I have had snow for about 5 years. My family went away in December for one week, and we had a friend come change her food/water every 2nd day. Last year when we went away for a week, we brought her to the vet and they did it.
For some reason, this year, once we got home, she wasn't the same. It has been over 2 weeks now, and she hasn't bobbled her head once (she used to all the time), and shes constantly nibbling on fingers and toes and stuff. She used to chill on our fingers or computers or whatever, and now she just wants to go on someones neck or finger and nibble. It's not a bite but rather a nibble and she never stops. She's become a completely different bird and we think something is wrong with her. At times she really wants to come out but at other times she is very puffed up. She isn't going through molting. We are just very confused. We thought she may just be hungry but she eats a lot and we give her spinach and nothing is helping.
The only thing we can think of is that for the week we were gone, with the exception of my friend coming in for 5 minutes to feed her every 2nd day, she was alone, while last year at the vet even though she wasn't let out of her cage, she had other birds around her to chirp and stimulate her mentally. When she comes out now, her tail wags like shes nervous and she can't relax or stay still when she's out, she just wants to nibble. I thought I would let her out on my finger for as long as she can nibble until she tires herself out, but I literally let her stay on my finger for more than an hour and she kept going, so I gave up. I just want my budgie to be normal again. I feel so bad for her. It's been 3 weeks!!
I think the nibbling is affectionate preening behavior. It could still be "oh my, I'm so happy you are back, I can't get enough of you, and I'm a little nervous that you'll leave again." Playing soothing music for her might help her regain her confidence.
I would also consider taking her to the vet for a check-up if this continues. Is it winter where you are? Some of the fluffing might be to keep herself warm, but still, I would get her checked out.
Finally, be careful about how much spinach you give her. It has a high level of oxalic acid in it which blocks calcium absorption. A variety of vegetables would be better.
Welcome of the forums! I'm sure other more experienced members will respond soon. Believe them over me.
It sounds as if poor little Snow felt very alone and abandoned during the time you were gone.
I'm assuming you spend quite a bit of time with her on a regular and consistent basis when you are at home?
Was there music playing for her to keep her company?
When a bird is used to regular human interaction, suddenly having none at all is definitely going to cause stress and anxiety.
You are going to need to be very patient and understanding with Snow as she works through these issues.
Her nibbling is her way of preening you and showing you her affection.
She's trying to show you how much she loves you.
Be very gentle with her and spend as much time interacting with her as possible.
Talk to her, show her her toys, and play with her to encourage her to become more herself again.
It will take time and patience but it can be done.
The fact that she is puffing up a lot also indicates she's under stress.
Is she eating, drinking and pooping normally?
If not, then you should have her seen by an Avian Vet.
Avian Vets have special training to determine the cause of symptoms resulting from illness or trauma.
This is important as "regular" vets will often overlook symptoms that are quickly obvious to an Avian Vet.
When you rely on anyone who has not had training in Avian diagnosis and care, you may be delaying effective treatment.
This can prolong suffering that may be avoidable.
The bird will often require a more intense, prolonged treatment with a poorer chance of full recovery than it would have if you seek prompt professional diagnosis and treatment at the first sign of illness.
Having your budgie examined by an Avian Vet allows you to develop a good relationship with the vet in case your bird needs care for an injury or illness in the future. Additionally, it is always helpful for the vet to have a baseline for your bird to refer to should it need future treatment.
I would strongly recommend you make different arrangements next time you plan to be away from Snow.
With regard to her diet, you need to give her other vegetables in addition to the spinach. Too much spinach can inhibit the absorbtion of calcium into the body.
I agree with the above information My girl Mallorn acted similarly after we returned from a two week vacation. She's expressing her love for you and how much she missed you!
It's important that you spend as much time as you can with Snowy, either sitting by her cage to do reading, work, etc. or talking to her and interacting with her directly. Budgies are flock oriented animals, so since you're her flock, she feels very strongly about spending time with you!
You've come to the best possible place to learn even more about the best of budgie care. Be sure to read through the links provided as well as the many Budgie Articles and "stickies" (threads "stuck" to the top of each subforum for easy reference) to ensure you're up to date on the very best of budgie care!
If you have any questions afterwards, please be sure to ask as we'd love to help.
Hope to see you and Snowy around the forums!
and Princess Mallorn!
Thank you to Deb for her wonderful Faery magic