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


16 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.

  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 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!

  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!

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