I am currently reading through all the budgie behaviour threads hoping to find something similar to what we are experiencing with our female bird. I am posting here too in the hope someone could recognise what's going on!
We bought our birds, a bonded male and female pair from a pet store back in 2013. I say bought, more like rescued as they were in a tiny cramped cage so even though budgies were not what we went into the store for, we simply could nt leave them there. Anyway we knew nothing about birds so registered with a vet who told us they were healthy and already fully grown adult birds so they are at least 9 years old now.
They have not been the easiest of birds but we do enjoy and love them regardless. Straight away it became apparent they were not people lovers and they refuse point blank to eat anything other then seed. (We have tried EVERYTHING. They actually chuck anything thats not seed onto the cage floor or toss it out the cage door uneaten). Despite our many many efforts over the years to interact, and bond with them they want nothing to do with us at all and will avoid us at all costs. The female bird is a biter and quite aggressive and although the male is of an easier disposition, will still back away from us if we get too close. If we leave them alone however they sing and chirp, head bob and preen, play with their cage toys and are very much sweethearts! They have nt been bred and the female had never laid or shown any signs of nesting etc.
We have always left their cage doors open and they have free flying reign of part of the house. They took advantage of this up until about 2 years ago and only used their cage at night to sleep. Now though neither of them will leave the cage. At all. The female was the first to refuse to leave and eventually the male stopped too as if he did leave the female would screech incessantly until he came back. We had their wings checked and their general health and they were given the all clear. Although the door is still open they have no interest in exiting their home but have seemed pretty happy and occupied inside it.
About 2 weeks ago it became apparent the male bird had injured his foot. We no longer have an avian vet nearby and with covid lockdown cannot travel to the nearest which is quite some distance and time away. We have emailed though and the vet said it sounds/looks like a break or fracture and what with the birds age she would be reluctant to use any sedation to operate particularly as he does nt seem bothered by it at all. He still perches, walks, climbs, moves about, (although limps) feeds, plays and preens himself. His plumage is good, his eyes are bright.
The female though has started acting very strangely. She's quite 'stroppy' by nature anyway but now has become very aggressive and excitable, and seems to be bullying the male. She pushes him along the perch with her head until he's backed into the corner and will sit next to or in front of him with her wing over his head pecking at him Several times she has actually pushed him off of the perch onto the floor of the cage. She preens him constantly but it's aggressive not the typical preening they usually engage in. Her feathers are sometimes quite bedraggled looking as she spends so much time fussing over him she does nt preen herself anymore.
When not pestering the male, she will climb the bars in the cage up and down, side to side repeatedly and also has this habit of hooking on to one bar with one foot and swaying her body side to side, so far over sometimes she's almost upside down. it's very snake like, a very fluid motion and again quite repetitive.
To me she seems super stressed about her mate being injured and I don't know how to help her with that being that she hates human contact. I'm also worried she's going to hurt him further with her aggressiveness. Neither of them appear sick in the traditional sense.. they eat and drink well, they are not hunched over or fluffed up, breathing is good. Their Ceres look good and there are no unusual droppings or vomiting/coughing.
If anyone has any tips as to perhaps calm her down some at least until I get them them a physical check up I would be most appreciative. Many thanks x
You need to separate the male from the female immediately.
I know the female is going to scream, so place one of the cages in a different room and play music for both budgies to help alleviate the noise you are going to get from her.
She doesn't like the fact that her friend is injured.
Some birds become aggressive (like she has) and will further try to injure and/or kill the injured bird.
I had a similar situation where one of my former birds was injured (broken foot/leg) and his best friend continued to bite and fuss at him until I got him separated. The poor little injured fellow was unable to protect himself.
It isn't going to be an easy transition I'm sure, but for the male's health and well-being you need to get them apart before she hurts or kills him.
Thank you so much for replying. Did wonder if it that was a possibility. I keep a lot of rodent type pet's and they do the same when there is a fight or an injury but had no idea if budgies did this too. Will source a second cage asap. Many thanks.
Hey again. Have put my injured bird in a very temporary and completely unsuitable cage but did nt really have a choice as as soon as I replied to your last post the female began aggressively pecking him to the point he fell off the perch. When I tried to rescue him she went nuts and bit and pecked me and tried her hardest to get to him as I was removing him from the original cage. Since she's been on her own she's been sat on her perch quite content preening herself and making these clicking sounds I have nt heard before.
My male I am concerned about. he will be in a proper bird cage as soon as I can get my hands on one although I've managed to accommodate him his favourite swing and some toys in his temporary crib. His foot is completely useless now he's not on his regular perch I can see the injury properly and he's not using it at all. Pretty sure it's broken but the vet did nt seem to think she could help. Concerned that either the stress of a new environment, his injury or being separated may be too much for him.
Is the vet you are seeing an Avian Vet?
If not, at the very least is it an exotic pet veterinarian with experience dealing with small birds?
Where are you located? Do you need help in finding a different veterinarian than the one you've already contacted?
If the foot is actually broken beyond "repair" then an appropriate vet can amputate the foot and the budgie will learn to live without it.
However, if the tissue begins dying (becomes necrotic) then saving the bird may not be possible.
Spend as much time with the little fellow as possible and make sure he is able to get to his foot and water easily.
Thank you so much for taking the time to send me all that info I do do appreciate it.
My male passed away this morning. Wether it was through the shock of being in a new cage and separated from his mate or the pain of his foot I ll never know. He was feeding and drinking ok but since the early hours of this morning was fluffed up and hunched so suspected the end was near. I'm just glad it was more a natural passing then being butchered by his mate.
My female since we separated them has been constantly pacing the cage although is eating and drinking well. She is shallow breathing, clicking and tail bobbing as she would with an illness. Will place another cal to the vets for a check up. They are nt avian specalists but do treat small birds for minor conditions. Our nearest again is several hours and many towns away and being in lockdown I need to check the rules for a justifiable trip. away if the regular vet can't help.