Last Updated on August 1, 2022 by Ali Shahid
Every Budgie owner is familiar with the budgie’s tendency to waste food. I have kept budgies for a long time. As a veterinarian, I am always skeptical about everything related to them. Once I noticed that they were wasting food.
And I observed that they are doing this daily. So, I consult my colleagues who are experts in the behavior of parrots and especially budgies. With experts’ opinions and my research here is what I found about budgies wasting food.
There are five common reasons budgies waste food or kick food and water out of their bowls.
- There’s too much food.
- Your parakeet senses contaminated food.
- Your budgie doesn’t like the food or doesn’t recognize it.
- Your budgie is taking a bath in the water dish.
- To get a better crop in future
In the next section, we will examine each problem and its solution.
MY Budgie Wasting Food
1. Too Much Food
If there are abundant seeds available, budgies will choose the best seeds. Nyjer seed is especially popular with budgies. But Nyjer seeds are small. As a result, they will sink to the bottom of the dish.
To get to Nyjer seeds, your bird will knock out other food. You may have a budgie that has never eaten Nyjer seed before. So it will kick Nyjer out with the rest of the food in the bowl. Many budgie seed blends include sunflower seeds with their hulls intact.
When your budgie picks the seed out of the hull, he or she will leave the hull on top of the seed. When the number of hulls accumulates to a point where your bird cannot access edible food, it may kick them away.
With the hulls, edible food will also be thrown away. Fruit and vegetables that contain beta-carotene are appealing to budgies, but not every vegetable and fruit is. The bird may have kicked out a particular fruit or vegetable because it had a bad experience with it.
2. Contaminated Food
Occasionally, budgies detect old food. Mold called Aspergillus makes a poisonous chemical known as aflatoxin, which can be found in seeds and grains of all kinds.
The birds will kick moldy seed to avoid contacting this common contaminant, which you may not see.
3. Unrecognized Food
Diet changes are not well tolerated by budgies. Feeding only seeds to a hand-reared bird will render it unable to recognize seed pellets as food. Budgies that have been fed only pellets may need rewards to try something new.
According to experts, some parakeets have died of starvation after their diet was suddenly changed. As a veterinarian, I always suggest changing budgies’ diet slowly.
During the first week of switching from seeds to seed pellets, provide your pet with 90% seeds, and 10% pellets. When all the pellets are gone after the second week, reduce the seed proportion to 75%.
After that, try blending 50-50 the third week. Don’t rush your budgie into changing his diet. Give him time to adjust. It needs time to adjust to the new, delicious and healthy foods in its bowl.
4. Bathing in the Water Dish
Fresh, clean water is essential for budgies. While they take baths, they often kick out the water from their dishes. This problem can be solved by giving your bird both a water dish and a bird bath.
Small water dishes can be used, allowing just enough room for your bird to drink water. Your budgie should have access to a large bath so it can cool off when the air conditioner is not working.
5. To Get Better Crops in the Future
According to Dr. Sebastián-González, they’re doing it to produce better crops over time. The practice of fruit and flower pruning is widely known in horticulture for producing large, high-quality fruits.
The pruning of fruits and flowers also reduces the gaps between ripening or reduces biennial bearing, which extends fruit availability. In the future, we may be able to test this. Are parrots able to predict future fruiting seasons?
Several previous studies suggest parrots are capable of planning for the future. I find this idea to be a stretch of the imagination.
Food waste, however, is a behavior that is beneficial to parrots in some way, otherwise, it would not have been preserved generation after generation.
How To Stop Budgies from Wasting Food
There are certain things you can do to stop your budgies from wasting food.
Cups and Bowls
Most cages come with food and water cups for your budgie. I would recommend adding another cup or two to complete the set. Cages for budgies come with a variety of cups.
A mess-free cup has a little hood that keeps most of the bird food in the cup rather than on the cage floor. You can save a lot of time by using mess-free cups.
But, they should only be used for food, not for water. A budgie may try to take a bath inside a cup with a hood and not be able to get out if the cup is filled with water.
A stainless-steel cup or bowl is better
Food and water cups shouldn’t be made of plastic. Plastic bowls and cups will inevitably become scratched by birds, creating bacteria growth areas.
According to scientists, the plastic material has also been found to harbor bird flu viruses and viruses that cause colds and flu among humans. Bird cups should be made of stainless steel.
Bacteria build biofilms to attach themselves to surfaces, but stainless steel is more resistant to biofilm formation. This is also the reason to use stainless steel cups. Cleanliness and durability are its main advantages.
You will usually be able to use your cups for as long as your bird lives. It is also possible to use ceramics. Feeding cups made of stainless steel and ceramic come with hoods to prevent seeds from being kicked out by budgies.
Keep More Cups/Bowls in the Cage
Having six dishes in your budgie’s cage is a good idea. Six food, six water, and six bath dishes should be present in cages.
Replace one dirty dish with a clean one every morning when you clean your cage. The dirty dishes can then be cleaned and sterilized later.
Consequently, your bird won’t be exposed to antiseptics or cleansers, both of which are potentially harmful.
Why is my budgie digging in her food bowl?
It is most common for budgies to dig into their food bowls to remove the hulled seed. The seed on the bottom is fresh and it wants to get to it.
Fill your bird’s food bowl sparingly throughout the day rather than filling it to the brim. Using this method, you can easily resolve this issue.
Conclusion Simply put, budgies waste food based on their instincts. There are no diseases involved. The best thing you can do as an owner is to identify any of the reasons I mentioned above. I followed these tips and they worked wonders for me. I hope that you will also be able to resolve this issue.
Ali Shahid is a veterinarian by profession and an animal lover. He loves to give expert opinions about different animals. He has worked in top organization of birds like Bigbird Feed and Poultry Research institute. He loves birds, especially parrots and has great experience in different parrot farms.