I bought a budgie from a pet store about 11 days ago. She was molting when I got her, and they said at the store that she'd been at the store for 2 months.
When I brought her home, she was excessively lonely. She had been the only budgie left at the store, so we couldn't get her a friend. So, we adopted 2 new budgies that were a bonded pair. That was on Monday. Two days ago, one of the pair started losing feathers. I figured she was molting. Both of the bonded pair have been rubbing their faces on their perches for days. The "male" of the bonded pair had a dark purple, almost black cere.
Today, one half of the "male's" cere has lost the purple color, revealing light pink underneath. I know this might be a female in breeding condition that had a crust on her cere, BUT now 2 of 3 budgies are sneezing (the "female" and the original budgie). The nares of the "female" budgie are wet. All 3 budgies are intensely itchy all over their bodies. The female's tail slightly bobs and it looks like she's breathing heavily.
I know I should have quarantined them. My other bird was so lonely, and the adopted budgies had been at the same residence together for 2 years. I thought it would be safe to put them in the same room. I know now that I didn't consider that the store-bought budgie might be carrying something. I was 100% wrong. I know that now. I should have quarantined them all.
I don't know if it could be the litter I used in one of the two cages. I say this because my throat has been tight in the budgie room, and I've had some mild lung discomfort in there. I figured it was allergies and have been running a HEPA air purifier in the room constantly for days.
All 3 budgies are mildly energetic. My original budgie has been subdued since I got her, but she's been molting. It's her 12-week molt. But is the other budgie molting, or losing feathers due to illness? Why did the "male's" purple cere get cut in half and half dropped off, leaving pink cere behind? Are all 3 sick now? Is it their allergies to the molts happening?
All of the vets in town are closed tomorrow. I can maybe see the emergency vet, but would all 3 budgies need to go? Please give me your thoughts. I can't live with 3 living creatures dying on my watch. I want to do the right thing.
Here's the symptoms:
Kiwi, 12-14 weeks old, store-bought budgie, had her 11 days
-Itchy all over for 11 days, itchy face today and rubbing face on perch
Sunny, 2 years old "male", had him 4 days
-itchy all over for 4 days
-rubbing face on perch
-dark purple cere lost one half today, shows pink underneath
Sky, 2 years old "female" but has male-looking blue cere, had her 4 days
-itchy all over
-molting or losing feathers
-itching face and rubbing it on perch
I'm convinced there's something in this room, in the air. It's so irritating to my nose and lungs, too. Is that why they're all rubbing their faces on their perches? To clear their nares?
I covered their cages for the night, but I can hear one of them... coughing? It's like a sneeze, very sudden but not quite a chirp.
I'm going to move the cages to another room in the morning and vacuum the heck out of this room. I'm getting rid of that litter/bedding the pet store insisted I buy and going to use paper towels like I had planned.
When a bird is molting it is common for them to be itchy and more quiet than usual, as the new feathers begin to come in it is itchy and the bird may rub on a surface. Molting is also a time when the immune system is most vulnerable so it is possible that one of the birds was ill. It could also be due to whatever you had at the bottom of the cage, it is best not to use any type of lose litter of any sort, paper towels are fine as it will allow you to monitor the droppings and will not produce any particles in the air. Do you have any scented things in the room you had them in or have you used any aerosol sprays, these things are toxic to birds and can cause breathing problems and worst case scenario, death. Are they all in the same cage, if so I would separate the bonded pair from the new bird right away. Can you post a picture of bird with the cere issue, are you sure that the cere has not been bitten by another bird?
Thank you for replying! Nothing scented and we've run the fan above the oven when anything was smoky.
All the local vets that see birds are closed until the 4th (Monday). We are driving an hour and 20 minutes to an emergency vet near Montreal (Québec, Canada). They'll see us at 4:30 pm. It's not the New Year's Day anyone had planned.
I just can't let 3 little lives die because of my mistake. Even if this is viral and can't be treated, I have to try. I owe them that. It's only been a week or two, and I love them already.
I will post pictures of the cere tonight, when I have time. It doesn't look bloody or very raw, and we can only afford one bird's emergency vet bills right now, since we spent nearly $400 trying to give the birds the proper set-up. The vet charges an appointment fee per bird ($205). The appointment, blood tests, x-ray, and medicine for the sick bird will run $500-600. I'm writing this out to warn other not-so-smart people like myself who don't think they have to quarantine. I accept the cost as my responsibility as an owner.
Please let us know how things turn out when you've returned from the vet appointment.
I'm hoping for the best possible outcome for you.
It's best not to listen to what clerks in pet-stores tell you when it comes to caring for your budgies.
They are there to make sales and rarely have the necessary knowledge and experience to give accurate advice.
Please take the time to read through the Site Guidelines, all of the How To Guides, the FAQs, the Budgie Articles and the stickies located at the top of each section of the forum.
Truly, the very BEST advice anyone can offer you is to take the time to read ALL of the stickies throughout the various Talk Budgie forums as well as the Budgie Articles we have posted.
These are great resources for Talk Budgie members and have a wealth of reliable information which will assist you to learn the best practices in caring for your budgies for their optimal health and well-being.
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Hello, everyone! I have really good news from the emergency vet. I took Sky in, because she seemed exhausted and was having the hardest time breathing. It turns out it was indeed the dust from the litter, as she wasn't sneezing at all while at the vet's office.
I bought enough powdered azithromycin for 10 days' treatment of all 3 birds, in case it didn't get better by moving them out of the room...but it did get better! I cleaned the room with a shop vac, regular vac, and have the HEPA air purifier running. It feels better in here, although everybudgie is still sneezing a little. They're not rubbing their beaks out of discomfort anymore.
The vet confirmed that Sky is definitely molting, so that's at least 2 out of my 3 budgies molting at the same time. You should see all the feathers! The vet said the molt was probably keeping Sky up at night with itching, which I confirmed. That's why she's been so sleepy.
The vet said there was mild scaling of the legs, and a chance it could be mites, so I've got 4 weeks' worth of Ivomec to treat everybudgie. Hopefully, if the facial itching is from mites, that'll treat that, too.
Sunny has scraped all of the purplish black off his cere. It doesn't look like a raw wound, like I would expect if it was skin that rubbed off, so I'm thinking it was due to being a female in breeding condition. I've attached an image. What do you all think?
Last edited by Kiwi Jelly Bean; 01-04-2021 at 02:46 AM.
Reason: Edited due to broken img
Sunny looks like a budgie coming out of breeding condition - not a male.
When you treat for scaly mites, you will need to fully clean everything that your birds have come into contact with. Deep clean the entire cage, perches, toys, food and water bowls, and any play stands or perches that are not inside the cage.
I'm glad to hear that the budgies are on the mend. You can use packing paper to line the birds' cage if you prefer it rather than white paper towels.
I buy it from Amazon for my Prevue Hendryx F040 and F050 Flight Cages.
Should I wait to disinfect everything until after the 4 weeks of treatment? I can get on the waiting list for that veterinary disinfectant...F-10, I think it's called? It's out of stock everwhere. Otherwise, what I can get this week or next is Mango Pet Focus, but I don't think it's as broad-spectrum. I'm really, really hesitant to use bleach.
I know I should not have rope perches, swings, and toys, and I'm monitoring them for wear and will replace them gradually when I get an income. But how do I sanitize them? Also, one of the toys is loofah, I think? Another is for foraging, made from something like straw. Those probably won't hold up to any liquid disinfectant, and might be highly flammable in the oven. Any thoughts how to disinfect them?
I would not use bleach, I use the Mango Pet Focus it is effective against a lot, it is stated as follows:
Effective against over 50 Pathogens including viruses, fungi, and bacterial microbes. This quaternary disinfectant is certified to be effective against Avian Polyomavirus that is resistant to severe environmental conditions. Effective against pseudomonas, chlamydia (Psittacosis), Avian Infectious Bronchitis Newcastle's Disease and much more. Kills both Gram negative and Gram positive bacteria. Also, safe around reptiles, dogs and cats. Use in veterinary clinics pet shops, breeder facilities and homes.
Formulated for sensitive avian environment. Clean cages, walls, toys, perches, dishes, counters and syringes. Certified by EPA as a rinse free formula. Non-fuming. Neutral pH concentrate formula.
You can also use vinegar and water, I have rope perches that I wash and I always rinse everything, even if it is stated that it is not necessary, in the summer I put them outside in the sun to dry but now I just let them air dry in the house.