The question “do parakeets need sunlight?” is a complicated one. Unfortunately, the answer to this question is yes and no. Parakeets do not need direct sunlight for their survival, but they do need it to stay healthy and live a healthy and happy life.
Sunlight provides Vitamin D, which in turn helps keep the bird's hormone levels balanced and organs functioning properly. While there are ways to simulate natural light indoors, nothing beats the real thing!
When it comes to Vitamin D production, the more time your parakeet has in the sun, the better. However, we recommend the bare minimum of 30 minutes per week of direct sunlight exposure.
“My parakeet's cage is right by the window; surely it is getting enough sunlight?
Many parakeet owners assume that their bird is getting enough sunlight because its cage might be close to a window.
However, the reflective properties of windows do not allow for any significant exposure to UV rays which are needed for Vitamin D production.
So even if you place your birdcage near a window, it will block the UVA and UVB rays.
Taking Your Bird Outside
In order to give your bird access to direct sunlight, the best thing to do is to take it out for a walk (fly). If you have a large enough backyard, you can build an aviary; that is the best way for your bird to get some Vitamin D.
If there are no predatory raptors in your area, and if you feel confident that your parakeet can be let outside for a short period of time without a harness(e.g., they have excellent recall), then this option is also available to you.
However, if you do not have a large backyard, you still have a few other options.
Get A Parakeet Harness
You can put a harness on your parakeet and go outside. This will allow you to safely take your bird outside without having to worry about losing sight of him/her. You can hold the harness or clip it onto something. This way, you will not have to worry about predators snatching your parakeet or it getting lost.
You can buy a parakeet harness here, they are relatively inexpensive and come in various sizes. Many are also retractable.
How Do You Make The Most Out Of Your Indoor Parakeet's Time Outdoors?
The best way to make the most of your parakeet's time outdoors is to create their own outdoor enclosure that mimics their indoor habitat. This will help them feel more at ease and comfortable during their time outdoors.
Make sure to include the following:
- Perches, with a variety of diameters and textures to suit your bird's preference (some may like ropes)
- High-quality natural wood toys for chewing on or playing with outside only
- Occasional access to millet spray or a spray of natural plants (trees, shrubs)
- Fresh water (if you have a dish to capture rainwater, even better)
- Food for outside only. Make sure to do your research on what is appropriate and safe for the parakeets especially!
Get A Travel Cage
Some people like to take their parakeet on the road with them, so they buy a travel cage that is small enough to carry around. This way they can make sure their pet gets its necessary amount of sunlight in different climates and locations!
Options For Indoors
If none of the options for taking your parakeet outside will work for you, there are ways of replicating natural light indoors through a process called full-spectrum lighting.
Full-spectrum lighting is important for your bird’s mental and physical health. Parakeets need to feel like they are in their natural environment so bird lights simulate this experience as closely as possible.
Parakeets can very clearly see colors. They use colors to navigate their environment, find food and escape danger.
Parakeets need full-spectrum light to produce Vitamin D3, which then goes towards utilizing calcium and strengthens their bones. And as birds are fragile creatures, and require a healthy diet of natural light to maintain strong bones, full-spectrum or direct sunlight is critical for keeping a healthy bird.
What Can I Buy If I Cannot Get Outdoors With My Parakeet?
These products are designed specifically to simulate sunlight indoors- do not underestimate their benefits!
While these methods won't provide Vitamin D as effectively as direct sunlight would, they do make a big difference in a bird's mood.
How Do I Know If My Parakeet Gets Enough Vitamin D Or Not?
Some say that the best way to determine if your bird is getting enough vitamin D is by looking at the color of their droppings. However, their droppings will vary based on their diet and there could also be a handful of other things affecting it such as other deficiencies.
The best thing to do is to take your parakeet for a checkup at the vet, if you are concerned and take measures to get its vitamin D levels up.