Some birds are notorious for bad body odor, but budgerigars, simply known as budgies, aren’t one of them.
In fact, most parrots smell pretty plain. They don’t have sweat glands and as long as the bird is healthy, it shouldn’t smell offensive.
If your pet is starting to stink, there might be underlying causes. Just like any other pet, they’re affected by poor hygiene, hormones, and diet changes.
Let’s find out all about parakeets’ scent and hygiene.
What Do Budgies Smell Like?
Typically, budgies’ bodies are unscented. You shouldn’t be able to pick out any specific odor when the bird’s on your shoulder.
However, it’s acceptable for the feathers to have a slight aroma. It shouldn’t be strong or offensive, but more of an earthy whiff.
It’s also not uncommon for bird parents to love the scent of their pets. Some people describe the bird’s head as soft and sweet-scented.
Why Do Budgies Smell Bad
When the famously unscented budgerigars start stinking, it might be a sign that something’s wrong.
Once you notice the change in body odor, you should keep an eye out for the possible causes.
It could be a minor issue like a diet change or a need for a quick shower. Unfortunately, it also could point to more serious health concerns.
These are a few reasons why a budgie might smell bad:
1 – Recent Diet Changes
Half the time, when a pet owner notices a change in odor, it’s because of the diet they’re feeding the bird.
If you’ve recently made a switch in the food you use for parakeets, see if they smell like the last thing they ate.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that the diet’s bad or unbalanced, though. It just means that it smells differently than what you’re used to.
2 – Unhygienic Cage Conditions
Parakeet poop is small and dry, so it shouldn’t be that bad. Still, you should clean it once or twice weekly.
Keep in mind that poop isn’t the only thing that could stink up a cage. Small food scraps hide between the bedding or gather in the corners to rot.
All these hygiene issues can cause nasty scents that will transfer to the bird’s feather pretty quickly.
3 – Hormonal Cycles
It’s pretty normal for birds to smell a bit different with major hormonal changes. For instance, the budgie’s scent could be stronger during the mating season.
In the wild, budgerigars’ breeding cycles depend on daylight, temperature, and even rainfall. However, you can expect your pet to show signs anywhere between October and March.
This isn’t something you need to worry about; it’s just a part of their cycle and it’ll get resolved on its own.
4 – Underlying Health Issues
Bad breath might seem like a small, insignificant thing, but it can be a sign of something deeper. The parrot could be suffering from crop infections that are causing the bad odor.
Poop can also be an indicator of underlying illness. A healthy parakeet’s poop is small, dry, and olive green in color. If it’s runny or offensive, your bird might be ill.
Keep in mind that the diet can sometimes affect the poop color and not always in a bad way. Berries might dye the feces, but that’s okay.
How to Get Rid of a Bad Bird Smell?
We try to accept our pets just how they are, but sometimes, the scent can be too strong to handle.
This is particularly true in the case of parakeets because they’re not even supposed to smell bad in the first place.
So, here are a few ideas that can help you tame the bird’s smell:
Change the Bird’s Diet
When you’re mixing vegetables and fruits into the diet, try one at a time. It’ll help you identify what food produces strong scents.
Remember that dry seed mixes are less likely to stink. However, you’ll still need to test how it smells once it’s digested and pooped out.
Keep the birds’ health your priority. If they’re healthy and happy with their current diet, a little scent from the pellets is probably not a big deal.
Pick the Litter
Just because budgie poop doesn’t stink, you shouldn’t let it sit around for weeks. The longer you postpone cleaning the cage, the worse the scent will persist.
It’s a sad part of pet ownership, but you’ll have to deal with frequent excreta. Use layers of bedding to make the cleaning job easier and faster.
Thankfully, though, parakeets’ poop isn’t very offensive. So, cleaning up the cage shouldn’t be such a terrible chore, after all!
Maintain a Clean Cage
It isn’t enough to clean out the droppings and replace the bedding. There’s a lot more mess in the average birdcage.
Food crumbs, saliva, and dust can all be rich grounds for bacteria. You can’t expect a bird living in a dirty cage to smell good.
Every now and then, you’ll need to give the cage thorough disinfection. Use mild soap and make sure you get down to all the corners.
Here are some extra tips that can help you keep the cage pristine:
- Remove any remaining food scraps before adding every morning meal
- Wipe the toys, perches, and platforms with warm water regularly
- Look around the cage for any fallen scraps or waste
- Change the bedding weekly
- Don’t overcrowd the cage with birds
Give Your Birds a Shower
One of the many merits of raising parakeets is that they don’t hate showers. Plain water without soap can be enough to give your pets the refresh they need.
Budgies love playing around in the water, so don’t hold back from giving them a quick mist. Better yet, let them soak in a small tub!
Some birds don’t mind getting into small water bowls for a quick rinse. This method is very hassle-free, but be warned, it can get messy.
Watch Where the Budgies Go
Letting your budgies out of the cage is good for them. It helps with their need for exercise and socializing.
However, if you frequently let the parakeets out of the cage, you should try to monitor their whereabouts. They might be eating something bad or getting in trouble.
Sometimes, birds can dig around in trash cans or sleep on dirty surfaces. If that’s the case, then you’ll need to keep these areas off-limits for your pet.
Take Your Pet for a Check-Up
It’s always recommended to take your bird for a check-up as soon as you see signs of illness. In this case, bad body odor, offensive stool, or bad breath can all indicate a health issue.
If the bad smell is caused by an infection, the veterinarian can prescribe an antibiotic course. There might be some diet changes you’ll need to make, too.
It’s important to catch the problem early on to prevent the disease from passing on from one bird to the other. Better safe than sorry, right?
Do Budgies Make Good Pets?
Overall, budgies are excellent pets, especially for small apartments.
Here are the top reasons that make budgies good pets:
Budgerigars are one of the smallest bird species that people raise as pets.
On average, an adult budgie is around 7-8 inches long. In fact, this is the main difference between them and other parakeets.
So, even if you have a small living space, these can be the perfect pets for you!
The number one reason why people like having budgies around the house is their appearance. Like other parrot species, budgies have marvelous color combinations.
Perhaps the most attractive feature is the shiny feathers. Maintain a balanced diet, mist them regularly, and watch their coats thrive all year round.
Depending on the gender and age, the nostrils and foreheads might be marked too.
Budgerigars aren’t the easiest when it comes to vocal training and sound mimicking. But what they lack in vocalization, they make up for in temperament.
If you give them the time, they can be socialized, playful, and friendly. Most people let their parakeets out of the cage without any major incidents.
Sometimes, keeping birds in pairs is better. It keeps them company whenever you’re busy.
Caring for budgies is simple. For a start, you’ll need a cage with horizontal room so they can stretch their wings.
Their nutritional needs are covered by most pellet brands. Add some greens every couple of days and fruit pieces as weekly treats.
Budgerigars are highly active birds, try to get them some toys and swings. It’ll keep them occupied and out of trouble.
The gist of it is to provide a balanced diet, keep their water dishes full, and play with them. Pretty easy to maintain a budgie!
Whenever families consider getting a pet, they’ll want to know if it is going to stink up the house. We often hear people asking, “What do buddies smell like?”
Budgerigars are common pet birds. They’re low maintenance and a well-cared-for budgie won’t smell bad in the least.
However, a new diet, poor hygiene, hormonal changes, or health conditions might cause body odor. Other than that, the bird should be pretty unscented most of the time.
So, if your only concern is the smell, don’t hesitate about getting a parakeet. Follow a simple care routine and your bird will be healthy, happy, and fresh!
I have two Associate’s degrees, one in Medical Assisting and the other in Computer Technician, and I am roughly five classes from a bachelor’s degree. Though I never ended up working in the medical field, I have five and a half years of experience in IT. I recently became a stay-at-home mom to my two young boys and also have two dogs and two cats. I grew up with pet dogs, cats, hamsters, budgies, cockatiels, and fish and also love horseback riding. In my spare time, I love to bake and read pretty much anything I can get my hands on.