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Go Back   Talk Budgies Forums > Budgie Talk > Your Budgie's Health


Your Budgie's Health Learn about avian health and vet care. This forum does not substitute for veterinary expertise.
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  #1  
Old 02-07-2017, 03:26 AM
sagegarden (Evelyn)
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We recently adopted a female budgie, 3-year old Thistle, from the local humane society to be a companion to my daughter's school budgie who suddenly lost his mate. The surviving budgie seemed very lonely and we thought that he needed a companion. After two days of being in side by side cages, it became clear that the surviving budgie was very ill so we took him to the vet, where he was diagnosed with possible Chlamydiosis. We brought him home and provided all the care we could for him, but a few days later we took him in to be euthanized. We couldn't watch him suffer any longer. The teachers at the school disinfected the pet area to minimize Thistle's chance of catching anything.

Thistle was now at the school without a companion and she was sitting in one area of her cage and being very quiet. This went on for almost two weeks so I decided to bring her home so I could closely monitor her. I noticed that her tail was bobbing a bit and that her when her urine dried it took on a yellowish hue so we took her to the vet (a very good avian vet). The vet agreed that the urine colour was concerning, but didn't find anything else out of the ordinary with the physical exam (except that she is a bit underweight, weighing 35 grams). Heart sounded good, lungs were clear, no noticeable tumours. The vet took samples for a Chlamydiosis test and prescribe Doxy. The test luckily came back negative.

The vet thought it would be a good idea to do a two week course of the Doxy and we are 8 days in. We are also in the process of switching her to pellet diet from a seed diet. We are giving her about half the amount of seed as usual and have introduced Roudybush pellets. Her interest in the Roudybush is lacklustre but she is eating some. She is not showing any interest in fruits and veggies.

Over the 10 days we have had her at home, her behaviour is extremely inconsistent. Some days she sits on the same perch and is very quiet. Other days she is more active. One day she was super active and we let her out of her cage and she had a great time walking about and interacting with us. Then the next day she seemed shy and not interested in us.

Some other things we noticed are that her cere is changing from dark purple-brown to blue, she lost a wing feather about 12 days ago and she was moulting a bit as indicated by the presence of pin feathers (which are now regular feathers.

A possibly important piece of info is that she had chicks about 4 months ago.

Today, she was very quiet so I put on a You Tube video for her of budgies singing and vocalizing. She happily chirped right back at them and occasionally flew from one perch to another.

Since she is a new budgie and I don't know her personality, I don't know how to tell if she might be sick or lonely. Are there any other clues I should look for? Are there any viruses that I should be concerned about?

I have fallen in love with the little sweetie and I want her to be happy and healthy. I would be grateful for advice and expertise. I would like to get her a friend but I do not want to expose another budgie to any potential illness.

I can try to post pics in the am.

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Old 02-07-2017, 05:07 AM
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Hi and welcome to TB

Thistle sounds adorable and I'm glad you were kind enough to offer her a home. You have learned the hard way of the risks associated with introducing birds without quarantine but I'm relieved the chlamydia test was negative for Thistle.

I don't think you should rush into getting a companion just yet for her, she has been through an awful lot and I think some stability is what is needed for now. You are still learning about budgie care and I think that should be your focus for now. You're definitely taking the right steps with transitioning to a healthier diet but please monitor extremely carefully and do not reduce seed levels dramatically especially when she is underweight. Transitioning to pellets can take several months and may not always be successsful. There is no need for fruit in her diet as it is not a natural part of their diet in the wild and can make them more hormonal. Minimal amounts of plain vegetables are okay.

There are many sicknesses outside of chlamydia that birds can contract which you should discuss with your vet - is the vet you have been seeing a bird expert?

Take things slow with thistle and offer her a calm, peaceful environment with some background music. The classroom environment is not ideal for birds it can be far too stressful.

She will need time to take in her new surroundings and build up trust. Sit and talk with her and don't rush anything or make sudden movements. Budgie friendship takes a lot of patience but the process can be really enjoyable as you learn a little bit about your new friend every day.
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  #3  
Old 02-07-2017, 10:44 AM
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It's great that you want what is best for little Thistle.
Will she be remaining with you now on a permanent basis rather than returning to your daughter's classroom?

I agree with Niamh.
The home environment will be much better for Thistle rather than being subjected to the stress inherent in a child's classroom.
She needs time to settle into her new environment and routine before you determine whether or not to get a friend for her.
Additionally, it is important you are 100% sure she is completely healthy before considering introducing another budgie into your home.

If the time comes when you do decide to get a friend for Thistle, you will need to observe quarantine for the new budgie.

Quarantine means housing your new bird in a different cage in a different room as far away as possible from the room where your current bird(s) are housed for a period of 30-45 days.
Budgies mask symptoms when they are ill. Symptoms may not show up for over two weeks.
Often you will not even realize your bird is not well. Many budgie illnesses are airborne which is why you need to quarantine your new bird in a completely different room.

It is also a good idea to always take a new budgie in to see an Avian Vet for a "well-birdie" check-up. This allows you to develop a good relationship with the vet and the vet can establish a baseline for your bird in case of any future illnesses or injuries.


Distinction between an Avian Vet and a Vet that "Will See Birds"

When you are ready to introduce your two budgies after the 45 day quarantine period, please be sure to introduce them in neutral territory. Sometimes having two or three supervised meetings prior to moving them into one cage is advisable. Before introducing a budgie into another budgie's cage, the cage should be completely rearranged (perches, toys, food and water dishes) in order to help prevent any potential territorial issues.

https://talkbudgies.com/new-budgie-ar...o-budgies.html

Converting to a new diet when a budgie is ill is especially tricky.
You need to ensure she is getting 1 1/2 - 2 teaspoons of a high quality seed mix per day. This should be happening even when she has accepted pellets.

When I introduced pellets to my budgie, my Avian Vet recommended using Harrison's High Potency Mash and sprinkling it on the budgie's seed mix every day. This way, when the budgie hulls the seed it tastes the pellet mash and ingests bits of it as well. This helps the budgie identify the taste as a food source.

Many members seem to find the easiest pellets to use for introducing pellets to their budgies to be the CANARY sized Zupreem fruity pellets. Most budgies like the taste and the "Canary" sized pellets are tiny enough for them to easily eat them. Once they've become accustomed to the Fruity Pellets, introducing the smallest "natural" pellets is then an easy step.

Other than when I was using the Harrison's mash, I've never mixed my birds' pellets and seed together. My birds have three separate dishes each with a different brand/flavor of pellets available to them 24/7. Their seed is rationed to approximately 2 teaspoons of seed per budgie each day. I give them seed first thing in the morning right after putting clean newspapers on the bottom grate of the cages. I sprinkle their morning ration on the paper so they can forage for the seeds. I then do the same thing in the evenings (after replacing the soiled newspaper with clean) and again allow them to forage for their seed.

All of my birds have the option to eat the available pellets whenever they like throughout the day and they all enjoy them!
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  #4  
Old 02-07-2017, 10:48 AM
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It's great that you have adopted Thistle, Niamhf has given you good advice. There could be a number of things that are contributing to her behavior. She has been through many changes recently based on what you have said and who knows what her life was before she ended up at the Humane Society shelter. It's important to provide her with a loving stable environment as she has been through many recent changes. Did the vet ok the food change to pellets? It is good to transition them to pellets but when a bird is ill it may not be the best time to initiate that process. Would love to see pictures of her.
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Old 02-07-2017, 12:09 PM
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I agree with everything said above. I want to add the colour change to her cere. We will be of better help once we see a picture, but a hens cere will turn brown when in breeding condition, and go back to a pale light blue or white when not in condition.

To me she does sound lonely [fingers crossed she's not ill!], and maybe a little bit stressed out with all of the change. Some birds only take a day or two to settle in, but others can take much longer.

What does her cage look like? Covering a portion of it with a dark blanket will give her a bigger sense of security, and should help to reduce any stress.

Be aware of her body language. If she's having a "quiet" day, you might want to sit near the cage and do something quietly. Maybe put some music on and colour, read a book, even talk to her... But watch her body language to see if this calms her. Blinking slowly is another trick that seems to work miracles in calming birds.

Also offering treats [millet, etc] from your hand is a proven way to gain trust.

My thoughts are with you/her!
  #6  
Old 02-08-2017, 12:13 AM
sagegarden (Evelyn)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cody View Post
It's great that you have adopted Thistle, Niamhf has given you good advice. There could be a number of things that are contributing to her behavior. She has been through many changes recently based on what you have said and who knows what her life was before she ended up at the Humane Society shelter. It's important to provide her with a loving stable environment as she has been through many recent changes. Did the vet ok the food change to pellets? It is good to transition them to pellets but when a bird is ill it may not be the best time to initiate that process. Would love to see pictures of her.
It was the vet who told us to start transitioning her to pellets. I feel like she is not eating enough pellets, though, so today I gave her more seed. I have Roudybush pellets but I am going to go to the vet to get some Harrison's to see if she likes it better.
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Old 02-08-2017, 12:36 AM
sagegarden (Evelyn)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FaeryBee View Post
It's great that you want what is best for little Thistle.
Will she be remaining with you now on a permanent basis rather than returning to your daughter's classroom?

I agree with Niamh.
The home environment will be much better for Thistle rather than being subjected to the stress inherent in a child's classroom.
She needs time to settle into her new environment and routine before you determine whether or not to get a friend for her.
Additionally, it is important you are 100% sure she is completely healthy before considering introducing another budgie into your home.

If the time comes when you do decide to get a friend for Thistle, you will need to observe quarantine for the new budgie.

Quarantine means housing your new bird in a different cage in a different room as far away as possible from the room where your current bird(s) are housed for a period of 30-45 days.
Budgies mask symptoms when they are ill. Symptoms may not show up for over two weeks.
Often you will not even realize your bird is not well. Many budgie illnesses are airborne which is why you need to quarantine your new bird in a completely different room.

It is also a good idea to always take a new budgie in to see an Avian Vet for a "well-birdie" check-up. This allows you to develop a good relationship with the vet and the vet can establish a baseline for your bird in case of any future illnesses or injuries.


Distinction between an Avian Vet and a Vet that "Will See Birds"

When you are ready to introduce your two budgies after the 45 day quarantine period, please be sure to introduce them in neutral territory. Sometimes having two or three supervised meetings prior to moving them into one cage is advisable. Before introducing a budgie into another budgie's cage, the cage should be completely rearranged (perches, toys, food and water dishes) in order to help prevent any potential territorial issues.

https://talkbudgies.com/new-budgie-ar...o-budgies.html

Converting to a new diet when a budgie is ill is especially tricky.
You need to ensure she is getting 1 1/2 - 2 teaspoons of a high quality seed mix per day. This should be happening even when she has accepted pellets.

When I introduced pellets to my budgie, my Avian Vet recommended using Harrison's High Potency Mash and sprinkling it on the budgie's seed mix every day. This way, when the budgie hulls the seed it tastes the pellet mash and ingests bits of it as well. This helps the budgie identify the taste as a food source.

Many members seem to find the easiest pellets to use for introducing pellets to their budgies to be the CANARY sized Zupreem fruity pellets. Most budgies like the taste and the "Canary" sized pellets are tiny enough for them to easily eat them. Once they've become accustomed to the Fruity Pellets, introducing the smallest "natural" pellets is then an easy step.

Other than when I was using the Harrison's mash, I've never mixed my birds' pellets and seed together. My birds have three separate dishes each with a different brand/flavor of pellets available to them 24/7. Their seed is rationed to approximately 2 teaspoons of seed per budgie each day. I give them seed first thing in the morning right after putting clean newspapers on the bottom grate of the cages. I sprinkle their morning ration on the paper so they can forage for the seeds. I then do the same thing in the evenings (after replacing the soiled newspaper with clean) and again allow them to forage for their seed.

All of my birds have the option to eat the available pellets whenever they like throughout the day and they all enjoy them!
Thank you for all of the info!

Question: What would be a high quality seed mix? Are there certain brands that are better than others? Sprinkling the mash on the seeds and trying the Zupreem sound like good options.

My husband and I have been talking about keeping Thistle at our house permanently. She would fit right in to our little zoo of three bunnies and two gerbils. The school is a lovely place for the right kind of pet. It is a very large area (about 800 square feet) with 22 kids from grade one to five. The pets have their own space. They actually had a gerbil that lived until he was 5 or 6 years old. But, it just might not be the right fit for Thistle.
  #8  
Old 02-08-2017, 12:53 AM
sagegarden (Evelyn)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niamhf View Post
Hi and welcome to TB

Thistle sounds adorable and I'm glad you were kind enough to offer her a home. You have learned the hard way of the risks associated with introducing birds without quarantine but I'm relieved the chlamydia test was negative for Thistle.

I don't think you should rush into getting a companion just yet for her, she has been through an awful lot and I think some stability is what is needed for now. You are still learning about budgie care and I think that should be your focus for now. You're definitely taking the right steps with transitioning to a healthier diet but please monitor extremely carefully and do not reduce seed levels dramatically especially when she is underweight. Transitioning to pellets can take several months and may not always be successsful. There is no need for fruit in her diet as it is not a natural part of their diet in the wild and can make them more hormonal. Minimal amounts of plain vegetables are okay.

There are many sicknesses outside of chlamydia that birds can contract which you should discuss with your vet - is the vet you have been seeing a bird expert?

Take things slow with thistle and offer her a calm, peaceful environment with some background music. The classroom environment is not ideal for birds it can be far too stressful.

She will need time to take in her new surroundings and build up trust. Sit and talk with her and don't rush anything or make sudden movements. Budgie friendship takes a lot of patience but the process can be really enjoyable as you learn a little bit about your new friend every day.
Thank you for your information! Yes, the vet is indeed a bird expert. We are lucky to have an exotic pet vet in our end of the city. Once Thistle is done the doxy, we will monitor her and if she seems Ill at all, we will take her back to the vet (or before that, if needed) to discuss other illnesses.

I have been talking to Thistle a lot. I work mostly from home at this time of year and her cage is near where I work. I put music or budgie videos on my computer for her.
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Old 02-08-2017, 01:05 AM
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It was very kind of you to take Thistle in and get her the care that she needed. I am surprised the vet advised you to try to change her food while she is ill so I am glad you are still making plenty of seed available to her. I have had more luck sprinkling the Harrison's Mash on seed than getting my budgies to actually eat pellets as suggested above. I also sprinkle it on any soft foods they will eat.
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Old 02-08-2017, 12:59 PM
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I agree with the great advice given above! I hope Thistle feels better soon!
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