Putting your Parakeet to Bed at Night

By Natasha Polak

For Local Pet Services

Why does my Parakeet freak out at night?

Putting your parakeet to bed:

When it comes to nighty-night time for your family, even your pet parakeets need some thoughtful attention. You may not need to fluff their pillow or read them a bedtime story, but you do have to situate a few things for their comfort and well being.

At night, they do not like to be left in complete darkness, and get scared with sudden flashes of light or loud noises that may awaken them in the middle of the night. When that happens, they will shriek and flap their wings, as if attempting to alert and flee an attack. This is known as a “night fright”, in which they feel threatened, vulnerable, and afraid. If you have more than one parakeet, it is likely that if one gets startled, they might all experience a night fright simultaneously.

Where is the best place to put the parakeet cage?

To reduce the chances of night frights occurring, plug in a night light in the room that your parakeet will sleep in, as well as an alternate light source (preferably brighter than the night light). Don’t throw a blanket over the cage and don’t have it facing directly toward a window, so as to keep them from startling at what they hear but can’t see. Being away from a window will also lessen the chance of a vehicle’s high-beams shining on them suddenly. Inside the cage, practice “good housekeeping” by keeping toys and perches strategically placed so that they don’t get tangled in them, or injure their wings when flapping around, and to prevent the birds from falling or bumping into each other. You don’t have to go all feng shui in the bird cage, however do practice the Japanese home decor concept that less in more. Don’t stuff the cage full of parakeet accessories, making an uncomfortable and unsafe environment for your pet.

What to do when your pet parakeet has a night fright

Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri). Blu...

Image via Wikipedia

Unfortunately for the birds who have owners that are very heavy sleepers, the best thing to do for night frights is to attend to your pet as soon as possible. Turn on the alternate light, and walk slowly toward your parakeets while speaking in a quiet, reassuring voice, so that they will begin to chill out as they recognize your presence. You may hear them panting, eyes wide, and bodies stiff and pencil-like. This is normal considering the explosion of sudden energy exerted during a night fright. They may not appear to acknowledge you at first, but within minutes, they will resume normal breathing and become responsive to you. Once relaxed, it is safe for them to resume their pre-startled night-time rest. It may even be helpful to keep the extra light on until morning, or at least until they go back to sleep. You may not be able to prevent your parakeet from ever getting a night fright, but it should not be happening all the time. If it does, you should speak to a veterinarian for further help.
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