In July I brought home two English budgies that were being re-homed. I say re-homed but I feel like I rescued them. Firstly they belonged to a teenage girl who bought them from a pet store as babies and had had them for about a year and a half. I arrived at the home at noon and was taken to the basement. The birds were in a room I am pretty sure was actually a closet. There were no windows and the door opened out into the hall. There was a twin bed in the room and at the end of the twin bed was the budgies cage. That pretty much filled up the entire room. The cage was one of those cages that is about 24 x 16 x 16 and the door slides up to open. It also had a whole cut in the top and they had attached a smaller cage that was just big enough for a swing. There were the two english budgies and also 2 american budgies. When I arrived at noon the light was off in the room and there was a girl still asleep in the bed though apparently not the actual occupant of the room. They transferred them to my carrier and we were off for the 3 1/2 hour drive home. Once I got them home I could see that their wings had been clipped, Their nails were insanely long and there tail feathers were a mess. I have no experience with English budgies and had never even seen one in person until I got these two so I did not know what to expect. I had read that they are less active and generally calmer but thats it. They are both huge especially the male now named Viggo. I swear he looks like a Frankenbudgie. The first thing I noticed observing them after they were settled in their new cage was that they had a lot of trouble getting around from perch to perch and fell off frequently. Especially the male. I assumed that being in the small cage they had lost some balance and strength from lack of muscle use but their wings have grown in now and their tails look normal again but they are still very unsteady. They do not hop from perch to perch like my american budgies do and generally when they try if it is not one of the easier spots they go plunk straight to the bottom of the cage. They also cannot fly. When I let them out on the play place if they get startled and fall off for some reason they pretty much go straight down. My question is, is this normal for English budgies due to their larger size and weight. If not is there anything I can do to help them to improve their balance and strength or do you think they will improve over time on their own.
Sounds like a similar situation to when I got Belle. It's possible the girl kept the budgies in the cage 24/7 so they haven't been able to use their wing muscles. My girl Belle was horrible at flying when I first got her, due to being kept in a tiny cage for 1 year and never coming out. She's much better now.
It might be good to have the birds checked out by an avian vet though, just to make sure they are all happy and healthy.
Poor birdies, I would agree that you did rescue them. It sounds like they were in a pretty bad space and likely neglected. Given that, I agree with the previous post that it would be a good idea to have them seen by an avian vet, especially since you say they have a balance problem. Not being able to fly is probably due to muscle development and sadly perhaps they have never had an opportunity to ever fly.
Agree with the advice above regarding a vet visit.
How are their nails now?
I'd try and make the cage a little more easy for them to navigate. My English budgie loves a flat perch to sit on and also enjoys a 'raft swing' I have in the cage.
I found mine never really hop. They either fly or climb and more often than not, they climb.
I did clip their nails after a couple of weeks. I didn't want to stress them out right off so I waited a bit. We do not have an Avian Vet in the small town I live in and the closest would be 3-4 hours away. There is a new younger vet in town and I am hoping to start working with him and see if he will make the effort to learn more Avian care. I have not had much luck with the other vets in town. One told me my bird was definately looking better when I returned for my second visit and reported I was concerned about him. He died the next day.
After their quarantine I put them in with my American parakeets but am going to be setting up another cage for the English budgies so they don't have to deal with the constant flitting around that their smaller friends do all day. I use the Prevue F050 cages and I was actually contemplating just using the bottom portion of the cage. It is very easy to modify for this and I could place it on a stand so that it is the same height as the full size cage. Then they won't have so far to fall and may become more confident moving around. I just like that the poop, food and feather debris are so far away in the full size cage so have been going back and forth on the idea. What are your thoughts.
I think modifying the F050 is a good idea. I have several of the F040 and I have done the same with one of them when I was worried that a sick bird I had might fall and I wanted to lessen the distance if that happened. None of my birds are interested in going to the bottom and when I modified it I did not put anything too low and I did not have any issues and I do not use the grate at the bottom, I just put white paper towels over newspaper.
It will take time, but with effort the budgies can and will learn to fly.
They have to build up their muscles in their wings after being kept in a cage that was too small for them.
Either padding the bottom of the cage with towels or modifying it in the way you suggested sound like good options until the regain their muscle tone, strength and balance.
Have you weighed them to ensure they aren't overweight as well?
I'd advise putting them on a Vitamin D3 supplement as I'm sure they haven't been given the necessary sunlight. Soluvite D is a good choice and you can purchase it on line.
Some people purchase mosquito netting and hang it so it drapes down over their bed then allow the budgies to practice flying in that area so if they crash they have a soft landing.
Thanks for all the suggestions. I looked over my cage and I think it will work to just use the bottom for them and I think they will be much safer. Plus I won't have to clean a section of a cage they don't even use. I am leary of using supplements but I do have a Featherbrite light above their cage. I don't know if that does anything for Vitamin D though. Good idea about the net too. I had been thinking about taking them into my room and encouraging them to fly. It is carpeted and the only thing in there is the bed and a futon couch so fairly safe. They are both really big birds but I would guess maybe overweight as well. They are on a stricter diet now so hopefully that will resolve itself. I will update when I move them into the modified cage.