Parakeets are tropical birds, so they aren't big fans of cold weather. When the temperature drops, you need to find ways of keeping your parakeet warm and comfortable. Fortunately, there are a few simple remedies that prevent your bird from turning into a Popsicle without making your heating bill skyrocket.
Place your bird's cage in a relatively draft-free room. Don't mistake a sunny room for a warm one -- when the temperature drops at night, those windows aren't doing your bird any favors.
Seal any windows with plastic window covers, or at least cover them with thick curtains that trap in heat.
Cover your bird's cage at night. You can do this with either a heavy blanket or a specially-designed cage cover. This keeps the air inside the cage warm and blocks out any drafts.
Introduce a personal heater to your bird's environment. For example, install a heated perch in his cage -- when he needs to warm up, he can hop right on. Heat lamps are also an option, but use discretion when choosing one. Heat lamps and space heaters not designed for birds can be hazardous or even deadly, either because of their potential to break or because they emit fumes noxious to birds. Only use heating devices specially designed for birds and bird habitats.
Hang a warming nest in your bird's cage. These nests are essentially fuzzy, insulated mini rooms that your bird can pop into when he needs to stay warm. Not all parakeets are so receptive to this option, so toss a treat inside and give your parakeet a few weeks to warm up to the idea.
Monitor your bird's behavior to make sure that he isn't overheated or cold. If your bird is cold, he may fluff up his feathers as a way of telling you. If he is overheated, he may stretch out his neck or wings, or begin to pant.
Place an air humidifier in the room. Winter chills and indoor heating can create dry air, which is as bad for your parakeet as too-low temperatures. Like the electric heater, though, make sure that you choose an air humidifier specially designed for bird habitats.
- Generally, the temperature in your parakeet's environment should be 70 degrees or higher. Keep a thermostat in the room so that you can monitor this number.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.