Why Is My Budgie Panting? 6 Main Reasons and Solutions

“Why is my budgie panting?” This is a question that causes confusion and worry among many budgie owners. Your beloved feathered friend, typically chirpy and full of life, suddenly seems stressed with rapid breaths and a fluffed-up appearance. What the heck is happening?

Your budgie is panting because of high temperatures, ailments, strenuous exercise, a fertilized egg, or obesity. When you notice your budgie panting, it’s necessary to identify the cause and take relevant action before it’s too late. I’ll discuss what you should do when you notice your budgie panting.

Although temporary panting in parakeets is normal after strenuous exercise, it can also be a sign that something is in a mess. As a parakeet owner, the moment you notice your bird pet panting, ask yourself:

  • Is the room temperature too hot?
  • Is my budgie carrying fertilized eggs?
  • Has my budgie been involved in strenuous exercise?

These are critical questions that will help you unravel the mystery behind your budgie’s panting. After knowing the reason behind your parakeet’s panting, take the necessary action as outlined in this guide to restore its normal breathing.

Today you’ll get the answers to the burning question, “Why is my budgie panting?” You’ll also know how to comfort a panting budgie. Keep reading!

Why Is My Budgie Panting Heavily With His Mouth Open?

why is my budgie panting?
Happy budgies

The respiratory systems of budgies are sensitive to different types of irritants. These can be anything from chemicals to pollen or feathers. If your budgie is allergic to any of these, he’ll start panting with an open mouth when exposed to it.

Other common parakeet allergens include:

  • Dust
  • Perfumes
  • Smoke
  • New cleaning products

According to a quantitative analysis, the respiratory system of the budgerigar and other birds is sensitive because their lungs have thin membranes. This makes them more susceptible to allergens and other respiratory irritants.

You’ll notice the following signs if your budgerigar is panting:

  • Open-mouth breathing
  • Budgie cere changes
  • Flared nostrils
  • Puffed-out feathers
  • Strained and audible breathing (wheezing or clicking sounds)
  • Budgie breathing fast and its tail bobbing
  • Breathing heavily while sleeping
  • Sitting on the floor of the cage with his head drooping

The main reasons why your budgie may be panting include:

1. High Temperatures

Budgies are tropical birds and they like it warm, but not too hot. The ideal temperature for a budgie is between 70 – 75℉ (21.11 – 23.89℃). Budgies pant if the temperature exceeds this in order to cool their bodies.

If the budgie’s room temperature remains unregulated for long, he will experience overheating and thermal stress which results in heatstroke.

Your budgie will overheat if you:

  • Keep his cage in direct sunlight: Although budgies need sunlight, don’t leave the cage in direct sun for long. The best way is to ensure half of the cage is in the sun while the other half is in shade.
  • Leaving your budgie in a poorly ventilated car: We all love taking our feathered friends on car rides, but make sure the windows are open to allow proper ventilation.
  • Providing additional heat: During winter, you may offer additional heat so your feathered friend will not feel chilly. Although you mean good to him, if he stays in such a heat source for long, he may develop heatstroke.

How to Check and Regulate Temperature for Your Budgie

If you think the environmental temperature might be too hot for your parakeet, take a thermometer and check the temperature. If it’s over 75 degrees Fahrenheit:

  • Turn off any heat source in the room
  • Turn on the air conditioner if you have one
  • Open the windows to let fresh air in
  • Place a fan in the room to circulate the air and help your budgie cool down

If you don’t have a thermometer, here are other ways to check if the room is too hot for your budgie:

  • Your budgie is panting with an open mouth
  • Your budgie is fluffed up and has ruffled feathers
  • Your budgie is sleeping more than usual

2. Ailments and Infections

Budgies pant when suffering from different ailments. These include colds, sinus infections, pneumonia, and respiratory tract infections.

Respiratory infections are common among parakeets and they are mostly a result of:

  • Viral infection: Newcastle disease is a highly contagious viral infection that affects many birds including budgies. It leads to heavy bird panting, sneezing, and runny eyes and nose.
  • Fungal infections: Aspergillosis is a common fungal infection that affects the respiratory system of birds. It’s caused by exposure to spores in the environment, and it leads to difficulty in breathing, panting, and wheezing.
  • Bacterial infections: Mycoplasma is a bacterium that affects the respiratory tract of birds. It’s characterized by runny eyes and nose, sneezing, and panting.

Your fearful parakeet may also develop a respiratory infection if he’s exposed to environmental allergens like dust, pollen, and smoke.

The common sign of respiratory infection in budgies is breathing and panting heavily with a wheezing sound.

As a responsible pet owner, take your panting parakeet to the vet for diagnosis if you think he has an infection. The vet will likely prescribe antibiotics or antifungal drugs to clear the infection. He may also recommend giving your little bird steam inhalation therapy to help relieve congestion.

3. Strenuous Exercise

why is my budgie panting?
Budgie with an open beak

It’s normal for living things, including human beings, to pant after physical activity. The same case applies to budgies.

During strenuous exercise, your budgie’s body temperature rises as he expends energy. Panting is one way in which his body cools down and regulates its temperature.

If you notice your budgie panting heavily after exercising, it’s a good sign that he’s enjoying himself.

Below are some safety practices for your parakeet during exercise:

  • Don’t exercise your budgie in extreme temperatures: Avoid exercising him when it’s too hot or cold outside.
  • Make sure the room is well ventilated: Poor ventilation will make the room stuffy, and your budgie may pant excessively.
  • Provide fresh water: Your budgie needs drinking water before, during, and after exercise.
  • Monitor your budgie’s behavior: If you notice your budgie is tired or panting excessively, stop the exercise and let him rest.

4. Presence of Fertilized Eggs

Budgies are egg-layers (oviparous). This means that they lay eggs and incubate them until they hatch.

After breeding, a female budgie carries fertilized eggs which will be laid within 8 to 10 days. During this time, she may experience hormonal changes that lead to panting and other nesting behaviors.

These hormonal changes include an increase in the level of progesterone, a hormone responsible for egg development. A rise in progesterone levels leads to an increased respiratory rate which manifests as panting.

Panting is also common during the last few days before laying the eggs. This is because the female budgie’s body is preparing for egg-laying, and she needs more oxygen to support this process.

Egg-laying is a strenuous process, and your budgie may pant excessively after laying her eggs. It’s important to provide her with fresh water and plenty of rest during this time.

5. Obesity

Just like in humans, obesity is a common problem in budgies. It’s caused by an imbalance between energy intake and expenditure.

Obese budgies are more likely to suffer from health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory difficulties.

One of the main respiratory problems associated with obesity is difficulty in breathing. This is because obese budgies have more fat tissues around their chest which makes it harder for them to breathe.

Panting is one way in which obese budgies try to regulate their breathing. The common causes of obesity in budgies include:

  • Being kept in the cage for long: If you keep your parakeet in the cage for long, he will lack enough exercise to keep his body healthy, and he may start to gain weight.
  • Poor diet: A poor diet is one of the main reasons for obesity in budgies. Feeding your budgie processed foods or seeds that are high in fat can lead to weight gain.
  • Inactivity: If your budgie isn’t active, he will start to put on weight. Make sure to provide him with enough toys and playtime to keep him active.

The table below shows the recommended budgie weight by age:

Budgie AgeRecommended Weight
New born (1-2 days)1 to 2 grams
6 days old8 to 15 grams
10 days old17 to 25 grams
14 days old28 to 36 grams
30 days old43 to 51 grams
Recommended budgie weight by age

If you think your budgie is obese, take him to an avian vet for a check-up. Normally, avian vets recommend a weight-loss plan which may include changes in diet and exercise.

6. Stress

It’s a common occurrence for budgies to pant when released from their cages. You’ll notice your budgie’s chest heaving as he tries to catch his breath and calm down.

Panting is a common stress response in budgies when they’re introduced to new surroundings or situations. It’s the budgie’s way of dealing with the stress and trying to calm down.

You may notice increased nervous panting in a new budgie. This is because a new budgie takes time to adjust to the environment. Moreover, a budgie trusts its owner more than any other person. Thus, he will take time before bonding with you as the new owner.

It’s worth noting that simple changes in a parakeet’s environment can cause anxiety which leads to panting. Even if you decide to paint its room a different color, your budgie may become stressed and start panting.

If you notice your budgie panting when he’s out of his cage, try to make the environment less stressful for him. For example, turn off any loud noises or move him to a quieter room. You can as well take your bird inside his cage.

Other common budgie stressors include:

  • Inadequate cage size: If the cage is too small, it can cause your budgie to feel cramped and stressed.
  • Lack of social interaction: If your budgie doesn’t have enough contact with other budgies or humans, he’ll feel isolated and anxious.
  • Loud noises: Budgies are very sensitive to sound, and loud noises can cause them a lot of stress.
  • Rapid eye movement sleep: Dreams during this period of a budgie’s sleep can get it stressed which leads to panting and other nesting behaviors.

How to Comfort a Panting Budgie

The first step to comforting a panting budgie is to identify the cause of the panting. Once you know the reason, take the below steps to reduce the budgie’s stress or improve its health.

Here are what you can do to comfort your parakeet if he is panting:

Provide a Cool and Calm Environment

If your budgie is panting in a hot and noisy environment, move him to a cooler and quieter place. You can take him back to the cage or put him in a room with less noise.

Do not be harsh and loud when talking to your budgie. Sometimes the joy of owning a budgie can make you talk to him loudly. This may frighten him and cause him to pant.

Talk to your budgie in a soft, gentle voice and offer him some calm words of encouragement. You can say, “It’s okay, buddy. There’s nothing to be scared of.”

Give Your Budgie Some Time to Relax

After a busy day of exercising, your budgie needs time to relax. Put him in his cage and give him some peace and quiet.

You can also offer him some toys to keep him occupied. For example, you can give him a swing set or a mirror to look at.

Give Him a Bath

If your budgie is panting due to heat, birthing him is the best solution. Fill up a sink or bathtub with lukewarm water and let your budgie take a dip. Do not use cold water as this will lower his body temperature.

After the bath, dry your budgie off with a soft towel and put him back in his cage.

Baths can also help if your budgie is panting due to stress. The warm water will relax him and help him forget about the stressful situation.

Final Thoughts

Panting is a normal behavior in budgies, but it can also be a sign of stress or illness. In most cases, a panting parakeet breathes heavily with an open mouth.

If you notice your parakeet panting heavily, interrogate its environment to find out the cause.

If you can’t figure out the cause, take him to an avian vet for a check-up. Through a vet visit, you’ll be able to identify the reason behind the painting behavior and the appropriate remedy.

If the information provided here has been valuable to you, please share it with your friends and relatives. Click any of the share buttons below. Thank you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the signs of a budgie dying?

The signs of a dying budgie include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Drooping head
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Panting or gasping for breath
  • Wheezing or clicking sounds when breathing
  • Fluffed feathers
  • Weakness and lethargy

Why is my parakeet breathing fast?

Your parakeet is breathing fast because he’s panting. Panting is a normal behavior in budgies, but it can also be a sign of stress or illness. If you notice your parakeet panting heavily, interrogate its environment to find out the cause and take the necessary action.