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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 09-15-2020, 09:12 PM
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Exclamation Help! Ragged messy feathers

I have 2 budgies almost 4 yrs old: a male, Calvin & a female, Hobbes. Lately they went through a bit of a molt, only for a day it seemed. About that time Calvin's feathers looked very ragged or messy and have stayed that way for about a week. It doesn't look right. Hobbes looks normal. Poops look normal, eating & behavior appears same.

I keep staring at Calvin because sometimes I THINK I see his wings go through a very small shiver, but then I think I'm imagining things because I don't see it again. But that could be a symptom??

Hopefully the photo uploads correctly because otherwise it's hard to explain.
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Last edited by AprilW; 09-15-2020 at 09:16 PM. Reason: photo
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  #2  
Old 09-16-2020, 09:43 AM
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Could Hobbs be picking on Calvin, is Hobbs aggressive towards Calvin at all? What does the front of Calvin look like, are the feathers just out of sort on the wings and back?
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Old 09-16-2020, 01:57 PM
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Thanks!

They both peck toward each other all day long, about 3" away from each other, as if to tell the other one, "I want this spot!" It's more of a posturing toward each other, not actually touching. It is only sporadic thru the day.

The worst for them is bed time. Then they do peck aggresively right at each other, beak to beak. (I cover their cage overnight, so I don't know if Hobbes bites at Calvin on the back where the feathers are ruffled.) And Hobbes seem to be more the aggressor at that particular time.

But I thought that was normal for when they each try to get the highest spot in the cage.

I looked at his chest feathers & they don't SEEM abnormal. I'll get a photo & post it.

btw- I feed them Goldenfeast Basics Plus & a couple months ago I ran out of Goldn'obles Small Beak Bird Pellets. I wasn't able to find it again, so they've been out of pellets. I don't think they were a big fan of the pellets anyway though. With this latest concern, I added some Zupreem pellets yesterday (leftover from the breeder that they were raised on) to their seeds to give him a boost. (I try to avoid coloring & added synthetic vitamins, but if it helps, I'm willing to try it.) I give them fresh veggies almost every day too.
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Old 09-16-2020, 04:00 PM
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April,

They need their own space and living together does not work for all budgies.

It would be best for you to separate the two budgies into individual cages. Since, in your words, "they peck at each other all day long".

Please make sure that each cage is an adequate size for housing a solo budgie.
The minimum I personally would recommend for a single bird would be 30" long x 18" wide x 18" high.

If you allow them to have out-of-cage time together, make sure you are supervising them so there is no bickering going on - or, alternately, you can give each one individual out-of-cage time.
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Old 09-16-2020, 06:06 PM
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I'm sorry that I didn't stress the fact that they peck TOWARD the direction of each other SPORADICALLY throughout the day. Stressing "TOWARD", about 3" apart, gesturing, "I want that spot on the branch now" kind of thing. Then the other one moves & it seems settled for a little while. Each takes turns with that.

I think they seem ok together in the cage. They're certainly not love birds though! They give each other space & have enough room.

ONLY at night when I cover them, do they actually go "beak to beak" - and usually only for about 5 minutes. Isn't that normal? (Although Hobbes does seem to be the agressor at that time, more so than him.)

So it your gut feeling that the look of this feathers is from her biting at his feathers from the back & not some kind of disease?

I often give them grass seeds when grass is overgrown from our lawn (no chemicals.) Maybe a wild bird had something he caught? But then again, I would think they both would have "it", if "it" was something catchable... ??
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Old 09-16-2020, 08:22 PM
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My gut is not necessarily that she is picking at him I was hoping that might be an obvious explanation but if you do not see her actually biting or tugging at his feathers that is probably not the reason for the tattered look. Are the tattered feathers new ones that have come in and opened from the keratin sheath that way or old feathers that have suddenly become like that? If it is the new ones, I am more inclined to think it is a medical or nutritional issue, in the second picture it looks like some of the chest feathers are not quite right, is that actually the case or is it just the way the picture is? He is a very handsome guy. My other thought is that he maybe is starting to feather pick/chew in response to stress which may be caused by Hobbs, and as FaeryBee suggested they need to be separated.
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Old 09-16-2020, 10:31 PM
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Ah ha! I do remember a couple times where Hobbes tugged on Calvin's tail feathers & one actually got bent!

I don't know if it's the old or new feathers that are the ragged ones.

Now MY gut is thinking the ragged feathers could be from him CHEWING at his feathers, INSTEAD of just preening, due to some level of stress from Hobbes. He is a LITTLE more quiet and just a LITTLE more tired than usual, nothing significant. He's still singing up a storm, just maybe a little less often.

Oh boy, maybe it IS time for a cage change... We did that once when they were brand new. She pestered him badly at that time. He had a BIG wad of bird poop on his foot when we bought him & she took advantage of his stress. (I was inexperienced & looking back, we feel the breeder was unscrupulous.)

They cried out loudly to each other for a while, then when we got tired of hearing that & put them back to together - they LOVED each other! The cage was peaceful once again!
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Old Yesterday, 11:32 AM
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Thank you for the clarification with regard to the pecking "toward" one another.

If you think Calvin is stressed, then separating the two for a period of time would be a good option to see if the change improves things.

Additionally, as you know, ensuring they have a varied and nutritious diet is very important.
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