You’ve gone to check on your lovely friend as usual. This time around, you encounter something striking; he is sitting at the bottom of the cage. The first question you ask is why that strange thing would happen. The next action you take shows that you’re very concerned. You call a veterinarian to offer help. If that has ever happened to you or not yet, be sure that it’s a legit concern that every bird owner can and will have. So, why would an active bird like a Parakeet sit at the bottom of the cage? There’s no specific reason that could explain that as birds vary from each other in behavior, health status, or even mental status. Let’s discuss some of the possible reasons why your buddy will sit at the cage’s bottom.
Since we cannot communicate with birds and know what they’re up to, most of the explanations given as to their acts are speculative. We only try to deduce possibilities that might be true. Some Avian veterinarians can use particular signs to detect problems in these little ones, but sometimes that can be inapplicable, especially if birds are just dramatic. Before we dig deep into more specific and attention- requiring reasons, here are some general ones that all Parakeets can have:
- It’s a way for them to keep warm. Every animal loves warmth, and so do birds. If they detect somewhere that can generate that, they’ll not hesitate to utilize it. It might not be something alarming; your friend is trying to gain heat.
- Young birds tend to love sitting at the cage’s bottom. Is your Parakeet young? If so, this is a common phenomenon in most of them in that age. We can’t accurately tell why they do that; probably it’s a way to keep them from getting startled.
- As part of their dynamic and playful nature, they might go to the bottom to explore new things or jump up and down as a way of playing. Even so, this should be to a limited degree. If he stays down there for just a little while, then it’s nothing a big deal.
- Some might just be extraordinary, loving the bottom of the cage more than perches or bars. Yes, Parakeets are considered lively and would be expected to be on top most times. But, remember that even humans don’t have similar traits, so can these birds too.
- Some pet stores use this mechanism to keep them looking their best. This can result in floor-sitting. Again, check if that frequently occurs to validate it. If not, then it’s an unusual scenario.
- Like other birds, Parakeets also love “chicken scratching”, and the only position that can allow that to happen is on the floor. If yours is down there actively scratching, then there’s no cause for alarm; he’ll be back at the top afterward.
- Does your cage have paper? If so, then that can explain it all; Parakeets can chew anything that gets on their way. If a paper is down there, most time will be spent on the floor.
These birds can also undergo behavioral changes, and this can initiate staying on the floor. It’s prudent to be alert on your Parakeet as some of them may display mannerism specific to only him/her. Below are some of the motives under this category to watch for.
As little curious birds, Parakeets will do anything to satisfy that. They can discover the surroundings both inside and out of their homes. Sitting down on the floor while actively chewing paper or cardboard, is one way to satisfy their curiosity.
Natural wild behavior
In the wild, these birds are foragers who look for food themselves; thus, rooting through the cage’s bottom for debris is natural. Only watch out for exhaustion; if he’s tired, sitting there for more extended periods, instead of chewing or rooting, then you need to take appropriate action.
Interestingly, birds do get bored too, and when they do, finding something to do or play with is a remedy. Your Parakeet is moving to the floor to play with the toys you’ve placed in the cage. This also requires being observant to ascertain if that’s what is happening.
Birds are usually very active. Any sign of depression, fatigue, or anxiety should be taken seriously. Like humans, they can experience stress for several reasons. For instance, a change in the environment can be a stressor. Since they’re used to living on trees in the wild, keeping them in cages can stress them out. This may cause them to stay at the base of their enclosure, especially if there are no branch-like objects and high places.
Other stress-inducers could be a change of schedule (the bird’s or owner’s), new family members/pets, outside unknown sounds (noise from vehicles, construction), and unfamiliar wild animals like hawks, raccoons, or any that can distress a bird. Further, even variations in a light cycle like cage cover or darker room can startle a bird. Sitting at the base of the cage can be one way that your Parakeet will exhibit stress. Other ways require close observation and immediate action may include:
- Appetite loss. If your feathered friend who usually eats properly starts to show disinterest in food, something could be stressing him. Try and find out what it could be or arrange to check with an avian veterinarian.
- Fear. This occurs when your bird is ordinarily cheerful and comfortable being handled, then unexpectedly begins to act fearful of you or others. The person in question may be a stressor. It might not be what is done to the bird directly; probably a brightly colored cloth or grooming mode is the trigger. Find out what it could be and adjust appropriately with lots of patience.
- A change in vocalization. What is the usual character of your bird regarding making sounds? Stress can cause some screamers to decrease that while quiet ones to start screaming. See if the screaming is purposeful, not typical and act appropriately.
- Aggressiveness. Some stressed birds will display aggressive characters like biting, consistent hissing, and attacks. Seek medical help for your friend immediately if you can’t discern what the inducer is.
- Feather picking. While there’s that degree of this action that constitutes moulting, stress can also induce it. A sudden and constant feather picking that proceeds onto self-mutilation is devastating and requires a quick response on your part. Only stressed or sick birds can go up to that extent.
Now, let’s look at some of the health issues that could cause your little friend to sit at the bottom of his enclosure even the whole day. The main possibilities of them doing so could be illness or injuries. As a bird owner, you should be vigilant to everything that can affect your lovely pet from environmental, health, psychological, and behavioral stimuli.
How will you know that your Parakeet is injured? Sitting at the bottom can be an indicator, but more is required. Be observant, and you’ll realize something is wrong. Bleeding is one sign to look out for; if you detect any dried blood or bleeding, see the vet immediately. Other observable symptoms include; – leg and eye injuries. Broken limbs or toes will be hanging and simple to spot. Remember, birds can downplay their wounds, and it might be difficult to notice that especially when they hide it by sitting on the floor.
Most bird owners link the discussion subject to sickness. Are they right? Well, there’s a high probability that sick birds will often try to hide the signs until it’s late. Their option of doing so is to sit quietly at the base of the enclosure. A sickly bird won’t have the energy to hang on a bar or branch, and if you realize it late, he might be in a life-threatening situation. Like other birds, Parakeets found lying at the bottom of the enclosure or who reject leaving their perches or nests are often very sick. Change in sitting posture and position has been a vital indicator of an ill Parakeet. If your Parakeet remains in the same place longer or sits on the floor, raise that concern to the vet. Since this is a serious issue that all bird lovers should watch out for, below are some other signs of a sick Parakeet:
- Too much sleep. Exceptionally, if it occurs on two feet with fluffy feathers and head or beak tucked under the wings.
- Nare and beak discharges. If he discharges bubbles from the beak, a possible respiratory infection is underway. Also, if there are discharges from the nare (nostrils found at the base of the beak), illness is a possibility.
- Vomiting. Look out for vomits that might have stuck on the feathers around the face or chest.
- Unkemptness. A sick Parakeet won’t care about his upkeep. He’ll look shabby and unkempt as he isn’t grooming much.
- Reduced activity. Parakeets are active birds, and any change of demeanor should raise an alarm of sickness. When ill, he may become subdued. Lack of interest in surroundings and reduced attentiveness will also occur. Even in the wild, hopping and flying diminish and he grows dull.
- Physical, behavioral changes. Sneezing, rapid breathing or labored breathing that includes abnormal sounds is indicative of illness. Sudden change in vocalizations and shivering can’t be ignored. A “talkative” Parakeet will limit that or even cease to talk if he’s sick.
- Aggression. Sick birds tend to resist handling and may try to bite in response. Your pet can become suddenly ill-tempered and very restless.
- Changes in eating habits. Just like in stress, illness can also alter your Parakeet’s eating habits. He might refuse food and grow weak. You shouldn’t let that happen as failure to feed can kill him within less than 72 hours. Try and give him favorite foods and treats to motivate consumption.
- Unusual stool. See if the stool is showing any illness sign and seek help from the vet if you feel alarmed.
Your bird’s reproductive activity can also influence his behavior. Those that are hormonal frequently become cage defensive and might prevent an owner from reaching it. A bird of either gender will start sitting at the bottom of the cage, protectively on a belly, toy, or nut. Males may perform pseudo-masturbation and sit on a toy for several weeks until hormones begin to decrease. Females might do so while making weird chirping sounds and shaking their wings to request breeding from males.
Similarly, a pregnant Parakeet will sit at the bottom of the cage when almost passing an egg. Domesticated birds don’t lay eggs the same way wild ones do. That’s why providing a neat dark area during this time is essential. If you speculate that your female friends have begun laying eggs and you would love to confirm it, do so slowly by reaching your hands in the cage to gather evidence. Verifying that to be true should move you to discover ways to ensure that the process goes smoothly. Some birds might find it hard to dispel the eggs because of lacking a proper spot, or an underlying health issue. That can cause them to strain at the base of the cage.
The Bottom Line
Bird-keeping can be an exciting experience that most people enjoy. It can also be challenging, especially if your bird begins to exhibit some strange mannerisms that you don’t comprehend. The good news is that will the help of professional advice from an avian vet, you can maneuver through the hassles of bird-keeping.
Do you have a Parakeet, in particular? This species of parrots is lively, fun, and fascinating to keep as pets. They’ll only show some troubling behaviors from time to time. Even so, that shouldn’t cause you to give up. There’s always a solution to every problem. The best you can do is to check on your Parakeet regularly. And, if you notice unusual personalities like extended periods of sitting at the bottom of the cage, make a trip to the veterinarian immediately if possible.