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Why is my parakeet puffed up? [Symptoms, causes, solutions]

Do you have a parakeet displaying weird behaviors abruptly? It is time to pay attention to what it means and address the behavioral constraint with solutions.

Why is parakeet puffed up?

Puffing up, among adult parakeets, indicates the need for warmth and is common during winters. If your parakeet is puffed up for quite a long time, it indicates sickness and the parakeet becomes motionless. Rush to your vet in that case.

We analyzed over 40 parakeets at multiple climatic conditions to find out what the reason could be and the common cause behind the puffing up of parakeet. Parakeet parents from across the world participated in this survey to provide us the result.

Here’s the data that you should see.

How many parakeets? Temperature (in F) Signs Consequence
6 <40 Regular puffing up and shaking, runny eyes, breathing heavy 4 survived, 2 passed away due to hypothermia
15 40-60 Regular puffing up and sleeping 14 survived and 1 passed away after his pair passed away a few days ago.
14 60-75 Puffing up feathers All 14 survived.
4 76-90 Puffing up and breathing heavy, fever, running nose, regular flapping 2 survived and 2 passed away due to fever
1 >90 More than one sign mentioned above Passed away due to heatstroke


Perhaps, certain parakeets in the acceptable temperature levels tend to get excited and might puff up to gain your attention to bathing him/her.

Why is my parakeet puffed up and sleeping?

A parakeet puffs up and sleeps in two conditions – maintaining warmth or indicating fever. If it is too hot or cold outside, puffing up is a habit to maintain warmth. If the parakeet sleeps excessively, it indicates fever.

Often, pet parents panic as the parakeet puffs up frequently. This happens especially when the climatic condition changes rapidly.

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What temperature is ideal for parakeets?

An adult parakeet can withstand 70 degrees on average and a decrease in this temperature (up to 40 degrees) results in hypothermia while an increase in temperature (up to 90 degrees) results in fever.

The parakeet generally tries to puff up and warm up the body. In certain situations, parakeets lose the ability to survive and develop weird behaviors. This is when you should start worrying. Otherwise, these birds are meant to withstand natural climatic differences and puff up to keep the warmth.

Why is my parakeet puffed up and shaking?

A parakeet can puff up and shake especially when the temperature is too low (<40) and it implies shivering. Moving the parakeet to a warm place helps improve temperature and also avoids hypothermia. Keep an eye on your parakeet when the temperature around you is getting colder.

Note – This is the case with tiny or just-born parakeets as they have thin skin that has limited ability to withstand external cold temperatures.

Why is my parakeet puffed up and breathing heavy?

A parakeet getting puffed up and breathing heavy is a symptom of a serious illness occurring due to extremely low temperatures of a potential internal fungal infection. The respiratory recovery rate (RRR) in parakeets is usually 3-5 minutes. Prolonged heavy breathing (> 5minutes) implies a respiratory issue and rush up to a vet immediately.

Here are the other causes –

  • A dietary change can affect assimilation and respiratory rates.
  • Sleep deprivation is another reason.
  • Breathing heavy is also comorbidity of fever or heat stroke and in such cases, move the parakeet to a warm box and rush to a vet. When heatstroke is the case, acting in less than 20 minutes makes a difference in the parakeet’s life.
  • Most importantly, a parakeet puffs up when there are fecal remains that are uncleaned.

Why is my parakeet puffing up its feathers?

A bird, puffing up feathers, is an indicator of excitement and a method to conserve warmth. Your parakeet needs your attention. Spend some time, give her/him a towel bath, and puffing up can control.


Unusual reason for puffing up

There is also an unusual reason for a parakeet to puff up which a lot of them won’t tell you.

If your parakeet is male, you need to look if there is any color change in the cere.

  • There is blue discoloration and the color might now match that of the female.
  • Prolonged puffiness is also an indicator of low testosterone production and the likelihood of testicular cancer.

If your parakeet is female, there is the likelihood for her to be eggbound and it is an emergency. But, you need to be gentler than ever in handling her in this traumatic condition.

  • Do not turn her.
  • Check if there is a lump beneath her stomach. If yes, she is eggbound.
  • Ensure you don’t exert pressure on her while lifting up.

How to find out if my parakeet is sick?

Parakeets fall under highly active species. Here are 10 signs that you should watch in your parakeet to confirm sickness.

  1. Is the parakeet not responding to your instruction?
  2. Is the parakeet becoming extra alert when someone gets closer?
  3. Is the parakeet preferring isolation?
  4. Is there lethargy and chirpiness in behavior?
  5. Do you find abnormal quietness in your parakeet?
  6. Has the sleep position become highly peculiar?
  7. Does the parakeet have running or bulgy eyes/nose?
  8. Is the parakeet comfortable with high heat inside the cage?
  9. Does the parakeet pass loose stools?
  10. Is the parakeet sticking to one region of the cage?

If your answer is YES to even three of the questions listed above, it is time that you rush to a vet.

How to avoid puffing in my parakeet? 

While puffing is not always negative, there are a few ways to avoid prolonged puffiness in your parakeet.

  1. Temperature control – A parakeet puffs up to maintain warmth and there are added signs based on temperatures. The table above shows how a bird remains susceptible to weather conditions. The easiest thing that you can do is to maintain a warm place or even use a birdcage heater.
  2. Attention – Give your parakeet enough attention and spend time with him/her. This is a way to avoid stress and anxiety in your parakeet. Communicate, play, bathe, and also keep your parakeet engaged.
  3. Cleanliness – The fecal culture of a bird is a carrier of numerous parasites and when you do not clean at least two times a day, the parakeet remains prone to blood deficiency and fungal infections.
  4. Food – Parakeets prefer fresh foods like yams, pumpkin, carrots, and squash over seeds.
  5. Darkness – Parakeets do not prefer a place that has access to brightness 24/7. They need a warm and dark place to rest.
  6. Sleep – Parakeets generally require uninterrupted, long hours of sleep. When this is impacted, it can result in puffing up.
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In short, puffing up in a parakeet contains a lot of positive signs demanding your attention. However, prolonged puffing happens with other signs like shaking, breathing heavy, and excessive sleeping that indicate the existence of illness. Simple solutions like temperature management, diet, clean space, and enough time spent with parakeets can make a huge difference.

Disclaimer – All temperatures mentioned in this article in Fahrenheit.