Budgie parakeets > Budgie diseases

Budgie diseases

Although budgerigars are healthy, robust creatures, they are susceptible to several minor ailments and a few of somewhat more serious nature.

Enteritia. - This is characterised by diarrhoea and a general air of lassitude; the bird sits on its perch with its head tucked under. its wing and its feathers all fluffed out; it looks seedy and dejected and cannot be interested in anything; it becomes unnaturally tame.

If left unattended this malady is frequently fatal. The cause is usually internal through feeding with tit-bits instead of normal seed, things like mashed potato sponge cake and such articles containing excess of sugar and starch; the liver is overtaxed and diarrhoea results; enteritis may also be part of a general chill.

The treatment consists of warmth and rest; the sick bird should be placed in a cage with a sheet over three sides of it and this draped cage should be placed near a fire, the open side towards the fire. The heat alone will brighten up the bird, but it should, in addition, have powdered bismuth carbonate sprinkled over its seed, which should consist of easily digested appetising seed such as spray millet.

The bismuth is almost a certain cure for enteritis, but heat is equally necessary. There used to be on the market an excellent hospital cage with electric heating and lighting. This type of cage was used mainly by breeders for treatment of egg­binding, but it has saved the lives of many thousands of birds suffering from other ailments. It is an essential part of the equipment of a breeder and the saving of one small life will more than repay the owner for the cost of the cage.

Egg-binding. - This is naturally confined to hens and mainly occurs when birds are mated up too early in the year, about January and February when the days are cold and the nights even colder. Here prevention is better than cure and the mixing of cod liver oil into the seed in the proportion of one teaspoon ful of oil to a breakfast-cup full of seed will prevent this dangerous occurrence.

Treatment consists of heat again and this can be applied as in the case of a bird suffering from enteritis, either by putting the bird in a cage near the fire, or in a hospital cage, preferably in the latter where the heat can be varied from maximum to minimum as the bird recovers.

In emergency the bird should be wrapped in a warm towel and be held near a fire; when it has partially recovered it should then be placed in a cage near the fire and left alone. The egg will usually be laid under these conditions; some people advocate holding the affected bird over a jug containing very hot water, i.e., giving the bird a steam bath; the disadvantage of this is that the bird may recover from the egg-binding but contract a chill later. This is less likely to happen with dry heat.

Overgrown Beak and Claws. - These should be cut with a snap nail clipper, care being taken not to cut either claws or beak too short. It is better to cut more often and less drastically than to cut too short.

Fits. - During hot weather, frequently where birds are hung in cages at windows where they cannot escape from hot sunshine, they take fits and here again prevention is better than cure; budgies do not like to sit in the sun and the cage should be kept in good light but out of direct sunshine.

Should the bird take fits, the cage should be covered with a dark cloth and the bird left quietly to recover; any sudden noise or movement should be avoided and after a few hours the cover can be gradually opened out and finally removed.