Can budgies have ADHD? What you can do against hyperactive budgies
The budgie is by nature a very active little fellow. However, excessive frolicking is not one of his usual behaviors.
It is therefore a warning signal, which in the rarest cases can be traced back to medical causes, if your budgie seems to be conspicuously hyperactive.
The following article will give you a detailed insight into his mind and useful tips on how to deal with hyperactive budgies.
The powerhouse of pet birds
The budgie’s heart beats up to 600 times a minute. No high-performance athlete, no matter how well trained, can keep up.
Their respiratory system is unparalleled even in the avian world, using air sacs between the lungs to improve flight characteristics. This is accompanied by an increased demand for oxygen, which is why the room in which you keep the budgies must always be well ventilated.
Energy needs to be dissipated on a regular basis: Your budgies need at least 9 hours of free flight every day, during which they reach top speeds of 120 mph.
If one of the birds races across the floor of the aviary as if on fire, this is a clear sign that he wants out. If it does not get its way, it will first attack the furnishings and later its flock members.
Would you like to eat and sleep in a coffin?
For budgies, cramped housing feels exactly like that. So make sure that the aviary has at least 0.72 m³ of space per pair. As well as on the further behavior: A parakeet that constantly squats on the cage walls and gnaws on the bars there is definitely not happy with the space available.
So you occupy your budgie correctly
Sometimes your charges refuse to keep the peace in the house for seemingly no reason. However, this has nothing to do with the human clinical picture ADHD, which is caused by faulty circuitry between the nerve cells.
The budgie’s optic nerve processes 150 images/second, ten times as much as the human eye. Therefore, he simply has a very short attention span and is happy with the following toys:
- Willow balls: Budgies have a blast ripping things apart. In pet stores you can buy utensils made especially for this purpose. The balls are especially good for keeping them occupied because you can hide food in them that the parakeets have to struggle to conquer.
- Cork tubes: Hens, in particular, are incessant nibblers of objects. They follow their nest-building instinct, which you can support by laying out natural materials such as cork or cotton products. Tube-shaped objects are very popular because they are ideal for the never-boring game of find-me.
- Climbing tree: Get a room-high round wooden pole from the hardware store, attach sturdy end plates and attach plenty of perches – the basic framework of the bird’s own adventure playground is ready. There are virtually no limits to your imagination when it comes to the individual equipment. Ladders, swings and landing platforms are recommended.
- Cardboard: Disposable dishes are irresistible for every budgie. It looks kind of abstract and needs to be destroyed. Within a few minutes you will have to provide supplies. Therefore, the material is also well suited as a content component of the obligatory “rummage box”.
Objects in natural colors are generally more attractive than colorful plastic toys.
Aviary or swingers club?
When it comes to courtship behavior, budgies take no prisoners: A rooster keeps warm in principle 2 – 3 hens, which in turn coo with anyone who offers them food. The number degenerates into a problem when the males want to steal their playmates from each other: Rabid fights over the pecking order are then the order of the day and turn the aviary into a madhouse.
Tip: How you can immediately recognize when budgies don’t get along with each other, you can find out here.
Now you must proceed very carefully. First, separate the squabblers from each other by temporarily placing them in different roosts. This serves to normalize the internal relationship of the swarm. If harmony is not achieved in this way, you will need to increase the size of the flock by adding a pair that is approximately the same age as your budgies.
The females are usually the passive part of the flirting. If two hens are interested in a submissive master of creation, you will have to keep an eye on his weight, as the ladies will feed him continuously. Add another rooster to the group if the situation does not resolve itself.
Sex-crazed budgies – does it exist?
Wild flocks live as nomads in Australia. They have no fixed territory and move to where they find food, water and nesting sites. If there is an abundance of these in an area, the breeding instinct automatically kicks in. Consequently, they can breed all year round as long as the local conditions are right.This is exactly the case in your home. Therefore, sexual hyperactivity is a widespread phenomenon among budgies living in this country. 50 mating acts per day are not uncommon, which can become very stressful for the birds if the hormonal balance in the group gets out of sync.
It is mostly the males who overtax their female partners. They then resort to increasingly clumsy approaches and finally take the hen by force. Due to the numerous matings, the cloaca of the birds is mostly chafed. In this case, contact an avian veterinarian who can recommend particularly gentle ointments.
To deal with the situation, you must first separate the budgies from each other. This serves not least the purpose to prevent fights led in the hormone rush. But this is only the first step, because keeping them separate leads to excessive masturbation (roosters) or compulsive laying (hens).
How to prescribe abstinence
Therefore, you have to control the breeding instinct of the animals by reducing the food supply. This does not mean starving them or giving them a nutrient-poor diet. In consultation with your veterinarian, reduce the food supply to the minimum necessary for healthy survival.
Remove nesting opportunities from the aviary. Budgies, unlike most bird species, are not cave sleepers and will not miss the elements in everyday life. Unless egg laying has already begun. If you then deprive the hens of their nesting sites, they may develop egg-laying distress, which is sometimes fatal.
The hormone level of budgies is a consequence of the length of the day: the more sunlight, the stronger the desire to mate. In your home, even in winter, artificial light burns after sunset. So make sure that the birds spend their night rest (10 – 12 hours) in complete darkness. Then the situation usually improves within a few days.
The 4 most important tips for hyperactive behavior
As you can see, you are not the first enervated bird owner who has massive difficulties with ADHD-like behavior. You just need to always be aware that the animals are not intentionally teasing you. It’s the only way they can alert you to any wrongdoing. If you use the following rules to help you troubleshoot, you’ll quickly get to the root of the problem:
- check food supply: In nature, budgies spend the lion’s share of the day foraging. If they are already full after the morning feeding, they don’t know what to do with the rest of the time. So let them have several small portions throughout the day.
- stop fighting: Birds have a pretty decent amount of basic aggressiveness. In the aviary the inferior opponent has no escape possibility. Therefore, isolate the problem birds first before taking permanent countermeasures.
- empathic approach: Animals instinctively know what is good for them. Observe their reactions and meet their most important needs. You can also learn a lot from their social behavior towards each other.
- eliminate misinterpretations: Hyperactivity can have many causes. Take enough time to investigate all potential sources of error. Thus budgies romp among other things also by the dwelling, if you make everything correctly. They express their joy with it. Only their behavior is then not destructive nature.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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