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Self Mutilating Budgie Question

924 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  llsigmon

I know this is a heavy first post, but I'm babysitting my fiancee's budgie and he has an ongoing problem with self mutilation that I think is being made worse by the temporary transition to a different environment.

It all started with a medical problem. He has abnormal fatty deposits on one leg that caused irritation and feather loss. The vet put him on a special diet and it is improving. The only problem is that he is now removing all new feathers and tearing holes in the skin of his leg. So, what started as a medical issue seems to have turned into neurotic behavior.

He still has his flight feathers and has a whole bedroom to fly around in, except at night when he goes into his cage. He also has a number of toys and a radio playing when no one is around.

I have kept almost every kind of animal except birds. I've even had rodents that I helped with self mutilating behavior (so I know firsthand how difficult it is to deal with animals who have this problem).
Any suggestions for environmental things I could change fairly easily (I only have him for a couple weeks) to minimize this behavior would be greatly appreciated! I already ordered a tiny parrot plushie after seeing how obsessed he is with his reflection. Any long term suggestions are also appreciated, just keep in mind he isn't mine.
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Do you know if the vet that saw the bird was an avian vet? If not it would be best to have the bird seen by one or by a vet that has a lot of experience with birds. A change in the environment can be stressful for a bird and may be a contributing factor but I think the issue is still mainly medical. If he is tearing the skin it may be a response to something that is not feeling right in the area and the plucking and tearing is the birds way of dealing with whatever sensation he is feeling, but either way he needs to be seen again if he is tearing the skin it is open to infection. There are special collars that the vet can put on a bird to keep them from accessing areas of the body but that may not be the answer to this. His obsession with his reflection is also a problem and for that reason we do not recommend having mirrors in the cage but in this particular case it may cause more problems if you remove it now, but it is something to work towards. If you need help finding an avian vet you can do a search here in this link
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Cody, thanks for your response. The vet that saw him was an avian specialist. While the issue is slow to resolve it is improving somewhat. I will tell his owner about maybe scheduling another appointment though.
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Hi, Welcome to Talk Budgies!

The purpose of this forum is to promote the BEST PRACTICES in the care of budgies for their optimal Health and Well-Being

Cody has offered you excellent advice. I'm so sorry the little guy is having so many problems.
Perhaps you might want to suggest your finance join the forum as well.

Feather Picking, Plucking, Chewing, etc.

Avian Association of Veterinarians

A Healthy Diet for your Budgie
Quality Seed Mix
CuttleBones, Mineral Blocks and Manu Clay Roses
Safe Foods for Budgies
The Truth about GRIT

Please take the time to read through the Site Guidelines, the FAQs, the Budgie Articles and all of 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.

List of Stickies
Posting on the Forums
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Hello and welcome to the forums!

I agree with Cody and FaeryBee, they’ve given you excellent advice!

Meanwhile, you’ve come to a great place to learn even more about the best of budgie care practices! Please be sure to have a look around the forums’ many budgie articles and “stickies”, included above, to ensure you’re up to date on everything. If you have questions after doing so, please be sure to ask as we’d love to help.

I hope you’re able to find a solution for this little guy :(

Best wishes! 👋
Thank you for responding, Starling. I've been reading through the stickies. I'll technically be his co owner within a month so I want to know what I'm doing. It seems like about 95% of his general care/toys/ect. are in line with what is recommended (the only thing that is apparently an issue was his mirror, but I'm assuming that's a behavioral thing and not an immediate safety concern since I didn't see it under dangerous toys?).

Hopefully the vet will have advice on minimizing skin picking while the issue with his leg continues to resolve, as we were warned that would be a slow process.
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