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Do Parakeets Drink Water? Vet-Verified Facts & Care Tips

Grant Piper

By Grant Piper

A Slaty-headed parakeet (Psittacula himalayana) drinking water

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Dr. Ashley Darby Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Ashley Darby

Veterinarian, BVSc

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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This article has been fact checked and reviewed by a qualified veterinarian using information available at the time of review. However, the purpose of this article is not to replace a veterinary examination and advice but rather provide a general guide to medical and behavioral conditions. Bird owners are urged to seek tailored advice for their pet from a veterinary professional. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer.

If you own parakeets (Melopsittacus undulatus), you might have noticed that you rarely see your bird drinking. This has led some to wonder if parakeets drink water. And if they don’t drink water, do they get enough liquid from their diet to survive? These are all critical questions that need proper answers to ensure the health of your parakeets. Don’t be fooled. Parakeets do drink water, and moreover, they need water to survive, just like any other pet. Here is everything you need to know about parakeets, their drinking habits, and how to facilitate better hydration for your beloved bird.

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Parakeets Need Water

Parakeets absolutely drink water. Like all animals, parakeets need to drink a certain amount of fresh water every day in order to survive. Some people think that parakeets do not drink water because they only need a small amount to meet their needs. A parakeet might only take a small drink once or twice per day, and if you aren’t watching, you will likely miss it.

Do not deprive your parakeet of water. Leaving your parakeet without water for any amount of time can be potentially dangerous. In fact, you should be changing out their water daily in order to keep it fresh and appealing for your birds. Like any animal, parakeets can become ill and die if they do not drink enough water.

Conure parrots are drinking water
Image Credit: Nipa Noymol, Shutterstock

How Much Do Parakeets Drink?

Parakeets drink very little. Estimates say that adult parakeets need to drink up to 5-10% of their body weight of water per day. For parakeets, that is less than half an ounce of water per day. While parakeets do not need a lot of water per day to survive, they still need access to fresh water at all times in order to remain healthy.

You Might Not See Your Parakeet Taking a Drink

The myth that parakeets don’t drink water comes from the fact that some owners swear they’ve never seen their parakeet drink. Some people erroneously say that birds can get enough water from eating things like fresh fruits, and they do not need water. That is not true. While parakeets might sneak a few mouthfuls of water, they still drink. The fact is, you might not see your parakeet drinking, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t getting their fill.

Birds can drink incredibly quickly. In the wild, landing to drink from a source of water can be dangerous. Predators often lurk around watering holes, waiting for animals, like birds, to come along for their daily drink of water. Birds have adapted to fly down, drink a few mouthfuls, and fly away.

Sometimes, parakeets might even drink out of a rain puddle that is not near well-populated watering holes. That means that your parakeet might only spend a couple of minutes per day drinking, and they will often do it when you aren’t looking. You might never see your parakeet drinking because they don’t often drink for very long.

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What to Do If Your Parakeet Isn’t Drinking

There are cases in which parakeets will stop drinking water. That is a cause for concern. Birds can be very picky about their water and ensuring that your parakeet has clean water is imperative. If you think that your parakeet is not drinking, here is what you need to do to ensure that they start again.

See A Veterinarian

If your parakeet is not drinking and all behavioral causes have been ruled out, it’s time to see the veterinarian. Birds are very good at hiding illness due to their survival instincts. However, if your pet is not drinking they could have an underlying illness, even if they seem fine. An experienced avian vet will help ensure all is well with your parakeet. Other signs to look out for include fluffed up appearance, reduced activity, changes in perching, and changes in droppings.

vet examining parakeet
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

Change the Water

Birds can be picky about the look and taste of their water. And for good reason. Birds can be messy. While your parakeet is flying around its cage, it will be kicking up feathers, bird seed, and droppings. Many times, these things can find their way into your parakeet’s water dish. If the water has seed shells, feathers, algae, or dust in it, your bird will likely avoid it. If you don’t change the water regularly, your bird might stop drinking, which can be dangerous.

You should be changing your bird’s water at least once per day. Ideally, you will change the water twice per day, once in the morning and once in the evening. You should also keep an eye out, and if you see that the water has something in it, you should change it right away.

Reduce Stress

Parakeets can also be sensitive to stress. If there is a lot going on, if the cage is in the sun, or if there are new birds around, your parakeet might stop drinking. To try and get them to start again, you should try to lower their stress levels. Move the cage to a new location. Put a cover over the cage to promote quiet time during hectic periods. Keep cats and dogs away from them. Try to keep your birds on a schedule or a routine and be sure not to deprive them of social interaction. These things can help your parakeet feel comfortable and at ease and will facilitate more normal behavior.

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Parakeets need water, and they drink water every day. Parakeets are very small and don’t weigh much, so they don’t need a lot of water to survive. The combination of low water needs and fast drinking can lead some to believe that their bird doesn’t drink at all. That is not the case. Make sure you are always supplying your parakeets with fresh drinking water to ensure optimal health.

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Featured Image Credit: Shubhrojyoti, Shutterstock

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