On any sunny day, my parakeets will always make their way in to the front room to bask in the light coming in through the window.
They love to do a bit of sunbathing.
I’ve always been a bit amused by this, and just tended to think it was a bit of a quirk of theirs.
When I was talking with a friend recently, though, he said that he always makes sure his parakeets get a good amount of sunlight every day.
So I started wondering whether parakeets really needed sunlight, and how much, so I decided to look into the question.
Do parakeets need sunlight?
The simple answer is yes. Like us, parakeets get most of their vitamin D from sunlight, and this vitamin is vital to the proper functioning of their brain, nerves and muscles. Not to mention, direct sunlight is great fore mood and energy, and being cooped up in a gloomy room is never good.
Parakeets definitely benefit hugely from sunlight where they can get it, then.
There are factors and caveats involved depending on a lot of things, but there are always ways to get the appropriate amount of sun to parakeets even if you live in the Arctic circle where the sun might set for months at a time.
So, let’s look at the question in more detail.
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Do parakeets need direct sunlight?
Parakeets will certainly benefit a lot from direct sunlight.
As I said, the primary benefit is vitamin D, which is essential to their overall health and is difficult to get elsewhere.
In terms of overall health, there are countless benefits to getting direct sunlight for your parakeets.
Vitamin D allows the body to process calcium, which is vital to the functioning of nerve, brain and muscle tissue.
These, as you can guess, are pretty important.
Vitamin D is also essential to healthy egg laying, if you’re thinking of breeding your parakeet.
Vitamin D also helps the body to process phosphorous. Phosphorous is important for bone formation, and metabolizing fat, protein and carbs.
Essentially, direct sunlight plays a hugely important role in your bird’s health.
That said, they will only need a small amount of sunlight per day to get what they need.
The best way to get them their time in the sun is to allow them to roam around a room that gets hit by the sunlight, while also giving them the chance to take shade when they need to.
Heatstroke can be a real problem and they can overheat rapidly, so only around five minutes of sunlight a day is plenty.
Do parakeets like light or dark?
The question will depend.
Basically, they like both, and should always have the option for both.
Every day, they should have the option to come out into the sunshine, or at least somewhere well lit by natural light.
They also need some level of darkness to be able to retreat to, however.
Sometimes, parakeets want the feeling of safety and isolation in a small, dark nest box in their cage.
So, your parakeets always need to have both options.
They should get a certain amount of sun every day.
If you live somewhere with long, dark winters, you must install artificial light which will mimic the natural cycle for your parakeet.
They will not cope well either mentally or physically with a total lack of sunlight.
Is direct sunlight bad for parakeets?
Again, it’s still important to be very cautious with your parakeets.
Sunlight that is passing through a window is likely to be a bit hotter, so it makes it very easy for your parakeet to overheat.
Birds often suffer heatstroke in cars, for example.
Do not let your parakeet sit in the sunlight for more than a few minutes.
If you do notice your parakeet becoming agitated, panting, spreading its wings, this may mean that heatstroke is setting in.
Remove the bird immediately from the sunlight, and gently dab some room temperature water on it.
Do not shock it with cold water.
As long as you are careful and keep a close eye on your parakeet, it shouldn’t allow itself to get that hot.
Untreated heatstroke can be very, very serious.
Find that all important balance.
Do parakeets need vitamin D?
Yes, vitamin D is absolutely essential, as I’ve mentioned.
The functioning of vitamin D in the parakeet’s system is as important as any other nutrient.
Especially when you consider where parakeets originate from: the tropics in Australia and South Asia.
It’s easy to imagine how much vitamin D is in their diets there.
So, keep this in mind when you consider the climate of where you live.
If there isn’t a lot of sunlight, you might want to consider an artificial light which mimics it.
Your parakeet will certainly be healthier for it.
So, just like pretty much any creature that doesn’t dwell underground or underwater, and especially birds, parakeets need sunlight for both their mood and their actual, physical health.
Vitamin D is essential to a healthy, happy parakeet, and you should make sure that your parakeets have free access to the sunlight they need.
Whether it comes through to their cage directly or they’re given free range of the house at sunny hours, make sure your parakeets get sunlight.