watering spot for bathing. Fresh food that is slightly chilled but not too cold also helps your budgie to cool down.
Avoiding heat generation
As temperatures drop at night, windows and doors can be opened wide late at night in order to cool down rooms. If the first sunrays enter your home in the morning, windows should be darkened with curtains or roller blinds.
Also close windows, balcony and terrace doors so that no warm air remains. This allows you to avoid high temperatures inside during the day.
First aid for budgies
If your budgie has overheated in summer despite this, it can lead to fatal heatstroke. Hence, it is very important to take first-aid measures early on.
You should consider the following points:
- Avoid stressful situations, as this can lead to your pet getting too hot.
- Immediately provide a shady environment.
- Cool your budgie down by spraying it with water and wrapping its legs in wet cloths.
- Use a ventilator to cool everywhere down.
- Try to touch your budgie as little as possible.
Stop cooling measures as soon as your budgie no longer shows any urgent signs of heat stress in order to prevent hypothermia.
When do I have to take my budgie to the vet?
As soon as your budgie shows signs of heatstroke like severe unrest, staggering or gasping for breath and first-aid measures have no effect, you need to see a vet.
Your vet should come to your home if possible so that your budgie doesn't overheat even more during the car journey.