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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi! I have a big issue/issues to discuss with whomever has the inclination... i could really use some advice from my friends here! 

My husband and I caretake for an elderly/disabled family friend, since his wife passed away, leaving him, and her budgie, Puffy, behind. Puffy was miserable, and we adopted Petunia, a rescue who came from a hoarding situation. We have no idea how old she is, but Puffy is about 6 years old I think? Maybe even 7. Thank goodness it was love at first sight and they have been a great pair.
Now Im going to be honest,… my birds at home have a pampered life, and I didn’t love the fact that Puffy and Petunia had to be in a cage all the time. But my husband didn’t want to rehome Puffy so soon after the wife had passed, and once we got Petunia, he felt like the birds were good company for our friend.
But its been alot of work trying to care for them, yet feeling like we are not giving them the best quality of life, as their primary owner that lives with them is unable to care for them or even interact with them (he has traumatic brain injury and is sort of limited to things he likes to engage in), and taking them out of the cage only seemed to traumatize them and make them fly into walls.
We bought them a big flight cage and I felt better about that. However, even though I try to feed them a high quality diet thats not just seeds, I dont know that they have much interest in anything but seeds. Certainly Petunia doesnt seem to be very adventurous.

Recently, Petunia became ill, while I was busy for the holidays and my husband was taking care of them. One day he told me she seemed to be sleeping alot. Anyway, we brought her in, tried antibiotics, they didnt work- the vet says she has liver disease or even cancer, and obviously its progessed as she is visibly ill…nothing we can do at the moment, So we are taking it a day at a time, and trying all the natural remedies we can for her, in the hopes it at least eases her just a bit.

In the meantime, I have been pondering Puffy’s future, certainly he will be devastated to lose his companion. He has already lost his brother, and his human mom. Poor little guy. I honestly dont know how I feel about trying to get him another bird, only because, I am just not convinced that his elderly owner should have any pets, especially birds- I dont feel like it’s fair to a pet to have their owner not be the one that cares for them and interacts with them.
Im going through something similar with my aging dad and his cat :( The owner is not bonded with the birds at all, and over time, ive come to realize that I dont really think he cares whether they are there or not?
Maybe im totally wrong, but I had the thought to maybe just find Puffy a loving home and flock. He’s such a sweet boy, and not really tame yet, but has a lot of potential, and does like scritches.
I also had the fleeting thought of taking him in…with my girls. As you may remember, I have a budgie, Lotus, and a Linnie named Neeloo. Lotus is about two, and Neeloo is around 1 year old.

Now, I would probably DNA test Lotus before I do that… I have been getting comments from other bird owners that they think she is a male (we are keeping her preferred pronouns LOL), and its possible, as her cere hasn’t turned brown, and she does display male traits. So her gender might not be an issue.

The pros of bringing Puffy in are that
a)Puffy would be way less maintenance than a baby, of course! So thats a plus
b)Puffy is not bonded to us but he knows us and it would be less of a shock to him
c)Who knows? He could be the perfect fit for all of us, and make Lotus happy
d)we know that Puffy would have a great quality of life with us because we are ridiculous with our birds 😋
e)the poor thing has been through alot, and this would be a gentle transition in many ways

What would be an issue for me is
a) I just got Neeloo (my Linnie) last January, and Lotsi the year before that…it feels like we are just starting to settle in, Neeloo just started to fly. and getting a new bird, is an exhausting process…im assuming puffy would still require quarantine. Its a huge responsibility. I also dont know if im ready for a new bird as ive recently started taking care of my aging dad.
b) I am the one who physically takes care of these guys and is with them all day, so it has to work for me, and
c)my primary concern is my bird children ,they have to be ok with it. If lotus gets more stressed out, or if puffy bullies her, that would be a dealbreaker. He is also very different. He grew up, parent raised, untamed, with another male sibling, they fought all the time, and he can be loud and a bit aggressive, nothing crazy, but I would just hate to see him get weird with Lotus. Or throw off the balance of the flock…
d)I had sort of hoped my next bird would be a cockatiel, or a baby budgie that I can train and integrate seamlessly into the flock- we are very close knit and spend all day together, so personalities are important. Lotus and Neeloo have perfect dispositions. Puffy can be kind of annoying, and he might irritate them. And me 😆 But then again, they could mellow him out!
e) If we even do a trial period, and puffy doesnt work out (aka Lotus is miserable), then rehoming him will also be another transition for him to have to go through...

My husband has been harassing me (lol) to get a budgie for Lotus, for years. Its annoying because it makes me feel like he thinks she’s not happy. He is convinced that even though I spend all day with her, and she is obsessed with me, that her life and happiness won’t be complete unless she has a budgie friend to do budgie things with, someone on her wavelength.
Maybe he is right! But my main thing is I want her to be happy, and from all the research I’ve done and bird people/breeders ive talked to…getting another budgie is not foolproof plan. She could become more agitated or jealous of attention to the new bird, I mean, so many things could happen. I just think its a risk, and I think now that we have Neeloo, she has someone to hang out with if I have to leave the house for a couple hours, and they do get along really well. Not the way that a budgie bonded pair would, but they do have fun, and Lotus never has to be alone.
Im not worried about losing my bond with Lotus, because she’s so intensely bonded with me. But I do worry that a new budgie wouldn’t necessarily make her happy and just might stress her out, as well as adding to my extra work (which is less important that her being happy, but if it doesn’t make her happy and is also more work for me, it doesnt make sense) But if I knew 100%, that having a little budgie buddy completed her and made her happy, I would do it in a second.
Neeloo is such a chill baby (everyone calls her Buddha bird), that i think she'd be ok with almost anything. Lotus can be demanding, finicky, and kind of a diva. 

So now that there is the potential of rehoming Puffy, my husband is insisting that we take him in. I told him that ultimately the decision has to be mine because I’m the one who actually does all the the dirty work :)
Do you think its a good idea? I just can’t seem to wrap my head around it. Would I have to quarantine him? Separate cages obviously, but forever? What about the age difference, would he bully her? Lotus was bullied as a baby by the other non-albino budgies, they would chew on her feathers and she even had poop on her wing when I got her 🥲 ive heard of albino budgies getting bullied or picked on in general. I see Puffy being sweet to Petunia and feeding her, but sometimes he pecks her really hard between her wings! My husband says he’s just “beaking” her and not pecking. 🤷‍♀️

The other thing my husband wants to do is to bring Puffy and Petunia over to our home. Since poor Miss Tuni is most likely on her way to cross over the rainbow bridge, (i literally cant stop crying, i know you guys feel me. these little pals are so cute together that i wrote a song about them) there are some things about this that make alot of sense. I wouldn’t have to drive over to there once or twice a day, and spend alot of time taking care of them. My husband and I are literally the only people who even glance at them or interact with them, so they would be with us and they might like it. I could set up a separate room for them as a Bird room, with play stands etc, so that they could be together and have out of cage time for long periods of time, or even all day if they wanted. I would be able to offer them more fresh food, etc, etc. and check in on them more, even if its just to say hi. At their current home, people are around but ignoring them.
I dont know which is better…but the idea would be to give them a better quality of life with more attention, fresh food, and lots of out of cage time. But would the move actually stress out Petunia even more? She seems so very fragile and like she’s just hanging in there…. But she’s a trooper and getting used to me catching her to give her antibiotics, and now supplements (aloe, milk thistle, and red palm oil) Puffy has lived in that house since he was weaned…would it be awful for him? Is it better to just leave them be?
My main concern about this would be stressing out my birds. If they hear me in there talking to other birds…and they will definitely hear each other! Lotus would probably go nuts and scream. Or she might really want to go into the room. I dont know how they’d react. I also dont know whether or not we'd have to observe quarantine rules and wash and change clothes after we leave the room…

My husband wants to have them here, to give them a better quality of life at least until Petunia passes, and then merge Puffy with the flock. Or at least do a trial period and see if he is a good fit.
I’m open to it..i'm more open to bringing them here and keeping them in a separate room, because I dont know that it would impact my birds as much. But all of it is a big project and responsibility, and I want to make sure we give it alot of thought before doing anything, if we do at all.

I am praying for guidance and asking all of my bird ‘mentors’… I’d so so appreciate your thoughts and opinions.

· Administrator
60,475 Posts
You've covered a lot of topics in your post.
I want to address them all but may not have sufficient time to do so adequately and in depth this evening.
So, I'm going to start off and then I'll go back, re-read what you wrote and take on anything I missed in the morning.

1. The first suggestion I have is that you post large sized photos of Lotus' cere taken in natural light - full frontal, with no direct sunlight and no flash.
We should be able to determine the gender. Having DNA testing is not necessary.

2. I would go ahead and move Puffy and Petunia to your home at this time.
From what you've indicated, the owner will probably not miss them at all and they will be much easier to care for if you have them in your own home.
The set-up you suggested would be perfect for them. Since Petunia would be with Puffy, she should adapt just fine to the move.
They may take a week or two to settle into their new surroundings but they may surprise you and adjust with no issues at all.

3. You said that Petunia seems to "just be hanging in there".
What does that mean exactly?
Does she have any quality of life at this time or does she simply sit on a perch all fluffed up and miserable all day?

4. When Petunia moves on to the Rainbow Bridge, it does not necessarily mean you would have to house Puffy with Lotus.
They may be perfectly happy to simply be housed in cages next to one another. You can't predict how they will react to one another -- every budgie has a unique personality.
As long as you are willing to house them separately on a permanent basis (if necessary), then bringing Puffy into your home is the best option for his well-being.
A budgie's "average" lifespan is about 8 years so Puffy is already a senior citizen. He would be happiest in an environment where you continue to care for him.
Additionally, just being around Lotus and Neeloo will give Puffy company even if it turns out he spends the majority of his time in his flight cage in the same room with them.
You can always give him out of cage time on his own IF it turns out he and Lotus do not get along.

5. I wouldn't be concerned about the quarantine issue in your case. You are already taking care of Puffy and Petunia and are completely familiar with their health.
My guess is that you do not wash and change clothes every time you come home now from caring for them -- correct?

6. You can't predict how Lotus will react until the time comes that Puffy and Petunia are in your home.
Lotus may be perfectly fine with you being in another room talking to Puffy and Petunia.
She may want to come in to meet them, OR - you may decide to put their cage in the same room with Lotus and Neeloo and keep them confined to the flight cage for a few weeks.
Then you can always proceed from there.

Let's try taking things one step at a time. The first step is moving Puffy and Petunia to your home.

· Super Moderator
6,241 Posts
I agree with what FaeryBee has said. I am concerned about Petunia as well, did she see an experienced avian vet? How was it determined that she has liver issues, is her liver enlarged, were any bloodwork or x-rays done? I have had a number of birds that have had various liver issues, from infections to fatty liver and cancer. The one thing that was common to all of their treatment was the anti inflammatory drug Metacam, was that considered for Petunia? There are also bile acids that can be given, they were all also on milk thistle compounded with lactulose which helps reduce ammonia in the blood.

· Registered
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you both so much! Ok, to give you more info from the vet: I have a great animal hospital where i live, and they do have an experienced avian vet. Of course, its the only vet ive ever gone to. Dr. Brooks. She took xrays of Petunia, found very enlarged liver and alot of internal fluid build up , which is making her abdomen distended. The swelling presses on her cloaca and her little poopies come out like strings and clump together.
The vet asked us to try antibiotics just in case in was a bacterial infection, but she suspected heart or liver disease. Strangely, the antibiotics seemed to perk her up the first few days/week, saw some improvement with poops, i think? and she passed some really weird lumpy mucus-y green stuff. But then she plateaued and didnt continue at all to improve...even after 3 weeks on antibiotics. her breathing is a bit labored and she hunches over trying to balance and protect her swollen abdomen.
She didnt mention any medications or anything, she said it wouldnt make sense to do further testing since she is so tiny, and so far along.
I asked her about milk thistle and aloe, and she said it was worth a try, along with red palm oil. So i bought the palm oil there (i had the others already) and started using them all this week.
i hope this helps to clarify. I'd certainly like to ask her about Metacam, and will do so!

Faery bee, thanks so much for your reply... as far as handwashing, ive always done it... but clothes only recently, because ive been handling them. in the past, they were so wild that i couldnt get near them if i tried, but since ive had to grab petunia every day, and also to drag them to the vet, ive been changing clothes if they end up perching on me etc. i mostly started doing that bc we werent sure if petunia had an infection, and i wanted to be careful.
but in the past, say if im cleaning their cage and feeding them, etc, id just wash my hands.

I dont know if i have room for the flight cage in my bedroom, which is where my birdies sleep, next to me, but maybe he could sleep in the next room and i could wheel him in, and around... Lotus and Neelu travel all over the house with me, from room to room most of the time, and we have playstands etc in every room. so it would be interesting trying to integrate Puffy...i will continue to process and give it more thought. Any and all advice welcome! Thank you both so so much!

· Super Moderator
6,241 Posts
One of the birds I had with a liver issue had fluid buildup also, the vet used to draw out the fluid periodically and after doing so the bird would feel better and could breathe easier and had a decent quality of life. This bird was on a lot of medication and for a while I took him to the vet every week just to have the vet feel the abdomen to make sure things were stable. I gradually decreased the vet visits to every 2 weeks then 3, then monthly, of course if I noticed anything different I would take him in . Not all birds would be able to tolerate this routine but he did well for a couple of years and passed away peacefully in the vets hands at the end. Do you think Petunia could tolerate having the fluid drained? It sounds horrible but an experienced avian vet should be able to do it quickly.

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Cody, I will definitely ask the vet about this…
The impression she gave me is that, for a dog they would be doing all these things, but because she’s so tiny, she either can’t really tolerate or it’s physically impossible…
I’m not a vet and have never had experience with a sick bird, so I don’t know anything of course. I’ll ask her about these things.
I did get the impression that she thought any more tests would be toostrenuous and cause her to pass. After all, she is a rescue with ptsd and totally wild. She screams and struggles when caught and held. We also have no idea how old she is.

then again, being a rescue probably made her tough! She lived in a hoarding situation with like 30 birds on a sunporch, and had half her toes bitten off by bigger birds… so she’s tough in her own way

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
what i meant is it would be interesting trying to integrate Puffy if they hate each other, lol! Maybe they will get along... but i also think it will take time. Lotus and Neelu are pals, but they were very very wary of each other at first.
I’m an expert on moving cages around. 😂

Four flight cages in limited space.
WOW!!! thats amazing :) i love seeing someone so dedicated.
Faery, to answer your question about petunia, by hanging in there, i mean that she sits hunched over , quite far at times (part of this is balancing with her missing toes, but also with her swollen belly), and often times she is raised up as well, meaning instead of settling her little body down onto the perch when shes resting, she will have her legs extended so her belly is up high. She doesnt always do that but it looks uncomfortable.
She also breathes rapidly, sometimes quite rapidly, and has a generally ragged and exhausted look about her. poor little other times i see her perk up and skittle around a bit, it various from day to day. Puffy will sit right next to her, touching her, and he grooms and feeds her (and sometimes gives her a really hard peck 😅)

· Super Moderator
6,241 Posts
Stress can definitely play a role in how much can be done and also the degree of experience of the vet, I was very fortunate to have had a great avian vet with decades of experience. Before any vet even touches a bird they should observe the condition of the bird in their carrier, by this I mean the the posture, the breathing rate, the eyes, there is a sort of a hands off rule, that when certain things are observed it is just to risky for them to be handled.

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
i also have a vet tech who is known as the parakeet whisperer, she is who everyone goes to for budgie advice at the vet, and even the vets themselves defer to her. Ive met her and worked with her for along time so i do trust her, she is a great bird owner, and knows my babies pretty well. also is very familiar with puffy and petunia and their situation, all the birds go to the same tiny hospital.
So i wanted to share what she said bc its a different perspective and of course i want to consider it.
She says, that she is against bringing Puff and Tuni in at all... because petunia really is in quite a fragile state, She thinks that changing the house they live in, and the move itself, could just be too much stimulus and stress for her. She even encouraged me to not do an overhaul on their diet, change the cage around too much, etc. for birds, status quo is usually the least stressful option. She did say that creating a bird room at the owners house, might be nice. We have an extra room there that can be set up for them, with playstands, many cages, its on the second floor so better view (i dont know if all birds are sensitive to it but at least my budgie prefers the second and third floors of our home), it would be quiet, and we could put on some nice music for them, and i could go over and spend time if i wish. If i do this, i could try to spend a little more time with them everyday, and my husband is over there three times a day so he can check in on them... and they can have out of cage or at least cage door open time... but she did say keep them in the cage at first to gradually get them used to the room if we do it. It's my idea, (ive been wanting to do it for a year but my husband wouldnt let me, hes the primary caregiver for our friend) so she didnt come up with it, but she did give it the ok.

there were alot of other things she said, but it was a really long conversation.
As far as integrating Puffy, she was not in favor of that either. She knows Lotus and Puffy, and she thinks because of his age and temperment, it wouldnt be a good match and would be stressful for everyone. She also is concerned that often when a birds mate dies, it will lash out at other birds or reject them, so introducing them too soon is not always beneficial. She thinks that if we want to get lotus a budgie friend, we should get a baby that we can raise the same way and will grow up with her.
The way i raised Lotus, spending every waking moment with her during quarantine, shes developed a very human way of being and expressing herself. she is very human centered. My vet tech friend thinks Puffy will throw off the balance of the flock, and knowing how precious Lotus is to me, (shes my soulmate lol) and she is such a gentle soul, would hate to see her get bullied or hurt in a fight. similarly, keeping puffy around but at an arms distance could still be really stressful for her, and an added stress and work for me. She wants me to think of Lotus first, since thats my 'child', and also myself, because as the caregiver and 'bird mom', i have to be able to deal with everything properly, and if im a mess or its too much for me, thats a problem, too.
I do have so much going on in my life, my best friend has cancer and we are driving her to the hospital all the time, my aging dad is taking up all my time and mental bandwidth, and of course my bird babies i am babysitting all day, Puffy and Petunia, our elderly friend who we take care of and manage his care, and i have a traditional husband to take care of as well. I barely have time for myself these days especially with the extra time im spending on sweet little Petunia. we also are still in boxes from moving and there is the extra time i need to spend working on the house. which i dont have of course, but :)...

I'm just so torn because i dont know that im ready to take on more birds/ a new bird. At the same time, I do feel, like you said Faery bee, that it would be the happiest thing for Puffy, in an ideal world where he fits seamlessly into the flock. And I want to try it...but i had so many concerns already, that talking to my vet tech friend is really making me think twice. She knows all of us and the birds, and i would feel silly ignoring her advice. she was very firm in her opinion.

I just so desperately want to do the right thing... but i want it to be right for everyone! For Petunia, for Puffy, for my husband, for the birds owner (we havent even asked him yet but i cant imagine he would say no), and honestly mostly for Lotus, because she is my everything, and i won't compromise what she wants. But how do i know what she would want/ prefer?
And even though i dont want to take my own needs into account, i kind of have to. because im only one person, and i already have people and animals depending on me, that i can't let down. So i can't let myself burn out.

any further thoughts in response to this?
Love you guys, thank you so much for all your help so far!

· Registered
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Also FaeryBee, sorry i forgot to address gender. I had posted pics of Lotus a while ago and Im pretty sure you were convinced she is a MALE :p
another breeder has confirmed this. When she was a baby everyone thought she was female... and we went with that. Since she speaks English fluently and in context, she has always used she/her pronouns, and so have we... so we are keeping her pronouns she/her because it just makes more sense rather than suddenly changing them- shes so smart that im sure she would adapt, but we are keeping it this way. "Good Girl" is one of her favorite sayings. And she loves to fly over to me and Neelu and say " HI SWEET GIRLSSS " ... its so cute. It also really suits her to be honest, although it might be because we treated her like a little princess heehee.
so im assuming at this point Lotus is a biological male, and sorry if its confusing that i refer to him as "she"...

· Super Moderator
20,042 Posts
Hi there and welcome to the forums.

I’m sorry to hear about your predicament and I understand how busy you must be caring for everyone. You’re truly a superhuman! ❤

As for the budgies, the one thing I can tell you for certain is that you know your birds best. The vet tech has given great advice as well and she is correct that for some birds, increased stress from a move/etc could make things worse. For some grieving or sad birds, a change can be good. Regardless of what anyone says, you seem like you know the birds the best, so making a decision that suits their temperaments and your schedule is the best idea.

I think personally the bird room idea is a good one if you can do it. If Petunia has no option for recovery given her illness and should be considered in “hospice care”, then having a dedicated space where you can spend with them each day in a comfortable environment for her may be a good idea.

If Petunia passes on to the rainbow bridge, I would not make any decision regarding Puffy until you see how he adjusts to the change. Since it seems that either way you will be going to see your friend daily, you can decide if it would be better to take care of Puffy at his original home or at your own home. Having another bird in the house not in the same room shouldn’t be much of a bother to Lotus. After seeing how the situation unfolds you could decide to have their cages in the same room.

I agree with the vet tech’s recommendation that they shouldn’t be housed together. I also don’t think that Lotus is in any way in need of a budgie friend. He already has a birdie friend to chat with and has proven to be a very human oriented bird (he sounds the same as my girl, to be honest, she doesn’t even like other birds and participates in all our conversations, though she doesn’t speak English). Therefore he may even react adversely to Puffy. Thus I think that the first step would be having Puffy in another room of the house if you decide to bring him home. He’ll have more interaction with you and be able to hear birds which may help him through his grief. It may also be easier for you to check up on him during the day so you don’t have so many things to do at your friend’s house.

I don’t know if I’ve helped much. But I wish you the best and I hope you’ll keep us updated on the situation!

Best wishes

(PS: if you have any questions after reading through the forums’ links or articles, be sure to ask as we’d be happy to help.)

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you so much, Starling, you have been a big help! everyone has! Thank you all so much for the support...
I think i may take baby steps and see how things progress, maybe startwith the bird room over there, then if it feels right, bring both or just puffy over...then from there it may be easier to kind of feel out intuitively what the right thing to do next is. I really appreciate all of you, and hope you and your flocks are doing wonderfully... <3
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