How Long Can Parakeets go Without Food and Water?

The two main things all creatures on this green earth need are food and water, and budgies are no exception. However, the amount of time animals can go without differs between them. Some can go for days or weeks without food and water, while others will only last a few hours.

When you take care of a bird, like a budgie, it’s important to know as much as you can about it. This includes knowing how long they can go without access to food and water. That way, you’re optimally prepared for any situation.

Most animals can go longer without food than without water, parakeets, in contrast, can go longer without water than without food. They can go for up to 24 hours without food and up to 48 hours without water. However, you must keep in mind that just because they can last this long without water, that doesn’t mean that they should be without access this long. It’s not good for their health to have prolonged inaccessibility to food & water.

How often should parakeets eat?

I’ve said that parakeets can go without food for up to 24 hours. And this is true, but they should eat much more often than that. Unlike many other pets, they do not need meals served to them at specific times. They eat throughout the day whenever they feel like it.

The nice thing about parakeets is that, unlike other animals such as dogs, they will not eat themselves silly if they have access to a lot of food. They will simply eat throughout the day when they are hungry. Because of this, you can have food in their cage at all times, and they will simply eat whenever they are hungry.

This makes taking care of feeding them extremely simple; oftentimes you only have to add food to their cage once a day. There are even automatic feeders that will do this job for you, you simply fill the feeder and it will slowly drip-feed it to your budgie.

This also means that parakeets are one of the few pets that can be left alone for a day or two since they can be left with enough food to sustain them for that amount of time.

How much food do parakeets need?

Parakeets only eat around half to 1 teaspoon of seeds per day for small birds and up to 1 tablespoon for larger birds. Also, they should have fresh fruits and vegetables on a daily basis.

Budgies are quite picky eaters though. For instance, they only eat the top layer of their seeds. I couldn’t find the reason for this anywhere, but it seems like all parakeets do this. Maybe it’s because they only believe the top layer to be fresh enough?

Since they eat only the top layer, the best feeding dish for these birds is a shallow one; this increases the surface area of the seeds and reduces the depth.

Why do parakeets need to eat so often?

The reason why your budgie needs to eat frequently is because of their extremely high metabolism. Certain animals, like snakes, for instance, can go for weeks without food because their metabolism is very slow. Parakeets have very high metabolisms so they burn through the food they eat in no time and will need to eat more frequently to keep them going.

They will not starve to death in the 24 hour time frame I’ve mentioned before, but that’s when it starts becoming very dangerous for them to go without food any longer. They will usually starve if they’re without food for over 48 hours, but this depends on the amount of fat your budgie has stored and the temperature of their surroundings.

Parakeets, being desert birds, are not very well suited for living in cold temperatures. They need to expend a lot more calories in cold weather to warm themselves and this requires more caloric intake.

What do parakeets eat?

millet seeds - most parakeets adore it
Millet seeds are most parakeet’s favorite food. However, pellets are a healthier option for them!

Parakeets eat pellets, seeds, vegetables, and fruits. Most parakeets love seeds, but pellets are healthier for them. Seeds are high in calories, fat and lack important vitamins and minerals. A diet completely comprised of seeds can lead to malnutrition in your bird.

Pellets on the other hand are specifically created to contain optimal nutrition for parakeets. Unfortunately, most parakeets do not like eating pellets nearly as much as seeds. Some of them will even starve themselves if you try to switch their diet from seeds to pellets.

The best way to move your parakeet from seeds to pellets is to make the change gradually; start by giving them a small number of pellets and fewer seeds than normally and gradually ramp up their pellet intake until they’re on a pure pellet diet. They can still eat seeds now and then when they’re on a pellet diet, but it should no longer be the majority of their diet.

An optimal diet for parakeets consists mainly of pellets, with seeds, fruits, and vegetables being smaller parts of it.

Remember how I said that parakeets are picky eaters? They are so picky that if you give them a seed mix like many bird owners do, they will only eat their favorites and ignore the other ones. Most parakeets prefer millet seeds and pick those out of the seed mix.

How often should parakeets drink?

Parakeets are native to the desert in the Australian Outback, and for that reason, they do not drink very much. Some owners never even see them drink and even ask if parakeets need water at all. Just like all animals, parakeets do need water, they just do not need a whole lot of it.

Since they’re desert birds, they’ve evolved to go for long stretches without water and to survive without drinking that much. They’re also small and light creatures, so they do not need much water to sustain their bodies. Besides, just like all birds, they do not have sweat glands, so they do not lose water through sweating like us humans do.

However, while it might seem like your parakeet can last forever with a small bowl of water, you should still give them fresh water frequently. Parakeets are quite picky in the water they will drink; if it’s dirty they will not touch it. For that reason, I would change the water at least daily. The best time to do this is when you’re feeding them so you don’t forget.

They really enjoy taking baths in their water bowls, and this makes their water dirtier, another good reason to give them fresh water frequently!

How much water should I give my budgie?

There’s not much data on this subject and since these birds do not drink very often it’s hard to keep track of how much they drink just by monitoring them yourself. It also depends on the temperature they live in, how active they are, and many other factors; no two birds consume the same amount of water on a daily basis. That being said, the best estimate I’ve seen is that they consume about a teaspoon of fluids daily.

If you simply give them fresh water every day in their water bowl they should have plenty.

Can parakeets drink anything but water?

They should mainly drink water and nothing else. However, you can dilute a small amount of honey in some water and give it to them if it’s a special occasion.

You should not do this often because they shouldn’t have too much sugar in their diet, but once in a while will not harm them and will make the water a little bit sweeter for them.

Can I leave my budgie alone for a weekend?

Technically you can if they have access to sufficient water and food but I don’t recommend you to do so. Parakeets are very social creatures that need a lot of love and attention. If you disappear for a weekend they will miss you, especially if you only have 1 budgie in a cage. If they have another budgie as a companion this is less of an issue but still not ideal.

It’s best to ask someone you know to look after your parakeet while you’re gone.


So, to sum it all up, parakeets can go for a maximum of 24 hours without food and 48 hours without water. They will not die after these 24 hours, but they do have a very high risk of becoming very sick if they go for 24 hours without food and 48 hours is almost always lethal.

You must remember that they can go for this long without food and water, but they should not go for that long without. They should always have access to food and water because they eat all throughout the day. The best food for your parakeet is pellets, fruits, and vegetables, even though they prefer seeds more. What they prefer is not always what’s best for them!

ThePetFaq Team