Because of their behavior after the loss of a companion, a lot of people ask can budgies be sad if their friend dies?
The short answer is yes.
Just like humans and a range of other animals, budgies do grieve the loss of their partner or companion.
If one of your beloved pets has passed on, you’ll be desperate to know how to help a grieving budgie. Here is all you need to know about grieving budgies and what you can do to help them through the process.
Why Do Budgies Grieve?
Genetically speaking, mourning is a part of what makes relationships between animals strong. Budgies and parakeets need to live in flocks with other birds and have to form close relationships to survive and breed.
Budgies in particular are known to be monogamous and form a close relationship with one partner for significant periods of time. Even after being separated for 70 days, one study found that budgies can recognize their partners by their sound. The strong bond between them ensures that the species will continue to breed.
Bereavement is a natural stress reaction for many animals and the loss of a loved one can cause psychological trauma. In order to ensure the health of your budgie, you have to look for certain signs and address the problem.
How Can I Tell If My Budgie Is Grieving?
If you aren’t convinced that budgies and parakeets do grieve, there are a number of signs that suggest that budgies can be sad about their friend dying which you should keep an eye out for.
Excessive Head Bobbing
Although you might think that head bobbing means that your budgie is happy or just hungry and looking for attention, you have to remember that it is usually part of the courtship ritual. Excessive head-bobbing after the death of a partner could suggest your budgie is experiencing mental trauma or grief and shows that they are missing that interaction with their mate.
Other signs of grieving include changes in behavior like loss of appetite, unusual aggression, feather plucking and a change in sleeping habits. Any unusual behavior after a loss can be a clear sign that your budgie is grieving so it is important to keep a close eye on them for the first few weeks.
How To Help A Grieving Budgie
Once you understand that parakeets do grieve and can see that they are acting differently, it is important to consider how you can help them through the grieving process.
If you treat your budgie with lots of care and attention, the process can take one to two weeks but this could be longer depending on the individual bird so don’t expect them to keep to any certain time frame.
Make Sure You Give Them Plenty Of Attention
Budgies like a lot of attention from their owners anyway but this is a time to be extra attentive.
Remember that leaving them alone in the cage will be distressing if they are used to always sharing it with a mate.
Make sure you keep them in sight and keep a careful eye out for the signs of distress mentioned above. Schedule some time to spend with them every day and stick to this schedule so they know when to expect some one on one time.
Distractions Are Key
There are a number of ways you can take your budgie’s mind off their loss temporarily and grieving budgies will greatly appreciate some distraction. Although it is important to stick to a nutritious diet day-to-day, at this special time it is perfectly reasonable to give your budgie a little treat like a honey stick to perk them up.
Budgies also need a range of toys to stop them from getting bored so this is the perfect time to introduce some new toys into their cage and encourage them to play with them. If you don’t want to splash out on plastic toys try some homemade budgie toys which you can easily make using common household items.
Should I Replace My Budgie’s Lost Mate?
After asking do parakeets grieve, the next thing people usually ask is should I get a new mate for my budgie or parakeet?
It might seem like the simple answer to the problem but just like with any loss, the void can’t always be filled so easily. You might just find that your new budgie and grieving budgie don’t get on at all if you don’t introduce them to each other with care and with the right timing.
Don’t Rush To Replace Their Mate
Seeing as the grieving process can be a few weeks, immediately after the death of a mate might not be the best time to introduce your budgie to a new friend.
Especially if they are behaving abnormally, they aren’t likely to bond with a new bird and might even be aggressive towards them. Instead, take this time to devote extra attention to your budgie yourself – they’ll appreciate the comfort of someone they know.
Introduce A New Mate Slowly
If you do decide to bring home a new buddy for your budgie, don’t throw them into the cage together and expect everything to be as it was. A good idea is to keep the two birds in separate cages for the first month so they can get used to each other’s calls from a distance before any physical contact.
Let them out of the cage together to enjoy playtime outside but make sure you supervise them in case of aggressive behavior. If playtime goes well, you can see how they fare sharing a cage but they might be better off staying in their own individual cages.
Keeping A Budgie Alone
If you decide not to buy a new mate for your budgie, they can live alone even though they are flock animals and prefer the company of their own kind.
In spite of this, generations of domesticated budgies have adapted to human company and many pet budgies are now perfectly happy with just their owners for a friend.
Some owners have even found that solo budgies can be more affectionate. Of course, this can only be achieved if you devote just as much affection back. Solo budgies will need several hours of one on one attention a day so it is not a good idea to keep them alone if you are often out of the house or too busy to give them the attention they need.
Let's watch this short video below showing Benjamin bobbing his head. He must be missing his companions which are in another room and wants to be with them.
Although budgies certainly do grieve, they will heal with time and may even be able to accept a new mate. If you are worried about how to help a grieving budgie, the important thing to remember is that they need plenty of attention and you should always be on the lookout for abnormal behavior.
Dedicated bird owners will be able to help their budgies through the grieving process and might even form a tighter bond with their budgie because of it.