11 Undeniable Signs you Have an Overweight Budgie

Last updated on February 5th, 2024 at 10:38 pm

Written by Isra P

It is crucial to know the signs of an overweight budgie. Why? For starters, if your bird is obese, it may experience severe health challenges such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, fatty liver, and lipoma, among many others. Sadly, only a few people know that their pets weigh more than they should and its consequences. They don’t know that having too much fat threatens their well-being.

Your budgie is likely overweight if you have trouble feeling the keel or breast bone in the midline at the front of the bird. The keel is fairly easy to find by touch; if it’s hidden from you, that’s a sign your pet may have too much fat. Other indications of excessive weight are featherless spots, being unable to do physical activity, and standing with the legs too far apart.

Once you have determined whether your budgie is overweight, take a look at what may have caused it. As you pay attention to the root of the problem, you will be in a better position to take the necessary steps to improve your budgie’s health.

Many symptoms can indicate if your budgie is obese. The obvious one is looking larger than usual. But that’s not enough, as some conditions may cause inflammation and make a bird appear bigger. So watch out for the signals and study your pet’s behavior to determine if it’s genuinely overweight (resource).

1. Excessive Weight

By far, the simplest way to determine if you have a chubby budgie is by weighing it. The standard weight for a budgie may vary depending on the size; nonetheless, the average ranges from 40 to 50 grams. A budgie weighing 60 grams or more is considered obese and often may be required to change its dietary habits. A check with the vet may also reveal excessive weight, so ensure your pet is examined regularly.

2. Featherless Spots

A budgie with several uncovered areas of its body could also be overweight. Why? As the size of the body increases, some spots may be left uncovered by the feathers due to their inability to keep up with the extra body mass.

3. Enlarged Breast Area

Another way to find out if your winged companion has too much fat is by feeling the bone at the center of its chest, known as the keel. Under normal conditions, you can feel the bone with ease. However, a budgie carrying a few extra grams will have that bone slightly hidden between the muscles on each side, making it difficult to find.

4. Shallow Breathing

Like humans, overweight budgies may experience trouble breathing when they are too heavy. You may notice them panting for no apparent reason, even while perfectly still.

An unusually long beak is always a sign of health issues, one being hepatic lipidosis or fatty liver. This condition can damage a budgie’s cells while also causing the bird to be chunkier than it should be. The ailment may also cause birds depression, lethargy, shallow breathing, a longer than normal beak that bends easily, and loss of appetite.

white and blue male budgie with slightly elongated beak

6. Widened Stance

The way your feathered buddy stands can tell you if excessive weight is a problem. A bird with an average weight has a stance in which the feet are at a very short distance from each other. When the feet are too far apart, you can almost be certain the weight is becoming too much for the budgie to handle.

7. Unable to Exercise

Difficulty in exercising is pretty normal for a pet that is having weight challenges. For example, a budgie that flies short distances and is forced to open its beak to get more oxygen is likely obese or sick. The same can be said if it’s playing and climbing for a bit and has to pause to catch its breath.

In the following video you can see a budgie that got too chunky:

How do I Weight a Budgie?

Since weighting budgies is one of the simplest ways to find out if they are getting chubby, it’s crucial to do it as often as possible.

First, pick a time of the day to do it often, preferably in the morning. Then, before they begin eating nonstop, train them to stand on a standard digital scale like the ones used for food to get the job done.

Naturally, they might be tempted to fly away, so place a treat over the scale to persuade them to stay. Remember to note the weight of the treat beforehand to get a more accurate measure.

Another alternative is to opt for a specialized bird scale that makes everything much easier. It has these perches making it more attractive to budgies, allowing you to weigh them without a bribe.

Why is my Budgie Overweight?

There are a few reasons that explain why some budgies gain too much weight. Basically, eating more calories than they can use is the number one factor. This can take the form of consuming an exclusive seed diet, which typically contains too much fat. Budgies may also eat more than they should due to loneliness and frustration.

yellow budgerigar with some extra weight

Becoming obese is also related to not getting enough exercise due to living in a small cage without the opportunity to fly. A genetic element also predisposes budgies to certain ailments, such as thyroid gland problems that make them overweight (reference).

Can you Overfeed a Budgie?

It is possible to overfeed a budgie. You see, the important thing to remember is that it isn’t necessarily about the quantity of food but more about the quality.

If you give budgies a rich diet based on pellets, fruits, and vegetables with a small portion of seeds and provide them all the stimulation they need, they are more likely only to eat when needed and remain healthy.

On the other hand, budgies that only consume seeds are more prone to overeat and get fat.

healthy budgerigar food

How to Help my Budgie Lose Weight?

Removing the extra fat from your pet is not as hard as you may think. Budgies lose weight the same way people do. So if you want them to get in top shape, you may have to alter their diet, provide more opportunities to exercise, and incorporate the necessary nutrients they may be lacking. Consult with a vet before attempting any diet change.

Change Diet

The most crucial element that helps budgies lose weight is diet. You should limit seeds and nuts. Instead, opt for formulated pellets that provide a wide range of nutrients your budgies may need. Also, give them fruits and vegetables whenever the opportunity arises.

Now, when transitioning from a seed-only diet to a more balanced approach, do it slowly. Don’t switch seeds with pellets right away, or they might starve themselves.

Include Exercise

Just like people, birds need to be active to be healthy (source). So, prepare a room where they can stretch their wings freely and safely for around one hour a day. If that’s not possible, get your budgies a larger cage that will allow them more space to move around.

Toys are a good asset that can cheer up budgies and make them active as well. Also, don’t forget to add bird baths to encourage preening and extra playing time.

Add Supplements

Sometimes supplements can make the difference between an obese budgie and a healthy one. For example, L-carnitine may promote fat loss while maintaining muscle mass. Iodine is mandatory to prevent thyroid problems that can make a budgie gain weight. It’s vital to consult with an avian vet about possible vitamins and minerals your budgies may lack, which can aid them in attaining a healthy weight.

Identifying whether your budgie is getting obese is simple. Learn the signs of an overweight budgie described above and pay attention to your pet in case any of them appear. If they do, you won’t miss when your winged companions get chunky, and you will know how to help them at a moment’s notice.

He is the leading creator of featheredbuddies.com, a website dedicated to helping bird owners. For many years, Isra P has cared for budgies and other birds to ensure their happiness and well-being. His passion and enthusiasm for them have led him to a quest to find out why birds act the way they do and how to enrich their lives.