How do I Know If My Parakeet is in Pain? Causes and Management

Budgerigar isolated on white, (Melopsittacus undulatus)

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In the wild, any sign of weakness gives predators an upper hand in hunting the weak animals. This information is quite crucial for any bird keeper. When your parakeet is in pain, you are less likely to notice quickly since this is what wildlife has taught them. 

Unlike humans, birds can’t tell their owners that they are in pain vocally. Some behavioural changes will be an indication that they are in pain. It is, therefore, your role to find out when your feathery friend is in pain. Don’t know how to do that? Well, worry no more because we will guide you. 

What are The Signs of Pain in A Parakeet?

1. Biased Use of Body Parts

I dread toothaches because I must chew carefully every time my tooth hurts and avoid the painful tooth’s side. Parakeets react the same way when one side’s body part hurts.

If the left foot is in pain, the bird will use the right foot. The bird will also move oddly. If one wing is in pain, the bird will avoid using that wing as much as possible. Although the bird might think it is hiding the pain, this is an obvious way of showing it is in pain.  

2. Lethargy 

Has your proactive bird suddenly become less active and moody? Then there’s a need to check if it is in pain. This behavioural change might be a sign of illness. 

Your parakeet will likely leave its nest infrequently and sleep for many hours. Quick action will be required for this case. Make sure you take your bird to a veterinary for medical advice. 

3. Loss of Appetite

Your bird has the highest appetite, but it feeds poorly. Parakeets are one of the pickiest birds and will not eat everything you offer them. But even with that, your bird will eat a lot of what he likes. 

When you offer the bird his favourite meal, and it ignores it, this can be a sign that the bird is experiencing pain that makes him feel uncomfortable when swallowing or eating. 

4. Irritability 

When your bird is in pain, it can be moody and often gets irritable to touch the painful areas. Hormonal changes can also cause irritability, but since you may not be sure of the cause, it is better to get a diagnosis. 

5. Squinting 

Birds do not necessarily have to be hurt by anyone. They can hurt themselves. When in pain or discomfort, your bird can start squinting.

It may not necessarily mean that the bird is experiencing eye pain; it can be due to pain in other parts of the body. Therefore, you should be keen on observing your squinting bird.

What Causes Pain in Parakeets?

1. Health Condition

Birds can experience long-term or short-term pain. This pain can be caused by a disease or condition affecting their body systems, like the respiratory, musculoskeletal and digestive systems. Environmental changes, inappropriate diet, and feather-removing behaviours can cause these conditions. 

2. Stress

Birds do get stressed too. Stress can be because of a lack of good food or even a lack of companionship. At this moment, they can pluck off their feathers, and this causes so much pain in them. 

3. Lack of Exercise 

When the birds do not move their limbs and joints often and exercise, they can feel pain as they walk. This mostly happens to aged birds.

4. Mites Bites 

When your bird stays in an environment that is moist and is not prevented against pests, there are chances that the area will have mites. The mites can bite your bird, causing pain to the bird.

5. Injury 

A bird can get injured when moving. It can be damaged by an object, too, as it is moving or even in its cage. This can cause pain. The pain can vary in intensity, duration, and character depending on the degree of injury and location too. It can also get injured when it falls. 

How Can I Manage My Parakeet’s Pain?

  • Seek medical advice from your vet and as you go home, follow the instructions as given and to the letter. If there is no positive change, you can return to the vet. 
  • Use a weighing scale to keep check of your parakeet’s weight. As a result of the pain, the bird will lose some weight. You will, therefore, need the scale to keep track of the healing progress.
  • Use a bird’s first aid kit for nursing minor emergencies. This will help reduce the pain. 
  • Keep the cage warm for quick recovery. 


As a bird’s parent or caregiver, you can notice pain in your feathered friend. Monitor your bird closely every day to see any change. Pain does not have to be caused by an infection but is curable.

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Lizzy Ashton

Lizzy Ashton

Hi, my name is Lizzy Ashton, and I’m from Louisiana.
I consider myself an expert when it comes to raising parakeets and have been doing it for many years now. I’m 32 years old, live with my boyfriend, and together, we have 7 parakeets at home.
Our home is full of light and greenery, which my birds love. We even let them fly around the house (windows closed, of course)!

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