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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Some info about the bird:
My budgie (who is a female, but I originally thought was a male, so I still refer to the bird as HIM--but be clear, the bird is a female) is turning 11 years old in a couple of weeks, and he has had his fair share of ailments. He suffered from bumblefoot for most of his life and is quite fat (probably has some kind of fatty tumor in his stomach area as well). His right foot is completely paralyzed and his left foot has lost a lot of dexterity. To make it worse, his talons are not growing in correctly so it makes it hard for him to grasp onto things correctly. Even when both his talons had dexterity, he often had a hard time balancing on his perch...it seemed like his back was a little weak. For example, after a bath, he would wobble a lot because his tailfeather was wet. This might have been due to him being overweight. Another thing: 3 or 4 years ago, many of his chest feathers were quite overgrown a lot. He looked like a fuzzball because these feathers were quite stringy. He was unable to fly for a while, but we started taking much better care of him, took him out a lot more often, and he regained his flight to the point where he was flying almost frighteningly fast. I know everyone will say the same about their budgie, but he really is a tough bird. I do give him fruits and veggies (oranges, iceburg lettuce, carrots, apple, grape), and an occasional treat like a few sesame seeds, bread, and even boiled chicken breast, all of which he has enjoyed for many years. But he has mainly been on a seed diet. He's lived in rather cold climates for years. My mum likes to leave windows open even during the winter months, and she doesn't use the heat very often. It's been like this since the day we got him 11 years ago. Combined with his sicknesses, limited to no use of his talons, and high weight, he's always found a way to cope.

I've seen an avian vet before, but not much could be done about his bumblefoot. His high body fat has clearly inhibited him but I've done what I can and it seems we've all just learned to live with it.

My current problem:
Recently (the past three days or so), his feathers are always fluffed, and his flying is very weak. On top of that, he is constantly napping, far more than usual. This all started a few days ago, when these symptoms were probably at their worst. He wasn't responding to much--I could poke at him and make noise around him and he would barely even open his eyes. I gave him some sugar water, hand fed him some seed, carrots, etc. He was unable to fly; he could only fly downward to break his fall and he could not go upwards. Over the next few days I took him out occasionally and played with him, and now he doesn't appear to be sick, but still acting strange. He smells like his usual self, he is eating like his usual self, getting enough water, his droppings seem normal, and at times he is quite chipper and active. But his flying is strenuous at best (sometimes he can fly upwards, sometimes not), he is still fluffed all of the time, he doesn't chirp as often or as loudly, and he is napping a lot more often (and during said naps, he doesn't get distracted as easily as he did before--he doesn't care if i get up close to him, talk loudly, etc.). Just last week he was able to fly amazingly fast for an overweight, 11 year old bird, and was quite loud while doing so. Now he is barely flying, fluffy, and rather quiet.

Other things:
For as long as I can remember, he always shivers his wings once in a while. He has this bad habit of eating off his floor, sometimes used oat groats, sometimes his own crap! Just today, when I put him back into the cage, he literally ran to get to the bottom of the cage to eat stuff off the floor, and he did this over and over after picking him up each time. Recently (past two weeks) i have given him half of a honey nut cheerio, which he has enjoyed. That's the only thing I've done differently the past little while. And I know you will all be critical of me, but I haven't given him a cuttlebone in years. I know it's something I should start doing, but he's been fine for so long without it, so I wouldn't directly attribute his strange behavior to the lack of a cuttlebone.

The bottom line:
He's been sleeping a lot more often, fluffed up all the time, can't fly very well, and he's quieter than usual. Having seen him sick before, I don't think he's actually sick. Is this simply old age? Is he perhaps physically injured (broken/sprained wing)? Is it something else?

Sorry about the long post, but I wanted to be as detailed as possible as my budgie has a lot of health issues that he has lived with for a very long time, and I wanted to make note of them. Thanks so much in advance!

Addendum: about 4 or 5 months ago, he started having night terrors frequently throughout the night. He would fly wildly around the cage, and I'd have to turn the light on to put him back up to his spot. Minutes after turning the lights back off, he would again fly around in his cage. This, combined with the fact that he has trouble balancing, means that he now sleeps with the light on at all times (he never sees complete darkness).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I don't poke and prod at him to frighten or annoy him. I only mentioned it because i found it strange that, for a while, he was barely reacting to me.

Regarding foods he should not have eaten, I think all of those foods are considered acceptable. I've never given him something that he inherently should not have eaten. Sesame seeds for example have only been on occasion.

The problem is that unless he is in his normal cage at his normal sitting position, he freaks out. We have a small carrying cage that we use to transport him, but he gets really stressed out in it. I've retrofitted an old square of cage (about 4 inches by 4 inches) and placed it at his usual perching spot. He has food and water within wing's reach.

If placed on the floor with food and water, he will simply fly or attempt to fly back up to his normal spot whether or not there is a perch there. He simply hates it anywhere else. I think the flat surface he is sitting on works for now and I'm working on creating a larger pad for him to permanently use in place of the perch entirely.

Regarding a vet, I'm not sure if that's possible (and I know you get that a lot). Money is tight right now as I am currently on student loans and in the red (in debt). If things get a lot worse, I may have to dip into the emergency money, but since things have overall gotten better the past few days for my bird, I'm wanting to wait it out and see.

Do you (or anyone else for that matter) believe that he is sick with some type of illness, disease, sickness, etc., vs. having some type of injury that will heal?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well I'll have to call my vet and ask what the initial exam cost is. The problem is that the office is closed today (it is 3 AM on a Monday where I am, won't be open until Tuesday at 10 AM), and they are the best avian vet nearby (my bird has been there before). So it will have to wait until then.

I should also point out that he sleeps with a light on at night. He never sees complete darkness. The reason for this is because of a combination of his difficulty balancing and that he constantly has night terrors. It got to a point where I would turn the light off and 3 minutes later he would be flying wildly around the cage. He would do this multiple times in a night, so now we just leave the light on.

He's since mellowed out a bit and he now has a flat platform to sleep on, so he would probably be okay without the light on. I'm not sure if I should start giving him total darkness to sleep in, especially since he doesn't sleep in the same room as me (he must be in a different room as me due to my highly irregular hours).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks so much for your help. If anyone else has any thoughts or would like to chime in as well, please do.

I will call my avian vet tomorrow and the next day to inquire, but I'm unsure if I can afford even a checkup. Doing my best...thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Brienne, I've read through that web page completely :) it looks like I won't be able to bring my budge into a bird veterinarian until tomorrow at the soonest as everyone is booked or closed.

In the mean time, should I be giving him sugar water at all, or any fruits/veggies? He's always sleeping right now. I've read about boiling an egg and mashing it up or even giving sick budgies a runny yolk (which allows for easily digestible protein). Any suggestions to wait it out the next day or two?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
How much of this sugar/honey water should I give him? A teaspoon? A few drops? Hand feed him with a syringe?

I wanted to try a soft-boiled egg but I thought maybe if the yolk was still runny (and not fully cooked), it may still have harmful bacteria for the bird. Also, is the fat content and cholesterol content in the egg yolk harmful?

I read the part about milk but I have always been really skeptical as I know birds don't digest milk very well...
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Well I saw the vet today. The initial exam yielded nothing; the doctor can't tell why the bird is acting this way. She's going to do an x-ray and have her stay a day or two at the hospital. They had the budgie on oxygen inside an incubator because she was breathing heavily when I arrived, but I think bird was just fine. They kept him on oxygen throughout. Once I saw him, he was doing fine, but still fluffed up. I hope the x-ray shows us something.

She did say that his weight is fine/normal, but he did recently lose some weight. The doctor said she could tell that the bird had lost some weight in a short period of time.

I also wanted to clarify a few things regarding budgies eating eggs. FaeryBee you said "a soft cooked hard-boiled egg will be fine". So do you mean soft or hard? I'm not sure what a "soft cooked hard-boiled egg" is. I read a lot of forum posts about giving boiled eggs to budgies. Most said to boil the egg for 20-30 minutes, which is definitely very hard-boiled. A soft-boiled egg would probably only take a couple minutes of boiling, and everyone said boil an egg for at least 20 minutes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
George (my budgie) appears to be succumbing to old age. The veterinarian examined the x-ray and noted that her heart, liver, and kidneys were enlarged. Her bones were quite weak. There was nothing more that could be done, so three days ago, I decided to take her home so she could be with her family.

Her condition has worsened and she is unable to move a few of her extremities. Her wing, tailfeathers, and feet have very limited or no movement. The unfortunate reality is that she is dying. She is laying down with food and water in front of her, surrounded by warm water bottles and on top of a pillow case with a reusable heat pad inside of it for warmth.

Her body temperature is about 29.7-31.1 degrees Celsius, her resting heart rate is about 335 beats per minute, but her breathing is very weak (small breaths). She has been eating (quite a smorgasbord :) seed, millet spray, bread, oat groats, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, egg food/treat, and more, drinking electrolyte water, and she also has tried being her usual self. She always had this bad habit of hopping on the floor of her cage and chewing on whatever was down there. Everytime I came in the room while she was doing that, she would look at me and scurry away, back up to her perch, as if she had done something wrong and I'd be mad at her. In her more defiant times, she would hop down and "not give a ****" about me. Even if I picked her up, she'd hop straight back down the instant I let go of her...anyways, she was feeling cheeky and started doing that a few times this morning and I found admirable that despite her pain and worstening condition, she was still herself here at home.

Alright, I know, we've all got a story--I just wanted to be in my happy place for a moment. I hope George was in hers too, for her last few days. I don't think she will make it past the hour, so I'll just sit with her quietly for a while.

Good night everybody, and thanks for all your help.
 
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