Most people with pets can often experience a range of issues when leaving them alone for an extended period of time. Separation anxiety, boredom, destructive behavior and even feeding and water incidents are common when pets are left alone for varying periods of time.
Parakeets are social, intelligent and interactive birds and require plenty of stimulation and human presence for them to be happy and healthy. Therefore a common question that we happen upon is how long can parakeets be left alone?
Parakeets can be left alone for 8 – 24 hours at the most. With sufficient food, water and mental stimulation (toys, background music, chew toys, puzzles) a parakeet can stay entertained for short periods of time alone however they are a social breed and therefore require company to prevent loneliness or separation anxiety. It’s therefore advised that parakeets are never left alone for periods greater than 24 hours.
In this article we will run you through the basic parakeet needs and what you need to do if you feel you are (or are going to) be leaving your parakeet alone for extended periods of time. As a quick summary, we’d advise that parakeets are left alone for as short a time as possible with a typical limit being 6 – 8 hours daily.
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Are Parakeets Ok to Be Left Alone
Parakeets are very social birds and due to their intelligent and energetic nature, they require quite a lot of stimulation and company, be that a human or other caged friend.
This is mainly because parakeets, and most other types of parrot and budgie for that matter, flock and therefore are naturally accustomed to being in groups or at a bare minimum, having others for constant company.
From a general viewpoint, parakeets can be left alone for short periods of time as long as they have adequate levels of food, water and stimulation however this is from a purely physical wellbeing viewpoint.
The issue with leaving parakeets alone comes from the much less noticeable effects of loneliness, separation anxiety and boredom. All of these factors are much more difficult to notice and might be factors that you didn’t even know that parakeets can suffer from.
How Long Can Parakeets Be Left Alone
Parakeets for the most part can be left alone for up to 24 hours without too many issues as a result. This will of course depend on a range of factors and some of the following guidelines would need to be followed:
- Leave enough seed and water to cover their needs with some additional as a buffer in case of an accident. A seed timer is helpful to ensure that an accident with the seed tray (being tipped out of the cage for example) doesn’t leave them with no food while you are away.
- Provide enough mental stimulation to prevent them from becoming bored and engaging in destructive behavior. A bored parakeet could feather plug, tip their food and water or generally cause destruction to their cage through chewing.
- Have a companion, this could be a parakeet in the same cage or in a separate cage and could also be a different bird breed in a separate cage. This will give them some companionship when you are not there and also help to prevent loneliness.
- This great YouTube video is a handy visual guide on leaving your parakeet along for up to 24 hours.
With this being said, 24 hours is the absolute maximum that we’d recommend leaving your parakeet alone for and 6 – 8 hours would be a more typical and manageable duration.
The reason for this is purely down to companionship and interaction, while parakeets will of course need some alone time for rest and sleep the majority of the time they require social interaction and stimulation and just a few hours alone can be quite testing for a parakeet.
How Best to Leave Your Parakeets Alone
Leaving your parakeet alone for any duration of time over a few hours will always need some planning and attention. A parakeet is such a social breed that what might only seem like a day alone for a human, can seem like a very long and troubling time for your pet.
A number of bird owners on Reddit expressed serious concern when someone suggested leaving their parakeet alone for 6 days and therefore it’s essential that you take the necessary steps to keep your parakeet happy, healthy and most important stimulated for periods when you won’t be around.
Daily tasks such as fresh food (not just seeds), freshwater, tray cleaning, and interaction are key to your parakeets well being and therefore some of the following steps are essential for providing a substitute for this in your absence.
Most of these items will seem commonsense or basic to some people, however, it’s the simple things that will make the most difference if you leave a parakeet alone as any issue won’t be solvable if you are not there to combat it.
Take a knocked water bowl, for example, this can be changed while you are at home but when away, your pet could be easily at risk of dehydration, and therefore these tips are quite essential to implement.
Leave Plenty of Food and Water
Fresh food and water provided daily are essential for optimal parakeet health as drinking water can quickly go dirty or start to evaporate and fresh food is needed for a healthy balanced diet.
During any period when you are away, plenty of birdseed, a seed feeding timer, water bowl and water tube feeder are all items that you can make use of.
It might seem like too much at first but if your parakeet goes to the toilet in its food or water or has an accident then you run the risk of leaving them with no food or hydration source until you return.
Therefore having as many foods and drink options while you are away is the best way to ensure that at an absolute minimum, your parakeet is sufficiently fed and watered. We’d also recommended adding more than you think in terms of quantity just in case you underestimate.
Leave Safe Toys and Puzzles
As we’ve mentioned, interaction and stimulation are some of the key things that parakeets need for mental wellbeing and toys and puzzles are excellent to keep your parakeet from feeling bored or lonely.
Reflective toys are great as well as chew toys and puzzles to keep them engaged, just ensure that when using these items you make sure there is nothing that could cause any problems for them while you are away.
This would typically mean any ropes that their legs could get tangled or trapped in and anything that they could find themselves getting stuck in. This is crucial because if it does happen, you won’t be around to help them out which will be a very stressful and traumatic experience that can easily be avoided.
If you are struggling for toy ideas to keep your parakeet entertained and free from loneliness then you can check out this quick parakeet toy guide for some toy ideas.
Here are some suitable toys
Utilize Modern Technology
Leaving the tv or music on while you are away gives the illusion of someone being home and provides some mental stimulation for your parakeet.
Fortunately, technology has come a long way in recent years and the use of a smart speaker like an Amazon Echo and smart home CCTV means you can control music and stimulation from your phone to give them some routine while you are away and most importantly, you can also check on them regularly to ensure everything is ok.
Have Someone Visit
Even if you apply the measures above, we’d still recommend having someone visit in person to check on them if you are gone for an extended period of time. A friend, family member or neighbor will be ideal for this as water and food checks are crucial though the best option would typically be a housesitter (though this will of course come at a cost).
Due to the social needs and tendencies of parakeets, we’d recommend rarely leaving them alone for extended periods of time and typically, 24 hours should be the maximum time.
In general, try to keep your parakeets alone for as short a time as possible and by following some of the steps we’ve listed above your parakeet should be happy and engaged at all times.
Also, consider getting a second caged bird as company if this is possible, not only with this give your parakeet a companion for life but also reduce the reliance on you being around all the time.