new parakeet scared new parakeet doesn't move

What to expect when you bring home your new parakeet

Selecting and bringing home your first parakeet is a very exciting time for your household. Whether you’ve meticulously planned and curated an awesome cage for him, or you’re winging it and buying everything at once, chances are this isn’t a spur of the moment decision. You’ve probably thought a lot about what it will be like to introduce a parakeet to your home. Once you have actually installed the parakeet in his cage, you may be struck by the fact that he seems like a completely different bird than he was in the store, and some of the new behavior can be quite alarming. Here’s what you can expect for the first few days of adjustment.

  • The new parakeet doesn’t move. Literally for hours or even a day or two you may not see your parakeet move at all. Toby stayed stock still for 8 hours when we first brought her home and Kelly did the same. The parakeet is okay, he is just checking out his new environment and he is scared. Being a prey animal, one of his responses to fear is to stay totally still so predators don’t detect his presence. Of course there aren’t any predators in your home, but he doesn’t know that yet! You can play soothing music to help him feel comfortable, and I recommend staying out of his way until he relaxes. You want him to observe your household and make the determination that it’s not so scary after all, and it’s harder for him to do that if you get close or put your hands in the cage and frighten him further. This applies even to parakeets that you would expect to be totally chill about the move, such as hand-fed babies that you may have even met before on several occasions. It is still a HUGE and scary change making a move.
  • The new parakeet doesn’t eat or drink. You may think that the budgie is not eating or drinking anything, even up to 3 or 4 days post introduction into your home. This is likely not the case, he will eat and drink when you are not around and he feels safer. Eating and drinking puts him in a position that’s very vulnerable to attack from predators, and since he’s not totally convinced you aren’t a threat, he will eat and drink when you’re gone. Check to see if there are seed hulls in the food bowl, that’s an indication he is eating while you’re not around. If you are truly concerned put in a spray of millet for a while to see if he will go for that. It may take longer for you to see your parakeet drinking versus eating. It was two solid weeks before I saw Toby drink, but of course she must have been doing it in secret all along. You can also monitor his poops to make sure they are made up of both urates and feces (white and green or brown), although some poop variation is normal due to all the changes and stress.

This is not the time to introduce vegetables, fruits or other new foods. the best bet is to provide whatever food your parakeet has been accustomed to eating; you’ll have tons of time down the road to change his diet.

  • The new parakeet doesn’t make a sound. As you might guess, this is also to avoid drawing attention to himself from predators. Play music or have the tv on at a reasonable volume and the background noise should help your parakeet feel more comfortable. He’s probably used to lots of noise being in with other parakeets so total quiet without other birds can be very jarring and scary. It may take days before he relaxes enough to start singing, yelling, screeching and making all the other delightful budgie noises!

Hopefully that helps explain why the boisterous little clown you picked out at the pet store turned into a quiet parakeet statue the moment you brought him home. It can be a terrible feeling seeing him so scared and out of sorts, but give it a few days and he’ll come around. Once your new parakeet has begun moving around and acting more like himself it’s time to begin the taming process, but before that happens I strongly recommend giving him time to settle in and figure out the he’s safe in your home.

new parakeet doesn't move

48 thoughts on “What to expect when you bring home your new parakeet”

  1. I take in many birds in a rescue situation and I found it takes a good 2 weeks before a bird totally comes around and feels basically comfortable in a new environment. Patience is a virtue when it comes to our little feathered friends. Naturally having multiple birds means they also have to understand their place in their little bird world as much as our human world.

      1. Hi Thank you so much for your prompt and caring response about mr Darcy’s traumatic homecoming experience!! I went out or a while with the dog, to give Mr Darcy a break ::)
        I really don’t think he hurt himself, in fact I seen him stretching, and when we got back I put a piece of millet right in front of him and within 1 minute he was gently knibbling away at it even though not moving position! so it’s good he is sitting close to the bars and his food bowl as he won’t have to move too far to get to it! :), the piece of millet fell out the bars twice in fact because he was knibbling away at it, so now I openend one of the flaps over his foodbowls from the outside of the cage, and put a nice 2″ piece of millet sticking out from his food bowl which is almost right beside where he is sitting, so I hope that helps him find he food bowl too, but feeling a lot more confident know that he ate the millet whilst I was chatting in a soft animated voice to him from a short distance! Feeling such a relief already! I also think he is going to like Michael Jackson hahaha, as he moved his head quite a bit towards the sounds of “beat it” 🙂 hahaha! I think Mr. Darcy will be fine! Yeah!!! Thank you for your advice and I joined the 2 facebook groups you mentioned as well! Sorry I couldn’t reply on the original thread as it didn’t have a reply button, but wanted to let you know that I think he will be ok! Fingers crossed!

      2. I’m so glad that Mr. Darcy was doing so well over the weekend!! I hope he continued to get used to being in your home 🙂 That’s such a wonderful sign that he already felt comfortable enough to bob his head along to some music!

      1. This is a tough one. Some people swear by playing budgie noises to help new pets feel more comfortable, but I have never done it. Every time I’ve played budgie noises for my flock I feel like they are calling out to the birds they hear on TV and it’s just confusing for them.

        So, you could play them for your bird and see how they react? If they start flock calling it may be more anxiety inducing than comforting.

    1. Hi Steve would it be possible to have some advice on my new budgie please ?
      She was hand reared so is very tame and loves being out with me just sitting on my head etc but I can’t be in the same room as her if she’s in her cage she just gets stressed and wants to be let out. I really wanted to keep her in the family room so she had company most of the day but unless she’s out if she see us she is pacing the bottom of the cage I’ve only had her for two days what would you advice ? I’ve been having to keep her in our bedroom so she calms a little when we’re sitting at home

      Many Thanks
      Alisha

      1. Hi Alisha,

        I’m not sure whether Steve will receive a notification of your comment, so I thought I might respond in case I could be helpful.

        Is there a reason that your new budgie can’t be out of the cage most of the day to hang out with you? Mine are free range as long as I’m home and not working, and they also get annoyed if we’re in the same room as them and they aren’t allowed out!

        Also, what size is your budgie’s cage? I only ask because one of my girls gets very agitated if she’s in a cage that’s too small for her liking and will pace back and forth as you’ve described.

        Best of luck with your new friend!
        Kristen (Home Keet Home)

  2. Little parakeet is four months or younger it’s been a day he already comes on my finger he doesn’t flap fly around when I put my hand in the cage or if something makes a noise .. my granddaughter came over and put her in the cage and he was fine he doesn’t pant..I think he’s a very calm bird but he is not eating or drinking

    1. I’m sorry it took me so long to get back to you! How is the little fellow doing now? It can take some time for them to eat and drink. He also may be too scared to move, instead of being a calm bird, but that will show in time! Best of luck with your new friend!

  3. Thanks so much for this! My daughter got a hand raised budgie (10 weeks old) for her birthday, and, after crafting tons of toys only to see him perched in one, place, she’s a bit worried. Thank goodness for google and helpful articles like yours! Merlin, budgie’s name, wasn’t eating..no hulls or anything, but he was willing to eat from her hand for a solid 7 minutes last night. He’s chowing down on the ground now, but still won’t eat from his feeding spot. I’m so glad you mentioned the water, too. That’s been *my* fear, though I read spray millet offers some fluid. Like you said, having kids I told myself that his excretions were looking normal, so not to worry.

    1. Hello! I’m so sorry it took me this long to respond. How is Merlin doing now, I hope he’s all settled in 🙂

  4. I have a question, I’m new to having a parakeet. I had brought mine home yesterday, and it didn’t move till we went to bed. Is it a good sign that he moved around last night?

    1. As long as he had enough light to move around and wasn’t flying around in a panic during a night terror then it’s a good sign.

      I would expect him to move around only when you’re not in the room for some length of time, but it’s tough to tell whether that will be a day or two or a week or two. Right now he’s still trying to figure out whether you’re a predator, and staying still is his best defense mechanism!

      Good luck with your new parakeet!

      1. HELP PLEASE! We just brought home our gorgeous 6 week old baby budgie boy Mr. Darcy today, but just after he was let in the cage, the door went into the inside and he flew past me straight into the window, then crashed down, and my normally very sleepy and placid cavalier king Charles dog (who has always been good with all of our other pets, cats and hamsters), tried to get him straight away :O! Luckily my daughter grabbed the dog straight away and I managed to grab Mr. Darcy and put him straight back in the cage, he hasn’t moved,… we are having the TV on now and we are going about our normal business, I chat to him from my sitting position at the table now and again, but I am worried, he is so traumatised now, and will always be wary of our dog or coming out the cage or won’t trust is 🙁 also that he will be too scared to eat or drink anything Our house is not that big and completely open plan, so should I take him in my room tonight away from the dog? Or should I put Mr Darcy’s cage in the hallway tonight by himself? So he will relax and eat? He has the 1 water and 1 seed feeder, bowls, but he is a baby so he won’t even know where the food is? I can put some millet through the bars?

      2. Hi Nancy, I’m so sorry to hear about the traumatic experience Mr. Darcy (and you!) had when bringing him home. It can be really tough with an open floor plan, but if there’s any way to give Mr. Darcy some quiet time where he does not have to see your dog I think that would probably be best to ensure that he relaxes enough to eat and drink. I would recommend putting some millet through the cage bars in order to help entice Mr. Darcy to eat.

        I don’t think one bad experience is going to be a deal breaker forever in traumatizing Mr. Darcy so much he won’t ever trust you or be okay with the dog. In fact if something like this was going to happen it’s sort of good that it was part of his homecoming which may coalesce for him into just one chaotic memory rather than anything specific about you or the dog.

        I’m not sure how hard he hit the window but there is also a chance that he could have injured himself pretty badly, so just making sure he’s kept calm, comfortable and nice and warm for the next couple of days is a great idea.

        If you’re on Facebook I recommend joining a group called “parakeets” and/or “parrot first aid”, the former group always has members available to help with questions about behavior and the latter can be very helpful in providing advice if your budgie has a medical emergency. I only mention it because I’m not always able to respond as quickly as I might like here, so it’s good to have the support of a 40,000 budgie owners if you need it!

        Best of luck with Mr. Darcy, I hope he’ll settle in nicely after he processes the initial shock.

  5. Hi! I just got my parakeets today. I’ve read that flicking it’s tail up and down means a parakeet is definitely sick. One of mine is flicking its tail up and down. Is it sick, or just nervous from the hour drive home and new environment?

    1. It’s tough to know for sure, but if there are no other symptoms of illness then the parakeet could definitely just be breathing a bit heavily due to nervousness. A long car ride and totally new environment are big stressors.

      Keep an eye on them and look out for puffiness and excessive sleepiness after they have settled in.

      Good luck, I hope it’s just anxiety!

  6. ive had my budgie for two weeks to the day and he only makes noises when i play other budgie noises on my phone. Should i be concerned? How do i get him to be more talkative?

    1. Budgies do generally feel safer when there’s some background noise. Is your household generally quiet? Don’t be afraid to listen to music, watch tv at a good volume and be chatty in general. Hopefully the more that your new budgie sees that you are not a threat the more comfortable they will be singing.

      On the other hand, do you know for sure it’s a boy? My female budgie was a solo bird for about 7 months and rarely ever made much noise, girls tend to be a little less vocal.

      I wouldn’t be concerned, unless they look visibly scared much of the time (feathers tight to the body, upright position standing quite still, runny poop etc.).

      Best of luck with your new friend!

  7. Hi, i’ve had my budgie for exactly two weeks and he wont make a peep until i play other budgies making boise on my phone. Should i be concerned? How do i get him to be more vocal?

    1. Budgies do generally feel safer when there’s some background noise. Is your household generally quiet? Don’t be afraid to listen to music, watch tv at a good volume and be chatty in general. Hopefully the more that your new budgie sees that you are not a threat the more comfortable they will be singing.

      On the other hand, do you know for sure it’s a boy? My female budgie was a solo bird for about 7 months and rarely ever made much noise, girls tend to be a little less vocal.

      I wouldn’t be concerned, unless they look visibly scared much of the time (feathers tight to the body, upright position standing quite still, runny poop etc.).

      Best of luck with your new friend!

    1. That definitely depends on several factors. If your budgies need a lot of supervision then I would limit it to the amount of time you can spend closely monitoring them.

      For our flock, we have a few places set up for them around the house that are their “away from home” bases. I generally know what they will get up to without close supervision and I keep a loose eye on them.

      During weekdays mind are usually out for 2-3 hours in the afternoon once I’m done with work, and they got to bed about the time we start making dinner.

      Weekends they are usually out the entire day, or at least it’s their choice to hang out in the cages or out in the house.

  8. Thanks. I am hand training two budgies. I’m using the millet treat but with both hands in. With that posture, my people are on my palms. Spreading my fingers makes for some perches. Any advise about hand cramps?!

    1. That is definitely a recipe for hand cramping! Just take breaks when you need to and maybe look into some hand stretches you can do after each taming session.

  9. Uh, hi, I just got my two parakeets yesterday. Do you think it would be good to try to feed them by hand? One is already vocal when I play music and the other is very timid and shy. What should I do? Thanks in advance.

    1. Have you tried just putting your hand by itself in the cage to see how they react to it? If they don’t totally freak out then you could definitely put your hand in their cage with millet and see what happens.

  10. My people are progressing nicely. They leave but return to their cage for water and food. They are making me proud.

  11. Hi I just got a budgie, maybe… 4 days ago? Your article really helped a lot but, I have a question? She sings a LOT when I play certain songs, and she seems comfortable with my presence, but just my presence. If I go near her cage to change her water she doesn’t fly around the cage in fear anymore, but she does start panting. When should I start hand training her? Or should I leave her be for a while more?

    1. I would recommend spending some additional time just sitting near her cage, maybe reading to her or just hanging out and chatting. Panting is definitely a sign of anxiety, and you don’t necessarily need to wait until she stops doing that to start hand training her, but there’s no need to rush at this point either. Best of luck! 🙂

  12. Hi we have introduced a new girl parakeet (which seems younger) to the existing boy parakeet, to have company. After placing temp cage the new parakeet moved in to the bigger one with the existing bird, but its been half a day now and boy seems very territorial. Not letting new bird near his food or toys and even pecking at her. Should we get another case to get them used to each other or give more time?

    1. I’m sorry for the delay in my response, sometimes my day job keeps me from getting to blog responses!

      How are things going now? It can be tough for a parakeet who’s had total dominion over their cage to let a new bird settle in. Make sure to have two food bowls and two water sources so the existing parakeet can’t starve the other one.

      If there’s been continued violence then yes I would recommend getting another cage to help them get used to each other.

      Ideally, when bringing in a new parakeet you’d want to quarantine the new on in a separate room for 30 days. This would give you time to be sure the new bird doesn’t have any communicable diseases, but it also gives the parakeets time to become aware of each other just through sounds. That way by the time they are introduced they both know of the other’s existence and have likely done some socializing just by “talking” to each other.

      I hope everything is going okay!

  13. Hello
    I bought a budgie last week and she is doing really well… settling in nicely but we thought a friend might make her feel more at home so we bought a new one yesterday. The second one is on an old hamster cage right now(she has a large perch swing and a toy and a food/water) I’m just worried about a couple things.
    She is extremely puffy and I’m worried she isn’t well. Yesterday she was quite vocal and active in her cage but today is quite still and like I said.. puffy.
    Also I don’t like that she is in a hamster cage… when can I add her n with my first bird? I’ve only had my first bird for a week so is it easier to add a second bird considering we haven’t had her very long?

    1. Hi there, quarantine should be at least four weeks long. I would maybe go shorter considering you only had the first one for such a short time, but definitely don’t add the new budgie in sooner if you suspect she is sick.

      If it’s possible, consider taking her to an avian vet for a check up, she may have been sick when you purchased her.

      Best of luck, I hope she will bounce back!

    1. Hello – your parakeet could have watery poops because he is nervous about being in a new place.

      If he continues to have watery poops you might consider finding an avian vet to get him a check up.

      Best of luck with your new friend!

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