There are a few reasons a parakeet might die suddenly, heat sensitivity perhaps chief among them. Parakeets can overheat very quickly and this can lead to death quicker than you might expect. Other causes could include ingestion of toxic foods, communicable diseases or infections like viruses and bacteria.
Sudden death of our pets is not something any of us want to go through.
Parakeets are, unfortunately, uniquely susceptible to such problems because they are such sensitive creatures.
Proper care at the most minute level is absolutely essential to prevent any possibility of this happening to your parakeet.
Let’s find out more.
What can cause a parakeet to die suddenly?
There are a few things that can cause a parakeet to die suddenly.
As I mentioned, one of the most common problems is overheating.
Parakeets may come from warm climates, but they still need carefully regulated body temperatures in order to be happy and comfortable.
Sustained exposure to temperatures that are too hot can lead to death far quicker than you might think.
The ideal temperature for your parakeet is between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ideally, it will sit somewhere in the middle of this spectrum, not really varying a great deal throughout the day.
You should never let the temperature get above 85 degrees, and ideally it should be well below this level.
85 is not a comfortable temperature for it, though it also likely won’t be fatal.
Sustained overheating is one of the leading causes of sudden death, so make sure you maintain the temperature very carefully.
Another of the most common reasons a parakeet might suddenly die is due to a toxin it has ingested.
Most commonly this will be something it has eaten. I’ll get into more detail on some of the things that can be toxic to budgies shortly.
In general, though, you want to have a comprehensive idea of what their diet should and should not consist of.
Foods that are toxic to them generally belong to a wider group of foods that are toxic.
Beyond that, they are herbivores, and obligate herbivores—they have no space in their diet for anything but plant matter.
Make sure they are well fed, and aren’t malnourished—this can of course also lead to death.
Other causes of sudden death in parakeets include things like infections and viruses.
These could be airborne as parakeets are certainly very vulnerable to respiratory problems.
Make sure to keep a very clean environment for them free of the potential for bacteria and parasites to thrive.
How can you prevent a parakeet suddenly dying from overheating?
While overheating is one of the most common causes of sudden death in parakeets, it should also be one of the easiest to avoid.
Naturally, this is much easier during the winter when you are in direct control of the room’s temperature.
Use central heating and, if possible, have a precise thermometer installed so you can know exactly what temperature it is in the bird’s room.
Depending on where you live, it is in the summer when things are warmer that can be a problem.
Keeping a room cooler can often be trickier than keeping it warm. Again, ideally, you should invest in reliable air conditioning that can maintain the room at whatever temperature you need.
Be careful, of course, that the room doesn’t get too cold, either.
Around 75 degrees Fahrenheit is where you want the temperature to sit at virtually all times, perhaps slightly cooler at night.
Be prepared to be able to regulate the temperature in the room no matter what the weather is outside.
How can you prevent a parakeet from suddenly dying from a virus?
Viruses tend to thrive in unsanitary environments.
While sometimes viruses can get past even the most thorough cleaner, you give your parakeet the best shot at avoiding such issues if you clean their environment thoroughly and regularly.
Disinfect surfaces where it tends to hang out, while also being sure to wipe them away afterwards.
Just as the virus can potentially kill your parakeet, so can the products you use to disinfect.
It’s a balancing act.
Ideally, take the parakeet to a different room while you are deep cleaning.
Bacteria and viruses are of course airborne too, and ultimately there’s not a great deal you can about that beyond taking the basic precautions.
Air out the room where possible by opening the windows and getting airflow going—just be mindful of the temperature.
Air filters are also handy to have, while they won’t keep the air bacteria-free on their own.
What toxic foods can cause parakeets to suddenly die?
Aside from things the parakeet should not have in its diet at all, such as meat, bread, or essentially anything that isn’t fruit, nut, seed, or vegetable, there are some things in this category that are dangerous to them. Avocado is one of the most dangerous.
The persin in the avocado can cause heart and respiratory issues and is a common cause of sudden death in parakeets.
Chocolate must also be avoided as it can be toxic even in very small amounts.
Theobromine in chocolate can cause extreme vomiting, seizures, and even death.
Salty foods are also very dangerous, especially when you consider they are formulated for our own consumption.
Parakeets are tiny, and they get the small amounts of salt they need from the foods they eat.
A salty snack could easily kill them suddenly.
There are several kinds of fruit whose pits and seeds contain trace amounts of cyanide.
While this is harmless to us, too much could kill a parakeet.
This includes things like apples, cherries, apricots, peaches and plums.
While the flesh of these fruits is generally fine, you should not let them eat the pits or seeds.
Finally, onions and garlic must also be avoided due to the concentrations of sulphur compounds.
These are less likely to result in death but you should avoid them just as carefully nonetheless.
It’s important you take your parakeet’s diet very seriously as this is another common factor that leads to their sudden death.
Why would a parakeet die overnight?
It is also unfortunately common for owners to find that their parakeet has died overnight.
Any of the reasons we’ve already covered could easily be a cause for death at night.
It may be that they ingested something toxic, were too warm or were exposed to bacteria that then killed them suddenly overnight.
Again, regulating their temperature at night is just as important as during the day.
However, another common reason parakeets might suddenly die overnight is called night fright.
This occurs when a parakeet is suddenly startled by something at night, such as a loud bang or noise.
Their instinct is to fly away at high speed, and sadly they will crash into the side of their cage and die.
Preventing this involves careful placement of their cage as well as a nightly routine.
Make sure you place them in the quietest part of the house.
One of the leading causes of night fright is car horns or the sounds of large vehicles outside late at night.
Covering their cage with a blanket at night is also really important.
Parakeets will generally prefer darkness at night, but not complete darkness.
One or two dim night lights near their cage is a good way to help them stay calm.
Can parakeets die from loneliness?
Parakeets can die from loneliness in a sense.
That said, the death is unlikely to be very sudden.
At the same time, you may not notice the signs leading up to the death and so it ends up seeming sudden.
Parakeets are highly social creatures, and if they are alone day in, day out, not getting any or enough attention from you, then this will have a tangible physical effect on them.
They won’t behave as they normally would, they won’t eat properly, and ultimately they will become depressed.
This can lead to self-destructive behavior which could ultimately result in their death.
Ideally, if you want to own a parakeet, you should get a pair that are raised together and bonded.
Otherwise, you must spend a lot of time every day playing and interacting with your bird to keep it from getting lonely.
Taking care of parakeets just isn’t like taking care of most other pets.
They are extremely sensitive creatures, and it can take only the slightest thing to mean the difference between life and death.
The old adage “do your research” has never been more important than with these little birds.
You need to know every single tiny thing that they need, what they need to avoid, and anything else that puts them at increased risk.