Do Parakeets Smell Bad?

reasons why your budgie smells horrible

Parakeets are colourful feathered companions that bring joy to many households, especially when properly cared for. However, one aspect of keeping Parakeets as pets can sometimes pose a challenge; their odour.

That’s why this blog post is the right one for you; looking forward to knowing why your Parakeet smells or how to prevent unpleasant odours from coming off their cage. And towards the end of the blog post are answers to common FAQs.

Do Parakeets Smell Bad?

Parakeets, in general, do not have a strong or unpleasant odour. Their natural scent is subtle and often goes unnoticed. However, there are instances when parakeets can develop a slight odour, indicating an underlying issue that needs attention.

Several factors can contribute to a parakeet smelling bad. Poor hygiene and inadequate cage cleaning can lead to the accumulation of droppings, uneaten food, and damp bedding, resulting in unpleasant smells. A parakeet’s diet also plays a role in their scent. Feeding them pungent foods like garlic or onions can cause their droppings to carry a stronger odour.

Why Does My Parakeet Smell Bad?

Parakeets are charming and popular pet birds known for their vibrant colours and delightful chirping. However, if you’ve noticed an unpleasant smell from your parakeet, you may wonder why.

1. Poor Hygiene

Poor hygiene is one of the most common reasons parakeets can develop an unpleasant odour. Parakeets are generally clean animals, but their cages require regular maintenance to prevent the buildup of waste and bacteria. If you neglect to clean the cage frequently, it can lead to an accumulation of droppings, uneaten food, and damp bedding, creating an environment that emits unpleasant odours.

Regular cleaning and disinfection of the cage and proper waste management are essential to keep your parakeet’s living space fresh and odour-free.

2. Diet

The food your parakeet consumes can directly impact their body odour. Certain foods, such as garlic, onions, and highly pungent spices, can produce a stronger odour in their droppings. Additionally, feeding low-quality or expired food to your parakeet can result in digestive issues, leading to foul-smelling droppings.

To prevent unpleasant odours caused by diet, ensure that you provide a well-balanced diet consisting of fresh fruits, vegetables, high-quality seeds, and pellets specifically formulated for parakeets. Avoid feeding them excessive amounts of pungent foods and regularly check the expiration dates of their food to maintain their digestive health and minimize odour.

3. Inadequate Ventilation

Proper airflow is crucial in maintaining your parakeet’s fresh and odor-free environment. If your parakeet’s cage is poorly ventilated, it can contribute to the accumulation of stagnant air and unpleasant smells.

Ensure that the cage has sufficient ventilation, allowing fresh air to circulate. Positioning the cage in an area with good air circulation and avoiding drafty locations will help prevent the buildup of stale air and minimize any potential odours.

4. Illness or Infection

Sometimes, an unpleasant odour emanating from your parakeet may indicate an underlying health issue. Respiratory infections, digestive disorders, or infections in the cloaca area can cause a noticeable change in odour. Suppose you notice a persistent foul smell, accompanied by other signs of illness such as changes in behaviour, loss of appetite, or unusual droppings.

In that case, it’s crucial to consult an avian veterinarian. A proper diagnosis and treatment plan can address the underlying health issue, alleviate the odour, and ensure your parakeet’s well-being.

5. Cloaca Problems

The cloaca is the common opening for waste and reproductive materials in birds. Infections or issues affecting the cloaca can lead to a strong and unpleasant odour in parakeets. If you observe any signs of discomfort, discharge, or abnormal odour from your parakeet’s cloaca, it’s important to seek veterinary assistance promptly.

Cloacal problems require proper medical attention to prevent further complications and eliminate the odour.

6. Dirty Cage Accessories

In addition to the cage itself, the accessories can also contribute to unpleasant odours. Perches, toys, and other items can accumulate bacteria and waste over time if not cleaned regularly. Make sure to clean and sanitize these accessories periodically to maintain a clean and odour-free environment for your parakeet.

Use bird-safe cleaning solutions or mild soap and water to clean the cage accessories, ensuring they are thoroughly rinsed and dried before returning them to the cage.

7. Nesting Materials

If you have a breeding pair of parakeets, nesting materials can contribute to an odor in the cage. As parakeets prepare their nests for breeding, they may bring in materials such as paper, feathers, and twigs.

Over time, these materials can become soiled and emit an unpleasant smell. Removing and replacing soiled nesting materials will help keep the cage smelling fresh and maintain a healthy nesting environment.

8. Stress or Fear

Parakeets may also emit an unpleasant odour when they are stressed or frightened. Stress can cause a release of hormones that can affect the odour of their droppings. It’s important to create a calm and secure environment for your parakeet, providing appropriate perches, toys, and a quiet space to retreat to when needed.

Minimizing stressors and ensuring a peaceful living environment can help reduce any potential odour associated with stress.

Is It Normal for Parakeet Droppings to Have a Strong Odor?

Rose Ringed Parakeets in the rain

Parakeet droppings typically have a mild and slightly earthy odour. However, if the smell becomes excessively strong or foul, it may indicate an underlying health issue. Abnormal changes in the odour, colour, or consistency of droppings should be taken seriously and evaluated by a veterinarian.

Are There Any Health Issues That Can Cause Parakeets to Smell Bad?

Parakeets can experience health issues like any living creature that may manifest as unpleasant odours. If you notice a foul smell coming from your parakeet, it could indicate an underlying health problem that requires attention.

1. Respiratory Infections

Respiratory infections are among the most common health issues that can cause parakeets to emit unpleasant odours. These infections can affect the respiratory system, including the nasal passages, trachea, and lungs. Some common respiratory infections in parakeets include sinusitis, bronchitis, and pneumonia.

When a parakeet has a respiratory infection, it may exhibit symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, and difficulty breathing. In addition to these symptoms, an infected parakeet may have breath that smells foul or off. The odour can be caused by bacteria or other microorganisms in the respiratory system.

If you suspect your parakeet has a respiratory infection, it is crucial to seek veterinary care promptly. A veterinarian can thoroughly examine and recommend appropriate treatment, including antibiotics, supportive care, and environmental adjustments to improve air quality and reduce irritants.

2. Cloacal Infections

The cloaca opens at the end of a bird’s digestive and reproductive tracts. Infections in this area can lead to an unpleasant odour from the parakeet. Various factors, including bacteria, fungi, or parasites, can cause cloacal infections.

Common symptoms of cloacal infections in parakeets include swelling, redness, discharge, discomfort, and an offensive odour. If you observe any of these signs, it is crucial to consult a veterinarian as soon as possible. The veterinarian can perform tests, such as bacterial cultures or microscopic examinations, to determine the cause of the infection and prescribe appropriate treatment.

Treatment for cloacal infections may involve the use of topical or systemic medications, depending on the severity and underlying cause of the infection. Following the veterinarian’s instructions carefully and providing a clean and hygienic environment to support the healing process is essential.

3. Digestive Disorders

Digestive disorders can also contribute to unpleasant odours in parakeets. Issues such as gastrointestinal infections, malabsorption, or dietary imbalances can affect the digestive system, resulting in abnormal digestion and the production of foul-smelling droppings.

If your parakeet is experiencing digestive issues, you may notice changes in their appetite, weight loss, diarrhoea, or loose and smelly droppings. In some cases, the smell may be particularly pungent or offensive.

To address digestive disorders in parakeets, it is essential to consult a veterinarian for a thorough evaluation. The veterinarian will assess the bird’s overall health, conduct diagnostic tests if necessary, and recommend appropriate treatment. Treatment may include dietary adjustments, probiotics, or medications to alleviate symptoms and restore proper digestive function.

How Often Should I Clean My Parakeet’s Cage to Avoid Unpleasant Smells?

To avoid unpleasant smells in your parakeet’s cage, it’s important to establish a regular cleaning routine. Cleaning frequency will depend on the size of the cage, the number of parakeets, and their habits. Generally, a recommended cleaning schedule involves daily, weekly, and monthly tasks.

On a daily basis, remove droppings, uneaten food, and any soiled bedding. This will help prevent the buildup of bacteria and odours. It’s also essential to check and refill food and water dishes daily.

On a weekly basis, perform a thorough cleaning of the cage. Remove all bedding and substrate, and clean the cage thoroughly using bird-safe cleaning solutions. Disinfect the cage, perches, and accessories to eliminate any bacteria or fungi that may cause unpleasant odours. Replace the bedding with fresh material.

On a monthly basis, deep clean and sanitize the cage accessories, such as perches, toys, and dishes. This will ensure that no hidden bacteria or dirt accumulates over time.

Can I Use Household Cleaning Products to Clean My Parakeet’s Cage?

Budgie Cage Outdoor on tree

No, using household cleaning products to clean your parakeet’s cage is not recommended. Many household cleaning products contain chemicals that can be toxic to birds and pose a significant risk to their health. Birds have highly sensitive respiratory systems, and exposure to harsh chemicals can lead to respiratory distress, irritation, or even poisoning.

Instead, it is important to use bird-safe cleaning solutions or natural alternatives when cleaning your parakeet’s cage. Vinegar diluted with water can be an effective and safe option for disinfecting the cage and accessories. Mix one part vinegar with three parts water and use this solution to wipe down the cage bars, perches, and toys. Rinse thoroughly and allow everything to dry before reintroducing your parakeet to its clean and sanitized environment.

How Do I Know if My Parakeet Is Unwell?

If you suspect your parakeet may be unwell, paying close attention to their behaviour and physical condition is important. Here are some signs to look out for:

  • Changes in appetite: A sudden loss of appetite or a significant decrease in food consumption can indicate illness. Conversely, an increase in appetite may also indicate a health issue.
  • Lethargy and unusual behaviour: If your parakeet is unusually quiet, fluffed up, or spending more time sleeping than usual, it could be a sign of illness. Additionally, it’s best to consult a veterinarian if they are less active, less responsive, or displaying abnormal behaviour.
  • Respiratory symptoms: Wheezing, sneezing, coughing, or laboured breathing are all signs of respiratory distress. These symptoms may indicate an infection or a respiratory condition that requires immediate attention.
  • Changes in droppings: Pay attention to the colour, consistency, and frequency of your parakeet’s droppings. Any significant changes, such as watery or discoloured droppings, can indicate digestive issues or infections.
  • Feather problems: Feather loss, excessive preening, or the appearance of bald patches can be signs of underlying health problems, including mites, infections, or stress.


Parakeets are wonderful pets that bring joy and companionship to many households. While parakeets do have a natural scent, it is generally subtle and not unpleasant. However, certain factors can contribute to a parakeet smelling bad.

You can prevent and address unpleasant odours by maintaining cleanliness, providing a balanced diet, ensuring proper ventilation, and monitoring your parakeet’s health. Remember, a happy and healthy parakeet is likelier to have a pleasant fragrance that adds to the overall enjoyment of keeping them as pets.

Written by Justin Michaels

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