Will Budgies Starve Themselves? The Surprising Truth Exposed!

Last updated on May 7th, 2024 at 01:42 am

Written by Isra P

Will budgies starve themselves? That’s often a question in the mind of many budgerigar owners. You see, normally, budgies love to eat. So when you see them staying far away from their food bowl all the time, you know something is wrong.

Budgies will starve themselves if they are sick, injured, or hate their food. They may also do it if they are stressed or have an empty container. When budgies refuse to eat, there’s usually a reasonable explanation for it. So it’s essential to pay attention to their behavior to find out why they are doing it and what you can do to solve the problem.

Naturally, once you know why they don’t eat their food, you have to immediately take the necessary steps to encourage them to eat and take them to the vet if needed. Here are the most common reasons why budgies may starve themselves.

For all of us that are used to seeing our budgies eating non-stop, it’s hard to imagine them keeping their distance from food. Still, budgies may refuse to eat or even starve themselves for many reasons.


A sick budgie will often avoid food until it feels better. Like most animals, budgies may also refrain from strenuous activities as long as they feel under the weather.

If your pet exhibits one or more of the typical signs accompanying an ailment, such as puffing up, you must take it to the vet before it weakens too much due to starvation.


Budgies that have suffered injuries may refrain from consuming food until the pain they experience disappears or lowers dramatically. That’s especially true for birds that have fractured or damaged their beaks in any way.

It may also be the case for budgies that have sustained wounds in their wings or legs that reduce their mobility. Under such circumstances, visiting an avian vet at once may be necessary if you don’t want your bird to starve.

Food Aversion

A profound dislike for their food is another reason that may cause budgies to starve themselves. This one is especially problematic as owners may cause it without knowing.

Budgies love seeds with all their strength, and if their owners try to switch their diets to healthier alternatives such as pellets, fruits, and vegetables cold turkey, they would rather die than eat anything else.


A lot of stress can make anyone lose their appetite, including budgies. Now, if your pets are constantly exposed to sudden loud noises, disrupting changes in their environment, or large pets such as big parrots or cats that may be bullying them or lurking around, they may even stop eating altogether.

So it’s crucial to identify and address all these stressors to help your budgies feel at ease and recover their appetite.

Empty Container

This one may seem like a no-brainer, but novice owners often think their pets have food when, in fact, their bowl is empty. When budgies eat, they leave the hulls of the eaten seeds behind, which confuses some people into thinking they have an endless supply of food (source).

empty hulls of seeds

This issue may lead to birds that starve without anyone noticing it.

New Environment

When budgies arrive at a place for the first time, they often stay put until they feel safe. They will even stop eating to remain alert if a predator appears out of nowhere.

Normally, budgies avoid eating for only a few hours to a day at most while they become familiar with their new environment. Once they feel a bit comfortable, they should resume their usual eating schedule. However, if that doesn’t happen, it will require medical help to prevent starvation.

Bonding issues

Your budgies might be starving because they are not yet used to you. Building a bond with your feathered companions can help them be relaxed enough, so they can eat while you are around.

How Long Does it Take for a Budgie to Starve?

A budgie that is not eating will not starve right off the bat. It may survive for two or three days if they are in good shape. Still, if the bird is sick, it may last two days at most.

You must remember they have a fast metabolism, which means they burn calories left and right. For that reason, you typically see budgies eating every couple of minutes.

How do I Know if my Budgie is Starving?

It isn’t hard to tell when your budgie is starving, as you will see some clear indications. You can look for the following signs to determine if your budgie is not eating.

Reduced Food Intake

One way to quickly determine whether your budgies are eating is by looking at their food containers. If they remain intact most of the day, you may have starving birds.

Weight Loss

If your budgie is getting lighter or losing weight fast, it may have stopped eating. Having a scale to monitor your pet’s weight is useful for pinpointing when it starves and its health begins to go south. This may mean your pet is hiding a disease, so taking it to a vet fast is the right move.

Check the Keel Bone

Feel for the bone that runs down the center of your budgie’s chest, known as the keel bone. Your bird could be starving if the bone sticks out and becomes too prominent.


If your budgie seems unresponsive and sluggish, it’s likely not consuming enough food. You can tell, as your pet won’t respond to your calling or treat offering when it normally does; this may be a sign of sickness leading to starvation.

Falling Feathers

A starving or not eating budgie may have its feathers falling off. This issue happens due to a lack of nutrients supporting healthy-looking feathers.

budgerigar feather

How do I get my Budgie to eat?

Getting your budgies to eat again can be a challenge. Of course, it also greatly depends on what makes your pet starve.

⦁ A sick budgie will not likely eat until the condition affecting it is gone. For example, if a bacteria infection prevents your budgies from eating, you will need antibiotics to get rid of it before your pet can eat like it used to.

In the case of parasites, like air sac mites, you will need antiparasitic medications, and so forth, depending on the pathogen causing the ailment. Talk to your vet if your budgie suffers from an infection that prevents it from eating.

⦁ When a budgie has been injured due to an accident or another pet, it may not eat until some of the pain it has been experiencing is gone. Some wounds, like the ones affecting a budgie’s beak, may delay eating much longer than an injury on one of the wings.

Consult with a medical professional about ways to ease your pet’s pain if it has been hurt, so they can eat asap.

⦁ Budgies starving themselves because they hate their food are a different story. If the problem appears due to you trying to change their diet, you must go back to their original menu if you don’t want them to starve.

Now, if you want them to eat pellets, fruits, and veggies instead of seeds, there are a few tricks you can do to avoid starvation. You may sprinkle seeds on fruits or veggies or mix them with pellets to familiarize them with the new food.

Transitioning from seeds to pellets is doable if you do it slowly. Increase the ratio of pellets to seeds by 25% every week to see if they are willing to go with it (reference).

Eating fruits and vegetables in front of your budgies while making yummy sounds can also work, especially for budgies that have been tamed. Another technique you can use is to mix veggies inside their food bowl to make them recognize the wonders of vegetables.

If you feel creative, you can turn any fruit or vegetable into a toy by giving them unique shapes. You can turn them into stars, triangles, and even dolls. Make sure to cut them into thin slices so budgies don’t have difficulty getting a bite out of them.

⦁ A stressed budgie will eat if you get it comfortable. First, speak softly to your budgie. Talking can help your pet feel relaxed and more inclined to eat. Remove radios, televisions, or any other devices that can make startling sounds, and make sure other large, threatening pets are far away, so they can unwind without worries.

⦁ Check food containers constantly, and don’t be misled by the number of seed hulls you may see. You don’t want to be the reason your beloved companions are hungry.

⦁ New budgies will eat in no time as long you allow them to familiarize themselves with their home. Give your pets time to adjust to their new surroundings, and make food available through different means, such as small dishes, bowls, and dispensers.

⦁ To strengthen the bond with your budgies so they aren’t afraid of you, spend at least one hour with them daily. Talk and sing if necessary, and they won’t see you as a predator anymore, allowing them to trust you while they eat.

In the following video shows a few novel approaches to introducing new foods to your budgies:

What do I do if my Budgie Refuses to eat?

Feeding your budgies fluids is an option if they refuse to eat, especially when facing an infection. You may have to wait a bit for the medications to work before they can get the desire to eat again. During that time, you can offer them electrolytes or fruit juices using a syringe or spoon to allow them to get a bit of their strength back while they get better (notes).

bird feeding syringe

It’s vital to consult with an avian vet before providing anything to your budgies while dealing with an illness or another health condition to avoid unwanted side effects.

Final Thoughts

Budgies may starve themselves when facing a serious health condition or if you are negligent in their care. However, if you observe your pets’ eating habits, behavior, and health, you can identify any potential problems and take appropriate action before it’s too late.

With proper care and attention, you can ensure that your budgie enjoys a healthy, happy life and avoids the risk of self-starvation.

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.