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Regurgitating / Vomiting/Retching
Posted by Barrie Shutt on Talk Budgies 7/19/2010

Regurgitating is a perfectly natural function. From the moment a **** is introduced and accepted by the hen he will begin to regurgitate partly digested seed from his crop and feed her, this courting process soon turns into a duty once the eggs begin to hatch. He will spend the day packing his crop with seed,allowing his digestive juices enough time to get the digestive process started and then bring the whole lot up to feed the hen and the chicks. This is a male bird in breeding condition and if no mate is available he will feed the mirror, his toys or your finger, this is an instinctive behaviour and nothing to worry about.

Retching looks just like regurgitation where the bird stretches up the head and neck and makes convulsive retching movements,the difference is nothing comes up. This could be a tumour in the throat but more likely it will be a obstruction in the throat often caused by a small feather swallowed when the bird was preening. Within two days the symptoms should stop after the obstruction was dislodged by the passage of food and water.
Edit: Retching can also be a sign of a crop infection.

Vomiting by throwing food out of the crop is not unusual and there are a number of causes, the first cause is a chill and warmth and isolation must be offered immediately. The bird will try and get rid of accumulating mucus in the throat and seeds fly out and gather in little clusters. These can be seen on the cage floors or the cage wires. Vomiting is common in pet birds and can be a sign of disease or courtship.

The vomiting bird may show one or more of the following symptoms:
Lethargic and fluffed
Sometimes they will seizure
Pass watery green droppings
Severely affected birds may die suddenly

In severe indigestion and after ingestion of poison, the liquid vomited by the bird may have a bad smell, the bird becomes weak and refuses food. The breast feathers and head feathers will be wet with thrown out mucus. Add a small pinch of epsom salts to some water and fill a syringe, make sure the bird is drinking this and then gently massage the birds crop area. Offer some soft food or millet sprays and coax the bird to eat, this may bring about a recovery. Remember the sick bird always needs warmth. Epsom salts must only be used as an emergency treatment and used only once. Too much salts will poison birds.

Diseases causing vomiting in birds

Infectious disease

Metabolic disease
(eg enlarged Thyroid , liver disease, peritonitis)​

Nutritional cause (e.g. high protein diets)

Heavy metal toxicity (Zinc and lead are most common)
Plant toxicities
Physical obstructions
(e.g. foreign body in the crop, overfeeding)​


Trauma especially crop burn

Food Allergy

Behavioral usually not pathological
e.g. courtship behavior, crop milk feeding in pigeons​

Cancer causing nausea and obstructions

Iatrogenic / caused by treatments from drugs especially doxycycline, nitoimadazoles.

e.g. motion sickness when traveling to vets or shows.
A more common syndrome is that of low level poisoning .

To help veterinarians work up medical caused of vomiting veterinarians often use the term regurgitation for finely controlled vomiting that is part of normal physiology that a healthy bird may do. They bob their head up and down and then bring up softened undigested food into their mouth and place the reguuritated food carfully in a desired place. Vomiting is more uncontrolled ejection of food from both the crop and stomach that is spat out, and flicked around the cage, often landing on the head and neck and is always a sign of disease.

The most common causes of a vomiting budgie are Trichomoniasis,Megabacteria, Heavy metal poisoning and after receiving certain medications.

©2006 barrieshuttbudgerigars S3872.
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