Our new parakeet, Kevin, seemed shockingly small to us when he first came home. Compared to Toby and Kelly he was as light as a feather. We naturally felt that he was underweight, but since he was having such a hard time with trust we didn’t think we could get him on the Food Scale for a weight in. We weighed Toby and Kelly instead and, to our horror, found that they were overweight! Looking up healthy parakeet weight, you will find a few different ranges, some say 25-36 grams is the healthy range, while others say 30-40 grams. I should mention that all of our parakeets are the smaller Australian parakeet, versus the larger “English” budgie.
Toby and Kelly knocked it out of the park, with Toby weighing in at 43 grams and Kelly at a whopping 55 grams! Ouch! I immediately renewed my commitment to healthy feeding. Right now they are on a mix of Harrison’s High Potency Super Fine, Volkman Avian Science Super Parakeet and Dr. Harvey’s Our Best Parakeet Blend Natural Food for Parakeets. The Harrison’s high potency is not a forever thing, Harrison’s recommends switching over to pellets with the high potency and then switching to Harrison’s Adult Lifetime Super Fine which is for long term feeding.
I am still completely on the fence about pellets in general. I’m not sure that they are part of my long term feeding plan. But, I’ll try anything to see what works best for our flock!
In addition to changing up our food mix, I also recommitted to feeding fruits or vegetables every day, and that’s been going well! I think I enjoy watching them play around on a plate of veggies as much as they enjoy doing it. I’m not convinced they are eating all that much of it, but as long as they throw the food around and get some enrichment I’m good.
It’s been about a month since we made the changes, and while they haven’t shed enough grams for a stunning before and after photo I’m happy with the progress. Toby is down to 40 grams, and probably at a healthy weight for her. Kelly dropped to 50 grams, which is percentage-wise a substantial loss. We will keep working on her, but I do seriously think that she has a bigger frame than Toby and Kevin and should probably weight more.
Kevin decided it would be okay to get on the scale and originally weighed in at 23 grams, which is too low, but I think he was scared to eat well in quarantine. Also I’m pretending that the weight of his missing flight feathers would have gotten him into a non-danger zone of being underweight!
Now that he’s been out of quarantine for a few weeks he is up to 29 grams, which is a nice and respectable, but still quite slim.
I’m hopeful that we can keep Kevin and Toby where they are and maybe help Kelly lose a few more grams. The parakeets are all bunking in together at this point and I think that having in-cage companionship during the day may help encourage all of them to play more. Fingers crossed that it keeps going well, but it’s great to see that a few changes can make a difference in helping to maintain a healthy parakeet weight!
14 thoughts on “Parakeet weight update – have Toby & Kelly slimmed down?”
Wild Budgerigars average 30-40 grams.
Yours might be “Australian budgies” but they are not wild ones. 40-50g is more realistic and healthy.
By the way all budgies are Australian. 🙂
Yup, that’s why I put the quotes around “English” I felt that English budgie is a commonly used term readers would understand and help me make the distinction.
I see. In England we call them Exhibition or Show birds.
I’m glad all your budgies are healthy and that Kevin is integrating into the flock well.
The common American terminology is a bit different. I often struggle with making things clear and commonly accepted for American and international readers both 🙂
Thanks as always for reading and commenting!
See Jason Crean site on raw foods nutrition for birds, cats, and dogs. He is an avian nutritionist, zoo consultant and PhD in biology. He compares pellets to kibble in dogs and does not recommend. Says processed food loses nutrition in the heating process, vitamins, minerals, etc.
I would certainly agree with the comparison of pellets to dog or cat kibble. That’s why I’m not sure that pellets will be part of the diet going forward.
It’s total excuse, but I would need to make major changes to do a fully raw diet for them. And I would have to have absolute buy-in from my husband since I travel for work a lot leaving him to care for the flock.
I have a mix of birds from Small to big… Some eat more seeds while others should stay away from them. With time they seem to all eat what they need.
Harrison pellets are available in little bowls in all sizes but I also grind it into a powder and mix it in with the mash. This way birds like budgies who don’t fancy pellets on a regular basis still get the benefits while eating fresh sprouts, vegetables and fruits.
Thank you! That’s a great idea, I know that Toby and Kevin are not quite sold on pellets. Kelly, on the other hand, will eat pretty much anything she’s presented with.
How did you go about handling Kevin? I’ve had Sammy now just over 3 weeks. I don’t know how to go about getting him outside the cage. I’ve got him to the open door so far.
Kevin had his wings clipped at the pet store before we took him home, so after giving him a few days to acclimate we started getting him on our hands inside the cage and then worked up to taking him out of it.
He did not care for that one bit, we would usually have to shut the door behind him and make him stay out for about 10 minutes or so.
Our girl Toby was fully flighted when she came home and stayed in her cage for about a month while we worked on her understanding that we were not going to eat her.
One thing I’ve found that helps is if there’s an area outside their cage, a play gym, or play stand that is clearly “theirs” and has toys, perches etc. That way they have a second home base that they feel secure hanging out on. Not such an issue once they settle in and take over your house, but starting out that’s how we got Toby to want to stay out more.
Maybe Kevin is hoping to impress the ladies with his leading man physique and pensive manner.
LOL! Maybe, so far they are impervious to his charms, but we humans are head over heels!
My two girls don’t seem to like the Super Potency Pellets. I hear them dropping them on the fllor of the cage every day. I have tried them a raw veggies and moistened in applesauce. They refuse to eat them. So I am going to try for a bit longer , grinding them up as another reader said. Then just add them to the wild bird seed if they still refuse..
I think the key is just keeping at it and trying new things, without getting frustrated and giving up! I struggle with that anyway 🙂