FAQ Overview

Welcome Center

Instructions: How to Post Images/Pictures

Picture/Image Sizes: MUST be 640 x 480 pixels or under.

It is understood that not all images can be resized exactly, but if this is the case, you must attempt to get the pixel dimensions down to as close to 640 x 480 as possible.

Sizes deemed to large by Administrators or Moderators may be removed from posts or turned into links. On your post the edit line or a staff message will be added to your post if your pictures were turned into links and why.  If you repeatedly post oversized pictures a staff member will contact you and assist further.

Follow this to upload your photos to the forum for use in any post you make:

1. Join Photobucket and click "Join Up - It's free". Fill out what is needed and upload your pictures by logging into your account. It is a very safe and user friendly service.


2. You will need to click on the tab “my albums” followed by the sub-tab “albums & upload” once logged into your account. This page allows you to select where your images are located. In most cases, this will be on your computer. If this is the case, select “my computer” in the grey section entitled “from” on the left side of your screen. Before clicking “choose files” (which is where you will select your images to upload), be sure to select 320x240 pixels (medium) OR 640x480 pixels (large). SIZE is a big issue with photos, so remember to adjust this before uploading any files.


3. To choose the photos you wish to use, click on “choose files” and you will be directed to your computer files. Select the files you want to upload and click “open”. The files will automatically start uploading to Photobucket. If you wish to upload more than one file at a time, you can use the bulk uploader. This link is found just below where you would upload individual files. Photobucket will confirm your upload and ask you to enter image information. Enter this information and click “save and continue”. Your photo(s) are now in Photobucket and can be used on our forums.


4. Your uploaded images are now displayed below the image uploader. If you wish, you may click edit. This will take you to the new edit features. In here, you can crop, change colours and do almost anything to your photo. The most important feature is the RESIZE. Click on this button and enter your dimensions. If you make any changes to your image, click save and either overwrite existing image or save another copy.


5. To go back to the main Photobucket screen, click on "albums & uploads" (top left hand corner)


6. To add photos to your post on our forums, go back to the forum making sure you keep your Photobucket page open. Either start a new topic, or reply to one. When you want to add a picture, simply scroll down to the picture you want to add and click on the IMG code. This will copy it. Then go back to your post and paste it there (either ctrl v, or right click and paste). When you preview your topic or post your topic, your photo should appear and be the correct size. Please ensure your photo is the correct size by right clicking on it in your post and selecting “properties” and check the image dimensions. Ensure the dimensions are close to 640x480 pixels. If not, please remove your newly added code and repeat steps 2-6. If you are still unable to get a correctly sized image into your post, please make a new topic in this forum and staff will help you out.


By all means you can use other photo editing programs and hosting services, just remember to always put the IMG code into your posts and replies. For members, it can be annoying when you have to click on numerous links to view members photos, just because they can't be bothered resizing or don't know how. Often members will bypass your post and not even read it because of this. Please try to keep to the size limitations and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask any of the staff. We are happy to help if you are willing to have a go and follow the rules.

Author: admin
Last update: 19-Aug-2008 08:40


How to Create a Signature & Avatar

Signatures and Avatars on all member accounts. (Not including Administrators and Global Moderators).

Ensure that your signature and / or avatar coincides to with site rules: Administrators and Global Moderators are exempt from such restrictions due to the need to advertise and display information to alert forum members.

Signature:  a picture of your budgie or what you chose (must be approriate for the BBC boards) that is located on the bottom of your post.  You can add your signature through your Control Panel > Edit Signature

Avatar: a personalized picture or you can chose a standard avatar from the forum, (must be approriate for the BBC boards) that is located on the side of your post located under your name. 

Avatar image maximum size: 64x64 pixels (Max 30 kb) Signature image maximum size: 400 (wide) x 200 (high) pixels

Signature Text Restrictions: Maximum of 6 lines of small text (no gaps between lines) or 1 line of large text. The following image formats are allowed in signatures and avatars: gif, jpeg, jpg, swf.

Avatar Upload: We do allow members to upload avatars if absolutely necessary of 64x64px and 10K in size, but we would prefer you to link your images from another server. If your avatar and / or signature contains images over this limit, they may be removed without warning by a forum staff member. Our forum restricts members to certain sizes of avatars, but not signatures as of yet. If a PM or email is sent to you regarding this matter, simply change or resize your images so that they are within the rules, to avoid further action being taken by staff against your account.

We want to and try to be a 56K dialup modem friendly website as not everyone can acquire broadband. Respect others and they will respect you. We also allow flash signatures if members desire, but again must they must coincide with the above rules! However, any animated content in signatures MUST NOT contain any audio. That includes music, sound effects etc. We will stress that if you DO NOT KNOW HOW to edit/resize to make your images to coincide with our rules, do not insert/post them 'assuming' that it will ok and no-one will notice. Staff are on constant lookout and will remove offending signatures/avatars and images immediately. #-----------------------------------------------------------------#

You can click on this link which will go through the process of uploading picture and resizing Instructions: How to Post Images/Pictures

Author: admin
Last update: 19-Aug-2008 08:52


Approved Shortcuts

Internet Text Shortcuts (or slang).

(What is meant by this: Enuf, luv, thanx, woz, plz, phun and so on.) There are many, many people of all ages and languages that frequently visit this forum. English is hard enough for some people when it is their native language. There are people that post here that English is a second or even third language. Not everyone knows what shortcuts mean. It is like slang - if you're not from that area you don't understand what is being said.

We want this forum to be as friendly, fun, and informative for everyone as we can make it, and one way we do that is to not allow text shortcuts in posts. It is not difficult to type your responses using proper English.

However, we do allow a select few of the very commonly known internet shortcuts which are listed right here: LOL (Laughing Out Loud), brb (be right back) and OMG (Oh My God), PICS (pictures).

Members may only use these selected internet text shortcuts when it is appropriate. If you are found using text shortcuts in your posts and messages you will be contacted and asked to stop. If you fail to comply with our requests on this rule we will then take appropriate administrative action against your account.

Author: admin
Last update: 19-Aug-2008 08:58


Creating an Avatar

How to choose an Avatar.

There are a few ways that this can be done …

Firstly you will need to go in to you MY CONTROLS
This is located at the top menu bar as see in the picture below
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Now on the left hand side you will see the menu
In here you can get create & open your PM’s ( personal Messages)
Add a profile picture and Edit your profile information upload your signatures and Avatars …


So scroll down and click on EDIT AVATAR SETTINGS ..
You will get a page that looks like the one below …
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THERE ARE A FEW OPTIONS YOU CAN CHOOSE
Your avatar must be no bigger than 100 pixels by 100 pixels in size.

1.PRE INSTALLED AVATARS

There are Avatars that are already pre –installed they are located in the
Choose an avatar from one of our galleries section.
A drop down box will open and there are a few sections you can choose from …

How to Chose Avatar FAQ 3

2.UPLOAD A PICTURE FROM YOUR P.C
Uploaded avatars from your computer must be no larger than 10 KB and only following file types are allowed: gif,jpeg,jpg,swf. Click on the BROWSE button and select your picture from your p.c

3.UPLOADED A picture FROM A WEBSITE
You can find a picture from a website like PHOTO BUCKET and copy the http:// Code and paste it in here

When you have picked what option you want scroll tot he bottom of the page and click UPDATE AVATAR

You are done!

Author: Neat
Last update: 26-Aug-2008 11:15


Budgie of the Month & Other Competitions

Budgie of the Month

On going monthly competition where all members can enter their cutest budgie picture. 

Rules:  All photo's submitted must be resized to 640x480 or smaller (not too small though). Here is  Instructions: How to Post Images/Pictures.

Once the photo's are submitted they will become invisible to the general membership until voting time, this is done so everyone feels that they have an opporutunity at winning, this is NOT a professional contest it is here for all members to have fun and show off their budgie (s).

One photo per month is allowed for submission, you can enter every month but only 1 picture will be considered during that month.

Voting: This is either done by the global moderators/administrators OR voting can also be done by the general membership through a poll system.  How voting occurs on a monthly basis is decided by moderators/adminstration.

Winner:  There is 1 winner a month and the winner will have a post dedicated to them with the winning picture along with a special "Budgie of the Month" emblem added to their signature for the winning month.  The emblem is removed at the end of the month from their signature and assigned to the new winner of the month.

Click Budgie of the Month Competition to enter your picture.

There are always many other competitions that are created up by our Promotion Staff so feel free to hop over to the General Competition Section and browse through and see what is happening. General Competitions

 

Author: Elly
Last update: 26-Aug-2008 11:42


Important Functions and Navigation Tips

Useful links in the The main Menu:

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Board Terms, Conditions and Rules – Please become familiar with them
Blogs – You can create your very own blog. There also lots of blogs to read though too
Shout box – say "hi" or chat to other members. Competition announcements are also made in the shout box so keep an eye out for the latest news.
Budgie FAQ – A very important area to get lots of information in relation to your budgies health, nutrition and care.
Members – search for members and view their profiles
Search – Searches the entire BBC forum.
Help – Helpful help topics and information of how to use the special features of the forum.


Personal Menu:

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Logged is as: username (log Out) - click on your username to view your profile.
My Controls – Edit all your personal information and personalise the way you view the forums.
View New Posts - View the topics that are currently active since your last visit.
My Friends – View members who are on your friends list
# New Messages – Click here to open your personal messenger.



Viewing forums/ View new posts


When you browse the different forums or click "view new posts" you will see lists of the different topics displayed. An example shown in image below.

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Each folder colour/type has a different meaning for each topic. These are as follows

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Topics that you have posted a reply to have folder icons that looks like one of these

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Quick links and easier navigation.

PhotobucketClick this icon to jump to the newest post/s since you last read the topic – if you haven't read the topic before, it will take you to the first post.

PhotobucketThis symbol shows next to a topic title when there is more than one page of replies. You can click on the numbers to jump directly to that page.

PhotobucketThis symbol shows how many pages a particular topic has. This one has 26 pages. You can click on the numbers to jump to pages 1,2,3 or 26. If you want to view page 16 for example click on the icon circled below.
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That brings up a box that you can enter the page number you with to view.
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Alternatively you can also jump to any page once reading a topic using the link circled in the below image
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Topic Viewing Options

At the top of each topic there is a "Options" link (circled in image below)
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When you click on "options" it displays a menu of the available options for this topic.
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Track this Topic - Forum subscriptions will notify when new topics have been made and topic subscriptions notify when a reply has been made.
Email this topic – Opens a personal message containing a link to the topic, ready to send to your chosen recipients.
Print this topic – Allows you to print the topic
Download this topic – gives you a different ways you can save a copy of the topic to your computer
Subscribe to this forum – similar to tracking the topic, but forum subscriptions will notify when new topics have been made and topic subscriptions notify when a reply has been made.

The display modes are:

Switch to: Outline – Displays only the first post in full, then all replies thereafter are only a brief outline. An example of this view pictured below.
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Switch to: Standard – Returns view to normal again.
Switch to: Linear+ - Displays the first post for the topic at the top of each page of replies. All replies are shown in full in this view mode.



In-topic Member quick links

Next to each reply you see the members name, rank, avatar, and some brief details about him/her. An example shown below.

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Click on the members name (circled above) to view quick links to this member (shown below)

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Using this menu you can:

View Member Profile – takes you to their detailed profile page
Add/Remove Friend – click to add/remove the member as your friend
Send Message – opens a personal message addressed to the member
Find Members Topics – Displays all the topics the member has created in all the forums.
Find Members Posts – Displays all the posts the member has made on all the forums.


Hiding categories in the main forum list.

If there are particular topics you are not interested in (for example "Show Budgerigars") you can hide it by clicking on the little "-" icon circled below
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It will turn that category into a minimized form shown below
You can then click on the little "+" circled below to restore the category.
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Author: Liv
Last update: 31-Aug-2008 09:09


Introduce Yourself - Who are You?

Author: Elly
Last update: 04-Sep-2008 10:35


Proper Use of the Private Message (PM) System

The Proper use of the PM (Personal Message)

PM's are for:-

1. Friendly contacts between members

2. Used for contact for any FOR SALE birds or WANTED TO BUY inquiries instead of posting direct contacts like email addresses or phone numbers which is not allowed.

3. Notices being sent to members from staff. These can be a simply request to change the size of your Signature to a warning from staff about your behaviour on the forums. These PM's should never be ignored! You MUST respond to them and work with staff to resolve issues. Staff PM's and messages should be listened to and you must make every effort to follow their rules. If not, you run the risk of receving a warning and even being banned altogether.

4. Messages being sent to staff from members with a question or difficulty related to forum issues.

5. Used to assist a member with posting issues


PM's are NOT TO BE USED FOR:-

1. PROMPTING other various members to answer their topics or posts. People will answer what they choose to answer in regard to topics that interest them and in their own time as it is available to them.

2. Abusing or harrassing other members and Staff

3. Solicitation or promoting other forums or sites.

4. Repetitive questioning of other members when those questions, no matter how small, would best be answered on the public forum where everyone can get a chance to answer them.
If you have a lot of questions, make a list and post them. You will get a far wider response than PMing a few select members who may or may not have time for a lot of PMs.


COMPLAINTS BROUGHT TO THE ATTENTION OF STAFF MEMBERS OR ADMIN MAY RESULT IN WARNINGS BEING ISSUED. PLEASE BE AWARE OF ALL RULES AND BE POLITE AT ALL TIMES

Author: Kaz/Maisie
Last update: 11-Sep-2008 22:17


Google toolbar spellchecker



For the Google toolbar spellchecker;

First you need to type in Google spellcheck in your search box


It will bring you to the Google spellcheck toolbar website


you click on the Download Google Toolbox


It will bring up another webpage, click the box that says you Agree and Install


A window box will then appear and you click on Install


It will tell you if it has been successfully installed and for you to restart your internet for it to be installed

~~~~~~~
This is just a rough for now but it just shows you how to install it smile.gif

Author: Cathy, birdluv
Last update: 08-Dec-2008 10:14


Spellcheck Installation for Internet Explorer IE

Installation Instructions For Internet Explorer ONLY

Go to the ieSpell web site by clicking this link: http://www.download.com/ieSpell/3000-12512_4-10208550.html?part=dl-ieSpell&subj=uo&tag=button&cdlPid=10603528

Click on any of the "download now" links to go to the software installation site.


Follow the on-screen prompts to download and install the spell checker. This requires that you click the RUN button when it is presented to you.


It will bring up another box and you click on "I agree."


Once it has installed, it will tell you that it has been installed.
You will most likely have to restart you internet browser.


The spell check tool will now operate when you click on the spell check button.

How to use the spell check once it has been installed

When you make a mistake or finished writing, click the right button on your mouse. A drop menu will appear.
Click on "check spelling"


A box will then appear, you can either click on change or ignore the word, your choose.


Once you have chosen what you want to do. It will then tell you if you got any more spelling mistakes or that you have no more spelling mistake and you then click "okay". You are done then.

Author: Cathy, birdluv
Last update: 08-Dec-2008 10:23


General Budgerigar FAQs

What is the difference between a budgie and a parakeet?

What is the difference between a budgie and a parakeet? There is no difference. The budgerigar is a native bird from the arid Australian central desert regions, and in most parts of the world it is referred to, or called, a budgie. The term parakeet or keet is mainly used in America and can refer to many different species of small, long tailed parrots, such as Budgies, Ringnecks, Alexandrines, Plum Heads, Quaker or Princess of Wales parrots.

Author: feathers
Last update: 14-Apr-2007 01:03


Ring on Budgie Leg

The only way you can order rings is by joining an official budgerigar club. Finding a local bird club.

Registered club breeders place metal rings on their baby budgies (chicks) between 8 and 10 days old (while their toes are still pliable so the ring can slide on without causing the budgie pain). Budgies will not be accepted into shows and exhibitions without a ring. The rings (also knows as bands) allow the breeder to track the budgie or if the budgie escapes and a person finds it, it can be traced back to the breeder. It also shows the year the budgie was born with the last two digits of the year and the ring colour. It is recommended that you leave the ring on the budgie's leg. However, if problems arise for whatever reason, only allow a breeder or avian vet to remove the band with the appropriate tools.

There are two types in Australia. There is a club ring and a coded ring.

Coded rings are made specifically for a particular breeder. e.g: IBS XX -6 350. IBS is the state or club initials (in this case Ipswich Budgerigar Society; XX is the code or initials of the actual breeder; 06 (or -6) is the year the chick was hatched - 2006; and 350 is the number of the chick.

Club rings are used for or by a particular club. e.g: PR -5 394. PR would be the club code or initials (in this case Pine Rivers Budgerigar Club; -5 is the year the chick hatched - 2005; and 394 is the number of the chick.

Coded rings  PR 1W -8 021. PR is Pine Rivers Budgerigar Society, 1W is Darryl Wells, -8 is the year 2008 and 021 is the chick/bird number.

Each ring is registered with the state and the Australian National Budgerigar Council and it always remains with that bird (unless it has to be removed due to injury or illness).Note not all birds are ringed so if your bird does not have a ring it is OK.Contributed by BBC member: Daz from AU & Adam BBC owner

Australian Ring Colours.

Breeders rings in Australia have a 6 year cycle.

2001 - Green
2002 - Black
2003 - Red
2004 - Blue
2005 - Purple
2006 - Gold
2007 - Green
2008 - Black

2009 - Red

2010 - Blue

2011 - purple

2012 - gold 

Author: Adam
Last update: 22-Mar-2011 06:50


Types of toys for my budgie?

Budgerigars enjoy toys and need them for mental stimulation. Try to keep quite a few in the cage (while being careful not to clutter it) and rotate new ones in regularly to keep your budgie from becoming bored. It is best to avoid mirrors and imitation bird figures as your budgie may bond to these thinking they are another real bird. This can cause problems during training because your budgie will prefer the other "bird" to you.

Please ensure that all toys are non-toxic and safe for your budgie. Be careful that there are no loose strands that can tangle in your bird's feet or sharp edges. When buying toy ladders, ensure that the gap isn't so small that your budgie could be come stuck. Most budgies enjoy olympic ring toys, lattice balls with bells inside, and other toys that hang and make noise. Shredder toys are great for budgies as they love to chew, especially females.

Give your bird at least 2-3 toys to keep him/her busy.  But, not too many - your budgie should be able to move about freely without bumping into any in the cage.  Rotate toys weekly (suggested) to keep him/her interested.

Author: Adam
Last update: 11-Apr-2007 23:54


Should I purchase one or two budgies?

When purchasing your first budgie, it is best to get just one. This will make taming much much easier as two budgies are more likely to bond to each other instead of you. Once you have the first budgie tame, you can decide whether or not a second budgie is a good idea.

Budgies are extremely social creatures and in the wild they would live in massive flocks. If you have less than a few hours to devote to your budgie every day, getting a friend for him may be a good idea. Here are some very important things to remember when you're thinking of adding another budgie to your family:

  • Any new bird must be quarantined for at least 30 days before having contact with your existing bird(s). This means keeping it in a separate room as well as a separate cage and making sure that no contact is made with the other bird. Always wash your hands and change any clothing that has come in contact with the new bird before handling the original one. Quarantine Program
  • It is possible that your new bird and original bird will not get along. Always plan ahead for the fact that you might end up having to keep the two birds separate permanently. They may still enjoy each other's company during out of cage time or they may just have to chatter back and forth from one cage to the other. You might have to alternate which bird is out of the cage which is a bit more work for you.
  • Another bird means another expense as far as extra food, toys, cage, vet bills, etc.
  • Two males often get along better than a male and female or female and female. Females tend to be more bossy and aggressive toward other budgies.

The quarantine period is a great time to tame your new bird so that when you introduce it to the other, they don't ignore you completely. It's impossible to predict just how much your relationship with the first budgie will change once he/she has a friend but if both birds are tame and comfortable with you, you have a much greater chance of them choosing to interact with you as a member of their flock.

Author: eterri
Last update: 19-Feb-2008 08:46


Sexing my budgie

Visuals: Pictures to Help Sex your Budgie

Sexing my budgie

Generally the colour of a budgie's cere (the coloured area at the top of the beak surrounding the nostrils) is the simplest indicator of gender in adult budgies.

Most adult males have a blue cere with a smooth, waxy completion. Some males, such as albinos, lutinos, fallows, and some recessive pieds do not develop a blue cere, instead it remains the pinkish/purple colour they had as a juvenile bird. Below we have added an link to our member's birds and there is an example of the mutations that do not develop the normal blue colored cere in a male budgie. Click here Example of Cere

Adult females have a cere that ranges from a light beige or tan colour through to a dark chocolate brown colour, which become flaky when they are in breeding condition.

Another indicator is the shape; males tend to have a more rounded bulbous cere compared to the females flatter shaped cere.

When budgies are a younger age (6 week to 6 months) it is much harder to work out the sex and it takes a trained eye to pick up the slight differences. The things to look for are an even pinky/purple colour over the whole cere for young males and a pink or blue cere with noticable white rings around the nostrils for females. This is where many go wrong for we associate pink for girls and blue for boys and many pet shop employees believe that this is how to tell the difference and incorrectly sex the birds.

If you are still confused about which gender your bird is the nest step is to look at the behaviour of the bird. Females are known to bite harder than males, which is a great way to tell if you have more than one bird. But still any bird can bite hard when not hand tamed or panicked. Males are the talkers of the species and re quite happy to sit alone and warble and chatter to themselves for hours on end. While females have an urge to chew and rip at things; it is a natural breeding instinct to get a nest set up.

Visuals Pictures to Help Sex your Budgies (babies and adults) pictures provided by Kaz BBC Global Moderator.

Cock 2

(above picture) adult cock bird (male)

Cock 3

(above picture) adult cock bird (male)

cock baby cere

(picture above) baby recessive pied cock bird (male), in this variety the cere will remain pink in the cock birds, the hen's cere will be like a normal hen. Other varieties where the cock (male) cere will remain pink fallows, dark eyed clears (DEC), lacewings, albino/lutino,

cere of dominant pied cock kaz photo

(above picture) adult cock (male) double factor dominant pied, in this variety the cere will turn blue unlike the recessive pied but sometimes the pied gene can make the cere look pied also so it may be partially pink and blue.  The best way to distinquish a double factor dominant pied is combining factors of the cere, visible ring ring and patterning of the markings.

hen cere baby kaz photo

(picture above) baby hen (female) notice though the cere is very pink it is not as smooth or rounded as a baby cock (male) cere.

adult hen cere kaz photo

(picture above) adult hen (female) this is the same budgie grown up her baby picture is right above this photo. 

Hen 1

(above picture) hen (female)

Baby Hen 2

(above picture) baby hen (female)

cere of recessive cock kaz photo

(above picture) adult recessive pied hen (female) you can see unlike the male recessive pied the cere turns tannish pink, it can also vary to a dark brown, to light tan or light blue.

Author: Adam
Last update: 04-Mar-2008 09:54


Budgerigars Profile

Glacier
Budgerigar (Melopsittacus Undulatus)

Family: Parrot
Origin: Inland regions of Australia

Size:
Native – 180mm including 95mm tail
Show – 220mm including tail up to 240mm

Description: The name budgerigar is derived from the Aboriginal word betcherrygah (meaning good food). It was later named Melopsittacus Undulatus.

The adult male (cock) and female (hen) are similar birds to look at while the immature birds are duller than the adults.

In the native birds the back of the crown, the sides of the neck and the upper back are barred with black and yellow. The lower back, rump, upper tail coverts and underparts are bright green, and the central tail feathers are green-blue while the under feathers are green with a broad yellow band.

In birds that are used for “showing” they are a much larger bird and have black feather markings and six throat spots on the neck.

With a “green series” bird the mask and cap is yellow and in a “blue series” bird the mask and cap is white. The eyes should have a black pupil with a white iris ring, the tail feathers should be black and the feet a greyish black.

Native budgerigars are migratory birds and move in large flocks to nesting places where food and water is plentiful. It was introduced into England and Europe in 1840 by John Gould.

Several mutations have evolved from the native budgerigars and include “sky blue”, “lutino”, “albino”, “greywing”, “cinnamonwing”, “Pieds”, “violets”, “opalines”, “clearwings”, “yellowface”, “lacewing”, “spangle”, “mottled”, “saddleback”, “crested” and others.

Care: Whether keeping a single budgerigar, or a pair, an ample sized cage needs to be provided for freedom of movement and the cage should also contain at least two perches – branches of edible trees should be used so as to guarantee there is no toxins in the wood.

And a wider rather than a taller cage is better because the birds fly from side to side and not up and down.

If possible, the bird should be taken out of its cage each day and allowed to fly around the house for exercise. If it is able to fly around the home make sure that all the windows are closed, curtains drawn (so it doesn’t crash into glass), no stoves are turned on or hot saucepans on the stove or benchtop (but ideally for safety reasons it’s best not to let the bird into kitchen), and if it can fly into the bathroom the bath should be empty and the toilet seats should be down.

If you are going to be breeding these birds a good-sized aviary with a “flight” attached and sited in a sheltered part of the garden would be best. You also need to be considerate of your neighbours and the council has laws relating to how big the aviary can be built.

If you do not intend to show your birds, then colony breeding may be used in which case you will need to have several nest boxes in the aviary ensuring that two more boxes than there are pairs is supplied.

If you intend to show the birds, then it is best to join the local club where you will gain much invaluable advice, not to mention new friends.

Each pair of birds should have its own breeding box equipped with a nest box. Strict records need to be kept in a breeding book or on breeding cards. This allows you to keep track of the parents, hatching times and the chicks.

Breeders can then buy identification rings from their club that can then be placed on the chicks’ legs from five to 10 days old. Breeders must have these rings on their birds to enable them to show.

Food and water dishes must be cleaned regularly and fresh water must be given daily. Fresh seed and greens must be supplied at all times and husks must be blown off the seed dishes each day. A common mistake made is that people will think the bird has plenty of seed in the food bowl but it’s filled with a lot of husks which the bird cannot eat.

Its beak and vent (anus) should be inspected regularly to check that they are clean.

Eats: A good quality budgerigar seed mix consisting of canary, red millet, panicum, Japanese millet and hulled oats is best. Sunflower and safflower may be given in very small amounts, but remember both these seeds are high in fat.

As greens contain essential oils, vitamins and trace elements they should be fed daily. Some ideal foods include chick weed, wintergrass, spinach or silver beet, broccoli, cob corn, apple and carrot. The bird should also have access to a cuttlefish bone and shell grit. NEVER feed avocado as this is poisonous.

For young budgerigars it is important to feed them a wide range of fruit and vegetables, as they get fussier as they grow older.

Features: If selecting a budgerigar for a pet, it should be purchased as soon as it leaves the nest and is able to crack seed and feed itself.

Some people believe that the cock makes the better “talker”. Hens can talk but are slower to learn and they can also bite.

A young bird has zebra-like markings that start just above the cere and nostrils and extend over the back of the head. After the first moult (about three months) birds get their adult feathers and barrings disappear. And it’s quite simple to recognise a young bird because the white iris ring does not appear until it’s six months old.

Call: Healthy budgerigars are happy birds and are constantly warbling and chattering and can imitate many different noises as well as learning to “talk”.

Personality:
They make terrific pets as they have great personalities and thrive on human attention. Give plenty of bird toys because they love playing with these, and are easily trained to sit on your hand and to talk.

Golden Cob Bird Profile

Author: Contributed by Daz
Last update: 13-Apr-2007 18:23


Minimum cage size for one budgie

A square cage 18x18x18 inches is a suitable size for an individual budgie. There should be enough space for several perches and toys and still be space left over for the budgie to flap around easily. Bar spacing on any cage should be 1/2 inch or less. Anything wider is large enough for your budgie to push his/her head through or even get it stuck. This can lead to your budgie escaping, serious injury, or even death.

Also visit What is the best kind of cage to buy? / what size cage do I need? AND Example of Cage Setups AND Cages: The good and bad

Author: Bea
Last update: 29-Aug-2008 09:54


What other birds can be kept with budgies?

It's never a good idea to mix parrot species in a cage. It sometimes works if you have a very large outdoor aviary. Budgies can be extremely territorial and aggressive toward other birds, especially those that are more docile in nature such as cockatiels. On the other hand, larger birds have larger beaks and can do serious harm to budgies. The risk of these problems is increased if you have birds that are nesting. If you are still planning on trying to mix two different parrot species, please be prepared to house them separately if it doesn't work out.

Author: eterri
Last update: 09-Apr-2007 16:45


Is my Budgie English or American?

Budgerigars are native to Australia, but over the years they have been bred to different standards in other parts of the world.

The 'pet' type of budgerigars (also known as "American Budgies" only in america ) are a small bird, usually up to 180mm in length. These birds are more commonly found in pet stores.

A larger breed of Exhibition budgerigars (also called "English Budgies" or "Show or exhibition Budgies") were originally developed in England. Theses birds were developed from Australian budgies but due to lack of breeding stock breeding them back to related birds increased their size and type. Exhibition budgies are much larger, 220 - 240mm in length and appear to have have larger 'boofy' heads. The appearance is more about feather than bone structure.  This type of budgerigar is normally bred by dedicated exhibition breeders that belong to a budgerigar club.

Both types make great pets. Click here to see pictures of the different varieties Member's Budgies

Author: feathers
Last update: 16-Nov-2008 18:01


What does a wild Budgerigar look like?

The Wild Budgerigar
Melopsittacus undulatus

Budgerigars generally have yellowish green colouring on the back of head, sides of neck and upper back. The wing is a pale brownish colour with each feather barred with black and yellow. The throat and facial area is yellow with a variable violet-blue patch on the lower cheeks. There are usually three black spots across each side of throat. The male bird, about 3 to 4 months has a Blue Cere about the beak with the female being brown. Budgerigars are generally 18 cm (7 ins) in length.

Budgerigars are found mostly in the interior arid areas of Australia.. Budgerigars live in open grassland, dry mallee, spinifex and mulga scrubland as well as open woodland and savannah with acacia and eucalyptus; agricultural areas; not usually found far from water courses and river banks

Budgerigars are flocking birds. Usually found in flocks varying in sizes between 20 and several hundred birds. It has been known that occasionally huge flocks of 25,000 or more can be observed

Budgerigar's diet usually consists of seeds of various grasses with consumption of up to 5 grams of food per day.

Budgerigars breed virtually all year in all areas. However prefers period between August and January in southern parts of Australia and from June to September in northern parts. The availability of abundant food triggers breeding activity. Budgerigars breed in loose colonies, nesting in hollow branches of living and dead trees. Nesting holes are at least 25 cm (10 ins) deep; lined with chewed rotten wood chips as well as dust and dirt. Clutches average around 4 or 5 eggs but can be as much as 9. Eggs measures 18.6 x 14.2 mm (0.73 x 0.56 ins). Incubation takes 18 days and usually only 40% hatch. The female sits on the eggs alone and is fed by male. The chicks fledge in 5 weeks, but there is a high mortality rate among young after leaving nest. The parents cease to feed the chicks within few days and the young are forced to fend for themselves. The adults often begin breeding again. The young chicks tend to gather in flocks of their own. Full maturity occurs around 365 days.

Author: Daz
Last update: 10-Apr-2007 00:53


Finding a local bird club

The best way to find a local budgerigar club is by contacting your State or National organisation. e.g. Australian National Budgerigar Council; The American Budgerigar Society; The World Budgerigar Organisation etc. These organisation will be able to give you contact numbers for a club in your area.

These contacts can usually be found in your local phone book or by searching on the internet.

Author: Daz
Last update: 25-Apr-2007 15:45


I have been thinking about getting a second budgie, is this a good idea?

Getting a second budgie could very well be a good idea, but only if you think it over carefully and prepare. Here are some things you should think about:

Any new bird must be quarantined for a minimum of thirty days so that you can monitor him for illness. Avian vets suggest a longer quarantine of 90 days. A well bird check up during this time is a very good idea with an avian vet. You can also use this time to bond with the new bird so that it is tame before introduced to your other budgie. It is much harder to tame a bird that is already housed with another bird. Read: Quarantine Program

Not all budgies will get along. Most are ok, but introductions must be carefully supervised to ensure that the two birds will not harm each other.

In the event that your budgies don't get along, you must be prepared to house them separately. Many budgies who refuse to harmoniously share a cage will often do ok during out of cage time. However, this is not always the case. You may very well end up having to give your new budgie his own spacious cage and make time to give the two birds separate time out of the cage.

Speaking of which, a second budgie means a little more expense. Vet care, extra food, and an extra cage (at least for quarantine) must be taken into consideration or a bigger cage to house both birds comfortably. If you find your birds are arguing and not getting along check to make sure the size of the cage is big enough to accomodate two budgies. The most costly of all these is of course, vet care. Can you comfortably afford vet care for the bird you already have? If not, it would probably be wise not to add to the flock right now.

Lastly, make sure you really want that second bird too. If your biggest motivation is providing a budgie friend for your current bird then you might end up frustrated and disappointed if they don't get along.

Basically, make sure you have the time, patience, money, space, and desire to comfortably take care of a second budgie, even in the event that the two birds do not get along.

Another note is that two males will get along better than a male and a female. Females tend to boss and rule over males, who will more readily back. Getting two of the same sex birds will also prevent accident breeding and eggs being layed especially if you do not desire to breed.

answer by eterri

Author: Elly
Last update: 17-Apr-2007 16:15


To clip or not to clip?

Wing Clipping
Should you or shouldn?t you?
This is by far one of the most controversial topics among bird owners and a source of some extremely passionate debate. In order to avoid dealing with hostile arguments and ill feelings among members, we felt it best to present only the facts and let YOU decide your own opinion.

This topic is being written from an unbiased point of view and reviewed by others to try and keep it as fair and fact-based as humanly possible. I am not for wing clipping but I?m also not against it. My opinion is neutral in that I feel that it is up to YOU as a budgie owner to decide what will work best for your bird and situation. The only way for you to be able to make a good decision is to give you the facts without the emotional outbursts of those who (rightfully) defend what they believe.

We are a very friendly group and we respect your opinions but also want to make this topic educational and free from conflict as that would make it extremely hard for a new user to make his/her decision. Most people do not want to read ten pages of bickering and no one should have to do so just to get some simple answers. So, that being said, please respect each other?s opinions if this topic comes up in other places as well!

In this topic you will learn the pros and cons of wing clipping, the pros and cons of not wing clipping, why some people choose to clip wings vs. why others don?t, what a proper wing clip is and how it affects your budgie.


Leaving Your Budgie Flighted

You may have heard that it is impossible to tame a flighted budgie and this is not true! Baby budgies (6-8 weeks of age) are incredibly easy to tame. This is one of the things that makes budgies ideal pets. If you spend plenty of one on one time with your baby budgie it will bond to you quite easily. Older budgies in general are much more difficult to tame but it is not at all an impossible task. No matter what you choose to do, the main priority must be SAFETY! It is best to tame your budgie before allowing it to fly out of the cage. A scared budgie is going to be extremely difficult to catch and put back into its cage, not to mention, chasing it around is just going to add to its fear of you and slow down the taming process.

When allowing your budgie to fly, make sure that the room he is in is completely safe. Some common household hazards to flighted budgies include open doors and windows, hot stoves, candles, fireplaces, ceiling fans (any fan, really), standing water (fish tanks, toilets, sinks, cups/glasses, etc.), toxic houseplants and/or chemicals, mirrors, and other pets. Some of these are obviously just as dangerous to clipped birds.

All precautions must be taken before allowing your bird out of the cage for flight. Make sure everyone in your household is aware of the bird being out and what precautions to take. Close all doors and windows, make sure the stove is off and cool, be sure no candles or fireplaces are burning (scented candles aren?t to be used around birds anyway as the fumes are harmful to their lungs), turn off all fans, cover/drain/remove any source of standing water, remove any toxic houseplants or chemicals that your budgie might be able to find, cover all mirrors so that your budgie can?t fly into them, and make sure that other pets are locked away from where the budgie will be. Generally, do a thorough survey of the area in which your budgie will be allowed to fly and think carefully about what might pose a risk.

Links that discuss household dangers (whether or not your budgie is clipped, these apply):

Harmful Household Items & Other Warnings

Safe Home for Exotic Birds

Parrot Chronicles.com Hazards

Bird Proofing Your Home

Safe & Dangerous Plants


Some Pros and Cons of owning a Flighted Budgie

Pros:
? Flight is great exercise and budgies are prone to obesity so it?s very healthy for them.
? Budgies that are tamed and allowed flight are generally more outgoing and confident.
? If you own other pets (especially dogs and cats) your budgie has a better chance of escaping them in the unfortunate event that the dog or cat is accidentally let into the room with the budgie. (Obviously, you should try to avoid this at all costs but accidents do happen.)


Cons:
? There are many added safety concerns in keeping a flighted budgie, such as the bird escaping through an open door or window.
? Older budgies are often more difficult (though not impossible) to tame when left flighted.


Having Your Budgie Clipped

As you?ll learn, clipped budgies do not fall like rocks. They still have a bit of flying ability. Wing clips do not hurt the budgie in any way when done properly and they should be performed by your avian vet. (Always let a professional show you how to do it before attempting it yourself! Clipping a blood feather can be fatal so you must be taught how to look for them and where to clip.)

Clipped budgies are easier to tame as you can more easily use a one-on-one technique away from the cage. Many people don?t feel comfortable with this as you?re forcing the bird to be near you when he doesn?t want to be. On the other hand, you spend less time trying to capture the budgie and more time showing him that you aren?t a threat. Most of them learn fairly quickly not to fear you if you approach them calmly and speak softly.

Wing clipping is not a "solution" to a behavioral problem but a tool in helping you manage the situation until your budgie is trained. In other words, clipping a budgie's wings won't immediately make him more tame or less nippy. It will just make it easier for you to work with him so that you can work on these issues.

Wing clips are not permanent. With your budgie?s next moult you can choose to allow the flight feathers to grow in and he will once again be able to fly. Your budgie will not resent you for the wing clip and will be able to do all the things flighted budgies do (hop from perch to perch, climb, play, etc.) other than fly great distances.



The Proper Wing Clip

You may have heard that clipping your bird?s wings can cause permanent damage to your budgie and/or that it could cause your budgie to never be able to fly again. This can be true and this is why you must educate yourself before deciding to have your budgie?s wings clipped. If they are clipped properly, these will not be issues. A properly clipped budgie will suffer no long-term effects and will regain full flight with its next moult.

With a proper clip, your budgie will not simply fall to the ground like a rock. This could lead to injury and means that the budgie has been clipped far too severely. A properly-clipped budgie can get quite a bit of distance before he begins to gradually lose altitude. The higher the starting point, the more distance he?ll be able to ?fly? before finally reaching the ground (or other destination).

The long feathers are on your budgie?s wing are called primaries and these are the feathers that your vet will trim. Secondary feathers should never be trimmed.

IPB Image
In the picture above, you can see the primary and secondary feathers easily on the right wing. This bird is moulting so some of her clipped primary feathers on the left wing have grown back.

How many primaries to clip depends on how well your budgie can fly. Have your vet start by trimming a few first to see how that works. Both wings must be trimmed equally so that your budgie?s sense of balance isn?t thrown off. Only trim as many as necessary and never anything more. Remember that the purpose of a wing clip is not to render your bird completely flightless but to prevent him from gaining too much altitude during flight.

Always let a professional show you how to clip wings before attempting it yourself! Clipping a blood feather can be fatal so you must be taught how to look for them and where to clip.

Breeders should always let their baby budgies to fledge (learn to fly) before allowing them to be clipped.

Some Pros and Cons of Owning a Clipped Budgie

Pros:

? Clipped budgies are often easier to tame than flighted budgies (especially older ones).
? The risk of your budgie getting injured or escaping is greatly reduced if it is clipped.
? Having fewer safety hazards to worry about along with easing the taming process means a clipped budgie may come out of the cage easier and more freqently.

Cons:
? Clipped budgies won?t be able to get the exercise associated with flying.
? A wing trim that isn?t done properly can be very stressful, painful, and/or damaging to your budgie.

In Conclusion

The ultimate priority in this ?debate? is safety. Before everything else, you must consider your personal situation and how safe your home can be made for your budgie whether you decide to have his wings trimmed or leave him flighted. This is why it is so important for you to know these facts, assess your home and decide what will work for you and your budgie. Be sure to take other family members into consideration as well and include them in your decision. After all, they will be involved when it comes to bird proofing your home.

Most people are going to have a very strong opinion one way or the other. While it never hurts to listen to both sides of the argument, make sure you?re properly educated so that you can make the best decision for you and your family. No one else can tell you what is right as none of us know your home or family routine.

Note: This post has been reviewed by moderators and admin staff and people of varying opinions to ensure facts are presented in an unbiased manner. If you wish to discuss wing clipping further or have any questions regarding a proper wing clip please feel free to post a new topic in the main forum area. Thank you

Wing clipping has always been a debate between people.  To furthur your education we we encourage you to also read the discussion on our forum To Clip or Not to Clip

Finding an Avian Vet 

Author: Terri
Last update: 07-May-2007 03:53


First Molt?

Your budgies first moult will be around 12 - 14 weeks (3-4 months old). It can last for about two months (this is an estimation).

After that depending on your climate and where you live they can moult 2-4 times a year. Artifical air condition and heating does affect how your birds moult.

It is very normal to see a lot of white downy feathers and long feathers in and around the cage. As the new feathers grown in you will see what is called pin feathers where the tip of the feather has a small black sheath like covering on it. This will come off as the new feather will opens out.

During a moult you may notice your bird may become grouchy, tend to bite more and itch (it is not uncommon to see them rub their heads on their perches or cage bars). Again this is normal but if you find your bird is lethargic, fluffed up for long periods of time or not able to perch this would be cause for concern and you will need to schedule an appointment with your avian vet.

Author: Elly
Last update: 29-Aug-2008 09:47


Is a budgie right for our home?

Answer these questions to find out if a budgie is the perfect pet for your family.

I am prepared to care for a bird that as a potential life span of approximately 10-15 years plus.

Can you give her/him 60 minutes or more daily of attention. Do know that budgies are social and enjoy interacting with their families as much as possible.  They will be lonely if left all day to fend on their own.  You may consider a 2nd budgie Should I purchase one or two budgies? and another good read I have been thinking about getting a second budgie, is this a good idea? this information can help you decide.

Can you commit to cleaning up after a pet that tends to be fairly messy.  Budgies are messy eaters and will get seed all over the place including outside of the cage.  You will need to wash the water container daily to avoid bacteria build up along with blowing off the empty huskys from the seed container. 

I am happy with a pet that may be noisy, even early in the morning. Budgies can tend to get noisy, that is their nature, and the more budgies you have together the more the noise level increases Do know that they are birds and enjoy singing at the crack of dawn so a cover to darken their cage is suggested.

I understand that budgies do moult" to Am I prepared for my budgies to moult every 3 - 4 months and that they do drop a lot of feathers during this time.  Even when they are not molting they still drop feathers.  If you are allergic or a family member is allergic to pets you will need to reconsider.

If you answered yes to all of the above a budgie may just be the perfect family pet for you.  Your next step is What should I look for in a good healthy Budgerigar?

Budgies are very smart and easily trained when given the patience and attention.  You should teach your "pet" budgie to step up and step down this makes it easier when you are putting them back in their cage.  Budgies are friendly, have wonderful personalities and are the most popular companion bird. With their raspy voices, male budgies (and even some females) can sometimes learn to talk.

Always supervise your budgie if you have children, pets and unfamilar guests so no harm comes to your budgie (s). Click here  Pet Proofing Checklist

Ensure that you have an avian vet already handy for a general check-up or if your budgie needs immediate treatment. Finding an Avian Vet

Author: Elly
Last update: 17-Apr-2007 17:11


Lost or Found Budgie

LOST BUDGIE -This is probably one of the most horrible feelings, when your feathered friend becomes lost.

Here are some steps you can do to try and locate your budgie and bring him back home safely.

Don't assume he is gone forever because he flew right out
Don't assume because he is clipped that he is done for
Do know that with immediate action on your part your chances of finding him/her will be higher.

Call all the vets in your area and ask them how you can go about posting a flyer about your lost budgie.  You may have to come in or they may do it for you

  1. Go to www.petfinders.com and you can post a lost ad for FREE and in Australia you can go here Lost Pets
  2. Make up simple flyers of your budgies, add your name, contact information, description of your budgie
  3. Do leave out a cage with water and your budgies favorite treat
  4. If you have other budgies put them within hearing shot of the cage sometimes your other budgies will call him/her back. 
  5. Budgies can fly many miles so don't assume they will stick around. You can put flyers around surrounding cities and call vets in those areas about putting up a lost notice

Lastly don't give up hope here is a heartwarming story from one of our own BBC members at the end of this post.

FOUND BUDGIE - If you are the lucky one to have found a budgie here are some steps that you can do to see if you can locate the ower.

  • Don't assume that he was let go on purpose especially if they are tame
  • Don't assume that the person doesn't care
  • Do assume they are missing their bird
  • Do assume that it was an accident
  1. Call the surround vets in and around your area to see if there is a lost notice
  2. check www.petfinders.com and the newspaper for lost and found

Author: Elly
Last update: 29-Aug-2008 09:57


Evaluation of a Pet Shop

Maybe you have already purchased a budgie and your pet shop experience was less than to be desired.  Or maybe you are looking for the good pet shop to purchase your first budgie.  Whatever the reason is here are some ways you can evaluate a pet shop and decide if this is where you would like to buy your 1st bird or your 10th.

People can say they love birds, but that does not necessarily mean that love translates into quality care based on knowledge, ethics, and/or common sense.

You don't have to buy on the first visit and you can visit other shops in the area and then come back to the one that feels right. What I have done and is a good idea since I tend to get emotionally involved is to keep money, credit cards, debit card and checks at HOME. This will avoid impulse buys.
A Comfortable Environment: Look around and observe.  I personally enjoy going to a pet shop that makes me feel welcomed.  I am one that likes to go to a pet shop just to look around, see what is new, and you start to gain a relationship with the workers there.  Many people come just to enjoy looking at the pets because they enjoy observing and being around others who really care about birds.   In fact the best way to learn about the employees at the pet shop is to listen to the advice they give those who are looking to purchase a bird.  You can simply find out how knowledgeable and how much they care about giving good advice to a potential customer.  We all have heard good advice and we all know what bad advice is especially if you have done your research in advance about the particular species you are looking to adopt.

Physical Aspects of Shop Environment:  When you first walk into a pet shop what do you think immediately? You are using your sense of smell, vision, hearing and even touch.

  • there should be no strong offensive order.  If there is that is a sign that they are not cleaning up after their pets, keeping cages and perches clean etc...  Cleaning is done as a part of the daily routine.   No shop can be immaculate because birds are messy but a good shop will work on keeping the store in top condition at all times.
  • is the lighting good or is dark and depressing
  • is the temperature and humidity of the store just right
  • do you hear the pleasant sound of birds or do you here constant squawking (you may have just walked in and maybe this is happening just now) but if you visit frequently and the same bird (s) is continuously screaming this is an indicator.

     

Cage Environments: 

  • do the cages, water bowls and food dishes look clean (they should be cleaned once a day)
  • no stalagmite dropping on the cages or perches (means no hard faeces accumulated and hanging down)
  • cage proper size for the type of bird and number of birds in the cage, meaning can each bird move around comfortably, are the smaller birds that like to fly back and forth in wider cages vs taller cages so they can jump or fly from perch to perch?  Cages should not be stacked and stacked on top of each other.  Are the cages at an appropriate level for the bird?  Meaning not on the ground and at people's feet and not so high where you can't see the bird?  Chest level or eye level is appropriate.
  • Do the cages have toys and fun items for the birds to play with and entertain themselves ?

Parrot Care and Condition: Remember observe everything including the birds.  The birds should look healthy.  Click here to read qualities of a Signs of a sick budgie click here to read about Signs of a healthy budgie The birds should have good quality feathers, active, responsive etc... Every bird should have an opportunity to have toys to play with, some shops even have play gyms for their babies.  Ask if the birds are handed daily to keep them tame and socialized. 
 
Many pet shops just feed their birds seed diets.  Don't be afraid to ask what they feed their birds.  If you can find a shop that feed their birds a nutritious, varied diet of pellets, mashes, greens, vegetables, some fruit, and some seed. If a store still has parrots on a seed-only diet, they are in the "dark ages" and do not deserve your business..  A pellet-only diet (especially one with artificial food coloring) can be just as detrimental.
 
Ask who they use as their avian veterinarian for their birds health concerns. A quality parrot shop has a positive relationship with a qualified avian veterinarian in their area and they should be willing to share this information.  If you purchase a bird you will need a qualified Avian vet too.

Unweaned Babies: Customers should not have direct access to young babies.  If you are lucky to find a pet shop that lets you with supervision see their babies or handle the baby before you purchase observe their requirements.  They should ask you to wash your hands first and then handle only with employee supervision only.  I remember being at a pet shop where one of the customer just picked up one of the birds and flicked it's beak because it was biting her.  The employee did nothing to stop this because they didn't want to lose the sale.  That was very disheartening too experience.  If any shop is willing to sell you unweaned babies walk out.  In the long run, this can cause serious health problems for the bird.  The seller and the buyer should never be willing to compromise the health of the baby. A good shop will feed their babies abundantly and then will gradually wean them to a nutritional diet.  They do not do force weaning from the hand or the parent.

The Employees: The shop owner, management, employees should all have a genuine interest to ensure their birds to go excellent homes.  It is a wonderful feeling when they start asking you questions about your family, home environment, other pets etc..this means they care about their babies.  It doesn't mean they want to reject you as an owner they are looking out for the best interest of their babies. A good shop will refuse to sell a bird to someone they feel will not provide quality care for the bird.  

Is there senior staff members in attendance and or including pet shop owner or is the shop manned by extremely young staff with no obvious qualifications and no team leaders to take direction from ?

Knowledgeable Employees: Ask yourself these questions

  • Do they take the time to answer my questions rather then push you to purchase
  • are they willing to answer the questions you ask like what do you feed the birds, when are they weaned, do you breed your own birds, are they purchased from another breeder, what size cage do I need, what type of perches etc...  I love to ask these questions because if they say the minimum cage requirement or just dowel perches that would make me walk.  A knowledgeable employee would ask you questions back about what you are looking for in a bird etc..
  • do they handle the birds correctly and know about the different species
  • what do they recommend for your bird, the minimum or more?
  • Do they react immediately and favourably  if you were to point out an obviously sick bird/animal in their store ? Or do they just leave it and don't seem to care ?
  • Do they know about harmful bird toxin's in the home such as Tephlon etc...

Although I would not expect everyone who works in the store to know all about parrot nutrition etc.., there should be someone there who has taken the time to educate themselves about quality food products and be knowledgeable in other aspects.  They should work as a team.  If they don't know the answer they should be willing to find out the answer not just make up an answer for the sale. 

Providing References: Bird shop personnel are willing to recommend avian veterinarians, knowledgeable behavioral consultants, publications, and other information sources. They also provide a source for the purchase of quality publications.  I recently picked up a publication from a local chain shop and couldn't believe some of the information in there.  The information was the bare minimum of what you should do for a bird.

Products: Do they have a wide selection of safe, colorful, quality bird toys of different sizes and shapes.  Do they have different types of cages, perches, quality food such as pellets, cooking mixes, seed mixes etc..  Make sure they don't push you toward one diet or brand but give you information about variety.   How about species related books to purchase to learn more that are up to date?

Customer Loyalty: People go back to where they know they will feel comfortable knowing they are going to be purchasing a healthy bird from a store that is knowledgable about their birds and really cares. In my search and visiting different pet shops the good quality shops will charge more for their birds but in the long run you truly get what you pay for.  I would pay more for a happy, abundantly weaned, well socialized baby bird that has a good quality source because the money is well worth it in the future for not only you but your newest addition.

Author: Elly
Last update: 13-Apr-2007 23:43


Disaster Preparedness Shopping List For Birds

Disaster Preparedness Shopping List For Birds

Are you prepared to take care of your bird when a disaster strikes? If not, NOW is the time to stock up on the items that you will need so you will not get caught unprepared. Listed below is a handy shopping list for you to use. The next time you buy food or supplies for your bird, take this list with you. Don't put off doing what you should do now - it may just make the difference between being able to keep your bird alive when a disaster strikes.

Here are the supplies that you should have in a disaster kit for birds. Adjust the amounts, depending on the number of birds that you have.

1. FOOD: Have at least a (2) week supply at all times. Use the brand that your bird is used to eating. Store food in an air tight, water proof container. Rotate food at least once every (3) months.

2. GRAVEL (Not for all types of birds) - Have at least a (2) week supply at all times.

3. CUTTLE BONE AND/OR BEAK CONDITIONER: Always have an extra one on hand.

4. WATER FOR DRINKING AND CLEANING: Have at least a (2) week supply at all times. Store water in plastic containers and keep in a cool, dark place. Rotate water at least once every (2) months.

5. CLEANING SUPPLIES AND PAPER TOWELS: Have disinfectant and paper towels to clean the cage. Have at least a (2) week supply of whatever it is that you put on the bottom on the bird's cage (i.e., newspaper, butcher paper, gravel paper, etc.).

6. EXTRA SEED BOWLS AND WATER CONTAINERS: Have several seed cups and water containers to replace ones that might get broken. You may want to put an extra food and water dish in the cage, so that in case you forget to feed the bird in all the confusion, the bird will have plenty of food and water.

7. FIRST AID SUPPLIES AND BOOK FOR BIRDS: Check with your veterinarian to find out what he/she recommends you include in your first aid kit. Some suggested items include - kwik stop or cornstarch to stop bleeding, tweezers, heavy duty gloves (for handling the bird if it is injured and trying to bite), bandaging materials. Click here to see Budgie First Aide Kit

8. NET AND TOWEL: A long handled net with small enough openings so that your bird cannot poke its head through and a heavy towel, in case your bird escapes and you have to recapture it. A heavy towel or blanket should be in with your supplies in case the disaster strikes when it is cold and you have to cover the cage to keep the bird warm.

9. EVACUATION CAGE : You should have a small cage for transporting (evacuating) your bird and be sure it is one that your bird cannot chew its way out of.

10. FLASH LIGHT AND EXTRA BATTERIES: This is used to regulate light hours for your bird, which is important for your birds health.

In addition to having the above supplies, here are some other additional suggestions for keeping your bird safe:

Take some recent pictures of your bird, including any distinguishing marks. This is to help you locate your bird should it get loose during a disaster. Include yourself in some of the pictures for proof of ownership.

You may want to consider getting your bird microchipped. Check with your veterinarian for more information about this permanent form of identification, which works great with birds since you can't put a collar and a tag around their neck.

If your bird is on long term medication, be sure you always have at least a (2) week supply on hand. Your veterinarian may not be able to open for awhile after the disaster has struck to fill prescriptions.

Check with your veterinarian to see if he/she has a disaster plan should your bird need emergency care following a disaster. Locate a back up veterinarian just in case yours is not available. Finding an Avian Vet

If you are going on vacation and leaving your bird with someone, be sure you have discussed with them a plan to take care of your bird in the event of a disaster.

Check to make sure your cage is secure. All opening doors and a removable top or bottom on your cage, should be fastened to prevent them from opening during a disaster - and your bird escaping. You can use twist ties or metal ring closures to secure the cage. You should also secure the cage to a wall, using a hook and eye. Be sure you do not keep the cage under a shelf, where objects might fall during a disaster, or keep the cage near a window that might break during a disaster. Keep a pair of pliers and wire in your disaster supplies to make any necessary repairs to the cage after a disaster.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Courtesy of United Animal Nation's Emergency Animal Rescue Service
For more information please contact EARS at (800) 440-EARS
OR visit http://www.uan.org

Author:
Last update: 29-Aug-2008 09:43


Evaluation of a Breeder

When looking for a breeder be aware, there are very very good breeders and very very bad breeders. You obviously need to find a good one from which to choose your bird.

There are the indiscriminant breeders that breed birds in massive quantities with little or no thought given the possibility of inbreeding, or what good and bad qualities they may be breeding into their birds. For them it is all about the money they get by selling bulk quantities of birds to pet shops and dealers. They do this with no thought or care for the health of the birds, their welfare or their future.

BUT, there are breeders who breed for the love of their birds. These breeders keep good records so that they can selectively breed their birds. The outcome is happy, healthy budgies that they want to go to good homes. These breeders rarely sell their budgies to pet shops, unless a particular pet shop is on their "approved list". Thankfully, there are some good pet shops.


So, Where to start looking?

The best places to start looking for responsible breeders would be via a local bird club. These clubs cater for people who have a love for birds. These are likeminded individuals who join the club to learn about raising healthy birds and they share common goals and interests.

Look in your local phonebook for bird clubs and associations and you will soon be put in touch with a good breeder. You may also find these contacts on the internet.


What about Advertisements?

You will find both types of breeders here. Some people advertise well bred and cared for birds through newspapers and Internet sites. While other individuals are selling large quantities of birds week after week after week. They are the bird "farmers" or bird "mills" which you wish to avoid.

When looking in the "Birds for Sale" column, you should also read the "Birds Wanted" column as well. You should look out for advertisers with the same or similar phone numbers that appear in both columns. This could be an indication that they are bird farmers or bird mills. These people breed en masse, usually for the pet store market. They often need to replenish their stock of breeder birds that are literally being 'bred to death'. They are only in it for their own monetary gain. Be smart and beware.


How can you tell a Good Breeder?

In your first contact with a bird breeder, use your common sense and ask questions, lots of them. This will help you work out the good from the bad. When you go and visit to select your bird, there are a couple of things to look out for.

1. Do you get to see where the birds are kept, or are you just shown a small few birds in a cage and not allowed past the front door?

2. Does the handing over of your money seem to be the most urgent need by the seller?

3. If you get to see where the birds are kept, pay attention to the cleanliness or lack there of of the establishment.

4. Are rodents or signs of them in evidence?

5. Are there any dead birds in cages?

6. Do you see any sick and fluffed up looking birds?

7. Is their food and water clean and freely available?

8. Are there a variety of foods available such as seed, pellets, vegetables etc…?

9. Is the breeder free with helpful advice and does he care about the birds future with you?

10. Are you quizzed as a future owner of a bird he has bred?

11. Does the breeder offer follow up advice and phone calls for any worries you may have in the future?

12. Does the breeder give you a health guarantee or return policy?

13. Can he give you any referrals for a good avian vet and pet supply stores?

14. Does he sell unweaned babies?


How do I find a Good Breeder?

The best recommendation for a good bird breeder is through a bird club or mouth to mouth recommendations from past customers who have been dealt with fairly and honestly, from a breeder who cares about the future of the birds he has bred.


What about Pet Shops?

Breeders do sell to pet shops ....YES. But most pet shops pay a pittance for birds from a breeder. So, unless they have an arrangement with a great pet store, most good breeders would rather sell privately, to people he knows or people he can meet face to face, rather than send a consignment of birds to a pet shop.

You can also read Evaluation of a Pet Shop many of the same points can be used for Evaluation a Good Breeder.

Author: Kaz
Last update: 21-Apr-2007 15:12


Example of Cage Setups

Example of Cage Setups

There are many different ways to set-up your budgie's cage. Budgies need exercise from flying so you should purchase the widest cage your budget allows. The minimum cage size for a single budgie is 45 x 45 x 45 cm square (18 x 18 x 18 inches), but a cage 60cm wide (24 inches) is much better. If you have more than one budgie then your cage or aviary should be at least 80 - 100 cm wide. (31 - 40 inches)

Perches and toys should be placed so that there is free space in the middle of the cage for your budgie(s) to fly from side to side.

Visit these two discussions to show you examples of what our members cage There are many different ways to set-up your cage.  Example of Cages from our Members AND Cage Setups

Author: feathers aka Aly
Last update: 06-May-2007 15:32


Avian Vet Look-up

Click here to search for an avian vet in the area. Some avian vets are not always listed so if you find an avian vet by you but not close you can call them and ask if they know of anyone closer to your area. This link can be used for all countries.

It is important that you find an avian vet before your bird (s) become sick. When birds become sick they go downhill very quickly and if you don't have an avian vet that you know of you will go into panic mode. Be prepared! It may save your birds life.

USA/Canada:
http://aav.org/vet-lookup/
http://www.birdsnways.com/articles/abvpvets.htm 
http://www.lafeber.com/FindALocal/Vet/default.aspx

Australia:
http://www.vetafarm.com.au/avian_vets.asp

UK/Other:
http://www.theparrotsocietyuk.org/avian-vets.shtml
http://www.parrotpassionsuk.com/Advice/Uk_Avian_Vets.htm

Author: Elly/feathers
Last update: 21-Apr-2007 15:08


Adopting a Rescued Bird

Adopting a bird from a rescue can be a very rewarding experience. In the United States there are approximately 100 formal avian rescue groups. There are many more that are popping up because of so many birds being displaced. There are avian rescue organizations all over the world in pursuit of giving these birds a 2nd chance in life.

In this article we are going to cover some facts on adopting rescued birds, and what to look for in a rescue

What is a rescue bird? They are birds that are no longer wanted by their owners or their owners were not able to keep them because of circumstances in their lives and they felt it would be best to relinquish their bird to a rescue organization. For many bird owners this is a touch decision. Many 2nd chance birds have been abused, starved, lived in unhealthy conditions, too small of cages, haven’t had much human contact etc… Because of this they tend to be scared, timid, untamed and may have bad habits such as pacing, feather plucking, screaming etc… Before you adopt a 2nd chance bird we ask you to consider the different factors and if a rescue bird is the right choice for you.

Is a rescue bird right for you?

  • Can you provide a forever home? Do you have the time, the patience and the understanding that a rescued bird may need. Ask yourself can you honestly improve this life. Many people will rescue bird after bird because it pulls at their heart strings. You must be able to provide each individual bird the same type of care as you would if you had just one.

  • Can you deal with the bird emotionally? We want to all believe that when we rescue a bird we will be able to “fix” it. This is not always true in many cases their scars are so deep or their diet was so poor they will have medical issues for a lifetime. So if you rescue a bird that is poorly know that you will be giving it a wonderful home but you may also have to deal with the emotional strain of sickness, not living long and the scars from the past.

  • Can you provide avian vet care, many birds need to be vetted for the rest of their lives

  • What are you looking for in a bird? Birds in general need a lot of time and attention when it comes to being tame. If you are looking for a super tame bird who sits on your shoulder, preens your hair, gives you kisses you may be looking to work with a baby bird. Many rescues do have baby budgies and even tame budgies. Before you adopt let them know what you are looking for in a bird. Be honest with them. Adopting a rescue bird is not as easy as ‘1, 2,3’. Some of the rescue birds may be tame some of these birds may never be tame. If you are looking to provide them with spacious living quarters and enjoy watching them interact let them know that too.

  • If you are adding this bird to your flock, do you have a bigger cage to accommodate them, and an extra cage in case they don’t get along with your other birds?

  • You must have a quarantine cage so you can keep them away from your flock for 30-90 days to ensure they are healthy.

  • Can you afford to add another bird to your flock? More food, higher avian vet costs

  • Do you have the time to add another bird to your flock? Are you prepared to clean up after this bird and are you prepared for more noise from your birds?

When you are looking into an avian rescue organization here is some criteria to follow:

  • Proof of good health through veterinary reports, pictures and history of the bird

  • All incoming birds are quarantined between 30 - 90 days

  • Birds in their care are fed a variety diet such as seed, pellets, fresh vegetables, fruits etc…

  • Birds are housed in clean, well lit cages which are big enough to allow them daily exercise

  • Do they screen potential adopters – if you can just go and adopt a bird by the web with no adoption application be wary (don’t be offended if you are asked questions about your home, what type of cage you have, and a home visit may even be required etc.. Expect this and welcome it because you know they put the bird’s well being first and foremost.

  • The organization will care about the bird’s individual need and not what is convenient for them. They will be concerned about flight, social, intellectual needs and daily biological rhythms.

  • They require all their adoptees never breed their birds or be placed into a home where they will be bred. This doesn’t mean because you bred you can’t adopt a rescued bird it means that you will agree to keep the bird retired from breeding. Many of these birds have been breeders all their lives and need to live in retirement.

  • The group will provide educational resources on proper care, treatment of birds, type of cages to purchase, provide avian vet references.

  • The organization will do a follow home visit or do follow-up care to all adopters

  • A group that adopts out birds usually have a legally binding contract to ensure the bird can be recovered if improper treatment is discovered

  • A group will always be willing to take the bird back for any reason and this should be stated in their contract

  • Rescues will have a non-profit status but it doesn’t mean they are ethical don’t be afraid to ask for a copy of its financial statement and information on the board of directors.

  • Adoption fees vary from country to country. The adoptions fees are used for the cost of veterinary testing, treatment, food, caging, toys and other necessities. All this can be documented with receipts.

  • Some avian rescue groups are even becoming accredited by the few animal rescue and sanctuary accrediting organizations, such as The Association of Sanctuaries (TAOS) and the American Sanctuary Associations (ASA). Check to see if your rescue group is accredited.

The Meaning of Rescue, Baggage by Evelyn Colbath

Now that I’m home, bathed, settled, and fed. All nicely tucked in my warm new bed, I’d like to open my baggage, lest I forget. There is so much to carry — So much to regret. Hmmm... Yes, there it is, right on the top, Let’s unpack Loneliness, Heartache and Loss, And there by my perch hides Fear and Shame. As I look on these things I tried so hard to leave — I still have to unpack my baggage called Pain. I loved them, the others, the ones who left me, But I wasn’t good enough — for they didn’t want me. Will you add to my baggage? Will you help me unpack? Or will you just look at my things — And take me right back? Do you have the time to help me unpack? To put away my baggage, to never repack? I pray that you do — I’m so tired you see, but I do come with baggage — Will YOU still want ME?

To learn more about rescuing birds, reporting pet stores that are not up to par, what you can do to help, a list of rescue organization in your area and more visit Avian Welfare

Author: Elly
Last update: 20-Feb-2008 19:31


What do I need to know when selling a budgie?

What do I need to know when selling a budgie?

It is very important when selling a budgie to be aware that the new owner will be responsible for the lifetime well being of the bird.  They must be able to provide a happy, healthy home and a good environment for life.  You should be prepared to take back the bird if, for any reason, the new owner is not able to provide such an environment and they have been unable to find it a suitable home.

You should ask questions of the new owner about what other animals they may have and what sort of environment the budgie will be in.  You should ask to see their cage, if possible, to make sure that it is suitable, and ask if they will be giving the budgie ‘out of cage time’.

You should also be helping to educate the prospective buyer.  You must stress the importance of quarantine if they already have birds.  Make sure that they are aware of common household hazards.  Are they aware that they should feed their new budgie a range of fresh foods as well as seed and pellets if available.

We have included here 2 PDF documents for your use when selling a budgerigar. 

The first is a Budgie Sale Agreement.  The buyer should fill out 2 forms, one for your records and one for the buyer, so they have a record of what they agreed to

Budgie Sale Agreement

This second document is a Budgerigar Care Leaflet.  It is designed to be printed out double sided and then folded into thirds.  First fold over the Quarantine information, then fold the cover sheet over that.

My New Budgerigar Care Leaflet

To read these documents you will need to use the Adobe Acrobat Reader which is available online to download free at www.adobe.com.

NB:  The Australian Budgerigar Breeders Club Inc. retains © copyright over both documents.  You may print them out and use them without modifications for your own personal needs.  You may also place a link to this page from your own website, but you may not place a copy of the documents on your web site without prior permission.  Thank you.

Author: Aly aka feathers
Last update: 08-May-2007 16:13


Cages: The good and bad

As we have had many newcomers who have been given bad advice with regard to cages for their birds, I will post some examples of cages...right and wrong cages.
A special note to mention is...that when purchasing your pet at the pet store, often times the staff at the pet store recommend a certain cage as being perfect for their budgie. Most often the perfect cage is really just the cage the store wants to clear out as they are truly unsuitable. or a cage that has a buy this cage and get a free budgie deal 

 When you are in a petstore and buying your first budgie it is often hard to make wise or informed decisions and you hope that pet store staff are giving you good advice. When you think aboout it most pet shop staff and just people and often young people who may or may not even own a bird.

Out of cage time comes into play as it frees the bird for flight time which really has to be a decent amount of time out of cage for healthy exercise.

Its always best to buy the biggest cage you can afford...wider rather than taller for a budgie. Pretty stands and pretty shapes aren't really a prime consideration as much as practical movement within the cage for the budgie or budgies that will live in it.
Always think budgie...like " If I was a budgie how much room would I have in that cage and what would my life be like in that cage ....prison or fun ? "

Bear in mind, as much as we would hate to live our life in a wardrobe / closet ...some of the cages on offer only give that kind of choice to a budgie.

Just as we have had many, many people on here asking why their birds arent breeding....no space....no fun times....no room to fly....does NOT make a happy healthy budgie nor will it feel like breeding for you.

Hope this has been of help.

Here is my idea of BAD CAGES

IN USE not suitable cage 1 kaz photo

CAGE ONE no flight space, bars narrow at top creating hazzard

IN USE not suitable cage 2 kaz photoCAGE TWO to small. suits one canary

IN USE not suitable cage 3 kaz photoCAGE THREE same as cage one

IN USE not suitable cage 4 kaz photo

CAGE FOUR decorative shape ...uselss as cage for budgies

IN USE not suitable cage 5 kaz photo

CAGE FIVE too tall and narrow. suits canaries or finches

IN USE not suitable cage 6 kaz photo

CAGE SIX weird shapes interfere with space and flight

IN USE not suitable cage 7 kaz photo

CAGE SEVEN too small

IN USE not suitable cage 8 kaz photo

CAGE EIGHT too small

IN USE not suitable cage 9 kaz photo

CAGE NINE shaped top section useless. better with flat roof

IN USE not suitable cage 10 kaz photoCAGE TEN too small

IN USE not suitable cage 11 kaz photoCAGE ELEVEN too small

IN USE not suitable cage 12 kaz photo

CAGE TWELVE  

GOOD CAGES
IN USE suitable cage A kaz photo

CAGE A Needs perches running front to back

IN USE suitable cage B kaz photo

CAGE B Needs perches running front to back

IN USE suitable cage C kaz photoCAGE C

IN USE suitable cage D kaz photoCAGE D

IN USE suitable cage E kaz photoCAGE E

IN USE suitable cage F kaz photoCAGE F

IN USE suitable cage G kaz photoCAGE G  reposition perches front to back

IN SUE not suitable kaz photo

Can anyone tell me why this birdcage isnt suitable for budgies ???  

Author: Kaz
Last update: 04-Mar-2008 09:52


How to Hold a Budgie

How to hold a budgie

Sometimes you may need to have a good hold on your budgie, such as for nail clipping, crop feeding, pulling a blood feather, assessing the body condition or catching an escapee.

Very important:

  • Never restrict your budgie's chest. Birds do not have a diaphragm and rely completely on their chest muscles to move air through their lungs. If a bird cannot expand its chest, it cannot breathe.
  • Never squeeze your budgie. Use minimal pressure, just enough to hold the budgie and never a bit more. If your budgie is really struggling and your gentle hold is not enough, DO NOT squeeze harder, it is best to let go and try again.

To catch the budgie in its cage, some people use a small handtowel and place it over the bird. This blocks its escape routes and calms it down (no sudden vision of a giant hand grabbing at it). The owner then transfers it into a free hand to hold it properly. Others find it easier to herd the bird into a corner/on the floor and to gently envelop the bird, without using a towel, which to them may be a terrifyingly large foreign object. Of course, it is much simpler if your budgie is tame. Use whatever you find quick/comfortable and you believe to be less stressful for your budgie.

There are three main ways to hold a budgie, based on how the head is held: two fingers, thumb and finger, thumb and two fingers.

Two-finger hold

This is generally used for quickly moving birds (like an escapee or from cage to cage). It is also good for initially catching your budgie before changing to a different hold. Of the three holds this one has the least head control, so the budgie may give you a good nip on the fingers. The wings may also be able to flap.

provided by Chyr. member how to hold a budgie 1

The head rests between the bones of your index and ring fingers, the rest of the body sits snugly in the palm of your hand. The thumb and ring finger can help push the legs back.

Thumb/finger head restraint

This gives you more control of the head, and is good for biters, crop feeding or examining the body in detail. With this hold you can lift the middle, ring and pinky fingers and gently extend one wing for examination.

provided by Chyr. member how to hold a budgie 2

The tips of the thumb and index finger are placed on the cheeks. Always place the head-controlling fingers gently onto a bony area of the head, not the flesh part of the neck. The body is in the palm of the hand. The inside of the thumb restrains one wing, the remaining fingers restrain the other. The pinky can be used to restrain the legs.

Thumb/two finger head restraint

A variation of the finger/thumb restraint. This hold is intended to gain maximum control of the head and is most useful for beak trimming or examining the head in detail.

provided by Chyr. member how to hold a budgie 3

The thumb and middle fingers rest on the cheeks. The index finger is placed on top of the crown and can be used to direct the motion of the head.

Tips -
-I have found that my budgies hate being upside-down. I believe it is uncomfortable on their lungs, as birds were not made to be upside-down especially if they are stressed from being held. For that reason, I hold them the right way up as much as I can, especially when I'm not immediately doing something.
-When I think my budgie is freaking out too much or kicking around making it difficult for me to get a hold, I often sit the her in one hand. I form a circle with my index finger and thumb, and gently place the her head into it from the palm side. She cannot go forward because of the ring I made with my fingers, and cannot back out because I gently push her towards the ring she tries.
-For biters, a towel or Q-tip can be used to distract them from your fingers
-For kickers, a pencil or a finger can be used as a perch for gripping
=================================

With thanks to my gorgeous assistant, Squee. Please excuse the piece of fluff in her beak, I didn't notice it at the time, and she was getting quite fed up with it all so I haven't retaken them.

Feel free to discuss and add by clicking here to see full post with replies

Author: Chrysocome BBC Member
Last update: 28-Mar-2008 10:09


When are budgies considered adults?

A fledgling is a baby budgie just out of the nest and its first couple of weeks out and about.

At its first moult it is a juvenile.

A budgie is deemed an adult past a year of age.

Show budgies are deemed adults by the legrings if they wear the year before's ring they are then an adult and younger they are classed as "ÿoung".

If in reference to breeding you are looking for the definition of an adult for breeding, its preferable that they are a year or older.

Author: Kaz
Last update: 31-Aug-2008 09:08


What age should I clip a budgies wings?

If you are a breeder or pet shop going to sell budgies the best time to clip their wings is after they have fledged and learned to fly which is around the 8 week mark (6 wks minimum).  Some babies learn to fly sooner other later but do let them take their first flight and become acclimated to their wings before clipping.

If you are a pet owner your bird should already know how to fly and you can read the pros and cons about clipping. You can read this article To clip or not to clip? 



Author: Elly
Last update: 31-Aug-2008 09:49


When do Budgies Reach Maturity

Hens can reach sexual maturity at 5-6 months, but it takes up to 18 months before they are physically and emotionally mature. They should not be bred as soon as they are able to, as they do not have sufficient vitamin, mineral, and calcium stores in their bodies for the demands placed upon them to create eggs, and their bones are still soft and not always able to withstand the rigors of egg production. Emotionally they often do not know what to do with the chicks, or even how to properly incubate the eggs at 6 months of age.

Cockbirds reach sexual maturity a little later, maybe 7-9 months, but like the hens are not completely mature until much older. The males also should not breed just as soon as they are physically able, a little waiting until they are more emotionally mature is suggeste.

Author: Anne - Rainbow
Last update: 04-Sep-2008 10:38


How to tell you have a young budgie

Here is a guideline to tell if you have a young budgie (scroll down for enlarged picture) detailing what to look for.  

Click in the link provided to help learn how to sec your budgie by it's cere (note all young budgies will have pink ceres so it can be difficult to sex them if you are not experience ) Sexing my budgie

Photobucket

Author: Neat
Last update: 11-Sep-2008 22:28


Budgie Behaviour

My budgie often makes a loud squawking noise.

What does it mean and how can I stop this?

Budgies make a variety of different noises but the squawking (or ACK ACK ACKing) is the one most complained about. While the noise certainly doesn't sound pleasant, it doesn't necessarily mean that your budgie is unhappy or angry. Most budgies will make this noise when they're excited, calling to another budgie, or just want to hear their own voice. This is almost never a behavioral issue and you should not attempt to punish your budgie. However, if your budgie seems to be making noise in order to get your attention and this bothers you, ignore it. Don't yell at your budgie or run over to cover him up. Eventually, your bird will find that making noise does not cause you to come running and he will stop.

Author: eterri
Last update: 11-Apr-2007 05:29


Why does my budgie bite me?

This is exactly what you should be asking yourself any time your budgie bites. Why is it happening? Is your bird scared? Is she protecting her cage or favorite toy? Is she overly excited?

Once you figure out the cause of the biting, you can figure out how to stop it. Here are some of the more common reasons for biting and how to go about dealing with them:

Fear: If you try to catch an untame budgie in your hands or you have it backed into a corner, chances are it will bite you. This is often the last resort and a budgie that is afraid would much rather get away than bite but if it is left with no other option, you'll be bitten. If you have to catch and/or restrain your budgie it is best to wear gloves so that the bites aren't painful to you and the process is over quickly. The longer you chase your budgie the more afraid it will become. Biting out of fear should never be treated as a behavioral problem but as with all bites, do not react. If you react to biting your budgie will realize that it can cause you to recoil or be afraid by doing so.

Territorial Aggression: This is probably the second most common cause for biting (next to fear biting). Sometimes budgies become very protective over their territory and posessions. In most cases, this includes their cage. A territorial budgie will charge your hand if you try and reach inside the cage and will bite you. This is often accompanied by what I like to call "angry dolphin" noises. They are very high pitched and rapid and generally mean the bird is angry/unhappy about what's going on.

As always, ignore these bites. Budgie bites can hurt but if you react in anyway (pulling your hand back, screaming, cursing, etc.) you'll only be "rewarding" your budgie for its actions. For example, by pulling your hand away you are inadvertantly teaching the budgie that biting works in getting you out of the cage. By screaming or cursing you're still teaching the bird that biting gets a reaction and many birds actually enjoy causing you to screech or flail about! So, don't react to the bites (at least not on the outside).

The next step in trying to discourage territorial aggression is to keep the toys and perches of your bird's cage rotated regularly. Change things up often so that your budgie doesn't get as much of a chance to get used to the setup and lay claim to the cage.

If you notice that the budgie is protective of a particular toy, exchange it with a different one and see if that helps.

If you have the space you can even move the entire cage to a different area of the room so the bird gets a change of scenery.

Hormonal Periods & Molting: Sometimes budgies get cranky as they become young adults and/or when they're molting. This is a phase that will pass with time and again, the most important thing to remember is to ignore the biting.

If you notice your budgie displaying behaviors associated with mating and/or courtship (such as regurgitating food for you, another person, or a favorite toy or attempts to mate with those objects) he/she is probably going through a hormonal period. Rearranging the cage can help curb this behavior and it is also a good idea to reduce your bird to 8-10 hours of daylight if he/she was getting more than that. This is especially important if you have a female budgie who is trying to lay infertile/unwanted eggs as egg laying can lead to egg binding and egg peritonitis which can both be fatal.

If your budgie is behaving differently and you're unable to figure out why, it's a good idea to have him/her seen by your avian vet to rule out illness or injury.

Author: eterri
Last update: 10-Oct-2005 08:03


Why does my budgie regurgitate for me (or another object)?

Budgies regurgitate (bring food up from the crop) for their mates or friends as a sign of affection and a means of bonding. However, not all humans appreciate having their finger covered in undigested seed! Still, if your budgie does this you should feel honored and loved. It's best to ignore this behavior when it's done to us. If your budgie is becoming "obsessed" with a mirror, toy, or other object it might be wise to remove the favorite object and replace it with something else. Allowing this sort of behavior to continue can lead to a very frustrated, hormonal budgie which can in turn, lead to biting and other behavioral problems.

Additional reading to ensure your bird is actually regurgitation vs vomiting (which can indicate sickness) Reguritation vs Vomiting

Author: eterri
Last update: 12-Apr-2007 16:31


My budgie is bobbing its head up and down, what does this mean?

Head bobbing (rapidly moving the head up and down) is a common behavior and while it is seen most in males, females will do it sometimes too. This can mean that the budgie is happy and excited. Also, they may headbob just before locking beaks with another bird to feed it.

Author: eterri
Last update: 10-Oct-2005 08:14


My budgie makes a clicking noise with its beak, what is this?

This is called beak grinding or clicking. Most budgies will beak grind as they're settling down for a nap. It is a sign of contentment and is a normal behaviour.

Author: eterri
Last update: 10-Oct-2005 08:16


My budgies are fighting, what do I do?

It is normal for budgies to bicker amongst themselves, but if your birds are actually becoming violent they should be separated immediately. Generally, two males will get along better than two females. In a male/female pair, it's common for the female to become a little bossy and pushy with the male. These are things you should keep in mind when choosing your birds.

Giving each budgie its own food dish, providing plenty of interesting toys, and having a spacious cage can all help decrease the amount of bickering amongst your budgies.

Author: eterri
Last update: 14-Apr-2007 01:04


How to introduce a 2nd(or more) bird (s) to your existing flock

Quarantine Program is the first thing you will need to do before your introduce any new birds to your existing birds (flock).

Here is a method that I have used and found to be useful when introducing a new bird to the existing flock.  This method is primary to be used if you are introducing in a small setting (such a inside cage or a small aviary).  Those who have large aviaries may have different methods since the situation is different.

When I introduce Pretty to Merlin it was a gradual process.   When quarantine was over these are the steps I took.

1. I first let them out together on top of the cage with complete supervision
2. I kept their cages side by side but not where they could beak fight or pick at each others toes.  So about 2 inches apart
3. I then let Merlin go in Pretty's cage during the day supervised only
4. I then let Merlin go in Pretty's cage during the day unsupervised only after I knew that everyone body was settled.
5. After I knew the daytime unsupervised time was OK, I then housed them together.

Now not everyone may do what I did but this is why I did this.

When I first introduced them Pretty thought Merlin was a girl (he was a boy) and kept trying to jump on his back plus he was very hyper flirting like mad.  Merlin kept refusing his actions of love :D and would do a lot of dolphin noises.

I moved on to the next step when Merlin was doing so much dolphin "mad" like budgie noises and Pretty settled down.

For me it took just a little under 2 weeks.  Everyone is different some members can put their budgies in straight away (after quarantine is over) but I could not.

Author: Elly
Last update: 06-May-2007 15:31


Will my budgie talk?

Many people ask the question will my budgie talk?

The answer to that question is "maybe"

There are different factors in involved.  Lets review them.

Is your budgie the sole budgie?
Is your budgie a male?
Do you talk to your budgie all the time and repeat the same phrase over and over?

If you answered yes to the questions above then the chance of your budgie learning to talk is greatly increased.  Sole budgies see you as part of the flock so they may start to mimic you.  When your budgie starts to mimic your whistles and you hear a lot of gibberish going on that sounds like talking then listen hard because he/she may be trying to talk. 

In theory males are considered to mimic better.  It only makes sense as in the wild or even in captive breeding situation they are more vocal when flirting with the hens.  So if you have a male bird your chances are high but do know females have been known to pick up whistles and talk too.

When you repeat the phrase or the whistle over and over that you want your bird to learn it has a better chance of picking it up faster.  Talk to your bird when they are in a calm state such as first thing in the morning, in the afternoon during their mid-day nap or in the evening at bedtime.  You will find they are quieter, then will tilt their head to listen to you.  Budgies will usually pick up the whistles first and then if they are going to talk that will be the next step.

A question that comes into play is will my budgie stop talking if I get a 2nd budgie?  The answer to this question is maybe.  We have members that have budgies that talk and taught their others budgies to talk (that is rare situation though).  I found with my own personal experience that when I introduced Merlin to Pretty.  Pretty did stop talking entirely.  Though you have to weigh the reason why you are getting a 2nd budgie it could far out weight having your budgie talk.

In close, budgies will mimic their own kind vs human talk if given a choice.

Remember some birds may talk and some may not.  Don't purchase a budgie just because you want a talking bird you may be disappointed. 

Author: Elly
Last update: 19-Feb-2008 08:59


Taming Your Budgie

Taming your Budgie

The purpose of this article is to give you general taming tips. These tips come from various members of the BBC forum based on their experiences in taming their budgies. They are also from my own personal experience taming my budgies, Pretty (who was store bought) and Merlin (who came from a private home).

Before you decide you want to tame your budgie you need to think about a couple different factors.

Hand raised baby budgies are easier to tame
Pet store budgies will need more patience and time, possibly due to errors in correctly assessing their age group
Older budgies will need more patience and time
Abused or rescued budgies that have been untamed for several years may never become fully tame but with patience you can build a trusting relationship

Think about this and decide what you want out of taming your budgie? There are different degrees of tame budgies.

Do you want a budgie that is “glued” to you and that no matter where you go you are always giving kisses and giving him 100% attention.

Do you want a budgie that talks?

Or are you looking for companions that will step-up when need be and is not fearful of you when you come to the cage doors

Do you want a budgie that you can let out who can entertain himself without wanting to be on you or with you all the time?

When you are working on taming a budgie there is no time limit on when each milestone should be met. All budgies are different. For example, you may rescue a budgie that is already tame and is the perfect companion or you may adopt a budgie out of a pet store that hasn’t had any human interaction except for people peering in on them. A hand raised baby budgie in a pet store might soon become "wilder" if left for too long before a sale happens.

When you first bring your budgie home let your new pet settle in before you start the taming process. This is what I personally did when I purchased Pretty, a pet store bought budgie. Before he arrived I made sure his cage was set up with all the essentials. When I put him in the cage I kept him in a quiet room with not too much action for the first couple of days. I also kept his cage covered on all three sides with a sheet so that he felt secure. It is very common for your new budgie to retreat into the back of the cage as this is where he will feel the safest. After 2 days I slowly started to bring the cover off the cage until it was completely uncovered. This took about a week. Some birds might already have a trusting relationship with humans, for others it could take months. Watch your budgie’s behavior as he becomes more comfortable with his surroundings. You can remove the cage cover a little everyday. We suggest that you keep your budgie in the cage and do not take him out of the cage until he is comfortable in his own cage first (this could be a couple weeks) and it is best to wait until he has learnt how to step-up. It is also suggested that you keep your hands out of the cage unless you are working on taming procedures or changing their food and water because your big hand is very scary for them. Remember they see you as a predator they don’t know whether to trust you or not and your hand is very big to them.

One common mistake people make is that they feel that if they put their hand in straight way and the bird lets you stroke him that he likes it, that is farthest from the truth. If your budgie backs up, freezes or starts to pant, your budgies is scared. Many people believe because they don’t move this is acceptance of you touching them, this is untrue. Only after your bird begins to trust you will he let you scratch his head or throat area and he will usually move it around just as preening birds that preen each other do so you can get the perfect spot. Stroking their back and stomach areas are not areas that budgies like to be touched and if you can stroke their belly or back on a healthy bird and they don’t move they are most likely just frozen scared.

How long will it take to tame my budgie? Understand that taming your bird can take weeks, months and even years; it really depends on the bird and its background. If you adopt an older scared bird you may find, sadly, that you may never be able to tame your bird. So before you purchase or adopt a rescued budgie know this before you make your decision. This should not deter you way from adopting but in the end when you commit to owning a pet it is your responsibility to give your pet a secure, caring home. The good news is that even very wildest budgie, with patience and understanding, can become tame if you are consistent on a daily basis; though the degree of tameness differs between birds.

Should I clip or not clip to tame my budgie? This is a personal decision and you can read To clip or not to clip? about the pros and cons. I can tell you from personal experience and reading up on wing clipping that taming your budgie with clipped wings is much easier than a budgie with unclipped wings. Both my birds were clipped when I adopted them and then I let them grow out. The difference in the attitude of a bird that is clipped vs not clipped is like night and day at times. Once your bird is tamed you can choose to let them grow out although many people keep their birds clipped for safety reasons. It is your choice but for taming purposes you will find it is easier to tame a bird that is clipped, not only for you but for the bird as well. Chasing a flighted bird around a room or the house is very stressful for the bird and you and, in all reality, is not safe for the bird. He can overheat, fly into a window or a wall and may get injured.

First Steps of Training:

Building Trust: This is the first step when you are working on taming. Your budgie needs to know that you will not hurt it in any way. The best way to gain trust is to work with your budgie daily. Many articles say 15 minutes a day is all you need I have found that to be untrue. I always advise members to spend as much time as you can on a daily basis with your budgie. The more you work with your budgie, on a daily basis, the faster you will build trust with your new friend. This time can be spent all in one go, or better still, separated into shorter periods throughout the day. When your budgie trusts you it is a wonderful feeling.

There are many different ways you can form a trusting relationship with your budgie. Talk to them all the time when they are in and out of their cage. In fact when Pretty was in a smaller cage and I could move it I would take him from room to room with me, so he was always by us. Do not push training if you find they are fearful of a certain action - stop immediately. They are simply not ready.

Food as a Training Tool: Food is a huge motivator, and by using their favorite snack such as millet sprays it speeds up the bond. If your budgie at first doesn’t eat from you that is OK, they don’t know if you are giving them poison. You will notice the more you talk with them, and are around them, the more they will relax and before you know it they may take a nibble. It takes time! Don’t expect them to automatically eat, they are not like dogs that snatch food, they must trust you first. Always feed your budgie from your fingers. Many times you will see pictures of people feeding budgies from their mouth; this is actually harmful for the bird. Human saliva has bacteria that can make your budgie sick.

Learning to Step Up: The step-up command is the most important command you can teach your budgie. Teaching your bird to step-up will help to avoid chasing them around the room when it is time to go back in their cage, or if you want to take them out of danger, or for doing a visual examination of your bird etc…

Remember your hand is huge compared to a budgie so do expect your budgie to be scared at first. The majority of budgies love millet this is a wonderful motivator for training. I only use millet as a training treat in the beginning. You may find your budgie will not eat from your hand initially. If your budgie is really scared of your hand then you can offer the millet between the cage bars. Your budgie will feel safer and come up to the cage bars to eat the millet. Once your budgie feels comfortable eating the millet from your hand through the bars you can then open up the door and slowly offer it to your budgie. Keep your hand lower than the perch and hold a small piece of millet very still. At first he may not accept it, but, with patience, you will find that he will eat from your hand. Once he is comfortable eating from your hand and he is trusting of your hand you can gently press against his belly (right above his feet) and say the command “step-up” or “up”. Your budgie may hop off at first that is OK, try again and keep your training sessions no longer then 10-15 minutes 2-3 times a day. This is meant to be a positive experience and we don’t want you or your budgie stressed out. When he feels comfortable on your hand and doesn’t hop off you can move your hand around very slowly at first, he may jump off again that is OK. These are all steps. Some budgies do get this right away, others are more timid, and that is OK. Remember be patient. Once your budgie is comfortable with you moving your hand around with him perched on it you can then proceed to the next step which is out of the cage time.

I recommend that you have your budgie step up daily for you so they remember this command. Some budgies as they become more tame will be selective on stepping up and when you want them to they don’t because they get “stinky”, so always take the time to have them step-up 3 times a day either in or out of the cage.

Outside of the cage: We recommend that you use a small room such as your bathroom (make sure the toilet seat is down and there is no standing water in the bath or sink) to introduce your budgie to out of the cage time. If your budgie is NOT clipped except him to fly around and find the highest spot to perch on, this will make him feel safe. This is the reason why it is recommended to use a small room, if you let your budgie out in a larger room such as your living room and your budgie is not clipped he will fly aimlessly, may head for the window and even hit a wall. This is very dangerous and a budgie can break his neck and could be killed. If your budgie is clipped (highly recommended) you will find it much easier to introduce out of the cage time without having to chase your budgie around and keep removing them from high places.

Once you have decided on a room, if you have a small cage, you can bring him into the room with his cage and then open the door, ask him to ‘step up’ and bring him out. It is recommended that you teach your budgie to step up to go in and out of his cage so you have more control when you want to get him back into his cage. You can put him on top of his cage and again work on stepping up, talk to him softly etc… You may find your budgie is scared when outside of the cage. He may not step-up at first that is normal. Have your budgies favorite treat with you during this training session and as he settles down and realizes he is OK have him step-up and then reward him with a nibble of his favorite treat. Remember keep all training sessions 10-15 minutes 2-3 x a day if all possible. If you find your budgie is panting, trying to bite out of fear or his wings are twitching nervously end the session. You want to leave every training session with positive experience. You can put him back in his cage, if possible keep him on your finger then give him a reward then let him hop off on his favorite perch. When I put Merlin back in his cage I always put him back on his swing “his favorite spot” it makes him feel secure and he relaxes immediately.

Once you have taught your budgie to remain on your finger when you are not moving you will want to start to train him to stay there when you start to walk. This was one of my biggest challenges because when I started to walk with him he would fly off. It is the motion of the body that puts them into flight. So first stay in 1 spot (have a treat on hand), and move your hand around up and down, around in circles slowly if they stay on reward them. Once you find that they are gripping on to your fingers (not in fear) but because they want to stay on your finger you can slow start walking around and when they stay reward. Each budgie will train different some may get this concept right away and be ok with you walking around others may be more flighty and you will need patience.

A good technique I used was when Pretty would fly back to his cage I would come to him and then hold my finger about 4 inches from the cage and have the millet there for him. He learned that if he flew to my finger he would be rewarded and then I would move around when he was eating. Messy it was, but that is why I have a vacuum cleaner. This technique of flying from an object to your finger is excellent training tool so you can teach them the fly to you on command. Especially if you decide to keep them unclipped you can work on this command so when they are up on your curtains you are not always chasing them down. Just like the step-up command the fly to you command should be done daily even if your bird does it all the time. Budgies do get “stinky” and “ornery” and may decide to stop listening so working with this everyday is an excellent way to reinforce positive behavior. A separate command word should be used, such as “come”.

Training my budgie to sit on my shoulder: Many budgies find their owners shoulders a great place to be. They are close to you, it is comfortable and they can travel around the house with you. Before you teach your budgies to sit on your shoulder you need to make sure they are comfortable stepping-up and also being walked around the room with you. Once you get them to sit on your shoulder you will find this is their favorite spot. First have your budgie step-up and then simply put your finger level with your shoulder and your budgie will do 1 of 3 things. One he will hop on, two he will fly away or 3 he will remain on your finger. If he jumps on your shoulder reward him, if he doesn’t budge put millet in front of him and then when he reaches for it gently help him up on your shoulder, if he flies away try again. I found once I taught both my birds to sit on my shoulder once they stepped up they automatically jumped up on my shoulder. Once he will sit on your shoulder and you can talk to him without him being fearful or showing signs of getting ready to fly then you can start moving around the room slowly and of course reward him for good behavior. If he flies off, try again. Remember sessions should only be between 10-15 minutes long and if you find he is stressing out try again the next day. Your patience will pay off. A word of caution that you make sure doors and windows with no screens are closed and that you remember your bird is on your shoulder before you decide to head off outside. There has been many a bird that has escaped by being on their owner’s shoulder and they forgot and walked outside.

Training my budgie to sit on my head: It is recommended that parrots should not be perched higher then eye level to their owners. This gives them the upper hand and they feel dominant. Dominancy in a bird can create bad habits. Even when you place their cage their highest perch should be eye level to you. It is your own personal decision if you would like your bird to sit on your head. Word of precaution though, some birds will fly onto their owner’s heads and their owner doesn’t realize they are there (don’t ask me how) and they walk outside and off goes the bird. So if you decide to train your bird to sit on your head just remember he is there.

Training my budgie to talk: You will find a lot of different books, training aides and more that claim that they will teach your bird how to talk. You can take it or leave it. I personally left it and Pretty did talk. All I did was talk to him daily and repeat the same phrase over and over first thing in the morning, whenever I stopped at his cage, and when he was out. I simply talked to him all the time. I found that first they will start to mimic your whistles and then if they are meant to talk they will start garbling words where it sounds like they are trying to talk but you are not sure if they are talking or trying out a new song. Once they start talking they will pick up more and more at a faster rate. Before I adopted Merlin Pretty was saying “pretty bird”, “pretty pooty”, “stinky poo” “stinky pink”. Yes I used a lot of different rhymes that were silly but he picked them up quickly. Now to address if I get another bird will my bird stop talking? My experience “yes” Pretty stopped talking and never started back up. He would still mimic the whistles but he never spoke again. On a rare occasion if your bird has a strong bond with you, talks a lot you may find that they will not stop talking and even teach the other budgies to talk.

Will my budgie ever talk and do males talk better? Males are known to be better mimickers and will pick up talking better, but because you adopt a male budgie does not mean that he will talk. If you are getting a budgie because you want a talking bird then don’t adopt a bird because there is more to a bird than talking. On occasion female budgies have been known to talk. In the wild male budgies are the most vocal, singing most of the songs, whistling etc…females are known to be quieter. Either way, talking or not, a budgie is a wonderful companion.

Working with a older or more skittish budgie: When you do a search on the internet you may find many articles that state that birds over the age of 1 years old plus or very skittish budgies are impossible to tame. This is untrue to a certain aspect. Building trust with any bird is first and far most the most important relationship you can work on. Once you have gained the birds trust the rest will come into place for you. An older bird will be scared, may strike back and bite out of fear, run from you but remember this is all about trust first. Use the steps above to gain your bird’s trust and it may take several months or more but with patience and time you will find that you can gain a wonderful relationship with your bird. One thing to keep in mind is that all birds will tame down to a certain point so if you are looking for the super tame budgie adopting a baby budgie is most likely for you but in a rare occasion you may find that extra special relationship with an older budgie.

For ideas on how our members tamed their budgies join our discussion here

Forum member's dicuss how to tame their budgies

Author: Elly
Last update: 07-Jun-2007 15:16


What age can I start taming budgies?

If you are a breeder and are looking to sell tame babies or want a tame baby for yourself here are so tips from our breeders on the website.

Member Neat
If you can hand raise them and know how to crop feed, Then you can take it out of the box 1 week earlier. However I recommend waiting until it has fledged. You will notice to, the more time you spend with the chicks in the nest box the more they become use to you and the taming process is also alot quicker.

Member melbournebudgies:
I start handling all my chicks for taming from the time they open their eyes, before this I just handle them as necessary to check on them and make sure they are developing properly. I have raised some gorgeous tame babies this way and the parents do all the hard work I take one chick out at a time, normally just after they have had a feed so I know they won't miss anything important and handle them for ten minutes each.

No matter what techinque you use remember to always before you handle the chicks to wash your hands throughly before and after each handling.

Author: Elly
Last update: 31-Aug-2008 09:55


Different Types of Budgie Behavior

Budgie Behavior



Understanding what your Budgie is trying to tell you can be hard at times… especially when some behaviors can mean many things. Here, we will try to cover the most common behaviors and some of their meanings. Please be aware this in not cut and dry, it's based on what we, as budgies owners observe and have put to paper.



Stretching legs and Wings: This is very similar to what we do when we are sitting in the same the position for a long period of time. Budgies often stretch one leg at the same time as the wing on the same side. This is also a relaxed behavior. You may also notice when your budgie brings his/her leg back up again, they often curl their toes. This is also normal. A general raising of the wings can also be seen as a sign of contentment or relief.



Resting/Sleeping: Budgie sleep and rest many different ways, the most common being with one leg tucked up under their feathers and their head tucked into the back of their feathers. This is a very good sign that all is well with your budgie and they are very content in their environment. Often when doing so, they also fluff their feathers up slightly. In this circumstance, this is very normal, but is very different to the fluffed up feathers of a sick bird. You may also notice when your budgie is settling in for the night or for a nap, they may chatter away to themselves to… another good indication of a happy bird.



Preening/Shaking: Budgies spend a lot of their days preening themselves and their flock. It is used in courtship between mates and is also in social bonding between their flock (which also includes human owners) Budgies use their beaks, feet and the bars of their cage to preen themselves. You may also notice after their finish preening themselves, they will shake. This is to remove all of the dust particles they have dislodged during their preening session. Budgies also shake themselves a lot at other times. They often shake before they begin a new task… so say you bird just finished eating… he may shake, and then fly off to play with something. Budgies (often young in age) also flap their wings without moving. This indicates excitement and creates movement and noise.



Yawning and Sneezing: As with humans, yawning is contagious amongst birds. They too do it for similar reasons. Sneezing in birds is not done 'because they have a cold'… it is simply to clear their nasal passages.



Biting and Gnawing: These behaviors are done for many reasons…




  • To trim their beak. This is why it is important to have natural branches and perches.

  • When playing with toys (this is seen as coming from their inbuilt behavior to find seeds and food on the ground)... thus they often pick up toys and alike with their beaks and can undo clips etc... their beaks are very highly developed and versatile.

  • Out of stress and fear… this bite is usually fairly hard and can draw blood. You are often given a warning squeak before these self defense bites. This is your chance to withdraw. There are often two displays of self defense biting. If your budgie had its beak open and head up, it is displaying its dominance and will most likely bite you without fear. If your budgie has its beak open but head lowered, it is still defensive, standing his/her ground but is scared.

  • Hens also in breeding condition with gnaw the nest box and surrounds to prepare to nest.


Vocalisations: Budgies often chatter between themselves and to their owners. This can escalate to a louder volume when trying to compete with each other or outside sounds. Male budgies increase this chatter towards their 'partners' during the breeding season as part of their courtship behavior. Load screeching is usually heard when your budgies are trying to call for help to each other (including their owners). This can also indicate trouble... from an intruder in the aviary or an injured bird.



Signs of fear: Along with the earlier points of biting, a few other behaviors which can indicate fear, are when budgies hold their wings off their body and pant. This can mean they are stressed and scared or they are over heating/hot. Also, if your budgie has his/her feathers flat to their body, this often indicates they are ready to take flight from a scary object.



Obsession with objects: Budgies can form relations ships with fellow budgies, their human owners and objects in their cages. They often regurgitate on them, try and mount them, dilate their pupils and bob their heads. This behavior is normal towards their female mate, but if it becomes a problem with yourself or other objects, often changing their cage around or increases their 'darkness time' can help.

Author: maesie
Last update: 25-Nov-2008 08:32


Budgerigar Health And Related

Budgies life expectancy?

On average budgies can live anything from  10 - 15 years. Very occasionally, budgies have been known to live well into their teens.
 
Whether it be in a home or aviary setting . It depends on the "care/use"  of the bird such as intensive breeding, bad nutrition, and lack of maintenance that may shorten its lifespan.  
 
Both pet budgies (also known as American budgies) and Exhibition Budgies (also known as English or Show budgies) have been shown to have the same life expectancy.

Author:
Last update: 13-Apr-2007 17:50


Signs of a healthy budgie

The good points to look for are: -
1. A bright, healthy, alert bird with sleek feathering, sitting up proudly on the perch.
2. Are the other birds looking healthy?
3. Is the surroundings clean? Do the water containers look clean and fresh?  Does the bottom of the cage look clean?


Avoid: -
1. A bird that is fluffed up.
2. Laying down across the perch.
3. Sitting huddled on the bottom of the cage.
4. A bird that has dirty vent.
5. Rough feathering unless it is due to moulting   Read First Molt?
6. Any bird that is not bright and chirpy.
7. Never buy a bird that is kept in dirty surroundings.

Birds from clean and tidy aviaries have the best chance of being healthy.

Author: Daz
Last update: 29-Aug-2008 09:50


Crusty cere: normal or scaley face

It is normal for a female budgie to have a very crusty brown cere when in breeding condition.  However, if this is not the case, you may have a budgie with scaley face mites.

Symptoms: Beak deformity, encrustation of the cere, nasal obstruction, lameness of affected legs and feet

Description: Scaly face/scaly leg disease starts from the beak and spreads to other areas of the head and body.

Treatment: Ivermectin is the most common treatment for scaley face mites and can be obtained at your avian vet's office. It is always a good idea to have this condition seen by the avian vet so that it can be officially diagnosed and so that you can be instructed on the proper course of treatment. Scaley face is fairly common and normally takes only a couple of weeks to disappear after beginning proper treatment. Because it is contagious to other birds, it is wise to keep the affected bird away from all others and it may be necessary to treat your entire flock. Finding an Avian Vet

Budgie with scaley face mites.
Budgie affected by scaley face mites.

Same budgie after weeks of treatment
This is the same budgie about
one month after treatment.

Author: Daz
Last update: 17-Apr-2007 17:13


My bird has hurt itself and is bleeding. What can I do?

This is a serious condition and must be treated straight away!

 

Symptoms: Blood apparent on bird or spattering of blood in area surrounding bird or on perch.

Description: The bird's body does not contain much blood and serious bleeding could be fatal in a short period of time. They do have a good clotting ability and with most minor bleedings (a couple of drops of blood) no action is required. If the bleeding is serious, then you must get rapid control of the bird to properly treat as described below. If the bird moves around frantically, it will most likely loose more blood.

Treatments:

If bleeding is occurring from a nail:

  • Minimize the bird's movement.
  • Apply styptic powder (or gauze dipped in ferric chloride) to the nail and apply pressure for 30 seconds.
  • If no clotting agent is available then apply digital pressure to the end of the nail for approximately 1 minute.

If bleeding is occurring from the beak:

  • Minimize the birds movement
  • Apply styptic powder (or gauze dipped in ferric chloride) to the nail and apply pressure for 30 seconds. Do not allow the bird to ingest the clotting agent.
  • If no clotting agent is available then apply digital pressure to the site of bleeding for approximately 1 minute.

If bleeding is occurring from a quill:

  • Minimize the birds movement
  • Grasp the base of the quill with tweezers and remove it by quickly pulling in the direction of its growth.

If bleeding is occurring from the skin:

  • Minimize the birds movement
  • Carefully pluck feathers from the area of injury
  • Clean wound with warm water or 1% hydrogen peroxide
  • Apply antibiotic powder
  • If stitches are required to close the wound, see your avian veterinarian
  • Apply digital pressure to the site of bleeding for approximately 1 minute.
One of the best blood stoppers most people have at home is pepper. It is better than flour or cornstarch.

Birds can tolerate a 30% loss of the blood volume, 2% of their body weight, before they show subsequent distress. Birds are very efficient in stabilizing their blood pressure after blood loss. They are able to do this by moving fluid from inside tissues (interstial fluid) into vascular spaces (vessels) and arteriolar vasoconstriction (reduction in diameter of vessels).

If in doubt, contact your avian vet. Finding an Avian Vet

Also read: My budgie is bleeding/dying/eggbound/vomiting/etc

 

Author: Daz
Last update: 22-Mar-2011 08:25


Budgie colds

Birds are susceptible to an avian cold virus. If not treated the condition could develop into another condition, especially pneumonia.

They can not catch a cold from a human being but they can get sick from our salvia or salvia from other animals. So sharing food that you bit into or giving kisses directly on the beak is not recommended.

Symptoms: Nasal discharge, sneezing, listlessness, difficulty breathing, lack of appetite, eyes watery, feathers ruffled, tail pumping when breathing.

Treatment: Isolate the bird from the flock and place in a warm cage with temperature at 80 to 85 degrees F. Apply inhalant to keep nasal passages clear. Monitor that the bird is continuing to eat. Aureomycin will sometimes help but is not always effective.

Make an appointment with your Avian Vet.  Finding an Avian Vet

Respiratory infections are not always detected.  Budgies are masters at hiding their illness until it is too late.  Always observe your budgies habits on a daily basis such as eating, respiratory, activity level, you can check your budgie over with your eyes by looking at nasal passages, their dropping, eating behavior and more. 

Click here for more information Signs of a healthy budgie AND Signs of a sick budgie

Author: Daz
Last update: 17-Apr-2007 17:16


Household Hazards

Room By Room: Household Hazards To Your Bird
Bedroom: pillows, candles, vases full of water, jewellery, cosmetics fumes

Bathroom: aerosols, lid up on the toilet seat,

Laundry Room: ammonia, bleach, chlorine, cleaners (floor, drain, oven etc), spray starch.

Plants: amarylis, azalea, bird of paradise, blue bonnet, bulb flowers (iris, daffodil, etc), calla lily leaves, crabapple leaves only, eggplant all parts but fruit, elderberry, english ivy, holly, mistletoe, poison ivy/oak/sumac, rhododendrom, rhubarb, skunk cabbage, cherry tree all parts but the fruit.  There are many more you can contact your avian vet or visit our forums for more information.

SAFE Plants: bamboo, beech (American and European), blueberry, dogwood, grape vine, hibiscus, marigolds, mulberry, rose, willow, fern, fig plant (ficus species), grape ivy, herbs, pothos, swedish ivy, spider plant.

Kitchen: uncovered trash cans, open appliances, hot toasters or stove elements, covered pot's on the stove, unsafe foods, household chemicals, overheated non-stick cookware, glasses full of liquid, decorative ceramic ware treated with a lead glaze, sink full of hot water, aerosols, self cleaning ovens when being used to clean. Read about Dangers in the Kitchen.

Foods: alcoholic beverages, avocados, caffeine (coffee, tea, soda), chocolate, moldy foods, mushrooms, raw meat, raw onion, raw peanuts in shell, fruit seeds, salty foods.

Living Room: furniture cushions, toxic houseplants, fireplace matches, full ashtrays, leaded glass sun catchers or lampshades, vases full of water.

Home office: computer cords, pens, markers, staplers, pushpins, scissors, laminators, toner cartridges, lead

Garage/Basement: hot glue guns, paints, solvents, glues, hand or power tools, car cleaning and maintenance products, fertilizer, insecticides, other gardening products, antifreeze, auto products, moth balls, lighter fluid, kerosene, pesticides, propane.

One odourless but deadly fume that may occur in your home is carbon monoxide. To protect your health as well as your birds, scrupulously maintain your furnace, oven, stove, and other appliances that use fossil fuels such as natural gas. Contact your local utility company to find out if it offers free appliance checks for carbon monoxide. If you start to developing flu like symptoms or find yourself suffering from a constant headache or nausea, have a qualified technician check your appliances for possible carbon monoxide emissions.

Hidden Hazards: Fumes

Many fumes found in your home may be harmful to your bird's health. These include cleaning products, cigarettes, incense, potpourri, scented candles, and overheated non-stick cook-ware.

A good rule of thumb to follow is if you can smell it; don't use it around your bird.

Author:
Last update: 13-Apr-2007 18:39


Signs of a sick budgie

The are many common illnesses that affect budgies, all of which have similar symptoms. Take your budgie to see an Avian Vet if you are concerned about any changes in behaviour or you notice any of the following signs:

  • Decreased appetite; weight loss
  • Decreased activity and grooming behavior
  • Change in consistency or coloring of dropping in excess of two days
  • Sitting at the bottom of the cage; unable to perch
  • Discharge from nose or mouth; sneezing
  • Feathers fluffed for prolonged periods of time
  • Your budgie sits quietly in the corner or on the floor of the cage.
  • Your budgie sleeps a lot during the day.
  • Your budgie has been sick or is regurgitating very violently.(Regurgitation is an up and down movement. Vomiting is a sideways shaking of the head ) Reguritation vs Vomiting
  • You notice any swelling, lumps, blood or limping.

There are many different signs that your budgie may be sick call your Avian Vet immediately.  Budgies do mask their illness and have been known to bounce back for a short time and then they relapse and it may be too late.  Don't take chances your Avian Vet can test for many different illness.  If you are concerned about charges ask them for an estimate up-front and be honest with them. 

Many Avian Vet do understand.  Always ask. Finding an Avian Vet

Author: Elly
Last update: 17-Apr-2007 17:14


Pet Proofing Checklist

Pet-Proofing your Home (for all pets) Checklist

  • candles, heated potpourri pots
  • cat litter box (other then cats)
  • children (supervise all pet/child interactions)
  • unsupervised dogs, cats or ferrets
  • extreme heat or cold
  • filled bathtubs or sinks
  • open toilets (keep lids closed)
  • frayed electrical wiring
  • fireplaces & heaters
  • hot pots, pans, utensils
  • hot water
  • hot electric/gas/wood stove
  • medications including vitamins
  • open doors & windows
  • open washer & dryer (keep lids closed)
  • open refrigerator
  • wall mirrors
  • rotating ceiling or window fans
  • uncurtained windows

This is just a brief list, use your common sense to protect your pets from unwanted dangers.

Read about Dangers in the Kitchen.

Author: Elly
Last update: 13-Apr-2007 18:38


Checklist: Healthy Living Environment

Glacier
Housing: It is your responsibility to make sure your bird's living environment is safe.  Since birds are naturally curious you will need to take extra steps to assure it will not be able to access dangerous materials for be exposed to dangerous situation.  See Pet Proofing Checklist and Household Hazards.

Cage Placement: Place your bird's cate at or a little below eye level, away from drafts, open windows and kitchen. Read about Dangers in the Kitchen. Budgies are sensitive to smoke and strong odors.  Cover the cage at night to prevent drafts.

Toys: Types of toys for my budgie?

Baths: Provide a birdbath 2-3 times a week. You can offer a warm water bath or gently mist your bird with warm water from a clean spray bottle (not ever used for cleaning, or chemicals).  You can also place spinach leaves, romaine lettuce in a shallow dish with warm water.

Temperature: Regulate temperatures between 65 and 85 F (18 and 30 C)

Humidity: Birds in dry climates or under artificial heat need humidity artificially elevated.  50% is ideal.

Cleanliness:  Clean the bird's living space regularly.  Do not allow dust, rust, old faeces, etc. to exist in this space.  Make sure cleaning supplies are bird-safe.  Soap and water are the standards. It is important to clean your bird's containers every day, even if the bowl or bottle looks full.

Smoke:  Do not smoke cigarettes, cigars, or pipes in homes that have pet birds

Zinc: Avoid zinc toxicity by not using galvanized wire for cages or toys

Sunlight UV: Provide adequate unfiltered sunlight and shade.  Allow oudoor sunlight (not through glass) for a minimum of 20 minutes a week.  Sun replacement lamps are necessary for birds in areas where sun is not accessible.

Changes:  Allow pet birds to acclimatise to new environments.  Reduce factors that may contribute to stress during times of change.

 

Author: Elly
Last update: 13-Apr-2007 18:37


Reguritation vs Vomiting

Regurgitation looks just like when the cockbird is feeding either babies or hen. They are bringing it up into their throat to feed others. They arch their head and neck and then bob their heads up and down to bring the food up. Regurgitation is an up and down movement. This is a normal behavior.  Read more: Why does my budgie regurgitate for me (or another object)?

Vomiting  is a bit stronger like convulsive and the bird shakes it head side to side and splatters the vomit. Vomiting is a sideways shaking of the head.  If your bird if vomiting you need to call your Avian Vet immediately this is a sign of sickness.

Author: Kaz
Last update: 13-Apr-2007 18:29


Treatment For Mites

Parasitic Diseases
 
Scaley Face Mites
Budgies with a crusty cere, feet and vent are usually infested with the Knemidokoptes mite. Most budgies with this condition are young (usually less than one year of age). These mites do not cause pruritis (itchiness), and cause a honeycomb type appearance to the skin and cere, upon close examination. Scrapings of the lesions or examination of the crusts in oil under the microscope will show the mites. The treatment of choice is ivermectin based upon careful dose calculation Dosage: 0.2 mg/kg PO, repeat in 10-14 day intervals until signs decrease. Although they do not appear to be very contagious, it is recommended that all birds kept in the same cage also be treated with ivermectin, either orally or topically. As with demodectic mange in dogs, this mite appears to be related to the immune status of the bird, and often the offspring of infested birds will develop Knemidokoptes, as well. Treatment should be repeated at two-week intervals until the bird is clinically normal. Long term infestation may result in permanently deformed beaks, which will require periodic shaping by an avian vet with a grinding tool and emery board. Mites do not live off the bird, so treating the cage is not necessary, but is recommended. Mites that occur in older birds usually indicate some underlying medical problem, such as hepatic lipidosis, diabetes mellitus or even tumors. Mites occasionally occur in other species of birds, rarely cockatiels.

Red mites can occur in budgies and cockatiels. These mites are very contagious between birds of different species, and they suck blood. They are visible to the naked eye as tiny specks of red pepper. Red mites (Dermanyssus species) remain off the bird and climb on the host to take a blood meal. They can make the infested birds very nervous and irritated. They sometimes bite people when birds are absent. In addition to treating the birds with red mites, the entire cage and bird area must be thoroughly disinfected to prevent reinfestation. Treatment with oral ivermectin and topical 5% carbaryl, repeated weekly, is usually effective. I saw one case involving a military macaw that had a severe infestation with red mites, and the poor baby bird had multiple feather cysts caused by the damage from the mites.

Feather mites can occur on budgies, and two species have been described to infest budgies. These mites, however, are not commonly encountered. Feather and quill mites can be found (rarely) on cockatiel feathers (usually primary and secondary remiges). Many budgie and 'tiel owners believe that they must use some sort of protection against mites, which can be hung on the outside of the cage, but these are ineffective and potentially dangerous, as the fumes can cause liver damage and perhaps cancer if inhaled for a long period of time. Mite protectors usually have mothballs (paradichlorobenzene) as the active ingredient. If a budgie does not have mites, a mite protector is not necessary to prevent infestation. If a budgie does have an external parasite, it is best to seek the expert advice of an avian veterinarian who can diagnose the exact problem and prescribe the correct medication to treat it at the proper intervals.

Author: Kaz
Last update: 22-Apr-2007 15:41


Euthanasia : The Difficult Decision

Although no-one wants to be faced with this situation, as bird/animal owners, chances are that one day, you WILL be faced with dealing with this.


The word euthanasia comes from Greek terms. ‘’eu’’ meaning ‘good’, and ‘’thanatos’’ meaning ‘death’. This is my view on what is a ‘good death’. The death should be as humane, as painless, and as trauma free as possible. The animal should experience little, or any if possible, anxiety pre-death. Loss of conciousness should be quick, and as pain free as possible. Usually, a well handled euthanasia is totally pain free.

Here is how the proceedings went with my recent encounter with euthanasia with my cockatiel, Chip.

1) Extensive tests were run to evaluate the seriousness of his condition (it was already clear at this point that his condition was quite serious.)

2) I asked my vet to be totally honest with regarding the outcome of the tests, if Chips condition was to prove incurable, and his life quality was going to be poor and degenerative, to advise me if euthanasia was advisable. I knew deep down that I would probably recognise this situation myself, but allowing for emotion to blind me slightly over my pets welfare, I needed to be sure I would not let my pet down.

3) Agreeing/coming to terms with such a decision should it arise, is not easy. However, it is vital at this point that you put your pets welfare before your own emotional needs.

HERE IS HOW TAKING MY BELOVED PET BIRD ON HIS FINAL JOURNEY WAS HANDLED: None of it was easy, it was extremely difficult and painful emotionally, to the point of being physically painful. BUT deep within my heart, I knew I was doing right by my pet. (this is simply the decision to let a beloved friend go, not the actual act of euthanasia that I speak of above)

1) I prepared his travel cage and made it as comfortable as I could, as I did with any trip to the vet..

2) I kept my own emotions under strict control, and quietly and calmly removed him from his cage and placed him in his travel cage.

3) I was not kept waiting at the vets. They knew the reason I was there, and I was called in to the consulting room within minutes.

4) My vet quickly went over Chips condition, his prognosis, and reassured me that I was doing the right thing. I was asked if I wanted to be present during proceedings, which I did. There was NO pressure whatsoever put on me over this,

5) Chip was first of all given a whiff of general anaesthetic, and he very quickly and painlessly fell asleep, deeply asleep. It was calm, struggle free, and humane. Once he was fully anaesthetised, he was injected directly into his liver, via his stomach. This is the injection that actually causes the death of the animal.

6) All through the procedure, the vet chatted gently and calmly to me, explaining step by step what was happening. This kept me calm, which in turn will have reflected on my pets final emotions before he fell asleep under the anaesthesia.

7) I was then left in total peace and quiet (although the vet did not leave the room, he simply stayed silent) while I held my bird in my hands close to my heart as the final steps of his beautifully peaceful journey were completed.

8) After about a minute and a half, the vet gently suggested that he was going to check for breathing and heartbeat. Chip was not removed from my hands, and the vet was gentle and calm as he very carefully checked Chip for any signs of life. He acknowledged gently that Chip was now at peace.

9) A little bit of panic started to grow inside of me at this point, I needed to be sure that his euthanasia WAS successful. My vet patiently gave me another minute nursing Chip, and then quietly and calmly checked for signs of life again. He reassured me that Chips journey was, indeed, over. Chips passing was extremely calm, painless, and peaceful.

I am sharing and reliving these moments for those of you who think I could never cope. It will be traumatic and disturbing and horrible. My pet will suffer.
For those of you who may be facing this now, or may at sometime during the future face this difficult decision, I hope my experience has helped, or will help you feel more prepared should the time arise,

The personal loss and grief can still be extreme, but I do have to say that the beautiful peacefulness of your pets passing becomes a great comfort.
If your vet does not use anaesthesia as a prelude to euthanasia as a matter of course, you CAN insist upon it. This way, things are much easier on both your pet, and on you, especially with a small animal.

Euthanasia is seen as a dark subject, and from my experience, rarely discussed openly in public forums. It is even quite difficult to find heartfelt personal experiences on the web.

I hope my very recent experience of it has helped remove some of the darkness and horror that often seems to surround this subject. I hope it shows that those final steps in that final journey, can, indeed, have a peaceful beauty about them.
Even as I am writing this, I am grieving the loss of my much loved friend. But, I am NOT grieving how he passed. I will be eternally grateful for that beautiful, painfree, fear free passing.

AKA BBC Member Chirpy

Author: Anne Kenyo aka Chirpy
Last update: 03-Apr-2008 09:38


Weighing your Budgie

Budgies are notorious for suddenly falling severely ill and/or passing away with seemingly no warning. One good indicator of illness is their droppings but sometimes that fails. Another extremely good way to monitor your budgie's health is monitoring its weight. Recently, two of my budgies contracted a bacterial infection, one of them severe. I would not have known anything was up if I didn't weigh them regularly and keep track of their loss. Everything else about them seemed perfectly normal. Their droppings were fine, activity was fine, they were eating like little pigs. But after seeing a significant weight loss, it was off to the vet where they were diagnosed and then put on antibioitcs.

What scale to use?

Regular digital kitchen scales can work fine with weighing budgies but you do have to be careful on what type to get. Obviously, the surface needs to be large enough for a budgie (or a bowl that the budgie can fit into) to stand on. Just as importantly, the scale should read in *at least* one gram increments. Many scales weigh in two gram increments and this can prolong the amount of time it takes to notice that something is wrong. In an animal as small as a budgie, every single gram counts.

There are also special bird scales that you can buy which often have a T perch attached. Your budgie can step up onto this perch so that it doesn't have to stay still on a flat surface. Some budgies will stay still long enough, many won't. It just depends on the bird. Some of these scales also come with a bowl type attachment and a cover so that you can put the budgie inside, cover it, and get its weight without it flying away. The same thing can be achieved by using the tare function on your kitchen scale. You simply place the bowl (and its lid if you're going to be using one) on the scale, use the tare button, and it reads as zero, even with the bowl on top. Any extra weight added (your budgie, in this case) is the weight it reads.

If you're using a bowl on a set of regular kitchen scales, make sure that what you cover it with is breathable. You can use a plastic lid with holes cut into it. A dark one may help the budgie settle down so that he/she doesn't move as much and so that you can get an accurate weight. You can also hold the lid just above the bowl so that its weight isn't added to the scale. (Remeber that when using the tare function, you include the lid you'll be using as well). Surprisingly enough, I only have one budgie (Phizzy) who I have to use a bowl (or small box with holes poked into) with.

When do you worry?

In my opinion, it's best to weigh your budgies weekly and at the same time each weighing. If you notice a one gram loss in a particular budgie, weigh it again the next day to see if it gains the gram back or loses more. Inexplicable weight loss of 2-3 grams should constitute a trip to your avian vet especially if it appears to be steady. I've had three birds who lost weight due to illness and they literally lost about a gram a day. This is a very dramatic loss for a bird.

Another thing to keep in mind is that when dealing with a baby budgie, weight gain should be observed. At around 8 weeks old, my last baby budgies weighed 28 grams. The healthy boy slowly but steadily gained weight while my baby with a malignant tumor stayed the same. There was no weight loss, but he was also not gaining and for an 8 week old baby, that was odd.

What might be causing the weight loss?

Remember that even a budgie who seems healthy in all other aspects could very likely be sick if you're noticing a steady loss of weight (or lack of weight gain in a baby). There is a phrase called "Sick Bird Syndrome" in the companion parrot world that basically means MANY illnesses have the same or similar symptoms. This is why, when budgie owners come here asking health-related questions, the most common answer is "go to an avian vet." Even if we were avian vets (and we're not) there would be absolutely no way for us to positively diagnose your budgie based on symptoms alone. So many conditions involve the same exact symptoms that it's a complete guessing game. And while we guess, the budgie's condition deteriorates. The best course of action is, of course, to get the bird to the vet to have the problem properly diagnosed.

This brings up another good point. If your vet does nothing more than look the budgie over, he/she has NOT properly diagnosed the bird. At the very least, you should expect your avian vet to run fecal tests to try and get to the problem. If that fails, they may suggest having a blood panel done.

I've only had three birds lose weight as a sign of illness thus far (two budgies and my eclectus) and in their cases, they were diagnosed with bacterial infections. This is very common in birds and a major reason to always quarantine new birds. It's so easily picked up. Bacteria is all around us and even stress can make your budgie more prone to developing a bacterial infection. These types of infections are combatted with antibiotics but again, this is not the only thing that causes weight loss and treating with antibiotics without knowing for certain that there is a bacterial infection will cause more harm than good if that isn't the real problem.

How much should an adult budgie weigh?

This has been the subject of recent posts so I'm not going to go into detail as it's obvious that there is a certain level of disagreement among us. This is partly because a budgie's ideal weight also depends on the individual budgie. Just like humans, birds have different builds which affect how much they weigh. Some are naturally on the smaller side while others are "big boned." Generally, a standard/pet/american budgie should weigh between 30-40 grams. 40 may be overweight for one budgie but ok for another. 30 for many adult pet budgies is significantly underweight. Most of the budgies I own (and have owned) stay very close to 35 grams and were/are very fit birds. The exception is Pixel, who for a while, topped out at 42 grams. This was overweight for her and she eventually got back down to 36 (with more exercise). All of these budgies are the pet/standard type.

English/show budgies are larger and weigh more. 50-60 grams is normal for them, though there are larger birds and smaller ones, as mentioned before.

When in doubt, feel their keel (breast) bone. It should be easily felt yet not feel as if it's sticking out. If there is a layer of fat on the keel bone, the budgie is overweight.

What's wrong with a pleasantly plump budgie?

I'll be the first to admit that a chubby budgie is often a pretty cute sight. At the same time, it saddens me because this is one of the biggest problems our little birds face. Obesity can cause a bird to have trouble flying and lead to fatty tumors. The extra weight puts extra strain on their internal organs and all this can lead to a lessened quality of life as well as a shortened life span.

How do you prevent your budgie from getting too fat? (Or slim down a fatty bird?)

The answer to this is simple: Proper diet and exercise! All seed diets are often high in fat. A seed mix should contain minimal amounts of fattier seeds such as sunflower and safflower. Your budgie should be getting a wide variety of dark leafy greens as well as bright orange and yellow veggies.

The best form of exercise for your budgie is flight. I've found that putting a playgym directly across the room from my budgie cages entices them to make flights back and forth. You can also gently "chase" your bird provided that it's strongly bonded to you and doesn't get scared by this game. Alternatively, you can step it up on your finger, carry it across the room, and let it fly back to the cage at its own will.

For clipped budgie, flapping and climbing are great exercises. Keeping food and water near the lower portion of the cage encourages the budgie to make frequent trips from top to bottom and back up. Short "flights" can be made by properly clipped budgies and these should be encouraged as well. Step your bird up and quickly (but gently!) push your finger in the air toward a safe landing place. The cage is the place where he/she will most likely fly to so do that at a distance that will make it easy for them to make a steady landing. You can repeat this a few times unless your bird hates it. Many birds actually LOVE this game and come running back for more!

There are many other ways to exercise your budgie but the biggest concerns are making it safe and making it enjoyable. What works for one may not work for another so get creative. Make sure there are plenty of interesting toys in your cages and aviaries and rotate these weekly to keep your budgies from becoming bored little perch potatoes.
Here are pictures thanks to Aly aka Feathers (a board member) to give you an idea of how to weigh your budgie.

Photobucket

above picture - 4 week old chick

Photobucket

above picture -  10 day old chick

Author: Terri
Last update: 29-Feb-2008 09:58


Quarantine Program

Quarantine is the best way in protecting your existing birds from the introduction of infectious disease. It is also to determine whether or not the new bird or birds are diseased and then to treat the problem. The quarantine cage is where all new birds are housed and ideally it should be in a completely different room where there is no airborne or physical contact.

Recommend days for quarantine are at least 30 days (1 month). Avian Vets recommend 90 days (3 months) for best results as many illness can lay dorminate.

It is strongly recommended you quarantine! If you don't, you could lose all your budgies!

Budgerigar Quarantine ProgramThe following list outlines the steps that should be taken to safely and effectively
quarantine new arrivals to protect your existing flock from potential infection. Most
steps can be applied to any species. The main difference is in the size of the
quarantine cages used.

Bird Quarantine Program

Bird Treatments
1. External Parasites (Lice and Mites)
Spray thoroughly with A.I.L. before putting in quarantine cage.

2. Internal Parasites (Worms)
Treat with Wormout Gel on day one of quarantine
- CROP NEEDLE DOSE:
Fill a 1mL syringe with Wormout Gel and deliver. Administer 0.05mL per 100g body weight, once.
Repeat every three months.
- IN WATER:
All aviary birds add one mL to 80mL of drinking water, for two days. Pigeons - use only half the
dose by adding one mL to 160mL of drinking water. Treat birds for 2 days. Remove all other water
supply. Each pump delivers 2mLs. Aviaries should be treated at least four times a year.

3. Protozoa (Canker/Coccidia): Treat Canker with Ronivet-S; mix 4g per 4L drinking water daily for 5 days. Treat Coccidia with Coccivet; mix 1.5mL per Litre drinking water for 5 days.

4. Psittacosis: Use Psittavet in water; mix 4g per 800mL of drinking water (mix fresh solution daily) daily
for 45 days.

5. Megabacteria: Treat with Megabac-S; mix fresh solution daily for 10 days.

6. Nutrition: Supply extra vitamins (Soluvet), minerals (Tracemin), probiotics (Probotic) and protein for
the entire quarantine period.

Quarantine Conditions

CAGES
Size
- Budgie/small parrot; Breeding cabinet (600mm x 450mm x 350mm)
- Finch/canary; Budgie breeding cabinet
- Medium/large parrot; 1200mm x 900mm x 900mm
- Cockatoo; 900mm x 900mm x 900mm.
Position
- Inside conditions; separate air space
- Outside conditions; At least 5 meters from other birds.
Preparation
- Cleaned and disinfected with Avi Safe
- Treated for insects with Avian Insect Liquidator (A.I.L.)
- Paper on bottom of cage.

Hygiene: Clean cages and feed birds in quarantine AFTER normal aviary maintenance
Wash hands with Avi Safe Scrub after attending to quarantine birds
Be careful not to carry droppings, feathers or other waste back into existing aviary
Wash and disinfect food and water containers with Avi Safe daily.


Observation During Quarantine What Should you look for?
The purpose of quarantine is to detect or eliminate potential problems before they can enter
your aviaries. You must observe all birds in quarantine for any signs of disease. Common signs
are;


• Prolonged inactivity
• Eye or nasal discharge
• Weight loss
• Soiled vent or diarrhoea (cages lined with paper make observation of droppings easier)
• Wheezing or gasping.

If any of these signs occur, keep the infected birds separate from your current stock.

VETAFARM
Office Address: 3 Bye Street Wagga Wagga NSW, 2650 AUSTRALIA
Postal Address: PO BOX 5244 Wagga Wagga NSW 2650 AUSTRALIA
Tel: (ISD + 61) ( 2) 69 256222 (Six lines) Fax: (02) 69 256333
Email: vetafarm@vetafarm.com.au

We always advise before any home treatment to make an appointment with your Avian Vet.

Author: Article contributed by Daz
Last update: 06-Mar-2008 09:18


Do birds need vets?

This is likely to get lengthy but I promise the information is worth reading. Though, if your budgie is actually bleeding, breathing heavily, has a strange lump, vomiting, shivering, staying puffy, not moving, hanging around the bottom of the cage (when doing so is out of his/her character), not eating, losing weight, being unusually quiet, not using a limb or not using one normally, or pretty much exhibiting any behavior that you find odd or different, at the very least call your avian veterinarian as soon as possible. Post here AFTER you've called a vet (and hopefully made an appointment that is soon). Time is almost always of the essence with these little birds. It may be no big deal but it could very well be an emergency. No one can advise you better than an avian veterinarian who has gone through nearly (or more than) a decade of schooling for what he/she does. We are not veterinarians or even experts on the health of budgies or any other bird. We can take a stab at the cause of your budgie's problem based only on our experiences and the experiences of those we know and/or have read about but in the end, we're not there to treat your bird. Our opinions are merely educated guesses and not nearly as educated as those of a true avian veterinarian.

If you don't know who the closest avian veterinarian is, try using some of these links to help. If they don't point you in the right direction, give your local small animal vet a call and ask them to refer you. Don't let them talk you into taking your bird into them as many of them see birds but aren't actual avian vets. You and your bird will be much better off going to someone who specializes in birds though in a dire emergency any vet is better than no vet at all.

USA/Canada:
http://aav.org/vet-lookup/
http://www.birdsnways.com/articles/abvpvets.htm

Australia:
http://www.vetafarm.com.au/avian_vets.asp

UK/Other:
http://www.theparrotsocietyuk.org/avian-vets.shtml
http://www.parrotpassionsuk.com/Advice/Uk_Avian_Vets.htm


Why hurry?
Budgies in the wild that show signs of illness, injury, or other weakness are the first to be picked off by predators. Because of this, they instinctively "hide" their troubles for as long as possible. If you've ever watched a budgie die (and I hope you've been spared the sight) you'll know that until the point where they can no longer move, they attempt to look as normal and alive as possible. It's extremely sad to watch, but it's what they're designed to do. As a result, a sick budgie will make itself appear healthy and by the time you actually notice that something is up, the bird is feeling extremely bad. Sometimes they show no signs until they're on the brink of death. This is why ANY change warrants a phone call to your avian vet at the very least. It costs nothing to make the call (well, depending on your phone plan) and your vet can let you know if he/she thinks the bird needs to be brought in and when. Making an appointment as soon as you notice something amiss is the best course of action but a phone call is better than wasting time trying to guess yourself. Which brings me to another good point: Googling the symptoms or asking people on the internet will usually end in the answer "It could be any number of things." This is because symptoms of illness in budgies are very general and can be pinned on many many different things. It's pointless to try and guess the illness based on symptoms and even if you could, you can't treat it without a vet.

What can I do at home?
Until you get your budgie to the vet, separate him from all your other birds. It's a good idea to keep a small spare cage around to use as a hospital cage. Put this in a warm, quiet room. If your budgie is looking very puffed, he/she is cold and trying to stay warm. You can put the cage in your bathroom letting the hot water run in the bath/shower so that he can get warmth from the steam. You can also place a heating pad under the cage. Set it on low and underneath a towel. Place the cage on top of the towel. Heat lamps can work as well but with any method, make sure the budgie isn't going to get uncomfortably hot. We're not trying to cook the budgie, just keep the chill away.

The perches in the hospital cage should be low. If your budgie is having trouble perching, place something soft (that won't snag his toenails) in the bottom of the cage. Food and water should also be offered at the bottom of the cage so that they're more easily accessed by a poorly budgie.

Won't the trip to the vet stress my budgie too much?
The trip will stress your bird but it won't kill him. On the other hand, the illness/injury afflicting him could very well kill him. Which would you rather be: Stressed for part of a day or dead? The only budgies I've heard of dying on the way to the vet are the ones that were dying before they even got started on the trip.

What if my budgie starts looking better?
You still need to make the trip to the vet. Many budgies start perking up only to die later anyway. At the very least, call your avian vet and explain the situation to him/her in detail so that they can make this judgement for you. Don't simply assume it was a "24 hour virus." Budgies are not people. They're not even mammals and this should be kept in mind when we think of their health and behavior relating to their health. As much as we'd like to relate to them in this way, we have no idea what they're feeling, especially with an animal that instinctively hides its bad feelngs.

What if I can't afford the vet and/or my parents won't take me??
At the very least, call your avian veterinarian for advice. But do keep in mind that to deny an animal health care is cruel and unfair. Before you bring a budgie home make sure that this is something you can provide for him/her. It is part of basic care and should not be considered an option. Too many budgies out there suffer because no one wants to pay the vet bill for a bird that costs so little to begin with. Your budgie depends on you for all its needs and medical care is one of the biggest.

Many vets are willing to work out payment plans for people who are unable to pay the entire vet bill at the time of the visit. Don't just assume that you won't be able to afford the visit. Be straightforward and honest with your vet about your budget from the beginning. Also, make sure that your vet knows how badly you want your bird treated and how much it means to you. A caring budgie owner is something they don't come in contact with nearly as often as they should. Sad, but true.

Lastly, if you don't have a job, can't get a loan from your parents, and your vet won't work out a payment plan, look around your room. Most of us has something worth a little money to sell. To love an animal is to do and give anything you can to keep it healthy and happy. To merely like an animal is to give it food, water, and a place to live that may or may not be up to par. I for one can't understand why a person would keep an animal for any reason other than loving it but I've seen many who do just that. If that's the case with you, it would be a good idea to reconsider owning a pet that your heart isn't completely into taking care of.

We want your budgie to get better and live a full life but in the end, that's up to you. If your budgie is sick or hurt, get it to a vet! At least CALL the vet before posting here. I know in a moment of panic you do all you can to figure out what is going on. But I promise you that it's faster to dial a phone number than it is to type up a frantic post on a bird forum. Especially if you put your avian vet on speed dial or tape the number to your phone. And you should...right now! Finding an Avian Vet

Also Read: My bird has hurt itself and is bleeding. What can I do?

Author: Terri
Last update: 24-Apr-2007 03:30


Bumblefoot

1. What is "Bumblefoot"?
"Bumblefoot" is a common term for inflammation or infection of the weight-bearing surface of the foot. "Bumblefoot" is a form of pododermatitis (foot inflammation).

2. What species of birds are affected by "bumblefoot"?
It is very common in budgies, cockatiels, galahs and ducks though it can be seen in any bird.

3. What are the clinical signs of early "bumblefoot"?
Initially there may simply be a loss of the normal scale on the feet and the skin may be red and thin. As the condition worsens, ulcers may form on the pads of the feet.

4. What are the clinical signs of more serious forms of "bumblefoot"?It becomes very serious when the foot is swollen and there are plugs of necrotic (dead) tissue on the weight bearing foot surface. In the worst cases the bone of the foot becomes infected, the foot becomes swollen and the foot's digits cannot move. These birds are severely lame and often very difficult to repair.

5. What are the causes of "bumblefoot"? Hard plastic or dowelling perches and sandpaper around perches, as well as diets of poor nutritional value and high energy will lead to obese birds with vitamin A deficiency. If the perches are unclean, bacteria will build up and can move onto the foot as the foot has lost its protective scales. Any disease that affects birds can make your bird susceptible to "bumblefoot" as the bird will use its energy to fight the other problem.

6. What is the treatment for "bumblefoot": In the early stages of "bumblefoot" the best treatment is simply to soften the perches with bandages or strips of cloth wrapped around the perches. At the same time, improve the diet by including, among other changes, more dark green vegetables for Vitamin A. For ducks, put down astroturf or grassed areas and make sure they have a clean deep wading pool.

7. What additional treatment procedures may be needed? Antibiotics will be needed as well as anti-inflammatories and antibiotics topically on the feet. If the "bumblefoot" is in the very severe category, a ball bandage may need to be adhered to the feet with regular changes necessary. In these severe cases it may be necessary to send samples of the foot infection to the laboratory to find out the type of infection the bird has. Blood samples may also be taken to check for other problems.
The severe cases of "bumblefoot" can take weeks or months to improve.

8. What preventative measures are needed? An Avian Veterinarian will always check the base of the feet at a bird's annual health check but the feet should be checked at home at least fortnightly as well. Finding an Avian Vet

Author: Budgie Care Publications
Last update: 21-Apr-2007 15:05


Finding an Avian Vet

Click here to search for an avian vet in the area. Some avian vets are not always listed so if you find an avian vet by you but not close you can call them and ask if they know of anyone closer to your area. This link can be used for all countries.

It is important that you find an avian vet before your bird (s) become sick. When birds become sick they go downhill very quickly and if you don't have an avian vet that you know of you will go into panic mode. Be prepared! It may save your birds life.

USA/Canada:
http://aav.org/vet-lookup/
http://www.birdsnways.com/articles/abvpvets.htm 
http://www.lafeber.com/FindALocal/Vet/default.aspx

Australia:
http://www.vetafarm.com.au/avian_vets.asp

UK/Other:
http://www.theparrotsocietyuk.org/avian-vets.shtml
http://www.parrotpassionsuk.com/Advice/Uk_Avian_Vets.htm

Author: Elsa
Last update: 25-Apr-2007 15:47


Trimming and caring of budgies nails

Can I trim my budgies nails? Yes, but it is important to be careful when trimming the nails. The quick is the blood and nerve supply that grows part way down the middle of each nail (birds have a very long quick). In light colored nails it is visible as the pink area in the nail. In dark or black nails the quick is completely hidden. When cut, the quick may bleed profusely. Birds do not have a very good clotting mechanism, so be careful. If you choose to attempt nail trims at home then you must have a clotting agent or styptic powder on hand. A pet store or your veterinarian may have a safe pet product available. Powdered clotting agents seem to work better than liquids.

Small bird nails may be trimmed with a human nail clipper.  The bird should be securely and safely restrained.  This is usually a 2 person job.  One person holds the bird and the other person does the trimming.  You can wrap your bird in a towel to secure him/her better. The nail may be trimmed a little at a time to help lessen the chance of bleeding. It takes good judgment and practice to trim nails properly. If bleeding occurs, remain calm, restrain the bird safely and securely and use finger pressure to pinch the toe just before the nail. This will provide a tourniquet action while a clotting agent or styptic powder is pushed into the cut end. Cornstarch or flour may be used in an emergency but is not an adequate substitute under normal situations.

Your veterinarian can trim the nails safely during regular health examinations and is prepared to deal with any bleeding should it occur. Finding an Avian Vet

Ways to keep your budgies nails healthy. Do not use sandpaper perch covers as they do not keep the nails short and could cause terrible sores on the bottom of the feet. Bumblefoot is a good read for everyone.

Natural washed branches from non-toxic trees make great perches. Trees such as elm, apple, plum, pear, magnolia, citrus trees, and poplar are just a few suggestions, Leave the bark on for texture and chewing. They should be of varying sizes and provide the opportunity for the bird to grip or grasp the perch, not just stand on with open feet. Birds are less likely to slip off, startle or fall from perches that they are able to grasp tightly. Varying sized perches provide better exercise for the bird’s feet.

Author: Elly
Last update: 07-Nov-2008 10:27


Beak Care

The beak is a multipurpose instrument used for eating, preening, grasping, climbing (like a third foot), self-defense, touching, playing and communication. It is capable of great strength and gentle touch. The beak is also constantly growing but tends to stay a relatively constant length because the bird is always wearing it down as it eats climbs and plays.

After a bird eats you may see it wipe and clean its beak on an object in the cage such as a perch. This provides a wearing action for the beak. Your pet may also grind its upper and lower beak together, which further wears down the beak. This grinding of the beak often occurs when the bird is quiet or about to sleep, often in the later afternoon.

Providing your bird with pet-safe toys and chewing activities will not only help wear down the beak, but will provide hours of entertainment for your pet.  For Types of toys for my budgie? click.

As a general rule, if a beak appears too long there could be a problem and it should be seen by your veterinarian. It is not advisable to ever attempt to trim the beak at home. A veterinarian familiar with birds will trim or grind the beak properly during regular health examinations as needed.

For smaller birds such as a finch, budgie or cockatiel, cuttle bones, lava rock and mineral or iodized blocks may be helpful as a wearing surface for the beak,

Any changes in the rate of growth, color, texture or the way the beak or nail grows should be brought to the attention of your veterinarian immediately.  Avian Vet Look-up

 

Author: Elly
Last update: 22-Apr-2007 15:43


Keeping your Bird Healthy through Natural Condition

Aloe Vera

I am not sure if there is any scientific evidence to back up this article but people who have used it seem pleased with their results, and there is Aloe Vera available in New Zealand for farmers to give to their dairy cattle. Most health shops sell capsules, hand cream etc., so there must be something going for it.

I have had two people contact me on the use of AloeVvera as a natural wormer and also a tonic and pick me up. The first person places a whole AloeVera leaf in his drinking water for four to five days every two months and says there is no algae forming while it is in the water. The other is from Les Gill and he uses Aloe Vera on his birds.

Keep your birds in top condition by growing and using Aloe Vera in your aviary's day to day management. Aloe Vera is a miracle cure for most diseases in birds.

It helps with digestive disorders caused by birds eating infected foods.
It is a wormer and laxative.
It is excellent on cuts and sores and will stop cuts bleeding and act as an antiseptic.
It can be used as a spray and acts as a conditioner.
It stops bacterial and fungal growth.
It gives your birds greater stamina.
It helps prevent egg binding.
It will help control a lot of other diseases.
The active ingredients in AloeVera are:

Alion, Baralon, Natalon, Chlorophyl, Emodin, Resins, Albumin, Essential oils, Gum Arabic, Silica, Phosphate, Lime, Iron.
The minerals it contains are

Vit. A, Vit B1, Vit B2, Vit B3, Vit C, Vit E, Vit B12,
The minerals it contains are

Calcium, Chloride, Chromium, Copper, Magnesium, Potassium, Sodium, and zinc
There are also 17 amino acids and 5 enzymes.

The enzymes are most beneficial to the birds whole system and will activate the functioning of any sluggish parts. This means an improvement in health and well-being, and a noticeable difference can be observed after 48 hours.

To use Aloe Vera make a gel juice by the following method.

Fill a one litre jar with rain or filtered water, and place a 115 gram piece of Aloe Vera leaf in it. If using as a wormer of laxative leave the thick skin on, otherwise trim it off. (Remember, put water in jar first)
Place jar in refrigerator for 24 hours. The leaf will float at first and when ready will sink to the bottom of the jar.
Dilute the solution 50/50 with water and give to your birds daily.
The original solution can also be topped up and the Aloe Vera leaf will be effective for 14 days..
Remember you cannot overdose your birds on this.

Important points

Do not shake or stir the jar as the enzymes are very sensitive.
Keep refrigerated, enzymes are destroyed by heat.
Change water daily.
Solution can also be sprayed on birds for external parasites.
For cuts and sores use the gel that oozes from the leaves.

Natural Conditioning

Author: Contributed by Daz
Last update: 21-Apr-2007 14:59


My Hen is Eggbound, What should I do?

This is a very serious condition and should be considered a medical emergency.

Egg binding occurs when a hen is has difficulty in laying an egg. There are many signs and symptoms that a hen that is egg bound may display. These include:
  • a hen that looks distressed
  • a hen sitting on the bottom of the cage
  • a hen that has very large droppings that are very runny or contain blood
  • a hen who whips her tail or strains painfully
  • a hen that looks weak, depressed or is breathing rapidly
  • a hen that looks nervous or moves rapidly from perch to perch
  • a hen that is trying to stretch her body up to get relief

If you look carefully, you should notice a slight roundness of the underbelly or you may be able to feel the egg if you lightly palpate the area..

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO NOT TRY TO REMOVE THE EGG. If you do this and the egg breaks it can result in the death of the hen.

There are many causes for this condition including:
  • a hen that is too young
  • an egg that is too large
  • an egg with a rough shell
  • an egg that is too soft
  • the hen's oviduct (where the egg comes out) is not elastic enough
  • poor nutrition, a lack of vitamins or calcium
  • a hen that is kept in a room that is too dark, cool or damp
  • a hen that has laid too many clutches with no rest in between

As stated before, this is a medical emergency and a visit to your avain vet is essential.
Avian Vet Look-up

You can try to assist the hen by placing her in a warm environment, such as a hospital cage that is covered and has a soft cloth bottom (ensure the hen's claws can't get caught in the material) and dripping some warmed castor oil onto the vent. However this will usually only help if the egg is visible at the vent entrance. Keep the hen as calm as possible and transport her to your avian vet as soon as possible.

Author: Aly aka feathers
Last update: 24-Apr-2007 15:28


Teflon Poisoning

Teflon is a hard non stick surface that is applied to many items of cookware and the insides of self cleaning ovens. When overheated it lets off fumes which can be fatal for your feathered friends. If you suspect that your bird may have been poisoned by Teflon fumes then you must act quickly.
  • Symptoms Respiratory distress (heavy breathing, gasping, tail bobbing, yawning actions often accompanied by head swinging)
  • Vomiting actions (nothing may be brought up)
  • Lethargy
  • A bird that does not normally like physical contact will often allow any contact
  • without struggle, may even seek contact.
  • Fitting (uncontrollable shaking etc)
  • Inability to perch, falling
  • Fluffed feathers

THESE SYMPTOMS ARE OFTEN FOLLOWED BY DEATH, AND IN MANY, BUT NOT ALL CASES, IS IRREVERSIBLE.

Treatment:  Immediately remove bird from area of fumes, or if this is not possible, ensure bird is secure in cage/aviary and open ALL doors and windows, and set in motion any extractor fans.

Get bird/s to vet as fast as is humanly possible, or get vet out to the birds. For best chance of success, the bird will usually need to be hospitalized in an avian hospital

AVIAN VET TREATMENT: Can be successful SOMETIMES. Could well include (and please suggest this to your vet if he/she seems unsure of what to do)

An injection directly into the birds system of antibiotics, accompanied by an injection of steroids.

The bird should then be placed in an incubator with a pure oxygen supply (This helps the birds body to rid itself of the toxins)The bird should be kept warm, and the air humidified.

Teflon poisoning, or any type of poisoning should never be allowed to happen, but the accidents do happen, that’s life. Being aware of the symptoms, and acting fast, can mean the difference between life and death.

Click here to locate an avian by you: Avian Vet Look-up

Author: Chirpy
Last update: 06-May-2007 16:51


Budgie First Aide Kit

Everyone should always have a first aide kit available and ready to use incase of emergency this is what is recommended that you should always have on hand.

Supplies:

ü      Cotton bud sticks for wound cleaning and application of ointments and scalyface products

ü      Corn flower or styptic pencil – to clot blood (you can get a styptic pencil at your local pharmacy)

ü      Egg whiteusing egg white is a good way to 'splint' a leg, just brush it on and let it get hard. Easy to remove as well just add water.

ü      Iodine - bird safe for sterilizing

ü      Cotton Wool Balls/pads to absorb body fluids and apply to wounds

ü      General vitamin supplement (ACEhigh,  Avimix, Soluvet plus)

ü      Syringes and crop needles for emergency feeding and medicine dosage

ü      Avian Insect Liquidator  - Or other mite and feather lice treatment

ü      Hand raising formula (for birds too sick to eat on their own, until you can get them to a vet) Eg. Poly-Aid, Passwell Hand Rearing Food or Budgie Starter

ü      Bandages: to wrap splints to legs or hold broken wings down onto the body.

ü      Plastic drinking straws - Split lengthwise they can be additional support when splinting  a tiny budgie leg.

ü      Saline - for washing wounds out (and cleaning eyes, but only if it is 0.9% [also called normal saline] solution otherwise it is too strong)

ü      Tooth Picks cut off the point and use for splinting legs

ü      Icy Pole or Ice block sticks (toothpicks) – cut off sharp ends and to required size. Used for splinting wings etc

ü      Tea towel - for swaddling the budgie, this stops it thrashing around and hurting itself further (a bath towel would be too heavy for a budgie, but would be okay for other birds)

ü      Dish - for putting saline in.

ü      Scissors (Iris scissors are best) - cutting bandages etc.

ü      Sticky tape - for holding bandages together etc.

ü      Blunt nosed tweezers to pull out remains of broken blood feathers etc  (To safely pull out a broken blood feather support the wing or limb carefully, locate the broken and bleeding feather. Using the forceps, get a good grip around the base of that feather and pull it out in the direction of growth. Use flour for any bleeding. Once the feather is pulled, generally the bleeding stops and further damage is avoided.)

ü        Needle nosed tweezers

ü      STERIS-strips - these are like stitches but you stick them on to keep a wound closed

ü      Little cardboard box for putting the budgie in when carrying it to the vet.

ü      Eye dropper - for feeding or for applying saline to the eye etc.

ü      Honey a natural antiseptic

ü        Magnifying Glass – helps to see fine detail, mites, leg ring codes etc

ü      Liquid Calcium – for emergency treatment of rickets, and splay legs due to lack of calcium in parents and babies

ü        Baby Oil – for treatment of scaly face mites and scaly legs – apply carefully using cotton wool tip, avoiding nostrils

ü       Make Up Sponge – can be used for the treatment of splayed legs.

ü        Teabagsa natural way of cleaning eye irritations. Soak teabag in warm water and use for irritated eyes

 

Author: different member ideas (Elly & Aly)
Last update: 07-May-2007 03:31


How to pull a broken blood feather

You will need forceps (tweezers) to pull out the remains of broken blood feathers. Support the wing or limb carefully, locate the broken and bleeding feather. Using the forceps, get a good grip around the base of that feather and pull it out in the direction of growth. Use  white pepper for any bleeding. Once the feather is pulled, generally the bleeding stops and further damage is avoided. If you do not feel comfortable doing this please call your Avian Vet ASAP. A small amount of blood loss in budgies can be fatal.

Birds can tolerate a 30% loss of the blood volume, 2% of their body weight, before they show subsequent distress. Birds are very efficient in stabilizing their blood pressure after blood loss. They are able to do this by moving fluid from inside tissues (interstial fluid) into vascular spaces (vessels) and arteriolar vasoconstriction (reduction in diameter of vessels).

Locate your nearest avian vet click Avian Vet Look-up

Author: Kaz
Last update: 24-Feb-2011 18:24


Building Hospital Cage

Do I need a hospital cage:  You can make one up as an emergency thing by just using a warm lamp outside a small cage and covering 2-3 sides of the cage, in an emergency.  any of us with a quantity of budgies or intending to breed budgies make sure we have a hospital cage at the ready for sick birds or for baby budgies needing warmth.

What purpose does a hospital cage serve?  hospital cage is necessary for warmth for a sick budgie. Any sick budgie benefits greatly from being put in a warm cage prior to a possible vet visit.

What temperature should the hospital cage maintain: temperature for a hospital cage is between 27C- 30C

Testing Your Hosptial Cage:  It is a good idea to test out the cage before you need it so you understand how it work.  Run the whole thing with monitoring the temperature and leave it on for the whole day and check temps every half hour to see how the temperature either builds up, or not.

Here is the hospital cage my Dad made for me. Its not a thing of beauty but it works really well.

interior shot
IPB Image

The box is around 2 foot wide by 12 inches deep by 15 inches high. The top comes off for ease of access and is attached to the body of the hospital cage by latches on the sides. There are carrying handles as well.

There is a main perch that runs across the width of the cage. A lamp fitting fitted into the cage and accessed by the bird on the lefthand side. The electrical components are simply a lamp fitting from the elctrical plug right through to the bayonet section that holds the light bulb. There is an external switch.

You may recognise the electrical components from any old lamp you may have. The bayonet section with globe also is fitted with an old style metal shade which assists in directing warmth downwards.
IPB ImageThe perch running across the width of the cage allows the bird to move under the heat source or move away from the heat source as needed.


The perch is a maximum 2 inches above ground level. I put paper in to line the base and change the paper 3-4 times a day for health reasons. I also often have a diagonal perch in there running front to back...from floor level to the food and water dispensers that would be clipped to the front of the cage.

The diagonal perch helps any sick birds who can neither perch not reach up to food dishes..it allows them to walk from ground level up to the main perch and access seed and water. The water is put on the right hand side of the cage and would be medicated with whatever is necessary for the sick bird at the time.


As there is a cage front and not perspex, it seems to maintain a constant temperature with no chance of over heating. In this cage I use a 25 watt globe.
As I said...it is no thing of beauty but it works really well, is easy to make and I could NOT do without it.

Thanks to my Dad.

Author: Kaz
Last update: 03-Jun-2007 16:01


How to crop feed an adult budgie

One day if your budgie becomes sick it may be necessary to crop feed them if they stop eating.   Advising someone how to crop feed via words is difficult. It is a skill best shown by a professional breeder or your avian vet. Demonstrated not written instructions is better.  It would be very easy for an amateur to puncture a vital organ and cause a budgies death.

Author: Kaz
Last update: 07-Jun-2007 15:36


Is it possible to take my 2 pet budgies with me to Australia from South Africa?

Author: Daz
Last update: 22-Mar-2008 19:29


Budgerigar Quarantine Program

Here is the quarantine practices most show breeeders use
BUDGERIGAR QUARANTINE PROGRAM

The following list outlines the steps that should be taken to safely and effectively quarantine new arrivals to protect your existing flock from potential infection.

1. EXTERNAL PARASITES (LICE AND MITES)
Spray or treat birds thoroughly with a recommended treatment before putting into quarantine.

2. INTERNAL PARASITES (WORMS)
Treat with an effective worm treatment program on the second day of quarantine. Treat for two days. All aviary birds should be treated for worms at least four times per year.

3. CANKER
Treat canker with a suitable product of your choice. Treat for five days. There are a number of recommended canker treatments available over the counter or you may consult your avian vet. Mix solution fresh daily.

4. COCCIDIOSIS
Treat Coccidiosis with a suitable product of your choice. Treat for five days. There are a number of recommended Coccidiosis treatments available over the counter or you may consult your avian vet. Mix solution fresh daily.
5. MEGABACTERIA
Treat with a recommended medication for ten days. Mix solution fresh daily

6. NUTRITION

Supply extra vitamins, minerals, Probiotics and protein for the entire quarantine period

7. QUARANTINE PERIOD
Quarantine your birds for a period of not less than 30 days (recommended by avian vets 90 days). Always handle your own birds first, wash your hands with an antibiotic hand wash, or wear disposable gloves prior to handling your quarantined birds. It is also advisable to wear different footwear with the quarantined birds.

8. CAGES Minimum size for budgerigars is 600mm x 450mm x 350mm.

9. POSITION
  • Inside conditions; separate air space. (meaning a different room)
  • Outside conditions; At least five meters from other birds.

10. PREPARATION· Clean and disinfect quarantine cages.

  • Place paper on the bottom of cage and change regularly.
  • Wash and disinfect all food and water containers.
  • Be careful not to carry droppings, feathers, or any other waste back into your existing aviary.
  • Wash hands after caring for quarantined birds.

11. OBSERVATION DURING QUARANTINE. WHAT YOU SHOULD LOOK FOR.

  • Prolonged inactivity.
  • Eye or nasal discharge.
  • Weight loss.
  • Soiled vent or diarrhoria.
  • Cages lined with paper make observation of droppings easier.
  • Wheezing or gasping.
If any of these signs occur, separate the affected bird(s) from the other quarantined stock and contact your avian vet.
In the event of a disease outbreak, keep a record of dates the disease was first detected and the type of disease and
notify your club secretary. Do not allow other club members to come into contact with diseased birds and always
assume strict hygiene.
Do not sell - auction or trade diseased birds.

Author: Kaz
Last update: 19-Mar-2008 10:04


Avian Biology 101

Introduction
Well it has been over a year since I first proposed to write about avian anatomy and physiology here on this board. Now that I am in my third year of study to be a veterinarian, I believe I have enough knowledge to write articles on birds from a medical and biological point of view.

I will try to keep this going as long as I can - I am aiming to write at least an article a week but this will vary. Articles may be long or short and will cover a broad spectrum of avian biology.

Feel free to discuss the topics and ask me questions – I will do my best to answer. I hope this is in the right section as it is about birds in general but I will refer specifically to budgies wherever I can.

So let’s begin – from the inside out.

The Avian Skeleton
Birds have special requirements for their skeletons. They need a structure that will provide support for their powerful wing muscles and withstand the stresses of flight, yet will not weigh them down in the air. A characteristic feature of the avian skeleton is the presence of pneumatic bones, particularly in bird species that fly extensively. These are bones that are semi-hollow with criss-crossing struts and filled by air sacs – so the respiratory system is directly connected to the skeletal system. Examples of pneumatic bones are the humerus, femur and pelvis. Beaks are also characteristic of birds, and these structures are much lighter than the hefty mammalian jaw with teeth. These features help lighten the bird while retaining significant strength and size of the bones. However, it is not without consequence - pneumatic bones are more brittle, so they fracture more easily. Due to its association with air sacs, sometimes pockets of air will form under the skin around a fracture site (emphysema).

Another difference in the bird skeleton to the mammalian skeleton is that there are ossifications (fusions) between many bones. In the spine they are grouped into notarium, synsacrum and pygostyle. The notarium is formed from the first 3-5 thoracic vertebrae, and helps provide rigidity in the back when a bird is flapping its wings. The synsacrum is formed from the lumbar and pelvic vertebrae, and helps absorb shock when landing. The pygostyle are the fused and flattened caudal vertebrae that support the tail. It is important to note that the vertebrae between notarium and synsacrum are not fused, presenting a point of weakness in the spine. This area is usually the site of trauma when a small bird is accidentally stepped on, leading to compression of the spinal cord and paralysis of the legs.

*Diagram of the bird skeleton: http://www.birdwatching-bliss.com/images/bird_skeleton.jpg
*Diagram of the fused bones: http://people.eku.edu/ritchisong/RITCHISO//birdskeleton5.gif

Flying birds have a very large carina (keel) of the sternum (breast bone), which is the site of attachment for their powerful pectoral (breast) muscles. The pectoral girdle has three components, akin to the reptiles (mammals have two). These are clavicle (collarbone), scapula (shoulder blade) and coracoid. The clavicles meet to form the furcula (wishbone) and helps withstand pressure when the bird flaps its wings. Each rib has a projection called an uncinate process which overlaps the rib behind it, to prevent the ribcage from collapsing when the bird is flapping.

The pelvic girdle is composed of synsacrum and fused bones of the pelvis. Like mammals, the pelvis is made of ischium, ilium and pubis. In birds the pubis part of the pelvis is open rather than forming a ring, assisting passage of a large egg. There is also considerable fusion in the bird’s forelimb and hindlimbs, forming carpometacarpus, tibiotarsus and tarsometatarsus (breaking down these names will give you the unfused bones in a mammal – carpus, metacarpus, tibia, tarsus, metatarsus). These fusions provide strength for feather attachments and wing/leg strength for flying, landing and takeoff.

*Bird skeleton demonstrating the fused bones: http://academic.emporia.edu/sievertl/verstruc/birdbody2.JPG
*Cat skeleton for comparison: http://www.csd.net/~abyman/images/catskllg.jpg

In conclusion, birds have a highly adapted skeletal system for the stresses of flight. From head to tail they are designed for being in the air, takeoff and landing, tasks which involve incredible forces on the body. The avian skeleton is truly amazing in its high specialisation.

Further reading
Excellent site for diagrams, especially of the fused bones: http://people.eku.edu/ritchisong/RITCHISO//skeleton.html
Good introductory site for each section: http://fsc.fernbank.edu/Birding/skeleton.htm
Veterinary information on avian orthopaedics: http://www.exoticpetvet.net/avian/orthopedic.html

This post has been edited by Chrysocome: Mar 20 2008, 11:25  Click here for Full Posts & Reponses

Author: Chrysocome permission given to use in FAQ
Last update: 27-Mar-2008 08:06


Illness in Budgies

Below are general illness seen in budgies.  This FAQ was created by Neat (a forum member), this is not to replace taking your bird to an avain vet but to assist you in understanding what could be causing your budgies illness or simple information.  

If your budgie is displaying any signs of illness keep your budgie warm and take them to an avian vet ASAP.  

Bacterial Infections:

Chlamydiosis: This is the most common BACTERIAL infection . Signs vary some with have sudden death, some look sick, wight loss conjunctivitis, loss of feathers around one if not both eyes, fluid from the nostrils, sneezing Heavy breathing tail bobbing, soiled vent and Diarrhoea (usually Lime colour).

Birds can carry this but will not show signs until stressed, While some shed the infections to other birds but not show signs themselves Known as CARRIERS – If you bird survives this infections it can still have a reapeat of it at a later time.

Treatment is a long one, commonly used is Doxycycline ( Psittavet or Doxyvet ) or Baytril which is subscribed by an avian vet ..It must be used for 6 weeks – If they are being treated in a smaller time frame they can look fine but will develop the signs again and relapse

Psittacosis: Psittacosis disease is a potential problem for bird owners!!!! The symptoms are like that of the cold and flu SO MAKE SURE YOU ADVISE YOUR DOCTOR THAT HAVE BIRDS becaise it can be transmitted from avian to human.

Birds with bacterial infections resembles birds with Psittacosis – There are a huge number of different types of bacteria that can cause diseases in birds – THE MOST SERIOUS ONES cause Septicemia (The build up of Poisons in the bloodstream)

Gram Negative Bacterial Infection: Birds like ourselves carry bacteria Good and Bad Called Gram Positive ( Good) Gram Negative ( bad). The negative one is usually the one that causes the problems with birds. – The avian vet will need to place the bird on a course of antibiotics and get swab samples sent away so they know what is the best antibiotic to use for that specific infections.


MEGA (Megabacteria) Megabacteria has been spoken of a lot in the last few years. Megabacteria is a secondary infection....it is a disease that surfaces once the bird has been ill with other things. Its is not a primary disease. It is a disease that may well be present in most bird rooms but will remain undetected unless it is diagnosed by an avian vet. Megabacteria is an organism that lives in the intestines of an infected bird.

Some Signs to Look For (This may be present in the aviary but only some of the birds will have problems)

  • The bird in the first stages show no symptoms at all, but as the infection progresses the bird will look ill, fluffed up increase in appetite.
  • It will also start to lose a lot of its body weight., over a 12 month period, Looks like it is eating But it isn’t, occasional vomiting,
  • Poo may be enlarged and frothy with some seed or even blood in it.
  • On examining the bird you will be able to feel the breast.

Megabacteria rods can be seen under the microscope and will multiply rapidly until death.
Separating and treating the bird with the general antibiotics will have little success in killing off this bacteria.
The treatment used today is called MEGABAC-S and it can be obtained from Vetafarm. MEGABAC-S comes in either capsules or in powder form and should be placed in the drinking water for 10 days
As with all infections extra attention should be placed on hygiene within the aviary.

Before you treat your bird make sure your bird has been properly diagnosed by an avian vet.
--------------------------------------------------------
Respiratory Infections  This infections may attack 2 separate parts the Upper NOSE, SINUS and WINDPIPE along with the Lower AIR SACS & LUNGS It commonly starts at the upper and left untreated will spread throughout the lower respiratory system.

Signs to Look For:

  • Runny nose like
  • Staining of the feathers above the cere
  • Blocked nostrils or swelling around the eye area or mouth
  • may also show signs of mouth breathing and sneezing. Most cases it is caused my Chlamydia, Mycoplasma or Vit A deficiency or a range of bacteria.

Bird owners mistake swelling around the eye as a sign of an eye disease, But it is infact a problem with the birds sinuses and will not improve with eye cream and / or ointments.

Treatment: INJECTABLE Doxycycline or Enroflaxcin or in water treatments are only good if infection is caught at a EARLY stage…. this is all done by your avian vet.

Allergies can cause respiratory like symptoms like a  fever, but not very common. Cause of this are Cigarette somke, dust, ammonia from poo and household cleaning products …..

Lower Respiratory Infection: These are quite ill, They spend a lot of time fluffed up and hunched over, they will have issues breathing ( tail bobbing) mouth breathing loss of voice and appetite they are weak and fly very poorly….
Disease in this area of the body is usually associated with my Chlamydia, Mycoplasma ( is the cause of “ one eye cold” ) or Vitamin A deficiency or a range of bacteria. They can respond well with Tylan. In places with High humidity ASPERGILLOSIS (a fungi that grown in the air sac) may be a part of the problem…

--------------------------------------------------------

Non Infectious Diseases:  These problems are not caused from an Infectious Organism so they aren’t contagious, But a rather caused by a problem in their diet or environment, or family bloodlines

Tumors of the Kidneys , Ovary & gonads  Common sign that there is kidney problems is lameness in one leg. Caused by pressure of the tumor on the sciatic nerve. Budgies are prone to tumors in these areas. Birds, may look suddenly unwell, have watery poo and a swollen abdomen. The Hen’s ceres turns a dark blue (hens that are out of condition can have a light blue cere this is normal) and cocks turn brown.

Goitre Swelling of the thyroid gland at the base of the neck can be a goiter. It is commonly seen in budgies that are fed only seed which contains low Iodine. Iodine deficiency causes the gland to enlarge up to 5 times the normal size which places pressure on the windpipe and throat. Birds can’t breathe properly or empty their crops.

Signs to Look For: 

  •  vomiting
  • tailbobbing ( breathing issue) dry reaching and neck stretching …

Treatment:  : Add Iodine to drinking water once a week, place a clump of grass and soil in with them as this is their natural source of Iodine in the wild, as well as an iodine and mineral block should be in the cage and aviary.  Consult an avian vet to ensure this is what your bird has first.

Gout: Cause by uric build up in the joints. The common cause is advance kidney diease, old age, diet hig in protein.
They will look depressed and ill, lame in one or both legs, swollen joints and feet ( Vet can confim this with blood test)

Fat: (obesity) Having fat birds is a common problem now as we are develoing larger breeds which exercise less. If you have a large number of birds that are fat, have a look at their diet. Many birds that are over weight may have a thyroid gland problem ( found in some bloodlines)

Author: Neat
Last update: 13-Aug-2008 07:59


Worming my Budgie

In the United Stated and Canada you will find that worming your budgies is not a very common practice but in other countries such as Austrilia is is very commonly done.

Here is information you will need to know about worming your budgie (s)

If you are buying from a breeder or a pet store ask them if they worm their budgies before you decide to worm.

Here are what our breeders on the forum do:

Ivermectin spot on on the back of the neck for all my budgies and this covers a large number of parasites. I also worm them every three months and I do babies when they are about 6 weeks old  Member: Melbournebudgie

I do the same as Melbournebudgie,but I use the wormer in their water mostly. New incoming birds get the spot on treatment. Any with obvious signs of early scaly face get the spot on treatment. Babies get wormed whilst in the kindy cage anywhere between 6 weeks and 12 weeks. Member: Kaz

DO NOT WORM BREEDERS THAT ARE RAISING CHICKS!!!!!!!!
Agree with the others on worming - depends on what brand you get you can do the oral does 1 drop per bird in their beak or add it to their water ( if you add to their water do not give them their greens or anything that they can get water from ) Worming should be done especailly if you have soil flooring. Member: Neat 


 


Author: Elly
Last update: 01-Sep-2008 08:44


Megabacteria Information

Megabacteria

Virtually unheard of as recently as 5-6 years ago, Megabacteria is being increasingly found in more and more species of birds. Although very easy to diagnose and treat, many avian veterinary exams do not include a wet mount of a fresh fecal, generally the ONLY way it can be seen. Like it or not, this is something ALL aviculturists may be facing in ALL species in the very near future.

The following article as well as the links to the left contain a tremendous amount of info regarding this organism, its origin, diagnosis, and treatments. Get familiar with it, it is likely you will seeing it or hearing about it again soon!

Information contributed by Kaz

Megabacteria
by Cerise Duran

Part I - My Experience


My beautiful 6 month old Pacific blue mutation parrotlet was found on the floor of his cage, puffed up and with his head tucked under his wing His appetite was good, but he was very lethargic. I put him into isolation, weighed him (he had a 10% weight loss), provided heat, seeds, soft foods and water.

My veterinarian was out of town, so he was taken to a non-avian doctor the next day. At my request, a CBC and blood chemistry panel were taken, as well as cultures. Blood results came in with a very low white count, apparently an indication of a bacterial infection, and culture results were negative. He was put on antibiotics, but there were no signs of improvement.

Aggressive "nursing care" pulled this bird through the next 4 days, until my veterinarian's return. Heat and hand feeding saved his life. When my avian veterinarian returned, he gave me a call, and asked to see the bird since there had been no improvement from the antibiotics treatment.

This bird had arrived with a second bird, and the two had been sharing the same cage. The cage mate showed no signs of ever slowing down. He was highly energetic, and never skipped a beat. One morning, I was surprised to see the cage mate spitting up undigested beets! Well, he made the trip, along with the blue, to my veterinarian's office.

Luckily for me, my avian veterinarian is well informed, well read, and stays up on all the new "things" going on in the world of avian medicine. He checked the bird's droppings under the microscope. I took a look at the microscope, and there it was - Megabacteria! Both birds had the bacteria, but only one of them showed noticeable symptoms!

Medication was prescribed for the two birds, and viola! In 48 hours, the blue made a complete turn around! His energy returned, and he began to regain the weight he had lost. The two birds went on to make an unremarkable recovery, and the blue has since produced several clutches of babies.

Once the emergency was under control, I needed to deal with the "flock". So, I collected "sample" birds from every cage I had and made the trip back to my veterinarian. These birds were individually checked for Mega. Guess what! It was found in 25% of my cages.

The original two affected birds were the only ones to come from that particular source, and they came from a line of imported European birds. A European import fallow hen from a second source tested positive for Mega. One cage-full of babies, from parents that tested negative, had positive tests for the organism, while another group of babies from the same parents tested negative. The one oddity in the cage of babies that tested positive was a single bird from a third source that shared the cage with them. That bird came from an aviary with birds that had been imported from Europe. I notified all three aviary owners of the problem.

The imported fallow hen had been "looking suspicious" ever since laying her first clutch, and had become rather inactive. I decided to have my veterinarian give her a second exam. He found that this hen had "fat rolls" above her legs. She sat on heperch all day and did nothing while her mate fed her. She laid no more eggs that year, and looked scruffy most of the time. She was chosen as one of the "sample birds" that went in for testing for Megabacteria, and this would be her third trip in. Yes, she had Megabacteria! She was treated, became active once again, lost the fat rolls, and laid and raised 3 successful clutches in 1997. She is active to this day, and has never developed those fat rolls again.

I have described: A) the acute symptoms that appeared in my blue - a bird that looked very much like it would not live to see the 'morrow, cool.gif the fallow hen that was infected but only looked "suspicious", and C) all the rest of the birds that were infected and displayed absolutely no symptoms! Other than these described symptoms, no others showed up with my birds.

Part II - What is Megabacteria?

Megabacteria is a recognized problem in both Europe and Australia. It's been seen primarily in canaries and budgies, and in particular "show" budgies, although other species have been affected. For the Europeans and Australians, Megabacteria is recognized as a common pathogen. For aviculturists and pet owners in the US, this is viewed by many as an exotic pathogen, and as such should be eliminated from our aviaries and pet birds.

In a publication by Lucio J. Filippich of The University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia, he states that: "Megabacteria are large, gram positive, rod-shaped organisms that are being increasingly found worldwide in the proventriculus or droppings of several pet bird species, especially budgerigars and canaries."

He goes on to say that Megabacteria has been reported to have been found in wild-caught European goldfinches as well as in wild-caught Australian sulfur-crested cockatoos. He states that budgerigar breeding colonies in Australia show a 64% infestation rate.

He describes symptoms of budgerigars in the acute stage to include severe drowsiness, lethargy, fluffed feathers - ending with death within 12 - 24 hours. Regurgitated blood can stain the feathers around the beak and neck. This same bleeding may result in droppings that are black or reddish-black. The chronic stage is more common, and is usually seen in budgerigars over one year of age, or just after the first breeding season. These birds become depressed, lose condition, fluff up and lose weight in spite of their apparent good appetites. Although the birds are often at the food dish, they only grind or mouth their foods, swallowing very little. Birds may regurgitate blood tinged food. They may "mouth gag" or "neck stretch" in an attempt to regurgitate. Their droppings may contain undigested seed particles, or even undigested whole seeds. These budgies will continue to lose weight over weeks or even months, then they either die or slowly recover. He cautions that what may appear to be a recovered bird will usually relapse later when stressed, naming molting or breeding as examples of stress. He also advises that these birds are of no value in a breeding program.

Dr. Speer says that the birds exhibit all the classic signs of having a severe stomach ache. Their fluffed appearance, tucked heads, sitting on the bottom of the cage, closed eyes and pained expressions all look like "us" when we have a stomach ache.

Diagnosis and treatment are relatively reliable and safe. Your avian veterinarian will have to test, diagnose, and prescribe the medication for you. The test in live birds is a simple direct fecal (a fresh dropping) wet-mount slide checked at 400 power or higher. Staining (including Gram's staining) is not necessary. Dr. Speer takes a great deal of time examining the slide, and he has found as few as one or two organisms in the last field checked. In less careful hands, these could have been missed.

Culturing for this bacteria, using conventional culture medium, is not effective. This bacteria can be cultured with great difficulty, but it has special medium requirements, which are not commonly available.

In necropsy examination, the lining of the proventriculus and ventriculus are swabbed for direct examination under a microscope. The organism produces a slimy coating on the mucosal surface of the proventriculus and ventriculus. This slimy coating will be thick with the organism, and diagnosis should be eminent. On some occasions, the bacteria can cause perforation of the proventriculus, which will lead to internal bleeding and death. This swab of the mucosal surface must be done on fresh tissues, not on tissues that have been subjected to preservatives such as formalin. Therefore, it will usually be the veterinarian or pathologist who originally opens the carcass that will have to run this test. It is not uncommon for the organisms, and hence the diagnosis, to be washed off in formalin-fixed tissues, unless fresh wet mounts have been prepared prior to tissue fixation.

Megabacteria is resistant to antibacterial antibiotics. One recognized effective treatment is with the antifungal drug, Amphotericin B. Filippich states that Amphotericin B works on certain components of the cell membranes of fungi. This same action does not apply to Megabacteria, since Megabacteria is lacking in that particular component based on electron microscopy studies. Just how it affects Mega is not known at this time. Mega is, at this time, assumed to be a bacterial organism, although there has been no absolute conclusion.

Treatment prescribed for my birds was the antifungal, Amphotericin B (Fungizone)

Part III - Management

I decided to treat the entire flock of about 50 birds ..... which is when I discovered that it would cost me well over $700.00! The pharmacist at the local hospital conducted a search and found that there was an oral suspension form. Well, you might know how I reacted when she told me that I could buy enough oral medication to treat the entire flock twice for around $30!

The oral form of this medication still is not commonly available in drugstores. Many pharmacists don't even know about it yet. If you ask for their help, they can do a search on their computers and will find that the medication is available.

The oral form was well tolerated by all the birds, they even seemed to like its taste. Every bird had to be caught and treated individually every morning and every night for 10 days. As part of the recommended treatment, about halfway through the ten day period, every cage was thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Perches and nest boxes, toys and barrier sheets, everything was either discarded or disinfected.

For prevention and containment, test the birds that you currently own (sample birds will probably be adequate for breeders with larger aviaries), then treat accordingly. If you find Mega in even one bird, you should treat your entire flock. Follow your avian veterinarian's advice for treatment, then retest your birds. For breeders, the use of a microscope for screening will be your best tool in elimination efforts.

Use Dr. Speer's "closed aviary concept". Have all new birds examined by your avian veterinarian, including appropriate tests, and maintain quarantine for a minimum of 60 days. Every new bird purchased should be considered a potential carrier. There are many types of birds that are regularly being imported from Europe, resulting in multiple opportunities for cross contamination. Over the course of 2 years, I acquired birds from 5 different breeders and had the organism found in birds from each and every one of them. I now have all new birds tested. The test is noninvasive, inexpensive, and accurate in the hands of a careful diagnostician. If even one bacterial rod is found, the bird should be considered to be infected and subsequently treated. If even one bird tests positive in an aviary, the entire aviary should be considered suspect, and efforts should be made to treat the entire flock. Retesting should confirm the presence or absence of the organism.

Keep your cages clean and use closed water bottles (the hamster style bottles, which may help to reduce the spread of many diseases within an aviary). Clean your cage thoroughly before housing a new bird in it. Do not cross contaminate by sharing used dishes or water bottles between cages. Always thoroughly clean and disinfect all feeding equipment.

Part IV - Afterthoughts

I feel very strongly that birds should not be dying from Megabacteria, were it not for the fact that too few of us are aware of the problem. The same goes for our avian vets. This is quite simply because the organism has not been recognized as a problem in this country until recently, although there have been a number of reported cases for several years now. Have your birds properly screened for this organism, and make the effort to eradicate it. If it is identified in single birds or in your flock, avoid water-based treatments. The probability of only a reduction, not an elimination, of this organism is greater with water-based treatment approaches. This will result in infected or carrier status birds still being sold from your flock, which will potentially go on to infect others, develop disease or damage your reputation in the future.

Although my experience has been with parrotlets, this problem is not limited to parrotlets. Birds of several kinds are still being imported from Europe, and you can bet that infected birds are still coming in. Be sure to check your birds. You may have this "unseen killer" in your aviary

Questions and Answers

(1) How would using water bottles instead of bowls help? Does it have to do with the problem of "parrot soup" and pooping in water dishes?

Answer: For the single bird owner, it may not be much of an issue. In an aviary, however, it's a different story. This bacteria may be spread via particles of fecal debris floating in the air from flapping wings and vacuum cleaners, or being directly dropped from cage to cage. Although there has been no specific research done pertaining to how Megabacteria is spread, this mode has been proven in the spread of other diseases. It makes sense that contaminated debris (such as dried or even fresh droppings) falling into the water dish of another bird will cause the spread of this bacteria, because the water dish is an ideal medium for the growth of many bacteria.


(2) I know someone who had a case of Megabacteria in their birds which was diagnosed by a reliable avian vet. The birds were put on a treatment of a very diluted solution of hydrochloric acid for several weeks and that seemed to do the trick. By the way, that is the same treatment given in Avian Medicine: Principles and Applications by Ritchie, Harrison & Harrison.

Answer: I understand that this treatment has been used in the past. I also understand that this particular treatment has not been found to be consistently effective, according to Filippich, Dr. Speer and other vets in this country. Perhaps the Avian Medicine text is out dated as regards this particular bacteria and its treatment. That's not a slam, it's just that research changes things. What is accepted as good medicine today is often proven wrong or improved upon tomorrow! I would suggest that any veterinarians who are faced with treating this bacteria for the first time, those who are using the method of changing the pH level, and those who are considering using the water-based treatment from Australia should first consult with Dr. Brian Speer. His consultation number is 925-625-1878 and e-mail address for consultation is AVNVET@aol.com. Consultation costs are very reasonable, considering the potential loss of birds, production and reputations that are at stake.

Also, I caught a note from Dr. Branson Ritchie on another list stating that the only recognized effective treatment for this bacteria is Amphotericin B. You might recall that he co-authored Avian Medicine: Principles and Applications with the Harrison's.


3) Not knowing that much about Megabacteria, is this an organism that can lay dormant in a bird and for some unknown reason at any time it could start shedding it? If that is the case how would we test for it? If the bird is not shedding at the time the test would be inconclusive, just like for polyoma.

Answer: At this time, no real understanding of the nature of this beast is in hand. There are verified cases of false negative results. The current recommendation is that the bird is considered clean after three consecutive tests are performed, with negative results in all three tests.


The following are answers from Dr. Brian Speer:

(4) How long after a bird is dead can Megabacteria still be isolated from the mucosal linings?

Answer: We have been able to identify Mega on fresh wet mount of intestinal or proventricular mucosal scrapings in post mortems - even some fairly old carcasses - 2-3 days since death.

As I believe you know, histopathology usually will not demonstrate the organisms reliably, as they tend to wash off in the formalin during fixation, and gram stains (in my opinion) are fraught with the same problems.

(Since that time, Mega was found in a 5 day old carcass.)


(5) If Mega is a bacteria why are we treating it with an anti fungal antibiotic?

Answer: Technically, we do not know WHAT Mega is. It morphologically resembles a bacterium, but therapeutically responds to an antifungal which should have no effect on bacteria. We know that it is a beta-hemolytic organism that can be grown (with great difficulty) on blood agar media.


(6) For human purposes, Amphotericin B is a last resort drug and must be used for 30 days to be effective. Why only 10 days for a bird?

Answer: Ten days has been shown to be clinically effective. Human treatments are based on IV use for severe systemic fungal disease - which Megabacteriosis is not.


(7) After a 10 day treatment can it be considered cured? Since there are false negatives, and lack of expertise in the department of detecting low numbers of rods, how can we ever be sure it is gone.

Answer: By monitoring for confirmation of it's absence over time, we may be able to claim a cure. In general, I feel much better when there have been no organisms seen on a series of three independent checks in birds, as long as the environment and traffic flow are secure.


(8) If we can never be sure it is gone and since no one can say what the incubation period is then would it be practical to treat on a regular basis, say annually.

Answer: This is the approach adopted by the Australian train of thought - with the concurrent statement that there is an incidence of up to 60% subclinically infected birds there. Routine treatment will reduce numbers, but still allow subclinical infection and spread of the agent. The Australian data has clearly shown that.


(9) What harm or good would it be to treat all of the for sale birds again just two weeks prior to shipping.

Answer: There is no harm known with Amphotericin B treatment other than the cost and labor involved. But, a collection that is free of the organism (a fair but longer term goal) will not necessitate this approach. Also realize that this may make detection of the presence of the organism in your birds leaving (the true sentinels for your management program) much more challenging, therefore, may lead you to more of a false sense of security as to your standing pertinent to this organism's presence in your flock.


(10) Can a sun lamp or UV lighting protect or clean in an indoor aviary situation?

Answer: We have no factual data to support or deny this thought. UV light should not hurt, but we do not know if it will help.


(11) Would you recommend new cages considering all the little welds and wired together spots on cages being able to harbor the Mega?

Answer: No. In general, good quality cleanliness is the key. A "Germ free" environment is both impractical as well as technically impossible.


(12) Someone said feeding citrus fruit could help prevent Mega. Is there any truth to that statement?

Answer: Not much. Some canaries tend to have less disease when eating or drinking acidified food / water. Parrotlets are not canaries, and this approach is not an acceptable TREATMENT, it only reduces numbers of organisms present.


13) How about other species being affected with Mega?

Off of the top of my head, Mega has been seen in many psittaciformes -- but predominately in the smaller species; it has been seen in several small passeriformes (particularly canaries, finches, etc.). It has been reported in the ostrich and a few other ground feeding species.


Brian Speer, DVM
Diplomate, ABVP, Certified in avian practice

Author: Elly
Last update: 02-Oct-2008 19:09


Feather Mites

 

NOTE: we are not here to self diagnosis your bird (s) this is an information article only and we always suggest seeing an avian vet for diagnosis and treatment.

 

Contributed by Liv

About 2 weeks ago during random checks of my birds, I discovered tiny feather mites on the flight feathers of most of my aviary birds ohmy.gif

They look like tiny bits of dirt in the feather
(a flight feather tip from one of my birds)

Photobucket

Zoomed they look like this (not my photo)
Photobucket

It is unknown when the mites got introduced to my flock, but it was sometime during autumn as my inside birds (who came inside in autumn) are clean from the mites.

A little bit about the feather mite

Feather Mites: These tiny arachnids are so extremely small that to the naked eye they appear to be tiny dirt particles on the bird's body, wing, and tail feathers. On the Purple Martin, "colonies" of them can be seen on the long wing and tail feathers between the feather barbs, but you'll have to have the bird in your hand to see them.

These tiny (0.5 mm long) feather mites get their nourishment by chewing on the feathers. Although these parasites are typically harmless, they can severely damage an individual's plumage during heavy infestations.

Other species of feather mites, known as quill mites, pass their entire life cycle within the hollow confines of the wing feather quills. These types feed on host tissue fluids by piercing the quill wall with their sharp mouth parts.

Treatment

AVIAN INSECT LIQUIDATOR
A.I.L. is an effective water based insecticide and insect growth regulator that gives three way protection for all avian species.
3 Way Protection. When used directly on the bird, A.I.L. penetrates deep into feathers to kill lice and mites. When sprayed around the environment A.I.L. kills insects on contact and the residual action guards against re-infestation for up to six weeks. Also, the growth regulation effect of A.I.L. prevents insect eggs from hatching and newly hatched insects from reaching maturity.

Directions
Use a 5% solution (1 part concentrate: 19 parts water – 20 parts total) NOT FOR USE WITH REPTILES OR FISH. Hold trigger pack 30-40 cm from bird/s and spray directly on to birds/s. use 4-5 pumps per bird. Cages, aviaries, perches and nest boxes should also be sprayed thoroughly with the diluted product. Repeat in 6 weeks or as necessary.

Guaranteed Analysis
Permethrin 25g/L
Piperonyl Butoxide 125g/L
Methoprene 0.4g/L


I found AIL too hard to get here in SA so i used Coopex to treat my birds which contains the same amount of Permethrin as AIL when a 25g sachet is made into a 10L solution. I treated all my aviary birds, cleaned out the entire aviary and treated all the perches and surfaces - it was very comforting to see happy birds and dead bugs everywhere

Next time you are looking at your birds, check for little speaks of "dirt" in the flight feathers - you may need to treat for feather mites too.

 

 

Author: Elly
Last update: 02-Oct-2008 19:23


Chlamydia psittaci

Chlamydia psittaci


C. psittaci's ability to mystify us does not end with classification. It can cause disease in humans, other mammals and birds. It can kill a bird in 48 hours or it can survive in birds causing no outward sign of illness, for as long as 10 years. It can be explosively contagious or barely contagious.

It can be destroyed by antibiotics easily or with incredible difficulty. It can be easy to diagnose or extremely frustrating. It can kill baby birds and cause no disease in their parents. It can live outside the body, as well as within. It can be easy to control or almost impossible. It causes massive flock outbreaks one year and none the next.

Individual Susceptibility
The incubation period of psittacosis, as well as the degree of clinical illness, adds to our bewilderment. Just how a bird manifests its exposure to the disease depends on host susceptibility and the virulence (strength) of the strain.


Host susceptibility. Some birds, because of their genetic resistance, are less likely to become ill and, consequently, are more likely to develop into carriers. These include pigeons (one study suggests 70 to 90 percent of all wild pigeons are carriers), doves, budgerigars, cockatiels, cockatoos, herons, gulls, hawks, and approximately 100 additional sylvatic species. Other species, such as rosellas, lorikeets, neophemas, mynahs, canaries and some parrots have low natural resistance and are highly susceptible.


Young birds, due to the relatively incompetent immune systems, are subject to neonatal psittacosis with subsequent high mortality. Any factor that stresses a bird will lower its resistance and increase its potential susceptibility and mortality. Egg production, feeding young, weaning, poor management, overcrowding, concurrent infections and molting are just a few of the many things that stress birds.


The individual power of any agent to infect is known as virulence. This power is subject to change, especially as it inoculates birds and is passed out in the stool. Since each gram of stool from diseased birds can infect 10,000 other birds, the agent's power to cause psittacosis becomes very pertinent.
 

Transmission

Transmission of C. psittaci is also unsettling. The organism is shed in the nasal secretions and in the stool from infected birds, recovering birds and carriers. Once outside the body, the organism can live for a long period of time, drying to form dust and infecting the susceptible hosts as they breathe. Fecal and oral contamination are especially significant in crowded conditions, as well as in nest boxes. As a general rule, inhaled Chlamydia will cause severe disease, while ingested Chlamydia will tend to develop into carriers.


Transmission through the egg has been experimentally produced in ducks, but as a practical problem, is not documented in psittacines.

Symptoms and Diagnosis


The clinical symptoms can be variable, depending on the species infected, the virulence of the agent, the route of exposure and concurrent stresses. The "typical psittacotic bird" is ruffled, depressed, has labored breathing, nasal and ocular discharge, and is neither eating nor vocalizing. The appearance of lime-green or yellow droppings, especially when the urine component is discolored, is highly suggestive, although not diagnostic, of the malady.


One form of psittacosis seen infrequently manifests central nervous system signs. Tremors, shaking, head twisting and convulsions may be the only symptoms you see. This clinical peculiarity has been recognized in Amazons, African greys and cockatoos. Cockatiels can develop a psittacosis syndrome that causes paralysis of the limbs, and usually dark, tarry stools. Additionally, cockatiels and neophemas (turquoisines, scarlet-chested parakeets) with low-grade infections may seem to have an eye disease resembling a sty.

Diagnosis of chlamydiosis in birds is definitive only if the organism is identified, isolated or causes a predictable physiologic response. The identification of the organism is achieved by stains or a fluorescent antibody test.
Treatment

Treatment for parrot fever is now much more successful than it once was. Most veterinarians use tetracycline and its derivatives, mainly Vibramycin, to treat sick patients as well as carriers. The antibiotic can be given by intravenous or intramuscular injections, orally or mixed in proper ratios with palatable food. Calcium must be withheld - it binds the tetracycline. Blood levels of tetracycline can be enhanced by citric acid in the birds' drinking water.

Patients in chlamydial crisis need intense, supportive care (heat, isolation, extremely clean conditions, absence from stress, etc.) as well as therapy for concurrent problems. Appropriate lactobacillus, as well as antifungal medications, are essential.

Control and Prevention
Controlling avian psittacosis is best accomplished by keeping susceptible birds away from the infecting agent. Since this little "microvarmit" can remain infective for many months in dried excrement, cleanliness and disinfection are essential. The Chlamydia species is inactivated by quaternary ammonium compounds. These disinfectants should be used to clean cages and wet-mopped on surrounding areas. Eliminating drafts and spraying the area with disinfectants will help keep infectious feathers and dust to a minimum. Birds that have had the disease or are under treatment are fully susceptible to reinfection since the disease does not convey immunity.

 In wild birds, psittacosis is controlled naturally by the inability of sick birds to keep up with the flock. Additionally, infective droppings fall to the ground below the trees in which the birds perch. The clinical disease that we see in pets is promoted by confining, crowding, transporting, dietary changes, exposure to other infections and forced exposure to infective excrement…

This article above came from
http://www.multiscope.com/hotspot/psittacosis.htm

Please read whole article and you will understand why I use the Antibiotic called “Doxycycline” as “first choice”
Medication.
You will notice the difference straightaway after treatment!

Author: Posted by Kaz (permission taken from author)
Last update: 21-Oct-2008 14:16


What is a Crop?

The crop is a sack where the birds food is stored before it is processed by the gizzard.
All birds have a crop and its above the brestbone, just below the neck


Author: Liv
Last update: 07-Nov-2008 20:32


What is Molting?

Posted this topic so anyone wondering what moulting is all about....here are some examples.

















Moulting is a budgie replacing its feathers which it will do about 3-4 times a year. Its a time when you will see a lot of feathers about the aviary and cage. These photos show new feathers coming in. What you see as spiky looking heads on budgies is the new feather shafts with the sheath around the feather. Budgies also lose their tail feathers and flight feathers at this time.

Its a time where they will be low on general energy, they may be cranky, and some budgies have a HARD MOULT and can get quite ill due to not eating well at this time. These are times where you budgie needs the best of vitamins and food. There are supplements for moulting like MOULTING AID. If your budgie goes through a hard moult and looks to be ill or very depressed pay very close attention at this time. SOME budgies have been known to get so ill during a hard moult that they dont eat and they get sick and a small number of them can die at this time.

If you notice your budgie looking sick during its moult, put it in a hospital cage for awhile with a warm lamp and spoil it rotten. Budgie will moult at other times and it can happen with a change in its diet.....if you suddenly chnage its seed type or drastically chnage the food you are feeding it, a budgie will go into a moult. Do not breed a budgie while its moulting as its a time when it is at a low ebb and needs all its energy for feather replacement and breeding is a stressfult time as well. Keep some white pepper on hand in your medical kit as during this time a budgie can break a newly emerging blood feather ( causing bleeding ) and white pepper is one of the best things to apply to stop bleeding. 

Author: Kaz
Last update: 08-Nov-2008 21:22


Avian Articles From Highbury Veterinary Clinic Victoria,

Permission has been sought and kindly given for us to use publish these articles on our forum to help our members. I very much appreciate the fact that we have been allowed to use this wonderful information on our forum.

Thank you very much Dr Philip Sacks MACVSc of the Highbury Vet Clinic.


More About Dr Phillip Sacks
http://www.birdclinic.net/avian_bird_articles/avian_articles.htm


Highbury Veterinary Clinic
128 Highbury Road
Burwood Victoria 3125

Heavy Metal Poisoning

Poisoning from the intake of lead, zinc and occasionally copper is called "heavy metal" poisoning and is one of the most common toxicities that we see in pet and aviary birds. Birds are often inquisitive and examine new objects and place then in their mouths. They like to chew on shiny objects. Toxicity can result if the metallic object contains heavy metals. Stainless steel is safe and an ideal product for feed dishes and cages. This is largely a preventable disease and we will discuss how typical cases present to our Melbourne veterinary clinic and what steps owners can take to prevent heavy metal toxicity.

The birds may present with one or more of the following symptoms:

* Weakness
* Lethargic and fluffed
* Vomiting or regurgitation
* Sometimes they will seizure
* Pass watery green droppings
* Severely affected birds may die suddenly
* A more common syndrome is that of low level poisoning with vague clinical signs and pet birds that are just "not well".

Lead poisoning is regularly seen in pet birds and waterfowl. This is because sources of lead can be surprisingly common in household situation. The increase in awareness of the dangers of lead to humans has resulted in decreased the availability of Lead to our pets. With the increased number of pets coming in for well bird exams (SEE TALKING BIRDS FEB 05) and more awareness about sources of lead, many potential poisoning are avoided. In Lead toxicity, there may be neurological signs (seizures, blindness and head tilt) or a wing droop or leg paralysis. There may also be "blood" present in the droppings called hemaglobinuria, which is not blood but breakdown product of blood. Common sources of lead toxicity are listed in the table below. Read through the list and check that your pets are protected.

SOURCES OF LEAD

Lead fishing weights
Lead gunshot
Lead putty,
Lead solder
Lead based paints – especially undercoats in older houses.
Glitter from trendy clothes
Curtain weights
Foil from the top of wine and champagne bottles
Christmas ornaments
Stained glass window
Coins
Costume jewelry
Batteries
Bird toys
Linoleum
Ceramics
Drinking water
Light bulb bases
Glaze ceramics
Mirror backs

Zinc is a trace element necessary in the diet and can cause problems if the diet is deficient in this trace mineral. So both toxicities and deficiencies can exist.
Zinc toxicity, also known as New Wire Disease, is a common syndrome that is under diagnosed. Aviary wire is galvanized with Zinc Oxide to protect it from the elements. Often the brighter and more shiny the wire the higher the zinc content. There are many household products that also contain zinc as a component. Clinical signs are similar to those seen in lead poisoning.

SOURCES OF ZINC

Galvanized wire aviaries
Galvanized nails, mesh, washers
Coins
Staples
Fertilizers
Hardware cloth
Some paints
Containers
Monopoly game pieces

Diagnosis - The heavy metal poisoning can be difficult to confirm and monitor, we often need a combination of tests, including x-rays, repeated lab results and clinical signs, to confirm and provide appropriate therapy.

We start with:
1) Discuss the bird's environment with the owner – especially concerning cage material, toys, and cage enclosure age - exposure of bird to toxins and a discussion of the birds' environment.

2) On physical examination we may find – regurgitation or vomiting, watery green or bloody droppings, weakness, and fitting.

3) Radiographs / x-rays – we may see the heavy metal particles in the bird usually in the crop, gizzard or elsewhere in the gastro intestinal tract,

4) Changes in blood enzyme levels to reflect damage to organs and red blood cells.

5) High Blood Lead levels are diagnostic; repeating blood lead levels once on treatments allows us to monitor the recovery

Treatments for Heavy Metal toxicity include:

1) Fluid therapy to protect the organs from further damage and to flush the toxins out the body.

2) A metal cheating agent, calcium EDTA – works by "trapping" the lead or zinc into its central ring and then filtering it out the kidneys, or into the intestine. The drug is injected twice daily till improvement starts. Oral D-penacillamine is can also be used as an oral medication.

3) Antibiotics are given to prevent infections while the body is recovering.

4) Crop feeding - to add fluids and calories necessary for recovery.

5) Vitamin B complex and especially thiamine to prevent deposition of metal into tissues and help the nerves recover.

6) Place avian patient in an incubator in a quiet low stress environment so all of the bird's energy can be used for recovery.

7) Treatment of seizures with anticonvulsants.

8) Large metal pieces may be removed under general anesthesia or if possible allowed to pass naturally.

9) Smaller metal pieces not passing through can be flushed under general anesthetic using warm fluids.

10) Bulking agents can be added to the diet or crop fed to hasten the removal of metal particles through the gastrointestinal system.


Heavy Metal Poisoning

A large zinc particle ingested – now lodged in the gizzard of a parrot

PREVENTION of heavy metal poisoning
1) Avoid sources of lead and zinc and copper.
2) Stainless steel cages and toys and food containers are safe.
3) Scrubbing the new cage / wire with a wire brush and vinegar
4) Read through the tables in the article and familiarize yourself with some of the many potential sources of toxic metals.
5) Avoid your pet access to objects that are potentially life threatening.

Case report
Harold an 8-year-old male Pekin Duck presented with water droppings containing fresh blood, a wing droop and tail deviated to the left. His owners absolutely adored him and were determined to get him better.



Note the wing droop and abnormal stance, and also the hospital environment – supportive soft bedding, large water dishes, varied diet. Harold's was quiet.


Note the red watery droppings that may be seen in lead poisoning cases.


Note the multiple metal densities present in the gizzard. and also one in the cloaca.

Treatments for Harold:
1) Fluid therapy
2) Antibiotics
3) Metal trapping with inject able Calcium EDTA and oral D-D-penacillamine
4) Bulk laxatives
5) Crop feeding

We repeated the x-rays in 2 weeks and most of the metal densities had passed so surgery was not necessary, the blood in the droppings gradually cleared and Harold has made a good recovery.

Please send any questions to sacks@impaq.com.au attention talking birds – We will answer some queries in the following issues, please use this facility as many may have the same problems. We may not answer all questions.

Vomiting

Vomiting in Pet Birds by Dr Phil Sacks BSc BVSc Hons MACVs( Avian Health)

Vomiting is common in pet birds. It can be a sign of illness or part of courtship or pasrentinmg. Common causes of vomiting will be discussed brief mention of the most common causes and how we work up a vomiting case in our Veterinary clinic using a real example. Can birds vomit? The answer is YES – but it quite different from that in mammals. Firstly birds do not have a diaphragm and so there are no stroing abdominal contractions when vomiting. Secondly many birds can vomit voluntarily and do so as part normal life E.g. a mother bird bringing up "crop" contents to feed her babies or partner (SEE fig 1). Thirdly the vomit usually comes from the crop – which is a food storage organ located in the lower neck rather than from the stomach or intestines as in mammals.

The birds may present with one or more of the following symptoms:

* Weakness
* Lethargic and fluffed
* Vomiting or regurgitation
* Sometimes they will seizure
* Pass watery green droppings
* Severely affected birds may die suddenly
* A more common syndrome is that of low level poisoning with vague clinical signs and pet birds that are just "not well".

Fig 1 A red tailed Black Cockatoo inappropriately regurgitating food for its owner.


Disease Causing Vomiting in Birds
1) Infectous disease– which include bacterial, viral fungal and parasitic disease
2) Metabolic diseaes– eg enlartged Thyroid , liver disease, peritonitis
3) Nutritional cause e.g. high protein diets.
4) Toxicity – Heavy metal toxicity (Zinc and lead are most common), plant toxicities
5) Physical obstructions – e.g. foreign body in the crop, overfeeding, tumors
6) Trauma esp. crop burn
7) Allergic – food
8) Behavioral – usually not pathological e.g. courtship behavior, crop milk feeding in pigeons (SEE FIGURE 1}
9) Cancer – causing nausea and obstructions
10) Iatrogenic / caused by treatmensts– from drugs esp. doxycycline, nitoimadazoles
11) Other – e.g. motion sickness when traveling to vet – show.

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 diseae.

FIG2 A male budgerigar regurgitation fluid onto his whiskers and side of his head called "wet whiskers"


The four most common causes of vomiting in pet birds that we see in our clinic are:

1) Trichomoniasis or canker in budgerigars is a protozoan disease . Left untreated it is often fatal – we do crop washes (see figure 3) in newly purchased. budgerigars and birds we see for health checks for diagnosis.. Often the birds may show disease signs months after purchase. This is the same organism that causes canker in pigeons and doves.

2) Another common cause of vomiting is megabacterial associated fungal disease. This fugal disease often has a long incubation period i.e. it takes a long time for disease to develop after infection. And along with vomiting the birds show other gastrointestinal signs like loose droppings, undigested seeds in the droppings and generally " going light", with gradual weight loss.

3) Heavy metal poisoning associated with the ingestion of lead and or Zinc (see the..Issue of talking birds)

4) After crop dosing and injecting certain medications some birds will vomit..


Case report


Tzippy a 7-year-old male budgerigar was presented to Highbury Veterinary clinic –

HISTORY: The owner described repeated muscular neck movements and regurgitation. The vomitus had matted his little head feathers, and his droppings were becoming looser. He appeared to be loosing weight. He had times of appearing normal – i.e.: bright alert and active and then there were times he appeared quiet – sometimes sleeping longer that usual during the day.

Examination revealed : matted head feathers from vomiting – and low body weight evidenced by decreased pectorial muscle mass -

Routine testing was done:
1) A crop wash see Figure 3


Fig 3 A crop wash in a budgerigar Inserting a tube containing warm sterile lactate into the crop, injecting the fluid, massaging the crop and then drawing back on the syringe. In our case the result was negative – no trichomonas, no megabacteria, no infection or inflammation of the crop evident.

Step 2 A faecal smear evaluated under a microscope. The clinical pathology result showed normal intestinal bacterial flora.

Step 3 Bloods were taken from the jugular vein - We took about 1/8th of a ml enough to do the following tests: Kidney function, liver function, electrolytes, muscle enzymes, proteins and full blood count .. Results showed mild anemia and low blood proteins, and low calcium. Still No diagnosis.


Step 4 X RAYS or Radiographs (see figure 4)

Figure 4: The X-ray shows an enlarged proventriculus (see arrows) with delayed emptying of ingesta.

Tzippy was suffering from an adenocarcinoma of the proventriculus. This is an invasive tumor and had infiltrated the stomach muscle wall and affected the nerve supply and motility of the stomach. He was slowly starving. This was not the expected diagnosis, as malignant tumors of the stomach are unusual.
Cancer in Birds

Cancer in birds – How and Why by Dr Phil Sacks BSc BVSc Hons MACVs( Avian Health)
A significant percentage of well-cared for pets, will ultimately die of cancer. The reason being is that they are living longer and cancer occurs more frequently in older birds. Some of the reasons for the longevity include : Protection from the dangers of climatic extremes and predation, approppiate diets, regular health checks, preventative and prophylactic treatments . Pet birds are living average life spans many times more than their wild counterparts and are often living about twice as long as pet birds a decade ago. This contrasts significantly with "wild" free roaming birds that have significantly shorter lifespans. As an example we saw 2 cockatiels over 20 years old and a budgerigar over 15 years old last week.

Why do our pets get cancer?

Almost every diagnosis of cancer is followed by the same question by the owner ... why? . There are many reasons and we don't understand them all. We and our companion pets were created with an "immune surveillance" mechanism whereby damaged cells anywhere in the body are recognized by the body's blood cells as foreign and destroyed. During our lives single "cancer" cells are often formed, from toxins, UV radiation etc – but they are removed before they can multiply and establish. If the cancer cells can evade the immune system cancer may develop.

What is cancer?
Cancer is an accumulation of cells derived from a single transformed cell, whose growth and replication occurs out of control. Cancer cells usually continue to grow after the stimulus that caused them is removed. Benign is a term used to define slow growing cancers whose cell types are not far removed from the original cell type, and the mass remains in the site of origin. Malignant cancers grow rapidly and extend beyond their site of origin. - – The fact that we are cancer free most of our life is a wonder in it self.

Some of the most common cancers that we see in domesticated birds in everyday Melbourne veterinary practice are spindle cell tumours of the connective tissues , carcinomas of the kidneys and reproductive systems, lipomas – in fat birds; and lymphoid tumours in pet chickens . As there are a growing number of the clientele we see are bonded to their birds, the birds presented at our clinic are often still at an early stage of disease and can be treated.

A typical case seen in October 2005 . – Billie is an 18 year old Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, with a lump on his elbow extending towards the shoulder. The lump is firm and growing rapidly. We start of with less painful non invasive diagnostic procedures.

Step 1: The Fine Needle Aspirate involves putting a very thin insulin needle into the lump and getting a few cells that we can examine under the microscope. This is done in house and the results are availibe within a few minutes. The result in Billie's case : malignant spindle cells, with no infection present.

Step 2: We took Radiographs of the wing and at the same time the whole bird to determine the extent and spread of the tumour. The tumour mass can be seen in the middle of the radiograph as a large circular mass just above the elbow and not extending to the shoulder.

Step 3: Under general anaesthesia with preoperative pain relief, and drip fluids we surgically remove the wing, Care is taken to keep the patient warm, keep the anaesthetic time short, and to minimize blood loss.

Sterile surgery – note the see through sterile drapes, the patient connected to anaesthetic via an endotracheal tube, there is very little blood loss, the wing to be amputated is wrapped in a sterile bandage.

Treatment involved amputation of the wing at the shoulder as we knew that the tumour was malignant. Billie had not being flying anyway due to the growth damaging the wing. Pet birds appear to cope well with wing amputations and the recovery is rapid. They seem to manage well afterwards even though they cannot fly.


Step 4: We Sent the affected mass to a pathologist that has an interest in birds. The lump was analysed so that we know the type of tumour and the likelihood of it reoccurring and also if the lump completely removed.


This is a picture from our pathologist: Dr Jardine at Vetpath At 400X magnification . The tumour can be seen (by the trained eye) invading the birds muscle tissue.

Dr Jardine reported the type of tumour and how malignant it appeared and importantly if it was completely removed.
This tumor was a fibrosarcoma occuring in older birds in the cockatoo group. The pathologist commented that spread to other organs was unlikely but that it may return near the original surgical site. Other treatment to consider are radiation therapy and cancer drugs injected into the tumour; some of these tumours can be treated without surgery.

To treat or not to treat – that is the question?

Our Advice to clients is gererally that we aim for "quality life!"

The goal outcome for cancer treatment in birds is different from that expected in man. We aim for complete cure but balance the therapy with Quality of life post treatment, minimal side effects. Rapid recovery from cancer treatment is important in the veterinary perspective. As oppposed in man, with a much longer life expectancy, the goal is often complete cure and people often experience the "side effects" and relatively toxic levels of drugs hoping for a complete cure.


Here is a picture of Billie one day post operatively, wearing a protective bandage, going home with his owner.



Caring for your Pet Budgerigar

Budgies evolved in Australia's dry interior. They have become one of the most popular pet birds in the world. Average life expectancy is about nine years but well cared for birds may reach their mid teens.

Housing and husbandry

Budgies can be kept in a large cage or aviary.

* Perches should be natural wood of varied diameters.
* Place feed and water dishes so that your bird will not contaminate them with droppings.
* Native Australian tree branches, gum nuts, grasses & greenery are excellent for behavioural enrichment & beak care. Change regularly.
* Avoid sandpaper on perches or cage bottom.
* Birds are not helicopters, to allow flight have a wide cage rather than a tall one.
* Avoid zinc and lead (e.g. some metallic toy, newly galvanised wire or feed dishes etc).

Diet

* Feed a combination of formulated budgie pellets or crumble and mixed seeds.
* Also give dark leafy green and yellow vegetables (spinach, silver beet, grated carrots, beans, peas, broccoli, seeding grasses, etc.) every day.
* Fruit may also be offered, as can multi-grain bread, pasta, chicken bones or other meat or chopped hard-boiled egg.
* Avoid chocolate, caffeine, alcohol or avocado as these may be toxic.

Common illnesses

* Psittacosis (now called chlamydophilosis), a disease humans can catch from birds;
* Heavy metal (e.g. zinc or lead) toxicity from chewing metallic objects – costume jewelry, galvanised food or water containers, lead weights or toys;
* Feather mites, worm parasites & coccidiosis;
* 'Canker' (trichomoniasis);
* Bacterial infections, candidiasis and avian gastric yeast infections ('megabacteriosis');
* Cancer.

Health Care

* We recommend a health check (with testing as appropriate), when you acquire your new pet and each year thereafter, to check for and prevent common illnesses listed above.
* Because they are desert birds budgies may drink infrequently, consequently any form of drinking water medication may not be effective.

Birds often hide signs of illness and may only appear unwell when they are very sick. It is important to seek advice early if your bird looks unwell.

Send your thoughts and questions and queries to birdvet@iprimus.com.au and we will address some of your queries in later talking bird issues.
Highbury Veterinary Clinic ©2007.


Author: per Kaz given permission to add by Dr Philip Sacks MACVSc of the Highbury Vet Clinic
Last update: 08-Dec-2008 08:52


Parts of a Budgie WIng

Here also is a diagram of a budgies wing

Author: Kaz
Last update: 08-Dec-2008 08:59


Budgie Skeleton

budgie skeleton

Author: Kaz
Last update: 08-Dec-2008 09:01


Budgie Body Parts

Author: Kaz
Last update: 08-Dec-2008 09:05


Feather Dusters and Other Misconceptions

We have been fortunate enough to be allowed to share an article by author and budgerigar breeder Stephen Fowler. Permission was sought and has been granted for us to publish this article on our forum for the benefit of our members. For the permission to use the article we are very grateful.


Feather Dusters and Other Misconceptions

By Stephen Fowler © 3/2007

Exactly one year ago a blue spangle budgerigar was hatched in my aviary, Feb 2006. As this baby grew, it developed the familiar head feather texture of a feather duster. He was the third of the season and was not expected in that clutch as both parents came from different breeders. All the previous examples had been grey green and had died shortly after weaning while attempting to compete with other babies in the weaning cage. As his coloring was very attractive, I resisted suggestions to euthanize him. Upon weaning, I left him in the breeding cage and culled the parents, as I had no plans to breed more feather dusters. While in this cage he was not able to reach the Bird-Zerk feeder containing the parakeet mix attached up the side of this breeding cage but fed quite normally on the dish of oat groats and out of a Planit #10 Mason Jar feeder sitting in a plastic sushi tray to catch spilled seed. The seed mix in the Mason jar was 80% small golden millet mixed with 5 percent each of Canola rapeseed, Quinoa, Amaranth and Harrison's Parakeet pellet. His water came from a Mason jar chick drinker and our high calcium content (19 grains/gallon) well water was always treated with 2.5cc of V.18 per gallon of water.

He stayed in this breeding cage for several months and was pretty much ignored, except for feeding, until the start of the next breeding season, Nov 2006, where upon I needed to use his cage. I very purposefully moved him to an identical cage with all the feeders/drinkers in exactly the same location. I didn't bother installing perches in this cage because he never/couldn't use them. He has been sitting on ½' X 2' welded wire and the edge of the dish his whole life and has not soiled himself significantly.

He ate the oat groats quite voraciously for several months but at about eight months he stopped eating oat groats and ate only the millet mix and fresh Romaine lettuce provided daily. Other than that I basically ignored him as my stud had grown to some 500 birds and I was also occupied with taking care of the other 750 animals and birds on my ranch.



The golden millet mix was an experimental seed mix that I designed to be fed to pairs raising babies in an attempt to expose the new generation to new feeds and to supply more of the amino acids required for feather growth than traditional parakeet mix could supply. I have found golden millet very palatable to budgies and excellent for starting most weanlings. After weaning, I did not feed this bird any canary seed at all and I never tube fed it, although I often do tube feed struggling weanlings to give them a nutritional boost. I didn't take the time to do this with him. Interestingly he does not spend all his waking moments eating; apparently, the early satisfaction of his amino acid requirements did not leave him in the feeding deficit that one normally hears reported about feather dusters. Since one of the previous feather dusters had died right after I had trimmed its facial feathers, I didn't bother trimming any feathers on his face or vent.

He currently weighs 54 grams and has never been thin or emaciated. In about September he started to molt and judging by the pile of feathers I removed from his tray, he did a complete molt. But his appearance did not change and I did not see any pinfeathers.

I have been completely surprised by the vigor he exhibits in his survival as I ignored him for most of his life expecting him to die almost any day for months. This bird is not used to being handled and was very uncomfortable when we photographed him. But he did eventually settle down on my hand and perched quite normally with the strength of a healthy bird. My assessment of this bird within the context of my breeding and evaluating birds for the past 55 years is that it is no more diseased than a Silky Chicken, a Japanese Onagadori Fowl or Parisian Frill Canary.

Other than his limited capability for movement and bazaar appearance he appears to be a completely normal budgie so I was taken aback by what I read on the web site of Creation Magazine, a reference discovered during a Google search for "feather duster". Where it was claimed that Feather Dusters were somehow happening as the result of a punishment from God. (http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v24/i1/budgie.asp)

This bazaar claim by what must be a "conservative" religious group triggered thoughts questioning what other misconceptions there are about feather dusters that live on because most are either euthanized or fail to compete with normal budgies at an early age. This early termination occurs without any real study of the issues involved, because it is believed that they cannot make any legitimate contribution to budgerigar type breeding. This is not necessarily so, please read on.

The successful raising of this single feather duster to a condition of excellent health does not constitute a scientific study and many of the claims below are simply my educated conjecture from the success of this accomplishment.

Several ideas emerged that I found interesting and perhaps some are worth repeating. In my quest to design a seed mix that was as nutritionally complete as any soft food that I am aware of, I had indeed been able to provide sufficient methionine and lysine to allow nonstop feather growth without any signs of muscular or bone degeneration. This was actually really good news as budgerigars as a species are dry seed specialists to the extreme and whole seeds maintain their nutritional content far longer than ground or crushed seeds.

Also it may be apparent that claims that feather dusters have lethal genes are now quite suspect as it is most likely that system failure due to malnutrition in the overly traditional feeding habits of our fancy is the cause of death rather than any glandular malfunction. This is both in the social competition and nutritional content of our diets.

I see confirmation of our idea that perhaps the long-term fad of feeding a high percentage of canary seed to budgerigars might be more of a public statement of social/monetary means rather than an expression of good nutrition. Since canary seed is usually two to three times the cost of millet it is perhaps considered better because it is more expensive. In fact canary seed is quite deficient in methionine, a necessary component for feather growth, by comparison to millets.

Now on to the real irony, I had the realization that the feather duster could be considered to be a very extreme case of budgerigars with the double-buff feathering now so desired by our type breeders. I am now convinced that the feather duster would make an excellent experimental animal to develop budgerigar diets to facilitate reversing the failure to thrive of our high-buff birds. Thus removing what is probably the major barrier to consistent production of foot-long, type-bred budgerigars with an excess of feather around the head and shoulders with buffalo horn shaped eyebrows. The genotype for this exaggerated phenotype probably already exists. But our current diets are insufficient in critical amino acids and do not support the full development of this phenotypes feathering. It is logical that this exaggerated phenotype could have more extreme dietary requirements than the birds described by Watmough and others, for example.

Feeding adequate levels of Lysine and Methionine to our budgerigars of show stature via the more stable whole seed approach might also have the effect of granting a longer life span by reducing the daily dietary stress experienced by our birds eating traditional diets.

If for a moment we budgerigar breeders would stop taking ourselves so seriously, I will propose that when the fancy gains the wide spread ability to raise feather dusters that we do just that and also that we make a place in the sun for this much maligned mutation that we must be responsible for having created. We could do this by allowing a novelty class for them at the shows. Thus, turning a perceived liability into a public relations asset. Please don't allow the judges to pronounce their choices over this class as we have already judged this mutation far too harshly over the decades. Perhaps some scheme of collecting public opinion on the most pleasing or cutest would be more appropriate in contrast to our very serious exhibition pursuits.

Dietary changes should not be made haphazardly especially by those not skilled in the art and the whole fancy should ideally move as a unit. Otherwise we will potentially, severely limit the successful exchange of birds between fanciers. The economics of our fancy must be maintained for this necessary improvement to be worthwhile to everyone not just the select few who hoard secrets. Articles Judges Links Experts Home Magazine Shows Products
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Author: By Stephen Fowler © 3/2007 given permission to Kaz
Last update: 08-Dec-2008 09:25


Feather Cysts

A feather cyst on a bird represents the equivalent of an ingrown hair on a human. Feather cysts are larger in size, of course, since feathers are larger than hairs. The cysts are due to malformation of a developing feather under the skin. They appear as oval or elongated swellings involving a single or several feather follicles. Although they may occur anywhere, they most commonly are found involving the primary feathers of the wings.

A feather cyst occurs when a growing feather is unable to protrude through the skin and curls within the follicle. As the feather continues to grow, the mass enlarges and a cheesy material composed of keratin accumulates.

They can be small yellow masses under the skin or large keratinised masses on the skin. All contain feather material and can be expressed or excised. More appear at subsequent moults, and these cysts are particularly common in those with coarse (buff) feathering. There is a genetic predisposition to their development.....or in other words they are hereditary.

Almost all the feather cysts occurred on the outer parts of the wing or the tail, although some were seen on the necks of birds. The cysts were of three types, the first and most common for 70% of the cases, was roughly spherical, up to 1.25cm (just over half an inch) in diameter. Cysts of this type were either very hard or slightly soft, depending on the thickness of the fibrous capsule. This capsule surrounded a core of yellow cheesy material, and the distorted remains of one or more feathers.

The second type was very similar to the first, but the surrounding skin was inflamed and thickened. As most of the lesions had not been noticed by the fanciers it was not possible to establish whether the damage to the skin came before or after the development of the cyst.

The third type was only seen on wings and accounted for fewer than 10% of cases seen. These were multiple and long and narrow in shape, lying side by side with one cyst corresponding to the follicle of one primary feather. They contained cheesy material as in the other cysts but in a proportion, a very short malformed feather was protruding from the tip of the cyst.

Some theories suggest the following causes for this condition: malnutrition due to improper or incomplete diet, genetic disposition, infection, or result of an injury or trauma involving the feather follicle.

There was a very strong correlation between the first two types of cysts and marked buffness. Birds with this type of inherited plumage have a strong tendency to develop cysts. It is commonly discussed amongst show breeders that certain family lines of birds carry the uinheritance for feather cysts and these birds are to be culled or avoided in breeding strategy.

There is no success with treatment for this condition other than surgical removal and it must be borne in mind that the birds will never regrow the feathers. It is probably not advisable to breed from birds with feather cysts or from their close relatives.
Feather lumps can be quite painful for the bird, depending on their placement. If they are situated where they can cause pressure on a nerve or an internal organ, they can cause long-term damage, on occasion even even death.

Treatment consists of surgically removing the involved feather follicles. If the follicle is just incised and the feather with its accumulation of keratin is removed, it will usually recur. Initial resection is not a major procedure, but recurrence is common unless the extensive dissection of the feather follicle is accomplished. In birds with multiple affected feathers, this is not practical.
Previously published reports suggest that feather cyst removal is unrewarding because cysts frequently recur after lancing, curettage, or removal of feather follicle. .

Some experienced breeders recommend the following amino acids for a successful, lump-free moult: methionine, lysine, threonine, and tryptophan, which are found in various foods). They also suggest that lecithin (an unsaturated fatty acid) also aids in allowing feather growth to occur smoothly. Adequate B vitamins, mineral content (especially zinc), folic acid and Biotin have also been cited as essential elements required for a trouble-free moult.

Example of a feather cyst on the wing of a budgerigar ( this feather cyst has been repeatedly expressed and just keeps returning ).




Author: Kaz
Last update: 08-Dec-2008 09:51


Evaluation Bird Droppings by Dave Hensen from H&D

Evaluating Normal & Abnormal Bird Droppings

You can learn a lot about the health of your bird from what is in the bottom of the bird cage.


IN GENERAL, it is recommended you use newspaper to cover your cage bottom. Its non-toxic, inexpensive and gives you a clear view of what your bird has dropped on it. This should be changed a least once a day and examined at that time as it can tell you many things. You can see what your bird has eaten or not eaten, how his fecal droppings have looked during the course of the day and even find the missing piece to that toy he disassembled. A bird eating its own droppings is a sign of a mineral deficiency and you should provide mineral or iodine blocks.

THE NORMAL DROPPING:
Normal droppings in pet birds consist of three parts.

The stool is coiled or partially coiled and varies in color from rich green to brown depending on the bird's diet. It will be green for birds on a seed diet and for birds on a formulated diet it will reflect the color of the pellet. Certain fruits and vegetables can also effect its color. For example, beets, blueberries and others can give the stool their color.

The urates are a by-product of the kidneys and are usually snow white when dry. They are chalky in texture and will vary in size from tiny (as in the budgie) to large and spread out (as in the macaw). It's normal to have some transient color changes during the day and some colored formulated foods can tinge them a creamy color.
Possible problems: There are two basic reasons for white droppings only. (there are others)
One is that the bird has been temporarily stressed. I have often noticed such faeces in birds which have, for example have just been caught up. If nothing has stressed them, however, birds with liquid whitish faeces need treatment. They are losing a lot of urine and will become dehydrated. Check your feeding routine. Only a vet can determine if the bird is lacking a vitamin or mineral supplement or if it has an internal kidney or liver problem.

The urine is the liquid portion and its normally clear. The volume of urine will change according to what the bird is eating. You will see more after consumption of fruits and vegetables and less after pellets.

THE ABNORMAL DROPPING:
Once you've learned what your bird's dropping normally looks like you can be on the lookout for problems.

Watery droppings:
An increase in the amount of urine is often confused with diarrhea. The fecal matter will be the same, but there will be notably more fluid around the feces. A change in the color of the urine is also a warning. Excessive watery vegetables, poor quality or dirty water and even the stress from being moved to a new home can cause watery droppings.

Loose stool: Or true diarrhea, can show up in one or two droppings due to stress, but if you're seeing it constantly throughout the day it is cause for concern. The tubular formed feces will lose its shape and become mushy. Birds tend to make droppings often because they have such a high metabolism and eat often. A normal healthy bird should have anywhere up to 25 droppings. There are several reasons why a bird can have loose droppings. It is recommended that you should never drastically change your bird's diet. If this has occurred it might cause diarrhea in your bird and should be taken to the vet immediately. Stress can also cause this condition in birds. It is rare for a bird to have constipation and if you find this happening in your pet bird you should consult a veterinarian.

Color changes The feces can change color from bright green or black and texture change to slimy is an indicator of trouble. Yellow or green stained urates is also a warning of trouble. This part of the dropping should always be white when dry.

Undigested seed
or food in the droppings, pale or foamy droppings and a consistent change in the volume or number of droppings during the course of the day are also of concern.

Blood in droppings:
Fresh blood in the faeces, or dark brownish-black or reddish-black droppings, indicating that blood has been digested, could be a symptom of enteritis or septicemia or of poisoning.

Undigested seed:
This will often be the first indication that there is some thing wrong with the bird's digestive system if the faeces contain undigested seed or other food,


Article was written By Dave Hensen from H&D with posting approval

Author: Dave Hensen from H&D with posting approval (Neat)
Last update: 08-Dec-2008 09:54


Egg Binding and Dystocia in Birds Article by Holly Nash DVM MS

Egg Binding and Dystocia in Birds
Article by Holly Nash, DVM, MS


Egg binding can occur in female birds not exposed to a mate.

Egg binding occurs when the egg does not pass through the reproductive system at a normal rate. Dystocia occurs when there is difficulty in laying an egg because of an obstruction. Both are common, and often preventable, problems in pet birds. Both can occur in female birds not exposed to a mate, since eggs may be formed and laid without the presence of a male. If diagnosed and treated early, the outcome is generally very good. If either condition goes on for too long, complications and death, especially in smaller birds, may result.

Which birds most commonly have a problem with egg binding/dystocia?


There are a number of factors that can increase the risk of egg binding.

Finch nestSpecies:
Egg binding is more common in smaller birds such as budgerigars (parakeets, budgies), cockatiels, lovebirds, canaries, and finches.

Bonding:
The risk is higher in single female birds that are strongly bonded to their owner. Birds that show a strong attachment to mirrors or certain toys may also have an increased frequency of egg binding.

Number of clutches:
Birds that produce repeated clutches as a result of poor breeding practices (e.g., eggs or young birds taken away too soon, breeding birds out of season) or excessive egg laying often develop health problems that result in egg binding.

Age:
Young birds laying for the first time, as well as "senior" birds more commonly become egg bound.

Reproductive health: Hens with previous reproductive problems or those that have a history of laying malformed or soft-shelled eggs are more prone to egg binding.

Malnutrition:
Birds on seed-only diets or those with deficiencies in calcium, vitamin A, protein, vitamin E, or selenium are at higher risk.

Overall health:
Egg binding is more common in birds with other health problems such as obesity or lack of exercise, as well as those under stress from environmental conditions such as improper temperature.

Egg abnormalities: An overly large or malformed egg, or one that is not positioned correctly, is broken, or joined to other eggs.

Genetics:
Certain lines of birds may be genetically predisposed to egg binding.

What are the signs of egg binding and dystocia in birds?

Signs will vary depending upon the severity of condition and can include:

* Abdominal straining
* Bobbing or wagging of the tail
* Drooping of the wings (canaries)
* Wide stance
* bird showing signs of illnessDepression
* Loss of appetite
* Lameness or leg paralysis (the egg puts pressure on the nerves going to the legs)
* Distended abdomen
* Droppings stuck to the vent area (the bird cannot raise her tail when passing waste)
* Fluffed feathers
* Weakness
* Difficult breathing (the retained egg puts pressure on the air sacs)
* Sitting on the floor of the cage
* Possible prolapse of part of the reproductive tract (the inner part of the reproductive tract is pushed out so that it is visible as a pink mass protruding from the cloacal opening)
* Occasionally sudden death

How is egg binding diagnosed?


The veterinarian will make the diagnosis based on the clinical signs, history, physical examination, and radiography (x-rays) and/or ultrasound. If the bird is very stressed or in shock, it will be necessary to stabilize her before proceeding with extensive examinations.

How is egg binding treated?

The treatment will depend on the condition of the bird, severity of the signs, where the egg is located, and the length of time the bird has been eggbound. This condition is more serious in smaller birds (canaries and finches) who may die within a few hours if not treated.

For a bird that shows a minimum of depression, treatment may include:


* Elevation of the humidity and increasing the environmental temperature to 85-95°F
* Lubrication of the vent
* Injection of calcium, and possibly vitamins A, D, and E, and selenium
* Administration of fluids and dextrose
* Injection of oxytocin or arginine vasotocin, or application of a prostaglandin gel. These medications cause contraction of the reproductive tract and may result in the passing of the egg. They should not be used if an obstruction is present.
* Continued access to food and water

A more severely affected bird must be treated for shock first, and then stabilized. After stabilization, additional treatment may include:

*Administration of antibiotics and possibly short-acting corticosteroids
*Manual removal of the egg by the veterinarian through applying gentle pressure with the fingers. This may require anesthesia.
*Cleaning and repair of any prolapsed tissues
*Ovocentesis, in which the contents of the retained egg can be removed by passing a needle into the egg visible at the cloaca or through the skin of the abdomen and into the egg (percutaneous ovocentesis) if the egg is not visible. This will make the egg smaller, and easier to pass.
*Abdominal surgery if the egg reproductive tract is ruptured, the egg has developed outside of the reproductive tract (ectopic egg), or there is an obstruction
*Follow-up care with antibiotics, fluids, appropriate environmental temperature and humidity, and nutritional supplementation

What are the potential complications of egg binding?

If left untreated, egg binding or dystocia can result in shock and death, often within hours for smaller birds such as canaries and finches. In addition, other complications are more likely to occur including:

*The retained egg may place pressure on the kidneys, affecting their function and health.
*If the egg ruptures while still inside of the bird, life-threatening peritonitis (a serious inflammation of the abdominal cavity) can occur.
*Oxytocin, arginine vasotocin, or prostaglandins may cause forceful contractions that could lead to rupture of the reproductive tract and death.
*Constant straining may cause prolapse of the reproductive tract or cloaca. This can result in egg peritonitis, infection, or scarring that could result in further problems with egg binding in the future.

Can egg binding be prevented?


The risk of egg binding may be decreased by:

*Providing the correct diet
*Using proper breeding techniques including timing of breeding, breeding at an appropriate age, removing genetically predisposed birds from the breeding program, and providing the correct environmental conditions
*Treating excessive egg laying
*Providing adequate exercise opportunities and preventing obesity
*Administering hormones to stop egg laying. These may include leuprolide or human chorionic gonadotropin
*Performing surgery to remove the reproductive tract (spaying) to permanently stop the egg laying. This is a high-risk procedure in birds because of their very small size, and the delicateness of the reproductive tract.

Author: Article by Holly Nash DVM MS permission to post (Kaz)
Last update: 08-Dec-2008 09:57


Megabacteria by Cerise Duran

Megabacteria

Virtually unheard of as recently as 5-6 years ago, Megabacteria is being increasingly found in more and more species of birds. Although very easy to diagnose and treat, many avian veterinary exams do not include a wet mount of a fresh fecal, generally the ONLY way it can be seen. Like it or not, this is something ALL aviculturists may be facing in ALL species in the very near future.

The following article as well as the links to the left contain a tremendous amount of info regarding this organism, its origin, diagnosis, and treatments. Get familiar with it, it is likely you will seeing it or hearing about it again soon!


Megabacteria
by Cerise Duran

Part I - My Experience

My beautiful 6 month old Pacific blue mutation parrotlet was found on the floor of his cage, puffed up and with his head tucked under his wing His appetite was good, but he was very lethargic. I put him into isolation, weighed him (he had a 10% weight loss), provided heat, seeds, soft foods and water.

My veterinarian was out of town, so he was taken to a non-avian doctor the next day. At my request, a CBC and blood chemistry panel were taken, as well as cultures. Blood results came in with a very low white count, apparently an indication of a bacterial infection, and culture results were negative. He was put on antibiotics, but there were no signs of improvement.

Aggressive "nursing care" pulled this bird through the next 4 days, until my veterinarian's return. Heat and hand feeding saved his life. When my avian veterinarian returned, he gave me a call, and asked to see the bird since there had been no improvement from the antibiotics treatment.

This bird had arrived with a second bird, and the two had been sharing the same cage. The cage mate showed no signs of ever slowing down. He was highly energetic, and never skipped a beat. One morning, I was surprised to see the cage mate spitting up undigested beets! Well, he made the trip, along with the blue, to my veterinarian's office.

Luckily for me, my avian veterinarian is well informed, well read, and stays up on all the new "things" going on in the world of avian medicine. He checked the bird's droppings under the microscope. I took a look at the microscope, and there it was - Megabacteria! Both birds had the bacteria, but only one of them showed noticeable symptoms!

Medication was prescribed for the two birds, and viola! In 48 hours, the blue made a complete turn around! His energy returned, and he began to regain the weight he had lost. The two birds went on to make an unremarkable recovery, and the blue has since produced several clutches of babies.

Once the emergency was under control, I needed to deal with the "flock". So, I collected "sample" birds from every cage I had and made the trip back to my veterinarian. These birds were individually checked for Mega. Guess what! It was found in 25% of my cages.

The original two affected birds were the only ones to come from that particular source, and they came from a line of imported European birds. A European import fallow hen from a second source tested positive for Mega. One cage-full of babies, from parents that tested negative, had positive tests for the organism, while another group of babies from the same parents tested negative. The one oddity in the cage of babies that tested positive was a single bird from a third source that shared the cage with them. That bird came from an aviary with birds that had been imported from Europe. I notified all three aviary owners of the problem.

The imported fallow hen had been "looking suspicious" ever since laying her first clutch, and had become rather inactive. I decided to have my veterinarian give her a second exam. He found that this hen had "fat rolls" above her legs. She sat on her perch all day and did nothing while her mate fed her. She laid no more eggs that year, and looked scruffy most of the time. She was chosen as one of the "sample birds" that went in for testing for Megabacteria, and this would be her third trip in. Yes, she had Megabacteria! She was treated, became active once again, lost the fat rolls, and laid and raised 3 successful clutches in 1997. She is active to this day, and has never developed those fat rolls again.

I have described: A) the acute symptoms that appeared in my blue - a bird that looked very much like it would not live to see the 'morrow, cool.gif the fallow hen that was infected but only looked "suspicious", and C) all the rest of the birds that were infected and displayed absolutely no symptoms! Other than these described symptoms, no others showed up with my birds.


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Part II - What is Megabacteria?

Megabacteria is a recognized problem in both Europe and Australia. It's been seen primarily in canaries and budgies, and in particular "show" budgies, although other species have been affected. For the Europeans and Australians, Megabacteria is recognized as a common pathogen. For aviculturists and pet owners in the US, this is viewed by many as an exotic pathogen, and as such should be eliminated from our aviaries and pet birds.

In a publication by Lucio J. Filippich of The University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia, he states that: "Megabacteria are large, gram positive, rod-shaped organisms that are being increasingly found worldwide in the proventriculus or droppings of several pet bird species, especially budgerigars and canaries."

He goes on to say that Megabacteria has been reported to have been found in wild-caught European goldfinches as well as in wild-caught Australian sulfur-crested cockatoos. He states that budgerigar breeding colonies in Australia show a 64% infestation rate.

He describes symptoms of budgerigars in the acute stage to include severe drowsiness, lethargy, fluffed feathers - ending with death within 12 - 24 hours. Regurgitated blood can stain the feathers around the beak and neck. This same bleeding may result in droppings that are black or reddish-black. The chronic stage is more common, and is usually seen in budgerigars over one year of age, or just after the first breeding season. These birds become depressed, lose condition, fluff up and lose weight in spite of their apparent good appetites. Although the birds are often at the food dish, they only grind or mouth their foods, swallowing very little. Birds may regurgitate blood tinged food. They may "mouth gag" or "neck stretch" in an attempt to regurgitate. Their droppings may contain undigested seed particles, or even undigested whole seeds. These budgies will continue to lose weight over weeks or even months, then they either die or slowly recover. He cautions that what may appear to be a recovered bird will usually relapse later when stressed, naming molting or breeding as examples of stress. He also advises that these birds are of no value in a breeding program.

Dr. Speer says that the birds exhibit all the classic signs of having a severe stomach ache. Their fluffed appearance, tucked heads, sitting on the bottom of the cage, closed eyes and pained expressions all look like "us" when we have a stomach ache.

Diagnosis and treatment are relatively reliable and safe. Your avian veterinarian will have to test, diagnose, and prescribe the medication for you. The test in live birds is a simple direct fecal (a fresh dropping) wet-mount slide checked at 400 power or higher. Staining (including Gram's staining) is not necessary. Dr. Speer takes a great deal of time examining the slide, and he has found as few as one or two organisms in the last field checked. In less careful hands, these could have been missed.

Culturing for this bacteria, using conventional culture medium, is not effective. This bacteria can be cultured with great difficulty, but it has special medium requirements, which are not commonly available.

In necropsy examination, the lining of the proventriculus and ventriculus are swabbed for direct examination under a microscope. The organism produces a slimy coating on the mucosal surface of the proventriculus and ventriculus. This slimy coating will be thick with the organism, and diagnosis should be eminent. On some occasions, the bacteria can cause perforation of the proventriculus, which will lead to internal bleeding and death. This swab of the mucosal surface must be done on fresh tissues, not on tissues that have been subjected to preservatives such as formalin. Therefore, it will usually be the veterinarian or pathologist who originally opens the carcass that will have to run this test. It is not uncommon for the organisms, and hence the diagnosis, to be washed off in formalin-fixed tissues, unless fresh wet mounts have been prepared prior to tissue fixation.

Megabacteria is resistant to antibacterial antibiotics. One recognized effective treatment is with the antifungal drug, Amphotericin B. Filippich states that Amphotericin B works on certain components of the cell membranes of fungi. This same action does not apply to Megabacteria, since Megabacteria is lacking in that particular component based on electron microscopy studies. Just how it affects Mega is not known at this time. Mega is, at this time, assumed to be a bacterial organism, although there has been no absolute conclusion.

Treatment prescribed for my birds was the antifungal, Amphotericin B (Fungizone).


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Part III - Management

I decided to treat the entire flock of about 50 birds ..... which is when I discovered that it would cost me well over $700.00! The pharmacist at the local hospital conducted a search and found that there was an oral suspension form. Well, you might know how I reacted when she told me that I could buy enough oral medication to treat the entire flock twice for around $30!

The oral form of this medication still is not commonly available in drugstores. Many pharmacists don't even know about it yet. If you ask for their help, they can do a search on their computers and will find that the medication is available.

The oral form was well tolerated by all the birds, they even seemed to like its taste. Every bird had to be caught and treated individually every morning and every night for 10 days. As part of the recommended treatment, about halfway through the ten day period, every cage was thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Perches and nest boxes, toys and barrier sheets, everything was either discarded or disinfected.

For prevention and containment, test the birds that you currently own (sample birds will probably be adequate for breeders with larger aviaries), then treat accordingly. If you find Mega in even one bird, you should treat your entire flock. Follow your avian veterinarian's advice for treatment, then retest your birds. For breeders, the use of a microscope for screening will be your best tool in elimination efforts.

Use Dr. Speer's "closed aviary concept". Have all new birds examined by your avian veterinarian, including appropriate tests, and maintain quarantine for a minimum of 60 days. Every new bird purchased should be considered a potential carrier. There are many types of birds that are regularly being imported from Europe, resulting in multiple opportunities for cross contamination. Over the course of 2 years, I acquired birds from 5 different breeders and had the organism found in birds from each and every one of them. I now have all new birds tested. The test is noninvasive, inexpensive, and accurate in the hands of a careful diagnostician. If even one bacterial rod is found, the bird should be considered to be infected and subsequently treated. If even one bird tests positive in an aviary, the entire aviary should be considered suspect, and efforts should be made to treat the entire flock. Retesting should confirm the presence or absence of the organism.

Keep your cages clean and use closed water bottles (the hamster style bottles, which may help to reduce the spread of many diseases within an aviary). Clean your cage thoroughly before housing a new bird in it. Do not cross contaminate by sharing used dishes or water bottles between cages. Always thoroughly clean and disinfect all feeding equipment.


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Part IV - Afterthoughts

I feel very strongly that birds should not be dying from Megabacteria, were it not for the fact that too few of us are aware of the problem. The same goes for our avian vets. This is quite simply because the organism has not been recognized as a problem in this country until recently, although there have been a number of reported cases for several years now. Have your birds properly screened for this organism, and make the effort to eradicate it. If it is identified in single birds or in your flock, avoid water-based treatments. The probability of only a reduction, not an elimination, of this organism is greater with water-based treatment approaches. This will result in infected or carrier status birds still being sold from your flock, which will potentially go on to infect others, develop disease or damage your reputation in the future.

Although my experience has been with parrotlets, this problem is not limited to parrotlets. Birds of several kinds are still being imported from Europe, and you can bet that infected birds are still coming in. Be sure to check your birds. You may have this "unseen killer" in your aviary.


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Questions and Answers

(1) How would using water bottles instead of bowls help? Does it have to do with the problem of "parrot soup" and pooping in water dishes?

Answer: For the single bird owner, it may not be much of an issue. In an aviary, however, it's a different story. This bacteria may be spread via particles of fecal debris floating in the air from flapping wings and vacuum cleaners, or being directly dropped from cage to cage. Although there has been no specific research done pertaining to how Megabacteria is spread, this mode has been proven in the spread of other diseases. It makes sense that contaminated debris (such as dried or even fresh droppings) falling into the water dish of another bird will cause the spread of this bacteria, because the water dish is an ideal medium for the growth of many bacteria.


(2) I know someone who had a case of Megabacteria in their birds which was diagnosed by a reliable avian vet. The birds were put on a treatment of a very diluted solution of hydrochloric acid for several weeks and that seemed to do the trick. By the way, that is the same treatment given in Avian Medicine: Principles and Applications by Ritchie, Harrison & Harrison.

Answer: I understand that this treatment has been used in the past. I also understand that this particular treatment has not been found to be consistently effective, according to Filippich, Dr. Speer and other vets in this country. Perhaps the Avian Medicine text is out dated as regards this particular bacteria and its treatment. That's not a slam, it's just that research changes things. What is accepted as good medicine today is often proven wrong or improved upon tomorrow! I would suggest that any veterinarians who are faced with treating this bacteria for the first time, those who are using the method of changing the pH level, and those who are considering using the water-based treatment from Australia should first consult with Dr. Brian Speer. His consultation number is 925-625-1878 and e-mail address for consultation is AVNVET@aol.com. Consultation costs are very reasonable, considering the potential loss of birds, production and reputations that are at stake.

Also, I caught a note from Dr. Branson Ritchie on another list stating that the only recognized effective treatment for this bacteria is Amphotericin B. You might recall that he co-authored Avian Medicine: Principles and Applications with the Harrison's.


(3) Not knowing that much about Megabacteria, is this an organism that can lay dormant in a bird and for some unknown reason at any time it could start shedding it? If that is the case how would we test for it? If the bird is not shedding at the time the test would be inconclusive, just like for polyoma.

Answer: At this time, no real understanding of the nature of this beast is in hand. There are verified cases of false negative results. The current recommendation is that the bird is considered clean after three consecutive tests are performed, with negative results in all three tests.


The following are answers from Dr. Brian Speer:

(4) How long after a bird is dead can Megabacteria still be isolated from the mucosal linings?

Answer: We have been able to identify Mega on fresh wet mount of intestinal or proventricular mucosal scrapings in post mortems - even some fairly old carcasses - 2-3 days since death.

As I believe you know, histopathology usually will not demonstrate the organisms reliably, as they tend to wash off in the formalin during fixation, and gram stains (in my opinion) are fraught with the same problems.

(Since that time, Mega was found in a 5 day old carcass.)


(5) If Mega is a bacteria why are we treating it with an anti fungal antibiotic?

Answer: Technically, we do not know WHAT Mega is. It morphologically resembles a bacterium, but therapeutically responds to an antifungal which should have no effect on bacteria. We know that it is a beta-hemolytic organism that can be grown (with great difficulty) on blood agar media.


(6) For human purposes, Amphotericin B is a last resort drug and must be used for 30 days to be effective. Why only 10 days for a bird?

Answer: Ten days has been shown to be clinically effective. Human treatments are based on IV use for severe systemic fungal disease - which Megabacteriosis is not.


(7) After a 10 day treatment can it be considered cured? Since there are false negatives, and lack of expertise in the department of detecting low numbers of rods, how can we ever be sure it is gone.

Answer: By monitoring for confirmation of it's absence over time, we may be able to claim a cure. In general, I feel much better when there have been no organisms seen on a series of three independent checks in birds, as long as the environment and traffic flow are secure.


(8) If we can never be sure it is gone and since no one can say what the incubation period is then would it be practical to treat on a regular basis, say annually.

Answer: This is the approach adopted by the Australian train of thought - with the concurrent statement that there is an incidence of up to 60% subclinically infected birds there. Routine treatment will reduce numbers, but still allow subclinical infection and spread of the agent. The Australian data has clearly shown that.


(9) What harm or good would it be to treat all of the for sale birds again just two weeks prior to shipping.

Answer: There is no harm known with Amphotericin B treatment other than the cost and labor involved. But, a collection that is free of the organism (a fair but longer term goal) will not necessitate this approach. Also realize that this may make detection of the presence of the organism in your birds leaving (the true sentinels for your management program) much more challenging, therefore, may lead you to more of a false sense of security as to your standing pertinent to this organism's presence in your flock.


(10) Can a sun lamp or UV lighting protect or clean in an indoor aviary situation?

Answer: We have no factual data to support or deny this thought. UV light should not hurt, but we do not know if it will help.


(11) Would you recommend new cages considering all the little welds and wired together spots on cages being able to harbor the Mega?

Answer: No. In general, good quality cleanliness is the key. A "Germ free" environment is both impractical as well as technically impossible.


(12) Someone said feeding citrus fruit could help prevent Mega. Is there any truth to that statement?

Answer: Not much. Some canaries tend to have less disease when eating or drinking acidified food / water. Parrotlets are not canaries, and this approach is not an acceptable TREATMENT, it only reduces numbers of organisms present.


(13) How about other species being affected with Mega?

Off of the top of my head, Mega has been seen in many psittaciformes -- but predominately in the smaller species; it has been seen in several small passeriformes (particularly canaries, finches, etc.). It has been reported in the ostrich and a few other ground feeding species.


Brian Speer, DVM
Diplomate, ABVP, Certified in avian practice

Author: By Cerise Duran, permission to post given to Kaz
Last update: 08-Dec-2008 09:59


In Case of Emergency by Dr Rob Marshall

A very good article by Dr Rob Marshall...

Careful observation and an understanding of the normal behaviour of your bird is by far the best method of detecting and managing potential illnesses. At the first signs of illness, the observant owner will notice changes in the condition and behaviour of their bird.


More information: http://www.birdhealth.com.au/bird/er/emergencies.html

Author: Daz
Last update: 09-Apr-2009 18:33


Food and Nutrition

Budgie Food/Diet

Food and NutritionWhat should my budgie eat?

It is very important to remember that a budgie on an all-seed diet is not getting the nutrition he/she needs in order to live a long, healthy life. Feeding your budgie a large variety of healthy foods can increase its life span and reduce the risks of common health issues such as lipomas (fatty tumors). No seed mix or pellet is a "complete diet" (despite what many will say on the package) so it's vital that you give your bird a good, varied diet.

Ideal Diet ? Your budgie's diet should consist of roughly 30% pellets, 30% seeds, and 30% fresh foods like healthy fruits and vegetables. Treats should be given sparingly and make up only about 10% of what your budgie eats. Make sure that the seed mix you buy doesn't contain many sunflower or safflower seeds as these are especially fattening. Pellets should not contain artificial colors/dyes. Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before feeding them to your bird as pesticides are harmful to them. Buying organic is ideal.

Sidenote: there are many different opinions in different countries on the use of pellets.  Feel free to do your own research, speak with your avian vet and other responsible breeders etc...about if they use pellets as part of their bird diet or not. There is no right or wrong answer on if pellets should be used or not.

Other Foods - Along with the foods mentioned above, there are cooked foods that you can also offer your budgie such as Beak Appetitand Crazy Corn. Organic wheatgrass is another very healthy food you can offer but should only be given about once a week.

Water:  Your budgie's water should be changed every day (as often as needed each day) to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.

Cuttlefish Bone:  Helps keep your budgie's beak in good condition and they also provide your budgie with calcium.

PELLETIZED GRAIN Vs. A WELL-BALANCED SEED DIET

Never allow your budgie to have alcohol, avocados, apple seeds, or chocolate as these are toxic to budgies. Birds have trouble digesting dairy products so steer clear of these as well. Read: Unsafe Foods

Author: eterri
Last update: 29-Aug-2008 10:01


Pellet Diet

Pellets contain many different types of grains and seeds. Pellets prevent the bird from picking out its favourite seeds and leaving the rest, and provide more nutrition than a seed mix. No diet is a complete diet and this includes pellets. While pellets are very healthy and an important part of your bird's diet, you should also be offering your budgie a variety of fresh foods and a small portion of seeds. All-pellet diets have been linked to renal failure in budgies as well as some other small parrot species. All-seed diets lead to malnutrition. Just remember that these are just a part of a complete diet and variety is key! For more information on ratios read Budgie Food/Diet 

Brands of Pellets (availability depending where you live): Harrison's (purchase from vet or directly from retailer only), Roudybush, Lafeber's, Kaytee, ZuPreem, Pretty Bird. 

How to convert to a new diet: This will be a gradual process and will take a few days or up to several months to switch over.  Don't get discouraged if one brand is not accepted, birds are much like children and have similar likes and dislikes as far as taste and texture.  Below are some helpful hints on how to covern your pet over.

  • Try crushing pellets to a sand like texture and place over the current diet. Your pet will have to sift through the new diet before finding the old diet and will start developing a "taste for the pellets.
  • Mix the crushed pellets into any soft foods/tablefoods that your pet enjoys
  • After you see some interest in the new diet actual pellets can be introduced
  • Always try to keep trace of weight during diet changes. If you can't do this at home then watch for any major decreases in droppings, which may indicate the bird is not eating well.  If you see this you may have to revert back a step for a short-time.
  • NEVER TRY TO CONVERT "COLD TURKEY" BY TRYING TO FORCE THE NEW DIET.  Most birds don't know that pellets are food and my refuse to eat them and could potentially starve themselves.

PELLETIZED GRAIN Vs. A WELL-BALANCED SEED DIET

Author: Elly
Last update: 03-Apr-2008 09:47


Teaching your budgies to eat a variety of food

A budgie who has always eaten seed will often have trouble recognizing other items as food. Here are some ways that you might be able to introduce your budgie to healthier foods.

Use their foraging instinct to your advantage.
If your birds are tame and can safely be allowed out of the cage, chop of veggies on a favorite spot such as a newspaper-covered table or a playgym. Allow the birds to "find" their food so that they feel they're foraging. This is how I converted some of my birds to pellets. Make sure the room is safe for your budgies before letting them out.

Use baby food!
Buy cans of baby food (vegetable types like carrots or green beans) and mix it with their seeds. This is a pretty good way to get some nutrition into them when they're still refusing to eat fresh foods. The ingredients in baby food are usually just a vegetable and water.  My birds really like this.

Chop the fresh food up into tiny bits If you chop up the food into little bits, they may be more likely to pick at it. Put it into different food cups if you have a large cage and their foraging instinct might lead them to the new food dishes and cause them to nibble at what's inside. Add seed or sprinkle millet and mix it up. They will first eat the seed/millet but will get a taste of the other food and you will be surprised that with patience they will start to eat the new foods.

Hang leafy greens from the top of the cage near a favorite spot.
This is what most people try first. Just make sure to remove any uneaten portions after about two hours.

Make birdie bread Bird bread gives you the opportunity to put many different healthy foods into one "package." Here's one recipe that I found:

2 6 oz jars baby food sweet potatoes
2 jars baby food tropical fruit
1-1 1/2 cups pellets or 4 tbss hand feeding formula
3 eggs and eggshells (crushed)

I recycle pellets left in our birds' bowls (We use uncolored pellets). Mix eggs and baby food. Use a little in a small blender/processor to crush the egg shells (calcium source). Mix in remaining ingredients. Put in paper cupcakes or muffin tins- 4 tsps each. Microwave 1-2 mins until firm. Or bake in toaster oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes till firm. Makes 12 servings. Serve warm, but not too hot.

Keep persisting and they will eventually start eating a healthier diet.  Also, check into some of the other healthy foods that you can buy such as beak appetit or wheatgrass.

Try to offer the healthier veggies such as kale, carrot, spinach, broccoli as well as legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, and beans.

Check out this link about converting them to pellets it will also give you suggests about new food Pellet Diet

As with anything new be patience it may take months for your bird to finally try something new.  NEVER CONVERT OVER COLD TURKEY  Your budgie will starve itself.  Don't have the mentality that the bird will finally get hungry and eat it doesn't work that way with birds.  They see it as something that can harm them so they won't try.  Always convert slowly.

Remember to never feed your birds the food listed in this link Unsafe Foods.

Author: eterri
Last update: 11-Apr-2007 22:19


Unsafe Foods

Alcohol
Chocolate
Avocado
Apple seeds
Are TOXIC to budgies and should NEVER be fed.
Onion
Asparagus
Cabbage
Aubergine (eggplant)
Rhubarb (including leaves)
Dairy products
Raw potato
Crisps (Chips) or other high salt human foods
Human Breakfast cereals containing Zinc
Strawberries (or any highly perishable fruit) unless 100% organic

AVOID -  Dried fruit preserved with sulfites may not be the best choice for your bird. People sometimes have acute hypersensitivity reactions to sulfites, so an animal as small as a bird may have an even greater sensitivity to them. In many cases, we have to rely on guidelines we use for ourselves until someone discovers that the ingredient affects birds as well.

Should also be avoided as they may cause harm to your budgie.Some fruits and vegetables are sprayed and treated with high amounts of pesticides and should be avoided if possible. Organic produce is best to feed your budgies, and always remember to wash any fresh fruits or vegetables very thoroughly before feeding. check out our FAQ system for more information.

For more information join our discussion forum at Unsafe Foods

Author: Elly
Last update: 04-Mar-2008 10:15


Sprout your Own Seed

You can use bird seed, alfafa, suflower, pea, the list is endless.
Pop some seeds in a jar (don't fill too full, they will swell). Cover ja with a stocking, and put an elastic band around the mouth of jar to hold the stocking on. Fill jar with water.
Leave for an hour. Empty out water. Put jar in a dark spot (on an angle so any more water can drain out.) Rinse with water twice a day. Should sprout within a couple of days.
You must rinse with water at least twice a day, otherwise they will go 'sour' and smelly
It is also advised to add a product, such as aviclens, to stop the build up of bacteria. (Vetafarm's Aviclens is available from some pet stores in Australia) contributed by BBC member Daz

______________________________________________________________

To sprout seed, simply cover with a mixture of bleach and water and keep in a warm place for 24 hours. Then pour it into a flour sieve and rinse under the tap. Finish the rinse with warm water and place back in a warm area for a further 24 hours. At the end of this period the seed will just be beginning to "chit". Put the soaked seed in a container which will hold at least two-thirds more volume. Add at least twice the volume of water as there is of seed and add enough bleach to make a very strong solution. Using a mixing spoon, stir the seed into the chlorine (bleach) mixture ensuring that every seed comes into contact with the chlorine solution. Chlorine (bleach) is a contact bactericide and fungicide, i.e. it kills immediately on contact and does not need any dwell time. But you do need to mix thoroughly to ensure "contact" has been effected. Once you are satisfied that the seed is well chlorinated, tip it into the flour sieve and rinse thoroughly under a hot or cold tap, allow to drain and then use. Now let us cover the bits that worry people which I have never explained well.

The bleach to use is the common cheap bleach, not the thickened variety. Bleach is just a solution of salt and water through which chlorine gas has been passed. As soon as it comes into contact with air the gas evaporates leaving behind just salt. Inadequate rinsing just leaves behind more salt, that is all. Many people do not chlorinate adequately because they believe that the bleach may harm the seed or the birds. You may as well not bother at all if you do not use a strong bleach solution. The bleach cannot penetrate the seed as the molecules of bleach are bigger than the pores in the husk of the seed. Seeds have pores in the husk the same as our skin. Because the pores in our skin are smaller than the molecules of your blood, your blood does not leak out. Similarly you do not wash away or become bloated when you get caught in a shower of rain. Seed is a little different in that the water molecules are small enough to pass through the pores and provide the trigger and means of germination while filtering out the large bleach molecules. This means that you could soak the seed in neat bleach without it being able to penetrate the seed and maybe harm the birds. All you would be doing is using more bleach than necessary and wasting it.

From Cage & Aviary: Dec. 9, 1995
- Submited by Kaz

Author: Lin
Last update: 24-Sep-2008 12:30


Fruits and Vegetables

Most types of fruit and vegetable are safe but you should always search online or in a book before you feed something to your budgie. Some vegetables that are commonly fed are lettuce, carrot, broccoli, sprouts, snow peas, spinach and celery. Lettuce and celery shouldn't be fed too often as they are mostly water and can cause diarrhoea. Some safe vegetables are rock melon, banana, mandarin, orange and apple. Be sure never to feed your budgie apple seeds or avocado as these are toxic to them.

Visit Unsafe Foods and Budgie Food/Diet

Author: Elly
Last update: 11-Apr-2007 22:31


Do I need to feed my pet budgies Cod Liver Oil ?

Different bird owners do give their birds cod liver oil here are examples of what others do on our forums and why.

Member Name: Daz I mix 5ml per 500gms of seed. I leave it 24 hours before feeding it to the birds

Member Name: macka  It's a good addive,but needs to be used with care. I use it in the breeding boxes,to feed the chicks. I mix 10mls to 1 kilo of seed & leave it stand over night & feed the next day. If you put to much oil in the seed,it will turn sour. With just 5 budgies I wouldn't feed it more then 2 times a week. It can make the budgies to fat. I myself wouldn't feed it to my flighted bird for that reason.

Member Name:  Paul29  don't use cod liver oil.....however I do use olive oil and I use it everyday of the year....I have found that the seed we get here in Perth is always very dry....the olive oil puts back the moisture with more protein and helps hens with there egg laying.....

Member Name: Kaput a few drops of codliver oil and wheatgerm oil into the softfood I prepare for my budgies. In talking with a show breeder once he told me to use cod liver oil and wheatgerm oil ....as a seasoned show breeder had taught him. He swore by the difference it made to the birds.

Member Name: feathers My breeding room birds get seed soaked in cod liver oil and wheatgerm oil. The cod liver oil supplies vitamin D which is required for calcium uptake in birds. This is why it is so commonly used for breeding birds. My breeding room uses 500ml of seed per day, to which I add 4 ml cod liver oil and 1 ml wheatgerm oil, which is left to soak for 24 hours.

Member Name: splat  use 5ml of cod liver oil to my breeding birds because like feathers said it is a Vit D plus A few breeders have told me that while using cod liver oil you will rarely get a bird egg bound. The egg bound thing is my main reason for using it.  When my son had his horse while living in Bendigo I would also give the horse cod liver oil for the Vitamins plus I think it helped his coat nice and shiny the horse always looked very healthy as do my birds

Orignal Post: If you go here more may have been added for your information Cod Liver Oil for Birds BBC Member's Post

Author: our members
Last update: 07-Jun-2007 14:34


Why shouldn’t I feed an all pellet diet?

One of the problems with some owners converting to an all pellet diet is that it provides too high a dose of calcium. Testing has found that a Pellets only & Poultry food diet causes an increase in calcium deposits in the kidneys which  then causes renal failure & death. When switched to a mixed seed diet the deaths stopped.

As is always recommended in the FAQ's on this site, all budgies need a healthy diet which includes 30% seed, 30% pellets, 30% fresh foods and 10% treats such as honey sticks, millet etc. Their water should be changed daily to avoid build up of bacteria and they should always have access to a cuttlefish bone (or calcium bell or block) and an iodine block. This gives budgerigars access to all of their daily needs.

Author: Aly aka feathers
Last update: 07-Jun-2007 14:45


Is my budgie getting enough calcium?

A hen requires vitamin D in order to be able to effectively uptake any source of calcium. Vitamin D is absorbed naturally through the sun or by use, mainly in breeding rooms, of cod liver oil soaked seed.

However too much calcium or vitamin D can cause toxicity problems. A hen can get the calcium she requires from any source that you supply, cuttlefish, egg shells or liquid calcium as long as they also have the required level of vitamin D..

All budgies need a healthy diet which includes 30% seed, 30% pellets, 30% fresh foods and 10% treats such as honey sticks, millet etc. Their water should be changed daily to avoid build up of bacteria and they should always have access to a cuttlefish bone (or calcium bell or block) and an iodine block. This gives budgerigars access to all of their daily needs.

When breeding however it has been found to be beneficial to add extra calcium for the hens needs. Many breeders will give soaked seed (seed mixed with a little cod liver oil - left to soak for 24 hours) and liquid calcium.  Please note that soaked seed is not necessary outside of breeding.

Soaked seed:  For every 500ml or 500gm of quality budgie seed add 5ml of cod liver oil and allow to soak for 24 hours prior to feeding to the breeding room.

Author: Aly aka feathers
Last update: 07-Jun-2007 14:52


Grit - Yes or No?

Grit is one of those topics that have different view, gather your information and make an educated decision.

Member Neat View Grit is a grey subject all budgie owners and breeders use it - ..... YES just read on before y'all jump the gun at me. But there are actually two types of grit: soluble and insoluble. Soluble grit include cuttle bone, oyster shell, limestone, and gypsum. 

Soluble grit is dissolved by acids as it passes through the bird's digestive system, therefore there is little danger of it piling up in the digestive system or causing blockages, cause it dissolves.... it does little to aid in the digestion of whole seeds. It does, however, serve as a source of calcium and other minerals.

Insoluble grit is mainly in the form of silica, ranging in size from sand to small pebbles. Insoluble grit remains in the gut / gizzard and is thought to aid in the breakdown of food.  Yep Bet you didn't know that

Birds have a muscular part of the stomach called the gizzard, which grinds and crushes food. The smaller part, are then more easily broken down by digestive enzymes as they go through the digestive tract.

Some wild birds eat grit, which passes to the gizzard where it helps in this grinding process. It aids in removing the outer fibrous shell around some seeds (e.g.; sunflower seeds), if the shell was not removed with the beak prior to the seed being swallowed

So technically we all use Grit by the good grit

Member Kaz View:  dont use standard grit, but I do supply to the breeder cages finger drawers of MURPHY'S MINERALS and F-VITE and whole egg powder...all seperately for them to take as they need it.

F VITE is a combination grit, protein, energy, vitamin and mineral supplement, which is especially beneficial for breeding and young molting birds, but is used all year round. Parents actually look for it when feeding young, because it is rich in the trace elements so vital for growing babies. Babies fed by parents, which are given F-Vite grow quickly, are robust and pink. There is no need for any other kind of grit, cuttlebone or mineral powders during the breeding season.

Author:
Last update: 24-Sep-2008 12:17


Toxic And Non Toxic Plants For Birds A thru Z

-A-

Toxic

Acokanthera - all parts are toxic except the ripe fruit
Amaryllis - all parts are toxic
Andromeda - all parts are toxic
Angel's Trumpet - seeds, leaves, and flowers are toxic
Apricot - pits, leaves, and bark are toxic
Apple - seeds are toxic, the branches, leaves are OK if NOT sprayed with pesticides
Arum Lily - all parts are toxic
Australian Flame Tree - all parts are toxic
Autumn Crocus - all parts are toxic
Avocado - pits, unripe fruit, leaves, and stems are toxic
Azalea - all parts are toxic

Non-Toxic
Abelia
Acacia (some species)
African Daisy
African Violet
Aluminum Plant
Aloe
Aralia
Arbutus
Areca
Ash
Asparagus Fern
Aspen
Aspidistra


-B-

Toxic

Balsam Pear - all parts are toxic
Baneberry - all parts are toxic
Belladonna - all parts are toxic
Bird of Paradise - seed pods and flowers are toxic
Bishop's Weed - all parts are toxic
Bitter Melon - all parts are toxic
Bittersweet - all parts are toxic
Black Garden (Nightshade) - unripe berries and leaves are toxic
Black Laurel - all parts are toxic
Black Locust - all parts are toxic
Bleeding Heart - all parts are toxic
Bloodroot - all parts are toxic
Blue Bonnet - all parts are toxic
Blue-Green Algae - all parts are toxic
Boston Ivy - all parts are toxic
Boxwood - all parts are toxic
Bracken Fern - all parts are toxic
Buckthorn - all parts are toxic
Burdock - all parts are toxic
Buttercup - all parts are toxic
Broad Bean - all parts are toxic
Broom Grass - all parts are toxic

Non-Toxic
Baby's Tears
Baby's Breath
Bachelor Buttons
Bamboo
Barberry
Beech
Begonia
Birch
Bird's Nest Fern
Blood Leaf Plant
Boston Fern
Bougainvillea
Brake
Bromeliads
Butterfly Cane

-C-

Toxic

Cacao - all parts are toxic
Caladium - all parts are toxic
Calla Lily - all parts are toxic
Camel Bush - all parts are toxic
Cana Lily - all parts are toxic
Candelabra - all parts are toxic
Cardinal Flower - all parts are toxic
Castor Bean - all parts are toxic
Catclaw Acacia - twigs and leaves are toxic
Chalice - all parts are toxic are toxic
Cherry - pits, leaves, and bark are toxic
Cherry Nightshade - unripe berries and leaves are toxic
Chinaberry - all parts are toxic
Christmas Candle - all parts are toxic
Clematis - all parts are toxic
Cocklebur - all parts are toxic
Coral Plant - all parts are toxic
Coriander - all parts are toxic
Corn Grass - all parts are toxic
Corncockle - all parts are toxic
Coyotillo - all parts are toxic
Cowslip - all parts are toxic
Crocus (Autumn) - all parts are toxic
Crotalaria - all parts are toxic
Crown of Thorns - all parts are toxic
Cuckoopint - all parts are toxic
Cutleaf Philodendron - all parts are toxic
Cycad - all parts are toxic

Non-Toxic
California Holly
Calamint
Calendula
Camellia
Chamomile
Chickweed
Chicory
Cissus Kangaroo Vines
Claw Cactus
Coffee Tree - the coffee beverage is toxic
Coleus
Comfrey
Corn Plant
Cottonwood
Crabapple - fruit only
Creeping Jenny
Croton - house variety

-D-

Toxic

Daffodil - all parts are toxic
Daphne - all parts are toxic
Deadly Nightshade - unripe berries and leaves are toxic
Death Camas - all parts are toxic
Delphinium - all parts are toxic
Devil's Ivy - all parts are toxic
Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane) - all parts are toxic
Dock - all parts are toxic
Dumb Cane - all parts are toxic
Dutchman's Breeches - all parts are toxic

Non-Toxic
Dahlia
Dandelion
Date
Daylily
Dill
Dish
Dogwood
Donkey Tail
Dracaena
Dragon Tree

-E-

Toxic

Eggplant - unripe/overipe fruit and leaves are toxic
Elderberry - roots, leaves, stems, and bark are toxic
Elephant's Ears - all parts are toxic
English Ivy - all parts are toxic
Ergot - all parts are toxic
Euonymus - filit, leaves, and bark are toxic
European Pennyroyal - all parts are toxic

Non-Toxic
Easter Cactus
Echeveria
Elephant Foot Tree
Elderberry - cooked, ripe fruit only
Elk's Horn
Elm
Eucalyptus
Eugenia
European Fan

-F-

Toxic

False Hellebore - all parts are toxic
Fava Bean - all parts are toxic
Felt Plant - all parts are toxic
Figs - sap is toxic
Fire Thorn - all parts are toxic
Flame Tree - all parts are toxic
Four o'clock - all parts are toxic
Foxglove - all parts are toxic

Non-Toxic
Fir

-G-

Toxic

Glory Bean - all parts are toxic
Glottidium - all parts are toxic
Golden Chain - all parts are toxic
Grass (Broom, Corn, Johnson, Sorghum, and Sudan) - all parts are toxic
Ground Cherry - all parts are toxic

Non-Toxic
Gardenia
Garlic
Gloxinia
Gold Dust Dracaena
Grape Ivy
Grape Vine

-H-

Toxic

Heath (Andromeda, Azalea, Black Laurel, Kalmia, Leucotho, Mountain Laurel, Peires, and Rododendron) - all parts are toxic
Hemlock (Poison and Water) - all parts are toxic
Heliotrope - leaves are toxic
Hemp - all parts are toxic
Henbane - all parts are toxic
Holly - berries and leaves are toxic
Honey Locust - all parts are toxic
Horse Bean - all parts are toxic
Horse Chestnut - all parts are toxic
Horse Nettle - all parts are toxic
Horse Tail - all parts are toxic
Hyacinth - all parts are toxic
Hydrangea - all parts are toxic

Non-Toxic
Hens and Chicks
Hibiscus
Honeysuckle
Hoya

-I-

Toxic

Iris - all parts are toxic
Ivy (Boston, English, and some others) - all parts are toxic

Non-Toxic
Impatiens
Indian Hawthorne

-J-

Toxic

Jack-in-the-Pulpit - all parts are toxic
Jasmine - all parts are toxic
Jerusalem Cherry - all parts are toxic
Jerusalem Nightshade - unripe berries and leaves are toxic
Jessamine, Yellow - leaves and stems are toxic
Jimsonweed - seeds, leaves, and flowers are toxic
Johnson Grass - all parts are toxic
Jonquil - all parts are toxic
Juniper - all parts are toxic

Non-Toxic
Jade Plant

-K-

Toxic

Kalmia - all parts are toxic

Non-Toxic
Kalanchoe

-L-

Toxic

Lantana - all parts are toxic
Larkspur - all parts are toxic
Laurel - all parts are toxic
Leucotho - all parts are toxic
Lily-of-the-Valley - all parts are toxic
Lily, Arum - all parts are toxic
Lobelia - all parts are toxic
Locoweed - all parts are toxic
Locust (Black and Honey) - all parts are toxic
Lords and Ladies - all parts are toxic
Lupine - all parts are toxic

Non-Toxic
Larch
Lemon balm
Lilac
Lily (Easter or Tiger)

-M-

Toxic

Malanga - all parts are toxic
Marijuana - all parts are toxic
Meadow Saffron - all parts are toxic
Mescal Bean - all parts are toxic
Mexican Breadfruit - all parts are toxic
Mexican Poppy - all parts are toxic
Milkweed - all parts are toxic
Mistletoe - all parts are toxic
Mock Orange - all parts are toxic
Moonseed - all parts are toxic
Monkshood - all parts are toxic
Morning Glory - seeds are toxic
Mountain Laurel - all parts are toxic
Mushrooms - all parts are toxic
mango leaves-all parts ..especially to humans ( thanks budgietom )


Non-Toxic
Magnolia
Marigold
Maidenhair Fern
Manzanita
Mayapple
Monkey Plant
Moses-in-the-Cradle
Mother-In-Law's-Tounge

-N-

Toxic

Narcissus - all parts are toxic
Navy Bean - all parts are toxic
Nettle - all parts are toxic
Nightshade (Bittersweet, Black Garden, Cherry, Deadly, Eggplant, Jerusalem, and Woody) - unripe berries and leaves are toxic

Non-Toxic
Nandina
Nasturtium
Natal Plum
Nerve Plant

-O-

Toxic

Oak - all parts are toxic
Oleander - all parts are toxic

Non-Toxic
None

-P-

Toxic

Peach - pits, leaves, and bark are toxic
Pear - seeds, leaves, and bark are toxic
Peires - all parts are toxic
Pencil Tree - all parts are toxic
Peony - all parts are toxic
Periwinkle - all parts are toxic
Peyote - all parts are toxic
Philodendron - all parts are toxic
Pigweed - all parts are toxic
Plum - pits, leaves, and bark are toxic
Poison Hemlock - all parts are toxic
Poison Ivy - all parts are toxic
Poison Oak - all parts are toxic
Poison Sumac - all parts are toxic
Poinciana - all parts are toxic
Poinsettia - all parts are toxic
Poppy - all parts are toxic
Pokeweed - all parts are toxic
Potato - sprouts, berries, leaves, and green tubers are toxic
Pothos - all parts are toxic
Precatory Bean - all parts are toxic
Primrose - all parts are toxic
Privet - all parts are toxic
Pyracantha - all parts are toxic

Non-Toxic
Parsley
Passionflower
Peppermint
Peperomia
Petunia
Pony Tail Palm
Popular
Prayer Plant
Purple Passion
Purple Velvet
Pyracantha

-R-

Toxic

Ragwort - all parts are toxic
Rain Tree - all parts are toxic
Ranunculus - all parts are toxic
Rattle Box - all parts are toxic
Red Maple - all parts are toxic
Rhododendron - all parts are toxic
Rhubarb - leaves are toxic
Rosary Pea - all parts are toxic
Runner Bean - all parts are toxic

Non-Toxic
Raphiolepsis
Ribbon
Rose
Rubber Plant
Russian Olive

-S-

Toxic
Sage - all parts are toxic
Sago Cycas - all parts are toxic
Sandbox Tree - all parts are toxic
Scarlet Bean - all parts are toxic
Shamrock Plant - all parts are toxic
Skunk Cabbage - all parts are toxic
Snowdrop - all parts are toxic
Snow on Mountain - all parts are toxic
Sorghum Grass - all parts are toxic
Sorrel - all parts are toxic
Spurges (Candelabra, Crown of Thorns, Pencil Tree, Snow on Mountain) - all parts are toxic
Star of Bethlehem - all parts are toxic
Sudan Grass - all parts are toxic
Sweet Pea - all parts are toxic

Non-Toxic
Schefflera
Sensitive Plant
Spearmint
Spider Plant
Spruce
Squirrel's Foot Fern
Staghorn
Star Jasmine
String of Beads
Sweedish Ivy
Sword Fern

-T-

Toxic

Tansy Ragwort - all parts are toxic
Taro - all parts are toxic
Tobacco - all parts are toxic
Tomato - stems and leaves are toxic
Tulip - all parts are toxic
Trumpet Vine - all parts are toxic

Non-Toxic
Thistle
Ti Plant
Tiger Lily

-V-

Toxic

Virginia Bower - all parts are toxic
Virginia Creeper - all parts are toxic
Vetches - all parts are toxic

Non-Toxic
Violet

-W-

Toxic
Water Hemlock - all parts are toxic
Wattle - all parts are toxic
Waxberry - all parts are toxic
White Cedar China - all parts are toxic
Wisteria - all parts are toxic
Woody Nightshade - unripe berries and leaves are toxic

Non-Toxic
Wandering Jew
Willow


-Y-

Toxic

Yellow Jasmine - all parts are toxic
Yew - all parts are toxic

Non-Toxic
Yucca

-Z-

Toxic

None

Non-Toxic
Zebra Plant

Author: Kaz
Last update: 29-Apr-2009 07:08


Budgie Mutations

Member Budgies - Variety of Mutatations

Budgies come in a rainbow of colours. Wild budgies are all green and yellow. They were discovered in the 19th century by English explorers who took some of them back, when they returned to England. It was there that they discovered that different colours of budgies appeared when they were being bred. You don't see these colours in the wild due to "survival of the fittest". Any different colour budgies simply would survive due to being outcast and easily picked off by predators.

Now we have a large variety of pet and exhibition budgies, in many different colours and mutations.

Click here to see all the different mutations of our BBC members' budgies. You may also add your budgie picture to the list.  Members Budgies - Variety Of Mutations Options

If you are new to the world of budgie genetics you may be confused with all the short cuts that are used in the posts and their meaning. Here is your guide to many of those terms used:

DF (df, d-f) Double Factor
SF (sf, s-f) Single Factor
YF (yf, y-f) Yellowface
DEC Dark Eyed Clear
Ino Lutino or Albino
Rec. Recessive
GF Golden Face
OP Opaline
GW Greywing

Author: Bea & Feathers
Last update: 01-Sep-2008 09:17


Genetic Abbreviations

Some new folks to the genetics world here may be confused with all the shorts cuts used in the posts around here and their meaning. Here is your guide to understand.

DF (df, d-f) Double Factor
SF (sf, s-f) Single Factor
YF (yf, y-f) Yellowface
DEC Dark Eyed Clear
Ino Lutino or Albino
Rec. Recessive
GF Golden Face
BES Black Eyed Self
dom Dominant Pied
TCB Texas Clear Body

Click for more Different \"colors\" mutations of budgies

Author: Nerwen
Last update: 01-Sep-2008 09:03


Basic Guide to Mutation Expectations

Dominant Mating Table

Dominant Varieties: Normal Green, Yellowface, Spangle, Dominant Pied,
Grey, Clearflight, Violet.


Single Factor X Normal
= 50% Single Factor
= 50% Normal


Single Factor X Single Factor
= 25% Double Factor
= 50% Single Factor
= 25% Normal


Double Factor X Normal
= 100% Single Factor


Double Factor X Single Factor
= 50% Single Factor
= 50% Double Factor


Double Factor X Double Factor
100% Double Factor




Recesssive Mating Table

Recessive Varieties: Recessive Pied, Greywing, Clearwing, Fallow, Cinnamonwing,
Dilutes, Black Eyed Self, Dark Eyed Clear, Saddleback.



Recessive X Recessive
= 100% Recessive


Normal/Recessive X Normal/Recessive
= 25% Normal
= 50% Normal/Recessive
= 25% Recessive
NB: Visually you will be unable to tell which
normals are also split recessive



Recessive X Normal/Recessive
= 50% Recessive
= 50% Normal/Recessive


Normal/Recessive X Normal
= 50% Normal
= 50% Normal/Recessive
NB: Visually you will be unable to tell which
normals are also split recessive



Normal X Recessive
= 100% Normal/Recessive




Dominant to Recessive Mating Table

ie. base colour yellow(green series budgies) is dominant
over base colour white (blue series budgies)



Dominant X Dominant
= 100% Dominant


Dominant X Dominant/Recessive
= 50% Dominant/Recessive
= 50% Dominant
NB: Visually you will be unable to tell which
dominants are also split recessive



Dominant X Recessive
= 100% Dominant/Recessive


Dominant/Recessive X Dominant/Recessive
= 25% Dominant
= 50% Dominant/Recessive
= 25% Recessive
NB: Visually you will be unable to tell which
dominants are also split recessive



Dominant/Recessive X Recessive
= 50% Dominant/Recessive
= 50% Recessive


Recessive X Recessive
= 100% Recessive




Sex Linked Mating Table

Sex Linked Varieties: Albino, Lutino, Opaline, Cinnamonwing,
Lacewing, Clearbody, Slate.


SL Cock X SL Hen
= SL Cocks
= SL Hens


SL Cock X Normal Hen
= Normal/SL Cocks
= SL Hens


Normal Cock X SL Hen
= Normal/SL Cocks
= Normal Hens


Normal/SL Cocks X Normal Hen
= Normal Cocks
= Normal/SL Cocks
= SL Hens
= Normal Hens
NB: Visually you will not be able to tell which
normals are also split for the SL gene



Normal/SL Cocks X SL Hen
= SL Cocks
= Normal/SL Cocks
= SL Hens
= Normal Hens
Key for Abbreviations: Genetic Abbreviations

Author: feathers aka Aly
Last update: 01-Sep-2008 09:03


Olives vs GreyGreens

How can I tell the difference between an Olive (bird with 2 dark factors) vs a GreyGreen (a green series bird with the added factor grey)?

Olives have dark blue/purple cheek patches and black-blue tails. Olive is a bird with 2 ark factors.  Dark factors are inherited from the parents based on how many dark factors they are carrying.

Grey-greens have silver grey patches and black tails.  Grey-green is when a green bird inherits a grey gene from it's parents. In blue birds, a bird that gets a grey gene would be grey.

Author: Elly
Last update: 01-Sep-2008 09:16


Difference between an Albino/Lutino VS Dark Eyed Clear VS Double Factor Spangle?

What is the difference between a Lutino/Ino and a Dark Eyed Clear (DEC) or a Double Factor Spangle?

These three birds can all be the same colour with the same amount of suffusion. The main difference is their eyes and the colour of the adult male's cere. There are other very subtle differences.

Lutinos (or albinos) have red eyes with an iris ring and the males cere will stay pink all his life.

Dark eyed clears have dark eyes with no iris ring. (As small babies in the nest their eyes are plum coloured). The male's cere will stay pink all it's life

Double factor spangle adults have black eyes with an iris ring and the adult male's cere is the normal blue colour.

Black Eyed Self (coming soon)

contributed by member: Neville

Author: Elly
Last update: 01-Sep-2008 09:14


Standard Requirement, for Cinnamon


Skyblue


Cheek Patches


Body Colour


Tail Feather

Note that Cinnamons has only 50% of normal body colour depth.
The wingmarkings are normally darker in the hens.



Information from PHT Budgerigars

Author:
Last update: 07-Nov-2008 10:57


Standard Requirement, for a Violet Cobalt (Visual Violet)


Visual Violet


Cheek Patches


Body Colour


Tail Feather

Note: The aim is to have a violet bodycolour with as much red tinge as possible.
The exhibition bird is the Violet Cobalt.
A Violet Skyblue can look like a Normal Cobalt.
The violet form can be mixed with all other varieties.


Information from PHT BudgerigarsThe above colorations are a little too purple for a "real" budgie here is an example of a violet that is visually being shown on a Cobalt Bird. Violet is an added factor so it can be on any series (blue or green) and any be in combination of dark factors (sky, cobalt, mauve OR light green, green or olive)

Photobucket

Ann aka Rainbow's Berry (Opaline, Dominant Pied Cobalt Violet)

 

 

 

 

 

Author:
Last update: 07-Nov-2008 11:16


Standard Requirement, for a Spangle


Spangle Violet Cobalt (Visual Violet)

Photobucket
Eye
Photobucket
Normal Wing Feather
Photobucket
Spangle Wing Feather

Photobucket
Cheek Patch
Photobucket

Body Colour

Photobucket
Photobucket
Tail Feathers

Note: A good contrast in markings is essential.

The body colour of a double factor Spangle in the green series should be light, medium, dark or grey yellow throughout dependent upon the number of dark factors or grey factor present in the genetical make-up, free from any odd green feathers or green suffusion.

The body colour of a double factor Spangle in the blue series should be pure white.

A slight collar of colour round the neck is acceptable.


Information from PHT Budgerigars

Author:
Last update: 07-Nov-2008 10:47


Standard Requirement for Yellowface Type I



Yellowface Skyblue Type 1 - Heterozygous Homozygous (Double Factor Yellow Face which is visually white)


Cheek Patches


Body Colour


Tail Feather

The heterozygous Yellowface mutant 1 is the exhibition form of the mutation.
There may be a slightly yellow wash in what would be white areas of the wings and tails, but the less there appears, the more clearly defined is the bird.
You can have this yellowface in Grey as well as in all others varieties.


Information from PHT Budgerigars

Author:
Last update: 07-Nov-2008 11:24


Standard Requirement, for the Dutch Pied

Author: birdluv
Last update: 11-Sep-2008 22:07


Standard Requirement, for Opaline Cinnamon


Opaline Cinnamon Skyblue


Cheek Patches


Body Colour


Tail Feather


Note that the Opaline Cinnamons shall have an area between the top of the wings with no markings and with the bodycolour.
This is called the V area.
The wing ground colour shall be the same as the body colour. The wingmarkings are cinnamon brown. The wingmarkings are normally darker in the hens.
Opaline Cinnamons has only 50% of normal body colour depth.


Information from PHT Budgerigar

Author:
Last update: 07-Nov-2008 11:32


Standard Requirement, for Opaline


Opaline Skyblue


Cheek Patches


Body Colour


Tail Feather

Note that the Opalines shall have an area between the top of the wings with no markings and with the bodycolour.
This is called the V area.
The wing ground colour shall be the same as the body colour.



Information from PHT Budgerigars

Author:
Last update: 07-Nov-2008 11:38


Standard Requirement, for Grey and Greygreen


Grey

Greygreen


Cheek Patches


Body Colour


Tail Feather

Note that Greys and Greygreens has black tail feathers.
The Greys must be free of blue tinge in bodycolour, and the Greygreens must be free of green tinge in bodycolour.


Information from PHT Budgerigars

Author:
Last update: 07-Nov-2008 11:43


Standard Requirement, for Lutinos and Albinos


Above: Albino


Above: Lutino



Cheek Patches


Body Colour - on the Lutino would be White on the Albino

- Lutino
- Albino
Tail Feather

The Albino shall be clear white without any blue or brown tinge.
The Lutino shall be clear yellow without any green or brown tinge.
The yellow body colour should be a rich buttercup yellow.
For both there shall be no markings at all.
The best way to investigate for tinge is to look at the upper rump in bright daylight.


Information from PHT Budgerigars

Author:
Last update: 07-Nov-2008 11:49


Standard Requirement, for a Danish Pied

Standard Requirement, for a Danish Pied (Recessive Pied), this is a recessive gene.

PhotobucketLight Green
PhotobucketGreen
PhotobucketOlive


PhotobucketCheek Patches


Photobucket Body Color


Photobucket
PhotobucketTail Color

The wings of the Danish Pied should have polka dots on white or yellow ground, random in pattern an distribution and covering approximately 10% to 20%.

The hens normally have more markings on the wings than the cocks.

There are no demand for spots, and odd dark feathers in primary wing flights are not faults.

Note if you pair a Danish Pied to a Dutch Pied (clearflight) you will get Dark-eyed Clear White or Dark-eyed Clear Yellow.

Information from PHT Budgerigars
.

Author: birdluv
Last update: 24-Sep-2008 12:04


Standard Requirement, for Australian Dominant Pied

Standard Requirement, for Australian Dominant Pied

PhotobucketSkyblue
PhotobucketCobalt


PhotobucketCheek Patch Patterns


PhotobucketBody Color

Tail feathers
For Greens: Clear buttercup yellow, dark blue or a mixture of both
For Blues: Clear white, dark blue or a mixture of both


Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket

For Greygreen: Clear buttercup yellow, black or a mixture of both
For Grey: Clear white, black or a mixture of both

The Australian Pied shall have six spots.
The head patch is optional.
Odd dark feathers in primary wing flights are not faults.


Information from PHT Budgerigars

Author: birdluv
Last update: 24-Sep-2008 11:51


Standard Requirement, for a Clearwing

Standard Requirement, for a Clearwing
Photobucket Light Green
Photobucket Green Bird
Photobucket Olive

Photobucket Body Color

 Photobucket Tail

Note that the Clear Wings has violet cheek patches, dark blue tail feathers and full body colour.

A Spangle with no markings on the wings can be mistaken with a Clear Wing, but the latter differ in cheek patches and tail feathers.

As the non Australian Clear Wings has markings on the wings to some extent, they can be mistaken with Grey Wings, but still - note the cheek patches, tail feathers and the body colour.


Information from PHT Budgerigars

Author: birdluv
Last update: 24-Sep-2008 11:38


Standard Requirement, for a Greywing

Photobucket Skyblue (50% dilutation throughout the body and wings are grey)

 Photobucket

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Full-Body Greywing (body color is bright and wings are grey)

 

 

Photobucket Grey

_______________________________________________________________________________

Photobucket
Photobucket Cheek Patches

Photobucket
Photobucket Body Color


Photobucket Photobucket  Tail Feathers

Tail Feathers Note that the Grey Wings has only 50% of normal body colour depth.

You can have a Grey wing with full bodycolour, this is a cross between Grey Wing and Clear Wing.

You can't have a Grey Wing split for Clear Wing then!

You can also have a Cinnamon Grey Wing, and as you normally don't see any cinnamon markings, but a Grey Wing with even more diluted wingmarking, it is very easy to take it for a Yellow or a White.

(These descriptions below are Normal Split/to the recessive gene)

NORMAL 100% melanine in body, cheekpatches, wings and tail
NORMAL/ grey wing 100% melanine in body, cheekpatches, wings and tail
NORMAL/ clear wing 100% melanine in body, cheekpatches, wings and tail
NORMAL/ diluted 100% melanine in body, cheekpatches, wings and tail

These descriptions below are the recessive gene (they can not be split)

GREY WING 50% melanine in body, cheekpatches, wings and tail
GREY WING WITH FULL BODYCOLOUR 100% melanine in body, cheekpatches and tail, 50% melanine in wings
CLEAR WING/ diluted 100% melanine in body, cheekpatches and tail, 5-10% melanine in wings
CLEAR WING 100% melanine in body, cheekpatches and tail, 5-10% melanine in wings
DILUTED 5-10% melanine in body, cheekpatches, wings and tail

Information from PHT Budgerigars 

Contributed by Daz

Author: birdluv
Last update: 18-Sep-2008 12:35


Standard Requirement, For A Lt Green, Dk Green Or Olive Bird.

PhotobucketNormal Green

PhotobucketDark GreenPhotobucketOlive

 PhotobucketCheek Patch

 PhotobucketBody Colour

PhotobucketTail Feather

Note: There should be no Green colour in the Wings.

To understand the Dark Factors that create the 3 different color of greens read this article Dark Factors: Green Series

Author: birdluv
Last update: 18-Sep-2008 11:36


Show Standard: Skyblue, Cobalt, Mauve

PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

Skyblue (No Dark Factors)               Cobalt (1 dark factor)                 Mauve (2 dark factors)

Cheek Patches Photobucket

Body Color Photobucket

Tail Feather Photobucket

Note: There should be no blue in the wings

Information from PHT Budgerigars

Author: Daz
Last update: 11-Sep-2008 21:26


Dark Factors: Blue Series

Dark factors affects the base colour of the bird no matter it’s mutation.  Not all birds carry dark factors.
In budgerigars that are lacking color showing (as in albino and lutino) the dark factor mayl exist but will be hidden visually.

Here we will review only the Blue Series, we also have another FAQ dedicated to the Green Series

Which is abbreviated with the letters: dd, Dd or DD. Or with the numbers 0, 1, 2

dd / 0 = No dark factors appear as sky blue or light green
Dd / 1 = Single dark factor appears as cobalt or dark green
DD / 2 = Double dark factors appear as mauve or olive


Blue Series
All three variations have white and black stripes that wave their way over the wings and back. The differences lie in body and tail colors.

SKYBLUE - No Dark Factor - dd

A blue (white-based) budgie with no dark factor is called sky blue.
The body color of the Skyblue is bright. The tail feathers of the Skyblue are bluish black

Below is a Dominant Opaline Skyblue Hen

skyblue opaline dom pied

COBALT Single dark factor - Dd A blue (white-based) budgie with 1 dark factor is called a Cobalt.
The Cobalt's body comes in a deep cobalt blue and is much darker than the Skyblue. The tail of the Cobalt is also darker than that of the skyblue.

Below is a Cobalt Greywing

greywing

MAUVES Double dark factors DD Are a deep Blue Gray color. The Mauve variation has a mauve colored body and an even darker tail than that of the Skyblue or Cobalt

 mauve spangle

Author: Neat
Last update: 12-Sep-2008 20:36


Dark Factors: Green Series

Dark factors affects the base colour of the bird no matter it's mutation. Not all birds carry dark factors.
In budgerigars that are lacking color showing (as in albino and lutino) the dark factor mayl exist but will be hidden visually.

Here we will review only the Green Series, we also have another FAQ dedicated to the Green Series

Which is abbreviated with the letters: dd, Dd or DD. Or with the numbers 0, 1, 2

dd / 0 = No dark factors appear as sky blue or light green
Dd / 1 = Single dark factor appears as cobalt or dark green
DD / 2 = Double dark factors appear as mauve or olive

Green Series
All three varieties possess purple cheek patches and yellow masks. Like the Blue Budgie they all possess throat spots consisting of three black spots on both sides of the throat. All three varieties have light yellow wings and green bodies. The differences lie in the coloring of the body plumage.

LIGHT GREEN - No Dark Factor - dd The body color of the Light Green is bright. The tail feathers of the Light Green are bluish black  Pictured below - Light Green Dominant Pied Opaline Hen

Photobucket

DARK GREEN Single dark factor - Dd A Green (Yellow-based) budgie with 1 dark factor is called a Dark Green. The Dark Green body comes in a deep Green and is much darker than the Light Green. The tail of the Dark Green is also darker than that of the Light Green Pictured Below - Normal Dark Green Cock

Photobucket

OLIVE GREEN Double dark factors DD The Olive body comes in a deep Olive Green and is much darker than the Dark Green. Olives have dark blue/purple cheek patches and black-blue tails. Pictured below: Normal Olive Hen

Photobucket

Review Green Show Standards read this article Standard Requirement, For A Lt Green, Dk Green Or Olive Bird.

Author: Neat
Last update: 18-Sep-2008 11:44


Dilutes vs Greywings vs Clearwings

Many times it is difficult to determine whether your bird is greywing, dilute, clearflight, or clearwing (whitewing).

In the dilute, dilution of color can be anywhere from 5%-95%. All the feathers on the bird will have the same level of dilution. The bird will look 'washed out' all over. It can be difficult to tell a dilute from a greywing for this reason, as the more dilution that occurs, the "greyer" the flights get. Since greywings are of 50% intensity to normal, if the bird has very light grey wings as well as a very light body color, most likely the bird is dilute and not greywing.

The clearwing/whitewing is a bird of normal intensity except the wing feathers (all of them, not just the flights) are white. Light grey is permissible, as the pure white is difficult to achieve. Hence, the opportunity for confusion with greywing unless you know the characteristics. The body color is sometimes slightly diluted, but not more than 10% of normal. The spots and stripes are very light grey. The tail is not white, but rather is somewhat neutral suffused with the body color. Clearwing and whitewing can be interchangeable terms.

With the greywing, the flight feathers are diluted at about 50% intensity from normal, and the body of the bird is diluted at the same percentage. The flight feathers will have a light edging of the face color. The tail is grey with a bluish tinge. A full-bodied greywing will have the 50% dilution of the wings, flights, spots, and barring but will have as close to normal intensity of body color as possible. I think Blossom here is a good example of a full-bodied greywing. Notice the strip of blue on her flights is also diluted from the normal, and you can make out the light edging around her flights. Her tail is greyish-blue, with the grey being more at the center of the feather and the blue suffusion extends out and down. Her spots are also diluted at the same percentage as her wings. However her body color is close to normal. You can compare the color of the wings and tail with Skittles in the second picture to get an idea of what 50% looks like.

Photobucket

Photobucket

***She also has a few other mutations besides being full-bodied greywing. Does anyone want to guess what they are?***


When breeding for a specific trait, you need to know that there are 4 factors that could reside that the same place on the chromosome that are responsible for these mutations. Greywing, Clearwing and Dilute factors are all recessive to the normal gene. Meaning if mated with a normal, the resulting babies will be split. The Greywing factor is semi-dominant over the Clearwing factor and is dominant over the Dilute factor. The Clearwing factor is dominant over the Dilute factor. Dilutes cannot be split for Clearwing or Greywing.

Sometimes people get the terms clearflight and clearwing confused. The clearflight (also known as continental clearflight or Dutch Dominant Pied) is a pied, and the flights and tail will be white. If the tail is not white, the bird is not a clearflight. Body color everywhere else will be of normal intensity, unless there is a dilute gene present also. As the gene for piedness resides in a different place than the gene for dilute, you can have a dilute pied. Blossom the greywing was the product of two pieds - Skittles the variegated pied (above in the second picture) and an opaline clearflight dilute pied.

Contributed by Ann aka rainbow

*********************************************************************************************************

*********************************************************************************************************

Genetics:  Greywing is dominant over dilute and Greywing and Clearwing together create Full Body Greywing which is a bird with a bright colored body but greywings. 


Greywing can be split for dilute                                             
Clearwing can be split for dilute
Greywing & Clearwing are co-dominant

Greywing and Clearwing are dominant over dilute
So example if you bred a Normal split to greywing and normal split to dilute budgie you would get 75% Normal 25% Greywing NO dilutes

Normal can be split for dilute OR greywing OR clearwing

A dilute can not be split at all because dilute is recessive to both of the genes above so a dilute budgie is dilute period no split.

So for example: If you bred a Greywing split to Dilute x Clearwing split to Dilute this would be the offspring possible %
25% Full-body-color greywing
(remember the greywing and the clearwing combined create this combination because greywing and clearwing are co-dominant which means they don't dominante each other)
25% Greywing
25% Clearwing
25% Dilute

Author: Elly
Last update: 25-Nov-2008 08:42


Show Budgerigar

What is a show bird

A show bird (also known as an exhibition budgerigar or English Budgerigar) is a bird that has been bred to 'show' or be judged in budgerigar shows.

It is not just a bird that is bred and placed in a show cage for a judge to see. To qualify as a 'show bird' it must want to show. Budgerigars have the ability to throw the feathers on their forehead (frontal feathers) forward and up. This is called the "blow". This is part of showing. Much like a Peacock that shows off his tail to a Peahen. The shape and stance is also very much on show. When a budgerigar 'shows' it really does look like it has attitude.

A breeder who wishes to show their birds will put their best budgies into show cages to train them and it is from this training that a breeder will decide which of his birds will join his 'show team'.

Author: feathers
Last update: 22-Apr-2007 15:38


Type of Classes in the Show Ring

In Australia, breeders are divided into three classes: Novice, Intermediate and Open (or Champion)

To progress through these classes you must consistantly win at shows with the budgerigars that you exhibit.

Most clubs put on regular shows, and at these shows you are awarded points, depending on how well your birds do. When you achieve enough points within a certain period you move to the next level.

The higher the level, of course, the better your standard of birds are and the more they would cost for others to buy.

If you look through Exhibition Breeders web sites you might see that they call themselves "Champion Breeders". This means their birds win at the Champion level.

At a State and National level you cannot show a bird that you haven't bred. However, some clubs will allow Beginner breeders to show birds they have bought for the first 12 months. This is to give new breeders experience at showing birds while they build their own stud of owner bred budgerigars.

Author: Daz
Last update: 15-Aug-2008 18:34


Can you show a bird you have not bred?

Please copy and paste back in.
The answer is: It depends on the Budgerigar Club that you join.

In State and National budgerigar shows in Australia, any birds you show must have been bred (and ringed) by the exhibitor that is showing those birds.

However many clubs do allow Novice breeders to show birds that they have bought for the first twelve months only. This allows the exhibitor to get experience at showing birds whilst they are breeding and ringing their own budgies.

For all intermediate and champion breeders it is different. In these classes the birds must have been owner bred. These are birds that you have taken the time, care and atention to take the hatched eggs through to the 'Nest Feather' (fledgling) stage. You then have the right to put your own coded breeders rings on these budgies. To obtain your own rings you must belong to a registered Budgerigar or Bird Club. Ring on Budgie Leg



Author: Daz and Kaz
Last update: 22-Apr-2007 15:35


Can you co-own show budgies?

Yes, this is possible. As individual breeders breed better and better birds they become more expensive to buy at private sales or auctions. To be able to afford to buy some of these top class birds some people form syndicates. The offspring from these birds are then shown under the syndicated name eg. Church and O'Rielly or The Jones Family etc.

Non syndicated birds are shown under the individual breeders name (e.g. I show under my own name)

Author: Daz
Last update: 22-Apr-2007 15:34


Is there a limit of how many birds can be shown at a bird show?

There is no limit at the present time here in Australia. To show birds it costs $0.50 per entry. Some breeders show 20 - 30 birds at each show (or more).

However, you can only enter in one class e.g. Novice. You can enter as many divisions as you like and show more than one bird in each division.

In Australia these divisions are determined by the Australian National Budgerigar Council. These are some of the divisions:

Normal Green (except grey green)
Normal Grey Green
Normal Blue (Except grey)
Normal Grey
Black Eyed Self
Lutino
Albino
Greywing
Cinnamonwing
Clearbody
Lacewing
Clearwing
Recessive Pied
Saddleback
Crested
Yellow Faced Blue
Fallow
Dominant Pied

There are several more divisions - as outlined in the ANBC publication "The Standard", which is available through local budgerigar clubs

Author: daz
Last update: 22-Apr-2007 15:33


Who can show birds?

Anyone is able to show birds, as long as they are registered with a Budgerigar or Bird Club. In many cases these clubs will allow a new member to show birds that they have bought from another breeder, however after 12 months all birds shown must be budgies that have been bred by the club member.

Author: feathers
Last update: 22-Apr-2007 15:32


About how much should I expect to pay for a show bird?

It depends on where you live and the quality of the bird. It has been said that "show birds" cannot be bought as a truly good show bird is one that is prized and kept by its breeder.

However you can buy its brothers and sisters and other birds from it's bloodline. These birds would have very similar genetic material as the champion bird it is related to. You would be buying what is called "stock birds"...the budgies that you will breed with to generate your own show birds.

For a stock bird you may pay as little as $20 AUD up to $800 AUD. However, I have heard of birds selling for several thousand of dollars. The average price most breeders pay is around $150 to $300 a good bird, but cashed up serious breeders may pay $1,000 to $4,500 for that "special one."  Contributed by BBC member: Kaz

Here is an example of my experience. I purchased a cock which costed me $80.00au at an auction. The hen cost me $30.00au direct from a breeder. In hind sight I could have gotten a decent pair for $60.00AU to $100.00AU directly from a breeder which may have saved me some money.
Contributed by member: Daz from AU

Author: Kaz and Daz
Last update: 06-May-2007 15:27


Exhibition Point System

In Australia there is a scale of points which is used when judging an exhibition (or show) budgerigar. This is a guide to the relative importance of exhibition features.

TYPE: General conformation, including size, balance, deportment, condition, head size and shape, and depth and width of mask - earn up to 60 points

COLOUR: Quality of colour in body, ground areas and markings - earn up to 25 points

MARKINGS: Pattern and clear definition or absence as required by variety standards - earn up to 15 points


When judging a budgerigar the bird is compared to the 'Ideal Model" of the time. A picture of which and the Description of Perfection is published in Australia by the Australian National Budgerigar Council (ANBC) in its publication "The Standard".

The Description of Perfection includes points such as:

  • The bird is to taper gracefully and be well proportioned according to the pictorial of the time, standing well off the perch, at an angle of approximately 30 degrees from vertical
  • The ideal length is 240mm measured from the crown to the tip of the tail
  • The ideal tail length is 35% of the bird
  • Legs and Feet: To be clean, with two front and two rear toes and claws gripping the perch

Each Country and Budgerigar Association will have their own Points Scale, Picture and Description of Perfection.

Author: Daz
Last update: 06-May-2007 15:24


Is there a particular mutation that is desired or valued within the show ring?

All birds of good quality, that are close to the "ideal budgerigar" are valued. However good quality "normals" are always in demand for breeding. Normals include Normal Greens, Blues and Grey birds without other mutations such as a pied gene.

A normal blue or green is required more for breeding as it will assist in producing better quality chicks. That is why top breeders reccomend pairing a spangle (or other mutation) to a good normal.

Many breeders 'specialise' in a particular variety, such as inos or spangle etc, and these varieties occassionally need to be bred with a good normal in order to increase their size and other qualities required in a show bird.

Budgerigar Shows, of course, have the full arrange of mutations.

Author: Daz
Last update: 24-Apr-2007 15:34


What is the diet of a show bird?

Show birds are feed the same basic feed as any other budgie but the breeders usually demand a better quality seed that has a higher nutritional value.Good seeds are often individually mixed using ingredients such as canary seed and different millets. Breeder use different ratios of these seeds based on what they believe is best for their stock. Breeders also use various additives that they give to the birds as well as feeding soft foods and vegetables

Different breeders also have different water management programs where by the birds are given supplements such as Probotic, Vitamins, Calcium, and other mixes that are a closely keep secret. I, personally, use Apple Cider Vinegar to stop Megabacteria. Others use oranges to assist feather quality and shine.

Newly hatched chicks are fed a high protein mix to assist their growth.

Contributed by BBC member Daz from AU



Many breeders mix their own quality seed this works on two fronts.

1.the breeder knows what is in the mix and what the ratio #'s are
2.in the United Kingdom you don't pay VAT (value added tax) on single seeds but you do on mixes. This makes mixing your own seed blends more affordable.

There are major seed makers the biggest two, in the UK, will be Bucktons (sponsors of the Budgie Society) and Johnsons and Jeff's Bucktons. They have approximately 20 different mixes that you can buy, from simple 50/50 to champion blend etc.

For extras nutrients, I personally, would say soaked groats which are a pretty popular extra then the usual vegetables. Carrots being a favorite with boiled egg.
I also use vitamins and other supplements.

Contributed by BBC member hath in UK

Author: Daz and Hath
Last update: 25-Apr-2007 15:44


Standards for cheek spots, throat spots?

Cheek spots are found on the cheeks of the bird.  Throat spots are found on the neck of the bird and are sometimes called the necklace. Nearly all varieties are required to have 6 large round throat spots. Some birds will need to have their throat spots despotted which is part of the grooming process and getting ready for a show.
 
Cheek spots are required to be a certain color. Example: Greys and Greygreens should be grey in color.
 
Certain varieties such as albinos, lutinos, recessive pieds are exempt
 

Author:
Last update: 10-Apr-2007 21:43


Dressing or grooming your bird for show day

The birds should be dressed before the show. This startes with the attention to damaged or broken feathers. Cutting them will intiate the process for the body to replace it. (Hopefully before the show) Closer to the show time The throat spots that are in the wrong place or too many are removed by cutting or lightly plucking. The birds is bathed in a mild shampoo. The birds that have white heads eg Normal blues hae baby powder dusted in there feathers to enhanse the white colour. in the last week leaing up to the show the birds are lightly srayed with a fine mist of water to encourage preaning that releases the natural oils in the feathers. So at the time of the show the bird is in the best condition. Obviously the birds need to be brough into Show condition which is different to breeding condition.
rn

Author: Elly
Last update: 10-Apr-2007 21:52


How are show birds housed?

Show budgies are housed with the other birds in flights or aviaries. It is only when the show time comes that they are then prepared for the big show. Dressing or grooming your bird for show day

Show bird usually have a more relaxed charactor than the average bird. The chicks are handled often to inspect the growth and look of the birds. The hens rarely bite and not as bad if they do.  So when it is time for showing them they are used to the procedures.

They are placed in stock cages a week before the show to protect them and make it easier to handle.

All the birds are feed well. What is the diet of a show bird?

The top show bird is well looked after as well as is the birds that he/she came from.

Author: Elly
Last update: 11-Apr-2007 04:59


Studding Services

That is a matter for the breeders. Some club members may do this for nothing. You still have to remember to always quarantine for at least 35 days. Then the breeding this process can take up to 3 months from the time the bird leaves the original breeder until it gets back. The original breeder can't use it until it goes back through the quarantine period on the way back. So with this you either take a chance in losing a lot of birds by bringing in a disease or you just don't do it.

Author: Daz
Last update: 11-Apr-2007 03:43


Faults on show birds

Flecking: is when the frontal feathers have black markings. Flecked birds are penalised for not having clean frontals. Fleck birds though can give better head shapes. Offsprings from Flecked birds can be flecked themselves. It is a feature that is wanted in breeding but not on the bench. If you have a fleck bird you must make sure to have good recordes to track it.

Yellowface Type 2: is another fault. Where the yellow bleeds from the face mask into the chest of the bird and can spread with molting. The body colouring of many varieties must be solid.

Yellowface Type I is not faulted.

Questions about Showing Yellowfaces

1. Are their any points taken away for showing Yellow face birds? Yes any suffusion (bleed) of green into the body gets penalized.
2. What do I look for to make sure they are a good yellow face budgie?
If your wanting to start with show birds then the same points as a normal bird. This would be my thoughts although I'm only just starting with show birds.
3. Are their any good pairings for yellowface? (Faults to good things or colors or other mutations)just watch for suffusion in the birds (the type 2 yellowfaces) Crossed wings: wings that cross over each other instead of following a straight line.

Toes: three toes pointing forward instead of two means diqualification.

Tail feathers: birds missing both primary tailfeathers- disqualified

Cere: an all brown cere on a cockbird is reason for disqualification, evidence of mites or scaly face, or an underlying illness.

This is a generalization.

Author:
Last update: 29-Feb-2008 09:07


Prizes for the Winner

Author: Daz
Last update: 11-Apr-2007 05:32


How time consuming can it become?

Everyone is different this is what I personally for my budgies .

  • I spend 1/2 hour every morning feeding restocking the seed. checking the nests and bird.
  • I spend 1/2 hour every night changing the water, rechecking the seed and rechecking the nests and birds.
  • I spend 3 hours on a Saturday cleaning the cages and flights, rechecking the seed and rechecking the nests and birds.
  • I go to the Club meeting 1 1/2 hours once a month. And try to get to as many shows as I can.

The above is the minimum I'd have to spend. I spend a lot more just standing and watching the birds. :-)

Contributed by BBC Member: Daz

Author: Daz
Last update: 11-Apr-2007 05:13


How are show birds identified at the show?

Some breeders will name there birds. Jo Mannes has names such as Hurculies and Apollo. Very powerful names. You do not need to use a number to enter the bird. Here you tell the organisers how many birds you have in each division and they will give you a sticker with a code number on them.

The number tells the number of show bird not the ring number. EG my bird could be Class 22 No. 623.  Class 22 is Opaline Hen. And the bird is no 623 in the show. The Bird I entered was PR-6 389 but that is not shown anywhere.

Legring numbers are for your own identification and have nothing to do with shows. A bird has to have one to be shown but it isnt used in a show.

If a legring code is used in a show its like identifying a bird as belonging to a breeder and therefore a judge will know whos bird it is.

The idea being that all show cages are the same and UNMARKED so that noone, especially a judge knows who owns the bird when it is judged.

The same applies to legrings...they are not used to enter a bird in a show nor is the legring code used anywhere on the show cage as it would be an identity of the bird and a judge could base his decision on the breeder of that bird.

The idea is anonymous birds so they win on their own merits.

 

Author: Daz & Kaz
Last update: 11-Apr-2007 06:03


Cross breeding "pet" budgies to "show" budgies

If you cross bred these two different types of budgies could you create a better quality show budgie?

It depends on the bird. you will see that most pet birds here have very small heads and small spots. This is not wanted in a show bird.  I have seen people with pet birds that have good features and might help a beginner like myself get started.

Author: Daz
Last update: 11-Apr-2007 05:21


Standards for different mutations

Check out our Show Standards and read about the mutation you are looking for. Show Standards

Author: Daz
Last update: 11-Apr-2007 06:06


Definition of "stock" bird

A reminder to all, breeders do not buy champion birds.  What we buy is stock birds.

Stock birds are where the next winning bird on the bench comes from. They are usually the sisters, brothers, cousins, etc..... of the birds that won his/her division or show.

You will hear the term "Buying Blood". It is considered that the genetic make up of the winning bird could also lie in its family. So hopefully, if you buy the offspring or related bird to the champion you might breed a champion too

For more information visit our forum. Stock Bird Information

Author: Daz
Last update: 11-Apr-2007 06:19


What is the correct "posture" or "stand" in when being shown?

"The bird is to taper gracefully and be well proportioned according to the pictorial of the time, standing well off the perch , at an angle of approximately 30 degrees from vertical, with the beak tucked deep into the mask, backline sweeping gently, in a slight concave from the backscull to the tip of the tail. Bodyline to curve out from the beak through the mask to the chest and then taper back to the lower tail converts of the tail." from THE STANDARD

Posture is called the stance. Perfect posture is to line the eye of the bird in a vertical line with the perch.

Author: Kaz
Last update: 11-Apr-2007 03:23


How do you teach the birds to stand in the position for the judges?

Training for the show cage begins a few weeks after fledging. Most cockbirds will "show" as it is part of their nature to show off and blow their head feathers forward. Hens of a show type also know when to "show" as training in the show cage has prepared them for staying on the perch at least for a time. A judge will give a bird an amount of time to "show" and any bird that wont stay on the perch for showing purposes cannot be judged. However judges give the birds some encouragement to get back up on their perch for showing by use of a small baton like stick and various other tricks to encourage a restless bird to perch.

Author: Kaz
Last update: 11-Apr-2007 03:23


Creating a Plan

When many decide to get into the show budgerigar side they are usually looking at the open class birds on the bench, at shows, on web sites or in books. The breeders of these birds have been breeding for many years or decades. Some like Gerald Binks have put their whole life into it.

The new breeders/novices start with dreams of breeding the top show birds in the first or at least the second season. This is not, in the majority of novices, going to happen. The only way to get close to this is to have an endless supply of money and to start with buying the top birds.

So what is the new show breeder to do? With my short experience in this area, I think I am on to the right direction. Make a plan. As many in different occupations say we don't plan to fail, just fail to plan.

Mine is a five year plan. I am currently in my second year of my plan and have feed back that I am on the right track.

My Surgested Plan.

1st Year. Start by joining a club and listen to all the members. See who is winning and ask if you can visit their aviary.
While there, ask questions.
  • How have they set up their breeding rooms?
  • What are they feeding their birds in the flights?
  • What do they look for in a bird to see if they are coming into breeding condition?
  • How do they set up their birds? Some put the hen in first for a few days before introducing the cock.
  • What do they feed the breeding pair?
  • How do they set up the nest box and what type and size is it.
  • What do they feed the pair when the chicks hatch?

.....and so forth.
Don't stop at the first Aviary. Visit as many as you can. Everyone has a different way to do things.
Be advised by them and act on it.

Go to shows and try to get a job stewarding.
Stewarding is bringing the birds from the holding area to the "Bench" for the judge. If you are lucking the judge will tell you what he is looking at and why he picked one bird over another. You will learn to tell the difference between Double factor spangles, Lutinos and Dark eyed clears. You will learn to recognise the difference between grey wings and cinnamons. You will also see why some birds are penalised.

After a few shows and visits to aviaries and attending club meetings, 6 months or so has pasted, you can start to think about either the birds you have and/or the birds you are going to buy. You start to think about the aviary you have and/or going to build. Some members might give you birds to start you off and even help with your first pairing.

2nd Year Now comes the crunch. 12 months has past since you though that it might be good to breed and show birds. You are now alone in your aviary with your birds breeding with chicks. With the experience you have had and back up of the members in your club you should have the confidence to take the chicks from the egg to the perch, to the nursery and in to the stock cage. You must remember that this takes time. The chicks will be in the nursery from the time they are capable of feeding themselves until 60 days old.

It is at this stage that the new breeder evaluated the birds. This is when the first heart aches start. He looks at his new chicks and compares them to the birds in the top breeder’s aviaries or the show bench or the book he is reading by the top breeders. Guest what. They are a bit small. They don't seem to have that puffy head, the spots are small, the head is pointy the bird won't stand on the perch straight enough... etc.
The breeder now is despondent. What happened..? Well nothing went wrong. You have just set the foundation to what could be a great stud. You have to wait. This is a chick still a nest feather, an ugly duck. What you first called a pink blob is now feathered and not the Miss or Mister World of the budgie world.
Unfortunately this is the time when most new breeders sell their chicks. Thinking that they won't amount to much and that it was a waste of time breeding them. Don't do it!

The next thing to do is to make sure you look after these birds. Remember what the top breeders do and move them to the stock cages and leave them until they are 90 days old. They should now b undressing there baby clothes and moulting into their kids outfits. After their moult it is time to move them into their own flight and leave them to mature. Come back in 6 months time to see how they have matured and you should now see the effects of time and your good management. You might be surprised.

At 12 months old they still have not reached their peak, it won't be until they are 18 months that you will see the best in them.

3rd Year Ok next stage. If you have a large Aviary and can have many birds, great but for many, culling starts at 12 months. By now you should have been to many shows and seen the quality of what is being shown. You should have spent 3/4 of the time looking at the novice section to see what they have brought on to the bench. Hopefully you will be arrogant enough to think to yourself. "I have a better one at home; I could have beaten that one." This is when your "Eye for detail" starts to develop.
You should know what birds are best to keep and what should be culled. (Culled meaning to remove by selling or given away). Where do you start? Those 3 pair that you might have started with had 4 chicks each in two clutches each. You now have 24 chicks. This is where the help from good Club members will be essential. I would try to end up with 1: 2 cocks to hens. Now you might say that I only had two cocks in all that breeding, well unless they are bad I might keep them. If they are bad I would think about out crossing a good cock or two.

Now you should start thinking about pairing for the next season. Look at relationships and don't forget the original birds you started with.

It should be from the next pairings that you should start to see an improvement. So long as you have paired them correctly. This is where the help from good Club members will be essential. Now you can start to think about your Show team. You might have a few chicks from the previous season that has improved enough to be tried on the bench. You might have some Nest feathers, (Chicks that haven't gone through their first moult) that might be good enough for the bench. Put them up. Showing birds in Australia is cheap. It costs 50 cents per bird. If the birds are not good enough to win the judge is usually happy to discuss the down falls. This is a learning stage.

4th year you might have had a few places or even a few wins. You have had your ups and downs. You have had deaths and successes. You know that you have a long way to go but your birds are improving and you involvement with the club has been paying off through hard work and assistance given. You gone to many shows and can see what is needed in your birds to advance. You now have a good team and you start to get constant wins and the points gathered start to elivate you to intermediate status.

5th Year This is the year you need to work hard and hopefully be elevated to Intermediate Class and then you can start to think about the top. By the end of the year, you start to compare your birds to the photos that brought you into this fancy those 5 years ago and think it I am now getting close……..


As I said I am in my second year and have had great assistance by the members of my club. I have shown in my first show and came second with one bird. I am now preparing a team of 6 to go to the next show. This is with the help of a club member. He thinks I have a very good shot at two firsts. I might win I might not place. I know one thing, I will be leaving the show with more knowledge than when I started and it will be another stepping block on to more successes in the future.

Author: Written by: Daz
Last update: 15-Apr-2007 16:07


How long are you in a certain class before you have to move up?

Novice to Intermediate is 3 years and you must get 8 points at one club showing.. By that I mean in three years if you go to PRBS Show which is held twice a year and gain 2 points at each show, in three years you would have 12 points at that Club show and would go up to intermediate.  If you are blitzing the shows with great birds, it is in the interest of everyone that you go up.

Author: Daz
Last update: 25-Apr-2007 15:58


Where do I show this Bird?

It's great to breed that winner get it ready for the show and then find out on the day that you entered him in the wrong section.

Happens at every show.

So how do you know where to show that Spangle Opaline Cinnamonwing Shyblue Hen.


... In the Blue class?
... in the Cinnamon class?
... in the Opaline Class?
... In the Spangle class? Yes

So can I show an Opaline Cinnamon in the Opaline Class ... yes! (for the nationals)

Some Association have there own rules on this one. In SQ (South Queensland) there is a different section for Opaline Cinnamons it's the Opaline ASV.

You can now download the Australian Standard from the ANBC Site.
The Standard - Updated
It doesn't have the pictorials which is only in the hard copy.
It does come with the current upgrades that all Club Members should have.

To decide were to put that bird, there is a matrix that we use.

Primary Colours

1. Normal Green Series which include Light Green, Dark Green, Olive and Grey Green
2. Normal Blue Series which include Sky, Cobalt, Mauve and Grey
3. Black Eyed Self
4. Red Eyed Self which is the Albino and Lutino .
5. Clearwing
6. Greywing
7. Cinnamonwing
8. Spangle Double Factor.

No Combinations of these Sections (1 - 8) are recognised.

9. Opaline but can have a combination of these sections. 3, 5, 6, 7
10. Clearbody But can have combinations of this section 9
11. Lacewing """" sections 9
12. Fallow """"""" sections 6, 9
13. Yellowface Blue """"" sections 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
14. Spangle """""" Sections 6, 7, 9, 12, 13
15. Dominant Pied """" Section 6, 7, 9, 12, 13, 14
16. Danish Recessive Pied """" Sections 6, 7, 9, 12, ´13, 14
17 Any Other Standard Variety
18 Crested """"" 1, to 17 as above.


So I would place a Yellowface Opaline Skyblue hen ..... in section 13 Yellowface.

As said some regions have there own slight changes to the Sections and you have to be sure that you know them before entering. It is very disapointing geting wrong class with an outstanding bird...




Author: Daz
Last update: 08-Dec-2008 08:56


Budgerigar Breeding

Are the eggs fertile?

A hen will lay her eggs every 2 days. These may be marked with a non toxic felt pen or pencil. You can check the fertility of each egg approximately 5 days after it was laid by holding the eggs in front of a torch beam.

If the egg is fertile you should see little red veins. If the egg is not fertile you could see a few different things: nothing (could mean chick is so developed that it fills the entire shell) or you could see large off centre air pockets. If you are inexperienced it would be best to leave the eggs with the hen regardless as you may have mis-interpreted what you saw.

Read this link for additional information: Can I touch the eggs with my hands?

A good discussion to read before you decide an egg is not fertile: About Candling

If you arent comfortable candling the eggs ....handling them at this stage....you can tell by the colour of the egg. The fertile ones are a solid white..the infertile ones are a creamy pinkish colour.

Fertile egg on the left ...infertile egg on the right ........see the difference in colour ?

Photobucket

Author: Bea
Last update: 03-Sep-2008 12:20


Breeding Age

Both males and females should be at least 1 year old before being bred.Some breeders even recommend waiting until at least 15 months.

They are able to breed younger than this but are not emotionally ready for the stress of raising chicks. A young hen may look like she is in breeding condition with a very dark brown, flaky cere. This is an indication that she is growing, not a sign that she is ready to raise a clutch.

A hen that is ready to breed should be over a year old and under 4 years. She should be in good physical condition (not under or over weight) and should have a dark chocolate brown cere.

A cock in breeding condition will be in good physical condition, over 1 year old and have a deep blue cere (with the exception of those mutations in which males have a pink cere-albinos, lutinos, and recessive pieds).  Click here to see an example: Examples

If either gender bird is moulting it would be wise to remove the nest box as moulting and raising chicks would take too much out of a budgie.

Breeding your budgies too early can result in failed clutches such as infertile eggs, eggs not being properly sat on, breaking of eggs, egg bound (which can kill your hen) and more. Be patience and wait to the appropriate age.

Author: Bea
Last update: 06-May-2007 15:52


Incubation Time

From when the egg is laid it will be approximately 18 days until the chick hatches. Eggs are laid 2 days apart and hatch in the order they were laid. Some breeders will number the eggs so the first one is number 1, the second one is number 2 and so forth. A water based marker pen or pencil will work. Please make sure any pen you use is not oil based as this can kill the chick.

Author: Bea
Last update: 13-Apr-2007 02:09


How can I tell if the hen is feeding the chicks?

It is extremely easy to see whether or not the hen is feeding the new chicks. They will have a full sack on the front of the neck/chest area and if they are being fed.  The sack (called the crop) will be filled with a milky substance. As the chicks get older you may start to notice seeds in the crop milk, this is normal. If the crop is filled with air then you need to seek the advice of a good breeder or avian vet on how to release the air.

Author: Bea
Last update: 13-Apr-2007 17:51


When do the chicks leave the nesting box or fledge?

The chicks leave the box (fledge) between 4 and 5 weeks of age. However, they should not be removed from their parents until they can crack seeds competently on their own.

This is usually at about 6 weeks of age. Six weeks is not always the exact age, more a guideline. Some chicks may be able to eat on their own before then and some may take a little longer.

Author: Bea
Last update: 19-May-2007 15:58


Breeding Budgies - What do I need?

Before you make the decision to breed your budgies you need to ask yourself some questions:
  •  have you thoroughly researched what you're getting into
  • do you have the money to take the parents/chicks to an avian vet should the need arise
  • do you have the time to hand rear the chicks should the hen abandon them
  • do you have homes for the potential chicks to go to once they fledge
  • do you have the space for the potential chicks to live should the planned homes fall through
    • If you answered no to any off these questions then you should rethink your decision. Breeding budgies is not as easy as throwing in a male and female budgie and adding a nesting box. You will need 2 mature (over 1 year old) budgies, one male and one female, that are healthy and 100% unrelated. Both budgies should also be in breeding condition. The hen should have a cere (the coloured part above the beak) that is chocolate brown, and the Cock should have a cere that is a dark blue or dark purple colour (depending on the mutation for the cock).
      It would be best to buy from a breeder who can tell you more about the birds parentage.

      You will also need a spacious cage, such as a breeding cabinet or regular cage, that can comfortably hold the adults and up to 8 chicks for 2 - 3 months. If you use a breeding cage there will be a specific place that you can place the nesting box. If not you may have to just put the box on the floor of the cage.

      For the duration of egg laying and the raising of the chicks, it is especially important that you provide the pair with a cuttle bone, iodine block and lots of fresh vegetables. You should also provide the pair with regular egg and biscuit mix, this will help them to produce crop milk to feed the chicks. You should also have some hand rearing mix and some syringes on hand just in case you need to hand rear the chicks for one reason or another.

    Author: Bea
    Last update: 06-Mar-2008 09:09


    My hen will not lay an egg

    There could be a problem with the hen or cock's fertility.

    Some factors to consider when dealing with an infertile pair of birds are as follows:

    1. The ovary may be non-functional because the bird is really a male, too old, too young or ovary is diseased.
    2. The nest box is unsuitable
    3. The paired birds are incompatible amd have not bonded
    4. Not the proper season
    5. They may not be in breeding condition
    6. poor diet
    7. stressful environment.
    8. perches unsuitable for mating.
    9. males nails are too sharp for the female to allow mating.
    10. they are not fertile

    Instead of stressing out the two birds it is advisable to give them a break and try again down the road.  If it happens again you should probably pair them up with a different mate.

    clipping the feathers around the female's vent can help in some cases.

    Author: Daz
    Last update: 01-Sep-2008 09:02


    Have hen and cock bonded?

    Bonds are formed outside the breeding season in the aviaries and once formed they stay together throughout the year. The cock and hen recognise each other visually.

    There are a number of mate specific behaviours to look for:

  • Mates sit together significantly more often than with non-mates.
  • All males preen more frequently when they are next to their mate.
  • Hens preen more often while sitting next to non-mates.
  • Courtship singing is not a mate specific behaviour, however, the courtship song, is followed by courtship feeding more often when the mate has been addressed in song.
  • Beak touching is the most frequent mate specific behaviour.
  • Begging for food by hens is absolutely mate specific behaviour.
  • Cocks feed their own mate significantly more often than non-mates.
  • The only time that a male is fed by a hen is when he is sick.
  • Hens are inhibited from showing aggression toward a mate.
  • Cocks also show a beak thrust inhibition towards mates.
  • Hens are not inhibited from showing aggressive behaviours toward non-mates.

    • Author: Daz
      Last update: 06-Mar-2008 09:10


      The hen layed an egg outside of the nestbox

      Occasionally you will have a hen that lays her eggs outside of the nest box; usually off one of the perches. Mostly it will be a young or inexperienced hen.

      When this occurs, pick the egg up from the cage floor and inspect it to ensure it is not cracked, dented or leaking any fluids. If it appears undamaged place it in the box. If this happens again two days later, place that one in there also. If any of these eggs are damaged place a marble or imitation egg in the nest box in its place. If by the third egg, the hen still has not laid in the box foster the eggs to another hen. (foster meaning transfer the eggs to another nesting pair.)

      With the occasional egg that is dragged out of the nest box as a result of being stuck to abdominal feathers, make sure that it is undamaged and clean and place it back into the box. If a hen is throwing her eggs out of the box, place marbles in their place. If this habit continues take her eggs away as soon as they are laid and foster them.

      Author: Daz
      Last update: 12-Apr-2007 03:57


      The eggs are soiled, should I clean them?

      Eggs can be washed in warm water with no consequence to the embryo.  As the warm water begins to loosen the excrement, take a smooth cloth or sponge and gently wipe the rest away, dry and replace the egg in sequence, within the nest box.

      Additional reading: Are the eggs fertile? and Can I touch the eggs with my hands?

      Author: Daz
      Last update: 29-May-2007 16:05


      Can I touch the eggs with my hands?

      Let’s look at some Facts.

      Egg shells are porous and touching the eggs can cause bacteria from the fingers to enter through the shell and kill the chick inside.

      The hen regulates the temperature within the nest to keep the eggs at a constant temperature. The tip of our fingers is one of the coldest parts of our bodies. By touching the eggs we can chill them.

      The hen constantly turns the eggs to make sure the chick develops correctly. She also moves the eggs from the centre to the outside of the clutch. By touching and lifting the eggs this action is disturbed.

      So lifting and constant inspection of eggs really is not recommended.

      I inspect every nest box in the morning and afternoon. In regard to eggs, I will mark a newly laid egg with a non toxic water base pen, the nest and number of the laid egg. Eg B9.7. If the egg is in a large clutch I will move /foster to a smaller clutch. I will no longer touch that egg. I will candle the egg as it lies in the nest box with out disturbing it. If after the correct period of time, I see that the egg has not developed (clear). It will be removed and disposed of.

      Author: Daz
      Last update: 13-Apr-2007 01:59


      What to do if your hen plucks the babies?

      METHOD #1:

      PERSPEX DOORS ON NESTING BOXES: this has saved many a chick from ´down plucking' and ´feather plucking'. It is imperative that when the perspex door is fitted that you remain in the breeding room until the hen and/or cock have been encouraged back into the nesting box. The sudden increase in light tends to frighten the cock and hen away from the box so it is imperative you check they have fed their chicks to avoid the death of one or more chicks from starvation.

      Once the cock and hen have adapted to the light the hen will generally round up the young and keep them at the back of the box. In many cases she has been known to totally clean the bran/nesting material out of the nesting box, beak full by beak full -maybe when she has completed this task she is too tired to pluck the chicks! Just remember to replace the bran daily so she has something to keep her occupied.

      If possible leave a small gap between the perspex and top of the nesting box, or drill holes in the perspex or side of the nesting box, so air can circulate in the box - the box can become quite humid if we experience a hot day. I have had a wonderful success rate using this method.

      METHOD #2

      Mix up some baby oil and detoll 1 table spoon of oil to 1 teaspoon of detoll. once a day wipe the backs of the chicks. This will not only deter the hens from plucking but sooth the chicks where they have been picked and stop infection.

      Make a note in your records, against the hen or cock, so you can use this method again if it has been previously successful.

      Author: Kaz
      Last update: 04-May-2007 14:35


      What temperature should the eggs be incubated at?

      Sometimes it is necessary to incubate eggs yourself. This can be due to your hen being ill and not having another hen to foster the eggs to.

      Most bird specialists set the incubator dry temperature at 37.2 degrees C and it works well for most species. Acceptable extremes are 36.6 to 37.7 degrees C.  The temperature should not fluctuate more than 0.2 degrees C either side of your chosen setting.

      Eggs incubated at cooler temps may hatch several days later.

      Warmer eggs hatch a little sooner (but don't put it warmer then needed because it could damage the chick or cause death).

      For best information on this subject a book called a Guide to Incubation and Handraising parrots by Phil Digney is terrific for all the help you need.

      The temperatures above are measured in degrees celcius. Convert to Fahrenheit if necessary for your incubator.

      Author: Kaz
      Last update: 13-Apr-2007 01:57


      Hen will not use nesting box

      If the hen won't go into the nest box it ussually means either:

      1. she doesn't like the cock

       2. she's not in her breeding cycle.

      Split the pair up, re-flight them and try again in a couple of weeks. Alternatively, if you believe that the cock is raring to go, find him another partner.

      Author: Daz
      Last update: 01-Sep-2008 09:02


      Trimming vent feathers

      Show birds are breed to be in buff. (poofy) When it comes to mating, it is like they have clothes on. The feathers around the vent must be trimmed to allow mating. In "pet" type budgies it is rare to have to trim the vent feathers.

      Author: Daz
      Last update: 13-Apr-2007 01:55


      Splayed Legs

      Some chicks end up with what is called splayed legs. Its where the legs stick out each side and not underneath them. There are a few reasons for this.

      splayed legs

      splayed legs in baby budgie

      1. The parent may not have had enough calcium in them to be able to process it for egglaying and the subsequent chicks. A supplement of liquid calcium in the water of any parents you are about to breed can help build up their calcium levels for the breeding ahead. Cuttlebone is NOT the best source of calcium as budgies often play with it more than ingest it. A water soluable supplement is better.

      2. A large-ish hen may sit a little too tightly over her chicks and cause the legs to grow out sideways.

       

      Author: Kaz
      Last update: 08-Dec-2008 07:20


      When will the hen sit on the eggs

      When can I expect her to actually sit the eggs and start the incubation process? Hens will start to sit usually when the 3rd egg is layed.  Every hen is different.  The hen will continue to come out and mate until she has decided her clutch is the right size for her.

      How do you know when she is finished laying her clutch.?  The egg laying is finished when no more eggs show up with 2 days between each egg.

      Author: Kaz
      Last update: 13-Apr-2007 18:44


      Handrearing Budgies

      Feeding Chicks from newly hatched. The first feed of the day for three days should be a quality yoghurt with a high live organism count. Next feed a mixture of the suggested amounts of Hand rearing food and pre-boiled water heated to about 50deg C. allow the prepared mixture to stand for 2 minutes to absorb all the water. Remix and if too thick reheat and add a little water to make the desired constancy. Bring the prepared food to 35deg C and feed with a spoon or syringe fill the crop full, taking care not to introduce food to the windpipe.

      Feed prepared Hand rearing food 4 to 6 times daily when the chicks are very young reducing to 3 to 4 feeds per day as the chick gets older. Feed small amounts frequently and allow the crop to empty completely at least once each day. Thoroughly clean utensils before each food preparation. Food must be prepared fresh for each meal. Discard all uneaten food.

      Growth of Chicks. Weigh chicks at the same time each day. Daily weight gain will fluctuate but on average healthy chicks should gain from 10% to 20% of their body weight each day. Weight loss could indicate the onset of disease but often means the chick is not getting enough food. Healthy chicks that do not gain weight may need more solids in the mix, more food at each feed or more feed per day.

      Weaning chicks. Provide adult type food to chicks once they are fully feathered or begin to resist being hand fed. To wean onto Pellets or crumbles, reduce the number of feeds and offer some moistened pellets in a dish. Once the chick starts eating the moist pellets, stop hand feeding and offer only dry pellets. Chicks will naturally lose some weight during weaning*i.e.
       Budgies should also learn how to crack and eat seed. Stat with a soft seed, such as millet and when they have mastered that start to introduce ordinary budgerigar mixes.

      # Probotics. Some parrot hand rearing products either include Probotics in their formula or recommend the use of a probotic product. Probotics are live bacteria feed supplements that may have a beneficial effect on a birds intestinal microbial populations. Most probotics contain several strains of bacteria, none of which has been demonstrated to be normal intestinal inhabitants of parrots. Commercial probotic suppliments are expensive to use and have short expiry dates. A quality yoghurt that contains live Acidophillus and Biffidus bacteria produces a similar result and is considerably cheaper to use.

      This information has come from Passwell Hand Rearing Product.

      The mix for growing chicks differs from product to product. All ways read the recommendations on the packet and use accordingly.

      # I personally use a Probotic with my birds and will continue to do so.

      Author: Contributed by Daz
      Last update: 17-Apr-2007 16:49


      How to Breed Budgies

      YOU WILL NOT GAIN MONEY BY BREEDING BUDGIES!

      There are many things that need to be considered before a nest box is even put down on the shopping list.

      Age: The age of the breeding birds must be known so that you know they are mentally and physically ready to rear offspring. The youngest that most breeders accept as a safe age is one year. Many feel that 18 months is better. Budgies themselves are physically able to breed by the age of 6 months, but in humans years this equates to 13 -14 years of age. At 6 months they simply are not mentally ready for the task of breeding.

      Many problems can arise if you attempt to breed with budgies that are too young. They can start to eat eggs, which once started can be hard to stop a bird from continuing, they can abandon nests and eggs or worse attack the young when they hatch.
      Birds from a breeder you should expect a correct month of birth if not the actual date of hatching. I’m not meaning off the top of they heads but they should have it some where in their records. Older birds in the show side should have coloured bands on their legs which will give you a year of hatching. Ones from pet shops can come with leg bands but if you clearly tell them why you want to know the correct age they should be able to tell what info the breeder gave when selling them. You still take these ages at a risk that they picked a figure from air to tell you for a sale. 

      If you have purchased your birds from a reputable breeder they should be able to give you an accurate age of the bird by checking their records. If the breeder also keeps exhibition budgies many will also have leg rings which will indicate the year of birth Ring on Budgie Leg

      You also need to know if your birds are too old to breed. Hens should not be used over the age of three to four. Sometime a breeder will use a 4 year old hen, but will move the eggs to another clutch if the hen is of high value. This is to reduce the stress on their bodies that that experience in raising a clutch. Males shouldn’t be used over the age of 6.

      Once you know if your birds are ready or not you can look at other issues.

      Health:  Both the hen and cock need to be in tip top health. You need to make sure there are none of the normal signs of illness: Sitting fluffed up continually, Discoloration/discharge present on feathers above nostrils, Lethargy, Vomiting, and Inability to balance, Stains or accumulated poop on vent feathers. If you can’t tell this apart rethink your idea of breeding them right now and study their behaviour. You can also take the birds to your vet to get a well bird check up. They also need to be in breeding condition. The hens will have dark brown cere or turning brown while the males cere will be a deep and even blue (or a deep pinky/purply cere for some breeds, such a fallows, inos and recessive pieds).

      Relationship: The hen and cock should not be closely related. The closer the birds are in relationship the greater the risk of defects and problems arising. Beginner breeders should not consider line breeding (an advanced mode of breeding used by experienced exhibition breeders), as it takes a lot of effort to do correctly. The closest most people deem acceptable is grandparent to grandchild or aunt/uncle to nephew/niece. But Line breeding or inbreeding can not be taken lightly .

      Set upYes, using a normal bird cage can work but you need to think about where to put the nestbox. If it is inside the cage, is there enough room for 2 adults and up to 6 - 8 chicksl? Make sure you have enough clear space around the sides or ground to either hang or place extra seed dishes and fresh food plates.  

      Hand feeding:  You will need to have hand feeding formula before any babies appear for the in case moment of having to feed a newborn chick. Added to the food are syringes for problem feeders and a spoon bent into a spout. It would also help for you to visit a breeder or a vet that handles bird who can show you the way to feed them correctly.

      Afterwards:  What are you going to do with the chicks? Give them away to friends and family, sell them privately?, sell them to a pet shop or even keep them. What ever you choose to do it needs to be thought over first.

      Author: Nerwen & feathers
      Last update: 17-Apr-2007 16:56


      Is line breeding the same as inbreeding?

      Is line breeding the same as inbreeding? Technically, yes!

      Line Breeding is a controversial topic, but it is a method that was developed very early on to strengthen and ncrease stock numbers. 99.9% of all exhibition breeders will line breed at some stage.

      All of the budgerigars outside of Australia have been line bred. Over 100 years ago Australia stopped exporting Budgerigars to the world. In order to supply budgerigars for sale in other countries, those with the stocks started to line breed because of the demand from the public.

      During the second world war Britain was in short supply of food for themselves and also for their livestock, including budgies. Many other European countries were in the same position. A large number of birds were killed so that the best birds could survive. After the war the stocks had to be brought back. England couldn't get birds from Australia and were forced to inbreed to increase their numbers. To ensure that deformities from inbreeding did not occur much thought was put into the best way to go about it.

      By selectively pairing the birds they found a way to strengthen and improve on the structure and health of the birds. Meanwhile in other parts of the world for the same reason they were also working on line breeding. Germany was also line breeding for improvement.

      So how is it done. (Generally)

      Cock D
      Hen A .................... Hen B

      1st year mating

      Chicks .................... Chicks
      Cock .... Hen ...................Cock .... Hen
      Cock .... Hen ...................Cock .... Hen
      Cock .... Hen ...................Cock .... Hen
      Cock .... Hen ...................Cock .... Hen

      2nd Year Mating

      Cocks from pairing of Cock D and Hen A are mated to Hens of pairing Cock D to Hen B
      Hens from pairing of Cock D and Hen A are mated to Cocks of pairing Cock D to Hen B
      (Half Brother to Half Sister)

      3rd Year Mating
      Hens from the result are bred back to Cock D
      Grandfather to Grand Daughter.


      This is assuming that Cock D has really great features to start with.

      Chicks from the 1st year mating will have half his genes and half from the hen.
      Chicks from the 2nd year mating will only have a quarter of his genes.
      Chicks from the 3rd year will have 75% his genes. This mating was ment to strengthen the strain...his strain....his line.

      Other Combinations sometimes used are Uncle to Neice, Aunt to Nephew, Cousin to Cousin.

      The idea is to enhance the features of the bird. Features also being health and fertility as well as visual factors.

      Very few exhibition breeders will that breed brother to sister but it does occur.

      NB: This topic is in no way meant to promote line breeding but to explain how and why.

      Author: Daz
      Last update: 08-May-2007 16:21


      Manage the Breeding of Budgies

      Glacier
      It seems over the last few months that Spring is in the air...well for the southern hemisphere anyway and that Breeding for some is all what is on there budgies mind. I thought after a discussion in club that I would discuss the best requirements for setting up a breeding cage.

      The breeding cage should be purpose build or bought . I use a timber breeding cage that is 600 long x 450 high by 350 depth (measurements in metric millimeters) so thats 24 inches x 18inches x 14 inches.

      IPB Image
      In this picture you can see the cage with the nest box on the inside. I have change the concept to hang the nest box on the outside.

      IPB Image
      Nest box on the outside.

      The larger the breeding cage the better. I would not go under this size.

      The same with the nest box.

      IPB Image
      This was the last size I made measuring 250mm high x 210mm wide x 153mm deep.

      I have changed this to now 250mm (10") High x 215mm (81/2") deep x 210mm (81/4") wide .
      Similar to the breeding cage, budgies like a large nest box.

      The perches are now different sizes. I use a 12mm and an 18mm round hard wood dowl. but will be changing all to 12mm round dowl and an 19 mm square perch for the hen. The difference in sizes are to excersize the feet of the bird. 2 successful clutches can take over 100 days minimum so the birds are cramped up in the breeding cage for sometime.

      Breeding cages can be "Stacked"
      IPB Image
      I currently run 9 breeding cages, a nursery and a full flight.

      The breeding cage has seed soaked in breeding aid.
      Water that is replace everyday.
      I use a water management system that involve vitamins, probotic, calcium additives and plain water.
      Medication and worming is also administered via the management.

      In addition I have a cuttlefish, a finger draw with minerals, an Iodine and charcoal bell.
      IPB Image

      The hen is placed in the cage for 3 days before introducing the cock.


      Bonding is a nesacary factor to breeding. I have had to split up pairs because they haven't got along.


      I supply every morning to the breeding pair a mixture of Hulled oats, carrots and protien.
      IPB Image
      As the eggs hatch I will increase the level of Protien for the parents to feed the chicks.
      IPB Image
      This mixture is removed every night and the remainder is feed to the birds in the flight.

      When the chicks get to 24 days old.
      IPB Image
      I will start to give them a 3 inch piece of Millet in the nest to help them start to feed themselves.

      From 28 days on wards the chicks will start to come out of the nest.
      IPB Image

      This is the time I make sure there is plenty of seed, millet, soft food and vegitables for the chicks.
      IPB Image
      I use celery, carrots, corn, snow pea sprouts and mung bean sprouts in the dishes for the chicks. The mix is given in the morning and removed in the afternoon in winter or lunch time in summer. The remainder is thrown away. It is not safe for the birds in the flight.

      The chicks are weighed weekly to see if they are sustaining their weight. At 42 days old and all going well they are moved from the breeding cage.
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      To the nursery.
      The nursery is a dual cage or stock cage that is 1200mm long 450mm high x 350mm deep.
      IPB Image
      It is set up the same as the breeding cage less the nest box. The capability of puting a devider in to make two cages is to make it easy to weigh and check the chicks for progress every week for a month.
      IPB Image
      IPB Image
      The chicks are given a high level of protein and vegitables every day.

      At the age of 3 months the chicks start to moult. Moulting Aid can be given and the chick can be observed.
      After the moult has finished the chick can be transfered to the flight.
      IPB Image

      The chicks are still feed with vegitables and are closely monitored.
      IPB Image
      IPB Image

      I keep all recordes of the condition of the eggs through to the chicks in the flight on two programes.
      Bird Tracker and The Budgerigar Program

      Be prepared for the worst and you will do well. read up on the proceedure. I recommend the Master Breeder for information on Breeding. Join a club and get information from the ones that are experienced in breeding.


      EDIT:... Since I did this post I have updated my Aviary.. Link.



      Author: Daz
      Last update: 15-Apr-2007 16:23


      Care of baby budgies in the nest

      I am going to share some knowledge I have of care of budgie babies in the nest.
      IPB Image

      Firstly, when new to breeding, arm yourself with a great deal of knowledge and all the things you need to help you through to the end with healthy lively baby budgies.
      Parents in the nestbox............
      Many times you will find you have both parents in the nest box from the very first moment. No reason to panic if Dad Budgie is in the nestbox. I would say an average of 70% of my male budgies stay in the nest box with their hens or at least spend a lot of time in there with them. I have had Budgie Dads helping to incubate eggs right from the start, and feeding newborn chicks right through to fledging. So, I am guessing most of my budgie males are "in touch with their feminine side" tongue.gif

      While "sexual maturity" in budgies usually occurs at approximately six months of age, researchers have shown that young male budgies may produce spermatozoa within 60 days of leaving the nest. This rapid sexual development is a physiological adaptation to an arid environment and enables very young birds to reproduce quickly when conditions are favorable. That's the scientific facts but mentally and physically a budgie is NOT ready to parent babies until around 12-18 months of age. Budgie females are determinate layers, meaning that a hen will lay a predetermined number of eggs per cycle, usually four, six or sometimes eight or more. The incubation period lasts from 17 to 21 days, depending on the temperature in the room and the relative humidity. In a warm room, with temperatures between 65 and 72 degrees F (18 and 22 degrees C), the embryos develop faster, but the brooding period is never shorter than 17 days.

      The egg incubation calendar:

      This is a calendar you can use to simplify when your eggs will hatch for Budgies and Cockatiels with an incubation time of 18 days. Just look at the date the eggs were laid and look below that date and that is when they should hatch. E.G.. If you look at Jan. 4 and look below you see Jan 22 when that egg should hatch. If you look at Jan. 23 and look below you see Feb. 10 when that egg should hatch. If you look at November 30 and look below you see Dec. 18. That is when that egg should hatch. Etc. I think it was made during a leap year but should be accurate to one day before or after.

      EGG INCUBATION CALENDER

      User posted image





      Diagram of an egg
      IPB Image
      Embryo at 2 days in the egg
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      Embro at 4 days old in the egg
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      1. Baby is Born / Hatched........What To Do ?
      When you notice your first born baby budgie arrive, it may have only been there for an hour or two. If the eggshell is still very close by, it is probably very newly hatched. Mother budgie removes the shell out of the way a short while later. She may toss the shell out of the nest, move it aside or eat it for the extra calcium. Check for signs of food in baby's crop...a slight yellow creamish coloured tiny bubble on the skin on the base of its neck. If there appears to be food in the crop all is well. If not, don't panic, but look again a few hours later. Often a newborn may not get fed for up to 8-10 hours. If there are other babies in the nest and they are a great deal larger, you may want to slightly move the tiny one into an area nearer the entry hole where Mum can watch it and feed it better and it not get trampled on. It will be fine after a day or so and a good feed or two as it gains strength and can wiggle away from or out from under most brothers and sisters. Try not to be afraid to handle the newborns. They are very resilient and can cope with most handling. Just try not to overdo it.
      IPB Image


      2. Baby isn't Being Fed....What To Do ?
      If you are sure the baby isnt being fed after a decent amount of time ( up to a full day ) you can feed it it's first feed yourself, but try to allow the parents all opportunities to do so first. Don't be afraid to handle the baby as tiny as it is, for it's parents and siblings will trample all over it in the nest anyway and they are very resilient little rubbery things. You can make up a very sloppy mix of slightly warm handrearing formula (just a few small drops) and apply it to the baby's beak near the beak opening. In the absence of any handrearing formula you can use a baby rice cereal mix or some plain yoghurt. You can use the end of a matchstick to apply the food or a very small syringe. No need to prise its beak open. The baby will sense the food and suck it in. Within a moment you will see the food in its crop. Place it back with the parents and watch for further signs of parents feeding it over the next few days. You may have to do this once or twice before the parents get the idea of it. Some new parents cant quite figure it out straight away but may do after a day or so.

      3. Nesting materials.
      Many types of nesting materials are used, although most hens will get rid of them straight away. You can use wood shavings, bran, rolled oats or coarse sawdust.....or a combination of some of these together. If your budgie parents removed all the nesting materials when they were egg laying, often they will accept nesting materials being placed back in the box at this point when babies have arrived. They are usually more distracted once babies arrive to think of removing the wood shavings or nesting materials of choice for a second time.
      IPB Image

      4. Access to Nesting Box.
      To gain access to a nesting box, just tap on the outside of the box and parent/ parents will usually hop out and allow you to check the babies. If the parent stays in the box and squarks its head off, try putting your hand in with palm facing down and back of hand upwards. That way you can gently access under the hen and lift her slightly on the back of your hand to check what's underneath. Be prepared for getting a nip...it's hardly ever blood-letting but just a warning nip from parent budgie to you. Some new Mums squark their head off and act very annoyed, others just let you look but watch closely to see what you are doing. At this point the hen may move to the outside of the nesting box while you check everything. Be careful of eggs that may break, and watch for signs of a cracked egg that may indicate an imminent arrival. If you see a chick half out of an egg, leave it be. They can usually manage to sort themselves out and interference sometimes can be fatal to the hatching chick.
      IPB Image

      5. Do Not Fear Checking Out the Nesting Box and Babies.
      Checking nesting boxes when chicks start to arrive is a must. You can time it for when parents are looking for food early morning and early evening. It is a good idea to check boxes twice a day.

      You really need to check to be sure..... A. Babies are being fed
      B. No eggs are broken or damaged
      C. Parents aren't eating their eggs and or babies ( Yes...it can happen )
      D. Check for dead babies ( some are born through the night and die as they haven't been noticed or fed ) . This is a must as there is nothing worse than finding a dead baby budgie days later and knowing there is bacteria and illness in the nest from that.
      E. Check nesting materials
      F. Check for possible spiders, cockroaches or insects in the nest. Check for mouse activity in the nest.
      G. Check for possible deformities in the babies. i.e. Splayed legs, ( which is correctible if caught early enough and treated ), bone and beak deformities. Much later when their eyes are open,check to see that they have both eyes, as some chicks can be born missing an eyeball.
      H. Check for food build up in babies beaks ( see Item 8 ).


      6. Cleaning a Nestbox with Babies in It.
      If the nest box has wood shavings or similar in it, the nest box should be fine up until the babies are around 14 days old. At this point you will need to start keeping the nest box as clean as possible as babies and parents make it pretty messy. Generally about every second day depending on how messy the box gets.
      Best way to go about this is
      A. Tap on the box to allow the mother to leave
      B. Working quickly, gently remove the babies into a container to keep nearby. If there is any eggs, gently remove them also, trying not to handle them too much.
      C. Remove the old soiled bedding materials and with a scraper, scrape out and clean the base of the box.
      D. Put new nesting materials into the nesting box and replace all chicks and eggs, after checking over the chicks as described in
      items 7 and 8.
      Note
      ....If the nest box is very dirty and has wet droppings in it, it can be a sign of illness in hen and /or chicks. Make a a note to pay particular attention in checking this nestbox more and keeping it cleaner. Keep a close watch on the parents and chicks for signs of illness.
      IPB Image

      7. Checking Baby Budgies Feet.
      This is really important to check the feet of the baby budgies at the stage where they are getting poopy, especially from the age of 2- 3 weeks onwards, if the hen is not cleaning them. More often than not, the babies feet get caked in poop, that then hardens and interferes with the movement of the toes. It needs to be removed as it can set like clay and cause deformities in their feet. I have heard of some budgie owners who didn't check for this and then had to deal with toes and feet that were literally seized up and didn't work properly....feet were encased in dried poop that has set like pair of concrete boots....meaning the need for veterinary care and splints etc.
      You can use a couple of different methods to clean their feet. Gently picking away the minor stuff attached to the feet with your fingernails after soaking it with lukewarm water to soften the caked mess, or in bigger babies a gentle clean with a very soft wet toothbrush and pat it dry afterwards. You can use a soft damp cloth or paper towel if it works well for you too. Be very careful in picking away caked droppings from the toenail area as it has been known to have a toenail come away in trying to get it clean.

      8. Checking Babies Beaks.
      It is really important to check the babies beaks for food getting stuck to the "roof of their mouth" so to speak.
      UNDERSHOT BEAK.
      The most common cause is soft food being permitted to get lodged and caked in the upper mandible of young birds while in the nest and being fed by the parents. This causes the upper mandible to stop growing properly which allows the lower mandible to grow over the top one.
      The best thing to do is have with you a fine toothpick or even a feather (quill end). I gently get the babies to open their beaks using the feather or toothpick, and I look up into the top beak area. If food is collected there I gently remove it with the feather or toothpick and place baby back into the nest and check the next one. While doing this check baby over for feet and other problems.
      Some baby budgies may be born with a deformed beak and you need to look out for things like this as well, as it may affect their ability to feed properly. Some cases are congenital (present from hatching) - may be from hereditary defects, egg infection, mineral deficiencies, or incubation problems.

      9. Check for Retarded Feather Development in the Chicks
      Keep a close watch on the feather development of your babies. At a stage where they should be covered in down and developing their first feather quills, if you notice any bald patches or retarded feather growth, you may well have chicks with French Moult. If this is correctly diagnosed as the problem, it would pay to not breed with these parents again. There are many schools of thought on why French Moult occurs, hereditary causes, viral, stress breeding conditions, pre egg, post egg.....it can be very confusing to actually attribute a good reason that everyone agrees upon.

      10. Be Aware of Any Parent Plucking their Chicks
      Pay close attention to any possibility that a parent may be plucking it's chicks. If it is early stages and you do not think the chicks are in any danger, changing the nestbox environment may have some effect. You can clean out the box and add a deep bed of nesting material such as wood shavings to distract the mother from her plucking routine. If you replace the nestbox lid with one made of clear plastic or glass, this also has some benefits. The see through nestbox lid makes the mother a bit more wary of predators. She will generally pull the chicks in closer to her and keep them warm and safe. She is generally more concerned about the safety of her chicks at this point and less likely to pluck. When using this method watch carefully to be sure both parents are still attending to the chicks needs, as a small minority may abandon the nest. But on the whole, this is a method that works. If the chicks are in danger from their parents however, you may need to remove them and foster to another pair or hand rear them yourself.

      11. Chicks at Point of Fledging
      Often a chick may fledge ( leave the nest ) before its fully feathered. I often pop these unfeathered ones back into the nest as it is most often a chick leaning out of the nesting box hole to be fed that makes this happen too soon. Only when a chick is fully feathered do I leave it outside the nest. My chicks mostly fledge at around 4-5 weeks of age. The chick should be safe on the floor area of the breeder cage where Dad budgie will feed it. I also have a tray of seed down there for it to try, and some egg and biscuit mix ( wet or dry ). Daily, the parents have a tray of fine sliced greens and grated carrot sprinkled with seed and the babies watch Mum and Dad eat from that and usually try it themselves as well. A small water container is accessible for the chicks, but not the type they can drown in as chicks often drown in fairly shallow water dishes or containers they can't get out of.
      Keep a close eye on fledged chicks. Make sure they are eating and or being fed by either parent. You may need to put a shelter down for them to hide in. I find a little plastic hutch designed for mice or hamsters to be ideal ( looks like a little plastic igloo ). But, try and check the chicks in the hidey places as they can hide away and forget to eat. I usually remove the igloo for the daytime and return it for the night. Unless the chick needs the shelter due to a parents aggressiveness towards them.
      If your chicks are fledging into a colony aviary you will need to watch them very closely for any signs of aggression towards them from other budgies or other birds. Their life is a little more precarious in these situations. I have both colony bred and breeder cage bred chicks in the past. The chicks born into an aviary with many other birds have a lot to be wary of. Other males can dominate and attack chicks. Other hens can kill chicks. Even chicks that fledge into a breeder cage can face attack from its own parents. A chick that appears too "needy" or urgently seeking food or attention noisily and or returning to the nest where parents are trying for another round.....these chicks have been knoiwn to be killed on some occasions by an exasperated parent. Not often thank goodness but be aware of the possibility.
      If you have a mouse problem in the aviary the chicks can get seriously ill or die from salmonella poisoning from contaminated seed or food dishes on the aviary floor. Chicks have been known to be attacked and eaten by rats and terrorised by mice. Other birds such as quails can sometimes attack a newly fledged chick.

      In short....their life is in your hands.

      IPB Image

      Author: Kaz
      Last update: 01-May-2007 14:43


      Eggbound Hen

      . This is a very serious condition and should be considered a medical emergency.

      Egg binding occurs when a hen is has difficulty in laying an egg. There are many signs and symptoms that a hen that is egg bound may display. These include:
      • a hen that looks distressed
      • a hen sitting on the bottom of the cage
      • a hen that has very large droppings that are very runny or contain blood
      • a hen who whips her tail or strains painfully
      • a hen that looks weak, depressed or is breathing rapidly
      • a hen that looks nervous or moves rapidly from perch to perch
      • a hen that is trying to stretch her body up to get relief

      If you look carefully, you should notice a slight roundness of the underbelly or you may be able to feel the egg if you lightly palpate the area..

      IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO NOT TRY TO REMOVE THE EGG. If you do this and the egg breaks it can result in the death of the hen.

      There are many causes for this condition including:
      • a hen that is too young
      • an egg that is too large
      • an egg with a rough shell
      • an egg that is too soft
      • the hen's oviduct (where the egg comes out) is not elastic enough
      • poor nutrition, a lack of vitamins or calcium
      • a hen that is kept in a room that is too dark, cool or damp
      • a hen that has laid too many clutches with no rest in between

      As stated before, this is a medical emergency and a visit to your avain vet is essential.
      Avian Vet Look-up

      You can try to assist the hen by placing her in a warm environment, such as a hospital cage that is covered and has a soft cloth bottom (ensure the hen's claws can't get caught in the material) and dripping some warmed castor oil onto the vent. However this will usually only help if the egg is visible at the vent entrance. Keep the hen as calm as possible and transport her to your avian vet as soon as possible.

      Author: feathers aka Aly
      Last update: 25-Apr-2007 15:54


      Colony Breeding vs Closed Breeding

      Colony Breeding vs Closed Breeding

      There are 2 different methods of breeding to consider if you are planning on breeding your budgies. The first is colony breeding where nestboxes are set up in an aviary with more than one pair. The second is closed breeding where one pair is placed into a breeding cage or cabinet with an attached nestbox.


      Colony Breeding

      I have often heard from people who "tried" colony breeding and met with disaster. Often it can be the case. If you are trying to breed too many birds in too small a space with nesting boxes ( and maybe not enough of them ) lined up on a shelf right next to each other....it IS a recipe for disaster.

      To colony breed successfully you need to be available to watch over the dynamics of the aviary and the relationships of the birds at the time.

      If You Intend To Colony Breed....You must check all these points:

      There needs to be two feet minimum between nesting boxes for this to work.

      You DO need twice as many nesting boxes as pairs of birds...so the hen can choose their nestbox.

      Placing the nesting boxes with entry ways from different directions helps too.....i.e. Not all facing forward. Some sideways entry, not directly facing another birds entry. Kind of arrange them this way and that. You may need to screw some into the walls and not just rely on a shelf.

      Try to have all nesting boxes at the same height as higher ones are mostly highly sought after by all birds.

      Some times you need a piece of plywood placed strategically here and there so a pair's view from the entry of their nesting box is obscured from a pair of birds nearby. You can screw these dividing screen sections to the boxes concerned.

      You also need to be sure that the pairs you have ready to cohabit and breed in that space are easygoing birds, none of the hormonally aggressive types that may get nasty with others.

      Be prepared to watch the hierarchy in the aviary closely for a while off and on over some days till they all get settled within their own nesting sites and happy with their own partners. I

      t's best if you can remove some of the birds for awhile and add each pair to the aviary again giving them time to select and settle in the chosen nesting box before adding the next pair.

      Have more feeding cups/ stations than you normally do and try not to have a feeding area or main perch right next to a nesting box.

      If you can put a slightly longer perch on the front of each nesting box that accommodates both male and female....it helps. It generally stops the male feeling he has to defend the top of his chosen nesting box from anyone who wants to sit for awhile or peer in.

      If a pair of birds sits on top of a another pairs chosen nestbox and interferes with the "owners" coming and goings, put something on top of the nesting box to stop that happening...maybe an upturned plantpot or something.

      Any aggressive pairs or males that interfere with others, please remove and put elsewhere for the duration as these will be your "troublemakers".

      You will have to be prepared to watch closely and look for potential problem relationships.

      You WILL get babies that "don't belong" to the father you thought was in fact the father, as some birds will mate with a few different partners under these circumstances. And in those cases, you may have nasty fights between the males over the chosen female.


      Breeding in Breeding Cabinets or Cages

      If you wish to be sure of the parentage and be able to selectively choose your pairs then it is best to breed in individual cabinets or "closed breed" ...one pair to a breeding cabinet.

      Breeding cabinets reduce stresses on the parents. It means you KNOW who the father of the babies is. It IS a controlled environment.

      If by any chance a mother has to end up raising her babies alone, she can do it in a breeder cabinet, where I doubt you would have a good result in colony breeding.

      The thing to be sure of with breeding this way, is that the chosen cabinet is big enough for both parents and 6 to 8 fledging babies. An outside fitted nesting box is best to allow more room inside the cabinet for the parents. You need strong and stable perches for the mating act to be successful. Here are examples of breeding cabinets or cages Breeding Cage Size/Dimensions Breeding Cage Size/Dimensions

      Author: Kaz
      Last update: 08-May-2007 16:19


      When will the chicks feed themselves?

      Babies are best left for parents to feed and raise. You can handle them daily so they get hand tamed and used to you, but I dont feel the need to remove chicks from parents if I handle them daily. Parents feed their babies up to point of fledging and afterwards for about a week. Babies fledge at around 4-5 weeks and are eating seed probably up to a week after fledging, some on the same day. Don't be too quick to remove parents from babies as they need to learn to forage for their seed by watching the parents eat.

      Author: Kaz
      Last update: 19-May-2007 15:55


      Signs of a hen in breeding condition

      Author:
      Last update: 07-Jun-2007 15:03


      Handfeeding (baby)budgies

      HAND FEEDING:

      Hand feeding usually becomes necessary when a parent has died, or has just abandoned the eggs or babies and no foster parents are available. Because excellent balanced rearing diets are available, there is little point in making your own. You can use your own but it is safer to buy a pre-made formula. All of these come with instructions. Most formulas require just the addition of warm water (sterilised but not distilled). A plastic eye dropper or syringe can be used to administer the food or you may find a teaspoon with the sides bent in is more convenient. Newly hatched parakeets are small and tender, and have tiny soft beaks. By gently tapping the beak with the utensil you often will encourage the nestling to gape (open its beak). If it refuses to gape, you will have to open the beak gently with a toothpick or similar item. As soon as the beak is open, drop a tiny drop of water into the throat. The bird soon will get used to this and will open its beak voluntarily when you give it a gentle tap.

      Babies do not understand syringe feeding and they must be force fed. Since they cannot smell food in a syringe they will try and get away. If you cannot do this correctly, you can try a tiny spoon with soft food or the formula you are using in the syringe and touch the birds beak with the spoon and hope it can smell or taste it and will open up for it. Otherwise you must force feed the bird. In time it will understand that the syringe is food and accept it readily.

      When to Feed:
      Newly hatched chicks rarely feed in the first 10-15 hours. During this time you can start with a drop of lukewarm water. One hour later give it another drop containing some clean (pure white), powdered cuttlefish bone and natural yoghurt.
      Whether you use the oatmeal mix with added vitamins and honey or brand name rearing diets such as Hagen or Rowdybush etc. is your choice. Some people have had the same success with either rearing diet. The oatmeal rearing food is mentioned here but you can substitute either of the rearing foods. If you use a brand name rearing food of course you do not have to add sweeteners such as honey or sugar although the honey may make the food more acceptable to the babies.

      Day 1 to 3:
      After the 1st 12 hours you can give it the same and thereafter feed a few drops of highly diluted hand rearing diet every hour. Once each day, I mix in a little yoghurt as this contains vitamin K, the blood clotting vitamin. This vitamin also can be found in some grains, Soya meal, and so on, which usually is included in the rearing food, so the inclusion of yoghurt is not absolutely necessary. Nevertheless, I like to give it to the birds as an additional supplement, even if it's not the birds' favourite food. A thin oatmeal porridge is also excellent for the 1st few days. Feed every three hours (6 times a day) for the 1st 3 days. Sometimes a bird will not accept the food we offer them, in that case a little sugar or honey can do wonders. Be sure to keep the crop full, but remember that filling too much is not good either. A good time to feed is 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 7pm and 10pm. Night feedings are not necessary as most adults would not feed them at this time anyway.

      The 1st 3 main feedings consist of oatmeal possibly supplemented with honey, cane sugar or powdered sugar. The 4th and 5th feeding consists of finely crushed oven dried bread and baby cereal in addition to the oatmeal, sugar and honey concoction. The 6th feeding should consist of just oatmeal with sugar or honey. The oatmeal should be made with water and not milk for the 1st 5 days. On the 3rd day you can add a little raw apple sauce sweetened with honey or sugar warmed up to room temperature. An example of a typical feeding schedule for hand-reared nestlings, from day 4 to day 25 is as follows:

      Days 4-14:
      Feed every three hours, except between the hours of midnight and 5 AM. Prepare the food to the consistency of creamy milk. At this stage you can add mashed carrot served lukewarm. A few drops of cod liver oil or a vitamin supplement are highly recommended at this stage. Finely ground eggshell and a small amount of ground cuttlebone can be added to the oatmeal.

      Days 15-20:
      Prepare slightly thicker formula and feed every four hours. (8am, 12pm, 4pm, and 9 or 10pm) After 20 days, house birds in a cage with low perches and a shallow dish of water. Birds of this age will begin to experiment for themselves, so provide a few "snacks," such as crushed canary grass seed, powdered cuttlebone (clean and white), egg food, and millet spray. The latter should be scalded with boiling water to sterilise it.

      Days 21-25:
      Continue hand feeding with rearing mixture two to three times a day, but encourage birds to feed themselves by offering a free choice of sprouted seeds and millet spray (fresh and not scalded). Mix some dry formula with the sprouted seeds and also give finely chopped fruits and greens, and cuttlebone powder. If at all possible, you can usually try and place a slightly older bird with the babies that can eat on its own to show the new babies how to eat. This may speed up the eating on their own process.

      Feeding Method:
      Hold the baby bird in one hand in such a manner that its head is held between the thumb and index finger and use the other hand to feed him. After each feeding clean the beak with lukewarm water and a soft cloth. No spilled food particles should be left on the beak or elsewhere on the body. Warm water (100-110 degrees F.) (not distilled) or apple juice is added to the rearing mixture and mixed well until it has the consistency of creamy milk. Never try to give too thick a mixture as it can compact in the bird's crop and cause a serious stoppage. If this problem occurs accidentally, it usually can be corrected by giving the bird lukewarm water and gently massaging the crop. Place the nestling on a flat surface, preferably on a warm towel, and support it with one (warm) hand, while feeding it with the other. The mixture can be administered from a syringe or plastic dropper, or let it roll off a bent-sided teaspoon. All feeding implements should be warmed to the temperature of the mixture before use. The temperature of the feeding mixture (100-110 degrees F., but not higher to avoid "crop burn") can be maintained during feeding by placing the dish in a pan of warm water.

      If the bird won't open its beak, try stimulating it with a gentle tap--this generally will do the trick. Examine the bird's crop before each feeding to determine the frequency and quantity of feeding required. The crop should never become completely empty but it can empty itself in three to four hours. On the other hand, try not to overfill the crop as this could cause various complications, including asphyxiation. If the food starts flowing back into the mouth, stop feeding and give it a rest before trying again when the mouth is completely empty. Feeding should be synchronised with swallowing. When the nestling swallows, accompanied by head bobbing, deliver the mixture quickly. Place the feeding device in the mouth, over the tongue. After each feeding, rinse the inside of the bird's mouth with a few drops of warm water and clean its beak, head, and any outer parts that may have become soiled, plus its vent, then return it to its warm brooder. Keep separate feeding utensils and feeding dishes for each bird and do not go from one bird to the other with the same utensil. Always clean all feeding utensils after use and sterilise by immersing in boiling water.

      Once the birds are independent you can transfer them to a roomier cage so they can practise their flying. If you successfully hand rear a bird, it will become very tame and affectionate, as it will regard you as its parent. Such birds are the best to use if you want a tame pet and, perhaps surprisingly, they can turn out to be exceedingly good parents, bringing the strongest of offspring into the world.

      These sample feeding practises are taken from the books "Parakeets of the World" and "The New Australian Parakeet Handbook" by Mathew M. Vriends

      Author: Kaz
      Last update: 07-Jun-2007 15:09


      Building a Nesting Box


      Nest Box Plans - These are a full size version of the Nest Boxes I use.

      I haven't included the concave as you can decide what you want to do.

      I use External Ply for this job as you will want to soak them in Disinfectant between rounds. Another Example: Nesting Box Plans

      Author: Daz
      Last update: 03-Jul-2007 16:51


      Is my budgie getting enough calcium?

      Is my budgie getting enough calcium?

      A hen requires vitamin D in order to be able to effectively uptake any source of calcium. Vitamin D is absorbed naturally through the sun or by use, mainly in breeding rooms, of cod liver oil soaked seed.

      However too much calcium or vitamin D can cause toxicity problems. A hen can get the calcium she requires from any source that you supply, cuttlefish, egg shells or liquid calcium as long as they also have the required level of vitamin D..

      All budgies need a healthy diet which includes 30% seed, 30% pellets, 30% fresh foods and 10% treats such as honey sticks, millet etc. Their water should be changed daily to avoid build up of bacteria and they should always have access to a cuttlefish bone (or calcium bell or block) and an iodine block. This gives budgerigars access to all of their daily needs.

      When breeding however it has been found to be beneficial to add extra calcium for the hens needs. Many breeders will give soaked seed (seed mixed with a little cod liver oil - left to soak for 24 hours) and liquid calcium.  Please note that soaked seed is not necessary outside of breeding.

      Soaked seed:  For every 500ml or 500gm of quality budgie seed add 5ml of cod liver oil and allow to soak for 24 hours prior to feeding to the breeding room.

      Author: Aly aka feathers
      Last update: 15-Jun-2007 14:19


      My hen is pulling her feathers out?

      It’s normal for a laying hen to pull some feathers out of her chest, you will most likely find them in the nest. They do it either to give the eggs more contact with their body heat or to get the nest ready.

      Author:
      Last update: 15-Jun-2007 14:21


      When can I start handling the chick?

      You can handle your baby chicks right away but with precautions.  Below are tips, ideas and what to expect.  Handling your chicks, inspecting them after they are hatched is an excellent idea.  You can watch for any illness, the parent not feeding the baby, and of course they become used to humans handling them.  This in turn is a plus if you chose to sell your babies because they are used to humans and if tamed enough you can sell them as parent raised tamed budgies.

      Tips:

      • wash your hands with warm water to make sure they are clean, dry and warm
      • start with just a minute and then you can add time over the weeks
      • handle them around the same time so both parents and chicks can expect you
      • take 1 baby at a time
      • try not to have the baby out of the nest when the parents are feeding them or they may miss the feed

      What can I expect when I hold them?

      • some older babies nibble on fingers
      • some babies may bite
      • some are completely ok
      • expect to get pooped on :-P

      How do I get them out of the box? You can tap on the side of the box to let the hen know you are there so you do not startle her and most will come out.  Some hens won't leave but will tolerate you touching the babies. If you can not gently coax her out.  

      Beware that hens are protective of their young so you might get a bite or two but it is worth it. At that particular moment be aware that a hen who is biting at you, may accidentally bite her chick that gets in the way, so if your hen is very disturbed, make contact minimal until she gets used to the routine of you inspecting her nestbox and chicks

      Author:
      Last update: 03-Jul-2007 16:55


      The chicks keep jumping out of the nesting box

      Question:

      As many of you know, I have 3 pairs with young ones and many of them are jumping out of the nest box, only to find themselves stuck on the floor of the cage. I pick them up and put them back in the nest box, but then they just jump out again the next day.   by member:  dmcminn

      Solution:   I use ice cream containers with the lid.

      First cut an arched section out of the ice cream container on one side cutting in from the top edge of the ice cream container.

      Turn it over and you have achieved an igloo kind of structure.

      Then clip the lid onto it and put a layer of nesting material into it. If the babies go to the floor of the breeding cabinet and especially through the night when it is cold, they find their way into the little icecream igloo.

      Pop it into a corner with the arch section facing towards them so they find their way in easily. You can put a spray of millet in the igloo as well.  You should also lower the water containers so they do have access to water or some moisture so they do not dehyrate. (**KAZ**)

      Click here for example of Kaz's Ice Cream Igloo The cock should continue to feed them. If the chicks are older then 28 days they should be ok.  You can also make timber shelters similar to the above. I place it under the seed container when the oldest reaches 28 days. (daz)

      Author: Kaz and Daz
      Last update: 03-Jul-2007 16:59


      When should I move my fledglings to a nursery cage?

      Question: My 2 oldest babies are eating seed, drinking water and perching on their own. Heck they can even fly. Is it time to move them to the nursery cage I have set up?

      Answer: You can move your chicks to a nursery cage once they are fully eating alone and not reliant on the parents. Age for that varies from 5-6 weeks on. Some chicks take a backward step and actually get depressed and stop eating, so watch out for that. Supply good food and vegies, plenty of it...especially food dishes and water drinkers at floor level and easy for them to find. If you think they are ready, move them out, but watch for signs of trouble ( not eating ) .

      Author: Kaz
      Last update: 29-Feb-2008 08:50


      Points to Consider BEFORE Breeding (2 articles in 1)

      There are 2 articles here one by Kaz and one by Nerwen on Points to Consider BEFORE Breeding and You will not make money breeding Budgies - Please read BOTH, some information is duplicated but both articles are the views of the author and very informational.  

      Breeding Budgies..........points to consider BY Kaz


      1. How old are your budgies ?

      For the sake of your budgies health, the minimum age for a hen and cock should be 12 months. Any younger and a hen can become egg bound and need urgent vet care. The maximum age for a hen to be bred should be 4 years and a cock at 5-6 years. At four years of age a hen struggles to produce enough calcium and may have issues laying an egg and become egg bound also. If you are in any doubt about your new budgies age with regard to breeding keep them longer before you begin to breed and ask for help on here in working out its age. A coloured cere is NO INDICATION of breeding age as a coloured cere can happen from 3 months onwards.

      2. Do you have a plan and money set aside for vet care if needed ? Many young people enter into budgie breeding with parents saying..."yes, go ahead" but often the very same parents have no desire to allow veterinary care for any sick birds should the breeding project fail or present problems. Please check with your parents to be sure that they WILL allow a vet visit or two and pay for it, should the need arise. Make sure you have saved enough money to cover all the extra expenses. Breeding budgies for pocket money is no quick way to financial success. In reality it might well end up costing you more than a potential sale of babies.


      3. Have you done your research and asked all the harder questions of responsible and experienced breeders ( not the kid next door who has done breeding once or twice ) ? Have you knowledge of the history and health of your breeding pair ? A pair of budgies newly bought for breeding purposes need both a settling in period of time before you start breeding them and you also need to know their history and their personality before proceeding to breed with them. Stress equals illness in budgies...stress from being caught, and put in a petshop, and brought to your home and put in a breeder cage...all these things CAN and do often cause budgies to get sick and die partway through breeding if you put them straight down to breed the second you get them home.


      4. Your budgies are mating...does that mean a "pregnancy" and you need a nest box ? No. Budgies from a young age often indulge in recreational sex. Just because you see a pair of budgies mating does NOT mean there will be eggs or does NOT mean you have to put a nest box in their cage and set them up for future babies. YOU providing them a nest box gives them PERMISSION to lay eggs and have babies and a place to do it, regardless of age. Refer back to point one for age of breeding budgies.


      5. What food must I provide to help my budgies breed ? Although breeding budgies need good food to withstand the rigors of breeding and raising a successful clutch, the foods you need should be the food they have been getting on a regular basis anyway...fresh vegies, especially greens, soft foods, quality seeds, pellets if you use them, etc. For added calcium requirements some liquid calcium added to the drinking water of birds you intent to breed would be beneficial, as would the addition of a cuttlebone to their cage. Bear in mind that cuttlebones arent always the best source of calcium and often are more something the budgies likes to "play with" or destroy just for an activity.

      6. Do you have a safe place for the budgies to breed...cage and location ? Best place for a breeding pair is in a breeding cage of their own and not in an aviary with a pile of other birds and lots of nestboxes......i.e. Colony style.
       

      Breeding is a time of stress for birds and birds get sick and die from stress. To give them the best chance of raising a clutch of babies successfully, you need to make it a stress free event. A separate breeding cage will help as there will be no interference in their nest from other birds, no destruction of their eggs or chicks from others hens who decide they want that particular nest, and assuming you have the breeder cabinet in a safe place. If you don't have a breeding room, then your bedroom might be the best place for them. Try to have it a cat and dog free space during this time for safety and reduction of stress on the birds. A breeder cage tucked into a dark wardrobe will not be a good place for them.


      7. Climate and temperature for optimal breeding try and make the temperature and conditions the best and most comfortable for your breeding pairs. Bear in mind too warm and dry and environment may affect your eggs hatching or not. Try to not have your pairs in a cage situated in a draughty and cold area.


      8. Have you set up your perches properly ? the perches in your breeding cabinet must be sturdy and not too thin for the mating act to be successful. Perches that roll around and are too thin to grip properly will not help the mating or fertilization of eggs. You may well end up with clutch after clutch of clear eggs if you do not address the perch problems. Age will also affect fertility...too young and the eggs wont be fertilized properly. Too old and the same end result.


      9. Nest boxes and cages ? If you have to use a nest box in a normal type cage, try to attach it to the exterior of the cage and higher rather than lower at floor level. This can be attached by tying or wiring the nest box securely to the exterior of the cage with using either a hatch door as entry point to the nest box hole or by cutting a section out of your cage for entry ( you can always patch the cage again later ). Please make sure the cage is at least 2 ft by 2 ft by 2ft to ensure plenty of space for fledging youngsters. Try and have two perches so that parents can fly back and forth as part of the mating ritual to encourage breeding. A cramped breeder cage may well contribute to the parents attacking their own youngsters once fledged as their is no space and the babies find their way back into the nest box while the Mum tries to lay more eggs.

      10. Your anxiety and interference with the breeding pair..... it is very easy to get excited over the prospect of breeding your budgies. Try to give the birds some privacy even if that mean covering two to three sides of their cage if it is in your bedroom. A breeder cage put in a high traffic area of the home may not get you the results you need as it may be stressful to the birds. Lots of anxious checking and rechecking by you also may cause problems for the birds feelings of safety and serenity in incubating eggs and raising a clutch. Try NOT to handle the eggs and shift them about in the nest box. If you need to candle the eggs to test if fertile or not, invest in a flexible shaft candling torch.This can be used without moving any eggs. Touching eggs will contaminate them with germs from your hands. Moving eggs will also upset the order in which the hen rotates the eggs to keep them at the best temperature for hatching. There is no real need for an inexperienced person to write on eggs. You can write on a card on the outside of the cage when the first eggs was laid and so on and then know when roughly to expect your first hatchings.


      11. How and when to check the nestbox if you know you have eggs in a nest box and wish to check, try and do this while the hen is out of the nest box as many hens get agitated and kick the eggs around in the nest box while you are trying to look. This will cause addled eggs and those eggs will NOT hatch. She may also pierce the eggs with her claws while you are trying to look, causing death of chick and again eggs that wont develop. Best time to check a nest box is while the hen is out eating...early morning or early evening or both times.
      Care of baby budgies in the nest


      12. Homes for the babies ? Have you a plan that finds homes for your babies ? Try and remember that pet shops do not pay a lot for your babies so they would not be an ideal solution and make you wealthy. Are you prepared to keep any and do you have enough housing for them ? If you keep any can you identify them and stop them breeding with brothers and sisters ? If some of your babies are hatched in a handicapped state or become handicapped ( i.e. Flightless, splay legged, twisted feet and legs, rickets etc ) are you prepared to keep them and accommodate their special needs ? Have you thought ahead to the best life you can offer your babies in the future ?


      13. Have you prepared a care sheet for your babies future parents and have you thought hard about what you want from the adoptive parents of a baby you have cared for ?

      14. Have you hand rearing formula, crop needles and lots of time and expertise to raise chicks that may well be abandoned by their parents and go unfed or do you have work or school commitments ?


      15. Examine your motives for wanting to breed your birds.
      Weigh up all the pros and cons. Are you doing this for yourself or the bird ? Have you considered ALL the implications of what may well be the end result of doubling or even tripling your flock ? Are you thinking the birds need to breed will make them unhappy if they dont ( wrong, by the way ) ? Be honest with yourself and do not blame the birds "need to breed" on you just wanting to do this.

      16. Do you have FULL PARENTAL SUPPORT if underaged and do your parents have an agreement with you to cover any vets fees should they incur ?

      *****************************************************************************

      YOU WILL NOT GAIN MONEY BY BREEDING BUDGIES! By Nerwen

      There are many things that need to be considered before a nest box is even put down on the shopping list.

      Age:
      The age of the bird must be known so that you know they are mental and physically ready to rear offspring. The youngest that most breeders accept as safe is a year. Many feel that 18 months is better. Budgies themselves are physically ready to breed by the age of 6 months, but this equals in humans 13 -14 years of age. They are simply not mental ready for the task of breeding. They can start to eat eggs, which once started can me hard to stop a bird from continuing, they can abandon nests and eggs or worse attach they young when they hatch.

      Birds from a breeder you should expect a correct month of birth if not the actual date of hatching. I’m not meaning off the top of they heads but they should have it some where in their records. Older birds in the show side should have coloured bands on their legs which will give you a year of hatching. Ones from pet shops can come with leg bands but if you clearly tell them why you want to know the correct age they should be able to tell what info the breeder gave when selling them. You still take these ages at a risk that they picked a figure from air to tell you for a sale.

      You also need to know if your birds are too old to breed. Hen should not be used over the age of three, sometime a breeder will removed eggs to another clutch on a four year old hen if the hen if is high value. Males shouldn’t be used over the age of 6.

      Once you know if your birds are ready or not you can look at other issues.

      Health:
      Both the mother and farther need to be in tip top health. This is making sure there are none of the normal signs of illness: Sitting fluffed up continually, Discoloration/discharge present on feathers above nostrils, Lethargy, Vomiting, and Inability to balance, Stains or accumulated poop on vent feathers. If you can’t tell this apart rethink your idea of breeding them right now and study behaviour. You can also take the birds to your vet to get an all well check up. They also need to be in breeding condition. The hens will have dark brown cere or turning brown while the males cere will be a deep and even blue.

      Relationship:
      The closer the bird the more risk of defects and problems arising. Beginner breeders should not even t think of starting of with line breeding it takes a lot of effort to do correctly. The closest most people deem acceptable is grandparent to grandchild or aunt uncle to nephew niece. But Line breeding or inbreeding can not be taken lightly

      Set up:
      Yes using a normal bird cage can work but you need to think about where to put the box, and if it’s inside the cage is there enough room for 6-10 birds still? Making sure you have enough clear space around the sides or ground to either hang or play extra seed dishes and fresh food plates.

      Hand feeding:
      You will need to have hand feeding formula before any babies appear for the in case moment of having to feed a newborn chick. Added to the food are syringes for problem feeders and a spoon bent into a spout. It would also help for you to visit a breeder or a vet that handles bird who can show you the way to feed them correctly.

      Afterwards:
      What are you going to do with the chicks? Give them away to friends and family, sell them privately?, sell them to a pet shop or even keep them. What ever you choose to do it needs to be thought over first.

      Author: Kaz and Nerwen
      Last update: 07-Nov-2008 20:14


      Sexing Budgies

      Visuals: Pictures to Help Sex your Budgie

      Sexing my budgie

      Generally the colour of a budgie's cere (the coloured area at the top of the beak surrounding the nostrils) is the simplest indicator of gender in adult budgies.

      Most adult males have a blue cere with a smooth, waxy completion. Some males, such as albinos, lutinos, fallows, and some recessive pieds do not develop a blue cere, instead it remains the pinkish/purple colour they had as a juvenile bird. Below we have added an link to our member's birds and there is an example of the mutations that do not develop the normal blue colored cere in a male budgie. Click here Example of Cere

      Adult females have a cere that ranges from a light beige or tan colour through to a dark chocolate brown colour, which become flaky when they are in breeding condition.

      Another indicator is the shape; males tend to have a more rounded bulbous cere compared to the females flatter shaped cere.

      When budgies are a younger age (6 week to 6 months) it is much harder to work out the sex and it takes a trained eye to pick up the slight differences. The things to look for are an even pinky/purple colour over the whole cere for young males and a pink or blue cere with noticable white rings around the nostrils for females. This is where many go wrong for we associate pink for girls and blue for boys and many pet shop employees believe that this is how to tell the difference and incorrectly sex the birds.

      If you are still confused about which gender your bird is the nest step is to look at the behaviour of the bird. Females are known to bite harder than males, which is a great way to tell if you have more than one bird. But still any bird can bite hard when not hand tamed or panicked. Males are the talkers of the species and re quite happy to sit alone and warble and chatter to themselves for hours on end. While females have an urge to chew and rip at things; it is a natural breeding instinct to get a nest set up.

      Visuals Pictures to Help Sex your Budgies (babies and adults) pictures provided by Kaz BBC Global Moderator.

      Cock 2

      (above picture) adult cock bird (male)

      Cock 3

      (above picture) adult cock bird (male)

      cock baby cere

      (picture above) baby recessive pied cock bird (male), in this variety the cere will remain pink in the cock birds, the hen's cere will be like a normal hen. Other varieties where the cock (male) cere will remain pink fallows, dark eyed clears (DEC), lacewings, albino/lutino,

      Hen 1

      (above picture) hen (female)

      Baby Hen 2

      (above picture) baby hen (female)

      Author:
      Last update: 29-Feb-2008 09:55


      How do you prepare for Breeding?

      There are many ways that you can pair up your birds for breeding.

      I select a hen that is of the correct age and is starting to come in to breeding condition. She is placed in a training cage or show cage. Around her, I place suitable cocks that are also of the correct age and are in breeding condition. I note her best points and her worst point. I then pick the cocks that have good points that will counter her bad points and visa versa.

       When I have picked the best two or three cocks for her, I then check to see how closely related they are. So long as they are not too closely related, eg Father to Daughter or Brother to sister, I then place the best cock with her in a breeding cabinet. The nest box is not placed on the cage until 4 days to a week latter. 

      The cage containes Fresh water daily, Seed with Vetafarm Breeding Aid, Cuttlefish Bone, Mineralised grit, Charcoal and a daily supply of soft food which has had Vetafarm Calcivet added and also a multi vitamin.

      Egg should arrive with in 10 days. Infertile eggs are removed until a clutch of at least 4 fertile eggs appear.  If there are no eggs with in 21 days the pair is split up and the hen is tried again a month latter.

      Author: Darryl
      Last update: 15-Aug-2008 18:44


      Can I breed with Young Budgies?

      Don't look here for approval!!!!
      Breeding Budgies under age isn't a good thing to do!


      Why you ask -

      Well lets state the obvious - They are young and aren't mature mentally to lay, incubate and raise young -
      THAT WILL ALL SURVIVE!!!

      Then there is the Physically part - Baby budgies bones and muscles are still growing and forming and developing!

      So you say , Well where do you think the eggs come from ???

      The eggs that they lay are produced from their own calcium ....

      So I'll just add more cuttle bone in there ...

      WRONG ANSWER MATE!

      The calcium comes from their little bones and muscles so you are taking away all that they have just so you can get a few eggs, that may not even hatch!!!!

      It takes ages for the calcium absorption to take place ( vets will correct me on that one ) BUT budgie need
      vitamin D3 to help in the absorption of the calcium!!!! and this isn't found in any fruit or Veggies!!!

      The best thing to do if you want to breed is to BUY BUDGIE OF THE RIGHT AGE!!!

      Otherwise you will end up with a Dead Budgie on your hands !!!!!!

      I am so tired of hearing about people breeding budgies that aren't of the right age! You are basically giving them a death sentence - Maybe not right away but in the Near future!!!

      Wonder why your Hens can't lay eggs when they are 2 -3 years old ... Think about the impact that breeding them at the young age has caused their little bodies!!!!

      Young Hens are prone to Feather plucking ( due to boredom)
      Don't feed young enough! or often enough! Which leads to dead babies and all the babies and PARENTS will end up Malnourished ... because they are getting their own nutrients ....

      Seriously reconsider the breeding of young! I am sure that you or your daughters wouldn't like to be mothers at the age of 10 !!!! Imagine the toll pregnancy has own our bodies! Now times that by 15 and you can see why we get so defensive when it comes to breeding young hen.

      Post by:Neat

      Author: Elly
      Last update: 02-Oct-2008 19:05


      Handrearing Budgies

      Feeding Chicks from newly hatched. The first feed of the day for three days should be a quality yoghurt with a high live organism count. Next feed a mixture of the suggested amounts of Hand rearing food and pre-boiled water heated to about 50deg C. allow the prepared mixture to stand for 2 minutes to absorb all the water. Remix and if too thick reheat and add a little water to make the desired constancy. Bring the prepared food to 35deg C and feed with a spoon or syringe fill the crop full, taking care not to introduce food to the windpipe.

      Feed prepared Hand rearing food 4 to 6 times daily when the chicks are very young reducing to 3 to 4 feeds per day as the chick gets older. Feed small amounts frequently and allow the crop to empty completely at least once each day. Thoroughly clean utensils before each food preparation. Food must be prepared fresh for each meal. Discard all uneaten food.

      Growth of Chicks. Weigh chicks at the same time each day. Daily weight gain will fluctuate but on average healthy chicks should gain from 10% to 20% of their body weight each day. Weight loss could indicate the onset of disease but often means the chick is not getting enough food. Health chicks that do not gain weight may need more solids in the mix, more food at each feed or more feed per day.

      Weaning chicks. Provide adult type food to chicks once they are fully feathered or begin to resist being hand fed. To wean onto Pellets or crumbles, reduce the number of feeds and offer some moistened pellets in a dish. Once the chick starts eating the moist pellets, stop hand feeding and offer only dry pellets. Chicks will naturally lose some weight during weaning.

      # Probotics. Some parrot hand rearing products either include Probotics in their formula or recommend the use of a probotic product. Probotics are live bacteria feed supplements that may have a beneficial effect on a birds intestinal microbial populations. Most probotics contain several strains of bacteria, none of which has been demonstrated to be normal intestinal inhabitants of parrots. Commercial probotic suppliments are expensive to use and have short expiry dates. A quality yoghurt that contains live Acidophillus and Biffidus bacteria produces a similar result and is considerably cheaper to use.


      This information has come from Passwell Hand Rearing Product.

      The mix for growing chicks differs from product to product. All ways read the recommendations on the packet and use accordingly.

      # I personally use a Probotic with my birds and will continue to do so.

      Author:
      Last update: 24-Sep-2008 12:08


      How And What Age To Ring Budgie Chicks?

      Since various kinds of budgies are differing sizes another way to work out when to legring them is this.
      Find their littlest back toe, and hold it along the leg. If it reaches the joint in the leg the chick is ready to ring. If too short to reach, its not ready yet. Most baby budgies are rung within the first 5 days so keep close watch

      Author:
      Last update: 07-Nov-2008 10:33


      Points to consider when foster a chick to another nest

      Here are points to consider when you need to foster out a chick for the following reasons:  

      Sudden death of the parent rearing hen and if cock is not feeding.
      For some reasons, parents STOPPED feeding the chicks.
      Too many chicks in the clutch and if we have option of another rearing hen with less number of chicks. Below are a few members suggestions on how they foster out chicks when necessary, below that you will find a FAQ section with answers about fostering.

       Generally the chicks that are being fostered should be under 2 weeks old. The pair that are receiving them should have chicks of a similar age or be sitting on infertile eggs. Hens that are still laying eggs are usually not suitable. Identifying the foster chick is sometimes a problem. If they are too small to put a ring on they can be temporally marked with twink (tip-ex)  contributed by Neville If fostering to a hen who only has eggs, make it a newish chick not an older one. Never foster to a hen with no eggs or chicks.
      Fostering a chick of a different type will be easier to spot in the nest later if you cannot ring or mark the chick..... for instance an ino chick in a green nest etc. A blue series chick in all all green nest etc.Never expect a hen with no eggs to take on eggs from another hen.
      Contributed by Kaz  It is preferable to foster with a clutch that has chicks about the same age (ie, you wouldn't put a newborn in with a clutch that is about the fledge) You can foster more than one chick as long as you don't overload the foster parents. Just as personal preference if I have the choice I try to foster with a clutch that is a clearly different mutation so there is no confusion, eg. put a green series chick in a blue series nest. Of course that's only if the option s there.  Contributed by melbournebudgie  Some FAQ's - Points to consider when Fostering out Chicks What can be the maximum age difference between the receiving foster clutch last chick and the new chick being fostered?. Try to foster to a nest with similar size and similar aged chicks

      What is the ideal clutch size that will not overload the foster parents?
      Depends on the foster parents...good feeders...as in really good parents can handle around 6-7 in total but ideally closer to 4-5 .... but only if one clutch and not tired from another previous round of chick rearing

      Some time back I have also read this in some article, but I don't know what is the exact reason behind this. I think because at the third week chicks start showing the feather colouring and Budgies are good in differentiating each other based on there feather colourings, is my thinking correct or I am totally wrong. More because a fully feathered and coloured chick would represent an intruder in the nest more than one of their own.    Whether we can immediately foster a newly hatched chick or wondering whether we have to wait for minimum one or two days before fostering this chick. Yes, you can do this with no trouble at all, best to wait until it had it's first feed if possible.
      Assume we have a hen1 with only one chick of age 10 days with NO eggs and another hen2 has 4 chicks with first chick of age 6/8 days. Now whether we can foster one or two chicks from hen2 to hen1
      . Yes, that would work quite well.

      Also I have another question, whether we can foster the chicks/eggs at any time during the day, say morning or afternoon or evening or there is some best recommended time for doing this without much disturbing both the breeding pairs. Best to do this while the mum is off the nest feeding and you can get her to get out while you do it. Best time is morning so if it doesn't work out you will know before nighttime and make another arrangement.

         

      Author:
      Last update: 16-Oct-2008 18:59


      Budgie Milestones

      BABY BUDGERIGAR MILESTONES
      By Betty Rea (permission given to Kaz to post on the site)

      When I first began breeding I was amazed at the way in which the birds cared for their young. The first babies I experienced were canaries and finches but the budgie babies were just as delightful. Just waiting to see what was coming out of each nest was a very special experience.

      As time passed I wished that I had a “timetable” to check birds against. Just occasionally there would be a bird about which I had the gut feeling that all was not as it should be. After much reading from many sources I have put together my “Budgie Milestones” which give a rough day by day guide to the “ages and stages” of chicks during those first few weeks.

      Those of us who have had children know that every child is different and budgies are no different. The “milestones” are meant only as a guide but they may be helpful to beginners who are not sure what to expect of their newly hatched chicks.

      Day 1 If well fed a newly hatched chick can double its birth weight during its first day.

      During first few days chicks are fed flat on their backs, day and night.

      After 4-6 days babies sit their front half up to call for food and then fall back flat to be fed.

      6-8 days begin to develop down on their backs.

      8 days sit to be fed. No longer fed at night.

      8-9 days able to hold up head and begin to wander around.

      9 days Tail feathers begin to show.

      7-10 days pin feathers begin to show on the wings.

      10 days down should be fairly dense.

      12 days pin feathers begin to emerge from head.

      15 days by now covered in dense down.

      20 days Dad can take care of chicks if necessary from this age onward. It should be possible to tell the colour of birds at this stage.

      21 days begin to feed and scratch each other

      22 days start to investigate. Nibble on feathers droppings etc.
      Wander around the nest box quite a lot.

      28 days can have developed to 28 times their birth weight. Some chicks may leave nest. Buffier ones take longer.

      29 days at 4-5 weeks the wing feathers are ¾ of their full length, tail feathers 2/3 of theirs.

      30 days Chicks who left the box at 28 days may come in and help feed younger ones – still get fed themselves.

      33 days Most chicks leave the box at about this time.

      35 days Should be feeding themselves. Flight feathers full length. Colour and markings not as clear and vivid as they will be after the first moult. Ceres not definite until they are sexually mature. Mother possibly now sitting on next round.

      During the first few days after hatching the newborns are nestled all the time. The mother completely covers them. As consecutive chicks hatch they huddle close together with the youngest at the bottom. They rest their necks on each other and stay in this huddle even when the mother leaves the nest. The reason for this is their intense need for body contact – staying in the huddle provides this contact, maximises warmth and happens to be a very good resting position.

      That for the first week of its life a newly hatched chick is entirely dependent on its mother and siblings for its body heat. It is only when it reaches a week old that it becomes “warm blooded” and from then on maintains its body heat for itself by oxidising its food.

      At fourteen days the hen might sit with her wings closed beside the chicks. As they move more she sits less and when the youngest reaches 16 days she stops sitting altogether.

      In the first few days a mother will only feed a new chick if it cries and kicks its legs.
      When it has had enough it cries even louder as an indication for her to stop.
      If a newborn is too weak after the exertion of breaking out of the egg to cry for food it may perish.

      To encourage them to eat she will run her beak over their bodies to make them “open up”. When they sit for their food (10-12 days) they still call but when they’ve had enough they turn their heads away and crawl under mother’s wing. By three weeks they wander around the box following mother begging for food.

      Ringing occurs when the chick’s leg is sufficiently large for the ring not to fall off.
      In large show birds this may be as early as 4-5 days, in medium birds 6-7 days and in small ones you may need to wait until the bird is 7-10 days old. There is nothing to be lost by putting on a ring too early, if it comes off again in your fingers you can put it away and try again a day or two later. If it is left too late the bird may miss out or it may be difficult, needing a lubricant, to assist with putting on the ring.
      Copyright B.M. Rea 2004 http://forums.budgiebreeders.asn.au/index.php?showtopic=22617&hl=

       

      Author: By Betty Rea (permission given to Kaz to post on the site)
      Last update: 21-Oct-2008 14:26


      Baby Budgie Crop and What it Should Look Like

      The crop is a sack where the birds food is stored before it is processed by the gizzard.
      All birds have a crop and its above the brestbone, just below the neck

      ABOVE Picture: Full Crop

      Picture below is a picture of a baby with nothing in its crop - sadly this chick had splayed legs and was rejected by the parents and has since perished 
      An empty crop is not all that common as normally a parent will feed very soon after the crop empties.



      You can see the crop is like a deflated balloon of skin on the neck.

      Author: Liv
      Last update: 07-Nov-2008 20:38


      Red Eyed vs Plum Eyed Chicks in the Nest

      For the new breeders who don't yet know about how to recognise what you have in the nestbox by the appearance of a newly hatched chicks eyes.

      Ino's ......Lutino, Creamino or Yellowface Albino and Albino all begin with red eyes. This can be seen in a newly hatched chick so you know right from the beginning that you have an ino chick. The actual appearance is kind of like they have no visible eye under the skin of the eyelid. Its very much a bright red under the pink of the skin.





      Two red eyed chicks and a dark eyed


      all red eyed


      PLUM eyed Chicks
      Plum eyes appear in a nestbox when you have either recessive pied inheritance or cinnamon.
      A Plum eyed chick ( front ) with its dark eyed sibling



      and the difference between plum and red eyes.....


      Author: Kaz
      Last update: 11-Nov-2008 09:33


      Can I breed young budgies?

      Don't look here for approval!!!!
      Breeding Budgies under age isn't a good thing to do!


      Why you ask -

      Well lets state the obvious - They are young and aren't mature mentally to lay, incubate and raise young -
      THAT WILL ALL SURVIVE!!!

      Then there is the Physically part - Baby budgies bones and muscles are still growing and forming and developing!

      So you say , Well where do you think the eggs come from ???

      The eggs that they lay are produced from their own calcium ....

      So I'll just add more cuttle bone in there ...

      WRONG ANSWER MATE!


      The calcium comes from their little bones and muscles so you are taking away all that they have just so you can get a few eggs, that may not even hatch!!!!

      It takes ages for the calcium absorption to take place ( vets will correct me on that one ) BUT budgie need
      vitamin D3 to help in the absorption of the calcium!!!! and this isn't found in any fruit or Veggies!!!

      The best thing to do if you want to breed is to BUY BUDGIE OF THE RIGHT AGE!!!

      Otherwise you will end up with a Dead Budgie on your hands !!!!!!

      I am so tired of hearing about people breeding budgies that aren't of the right age! You are basically giving them
      a death sentence - Maybe not right away but in the Near future!!!

      Wonder why your Hens can't lay eggs when they are 2 -3 years old ... Think about the impact that breeding them at the young age has caused their little bodies!!!!


      Young Hens are prone to Feather plucking ( due to boredom)
      Don't feed young enough! or often enough! Which leads to dead babies and all the babies and PARENTS will end up Malnourished ... because they are getting their own nutrients ....

      Seriously re consider the breeding of young! I am sure that you or your daughters wouldn't like to be mothers at the age of 10 !!!! Imagine the toll pregnancy has own our bodies! Now times that by 15 and you can see why we get so defensive when it comes to breeding young hens

      Click here for member discussion about this topic

      Author: Neat
      Last update: 08-Dec-2008 09:34


      Food and Nutrition » Recipes

      Egg Food

      • 1 Hard Boiled Egg
      • bread crumbs
      • bird seed, 
      • your birds favourite vegtables

        You microwaves the egg shell for about 2 minutes and smash that into a fine powder. Next, add that to mashed hard boiled egg. Sprinkle some bread crumbs over the top just enough to spread right through the mix.

        Add a tablespoon or two of the budgies seed mix and then mix some finely chopped veggies in as well and stir it all together.

      Posted by member Bea

      Author: Elly
      Last update: 31-Aug-2008 11:06


      Seed Bells

      SEED BELLS

      Ingredients
      small terra-cotta pots
      microwave-safe plastic wrap or plastic oven bag
      length of firm wire (coat-hanger type is fine)
      birdseed of your choice (measure it dry in your chosen pots to gauge amount needed)
      two egg whites per cup of birdseed (or thereabouts)

      Method
      Beat egg whites until white and fluffy but still liquid - you're not making a meringue.

      Prepare pots by lining them with microwave-safe wrap or oven bag. Bend the end of the wire that goes into the seed bell into a closed loop (so that birds and/or leg rings can't get caught on it when most of the bell has been eaten).

      Mix beaten egg whites and bird seed in a bowl until all seed is coated, then spoon the mix into the prepared pots, patting it down firmly. Push the uncoiled end of the wire through center of mix in pot then out of the drainage hole until looped end rests flat on top of mixture, then push loop slightly into mixture.
      Place on an oven shelf set high enough to allow wire to hang free. Cook for approximately 60 - 90 minutes in a very cool oven or longer if pots are larger size.

      The important thing is not to burn the mixture and slow cooking is needed to set it firmly.

      Cooked bells will slip easily from pots, peel away the plastic wrap while they're still warm but don't handle the wire until it has cooled. Using a pair of pliers, twist exposed wire end to form a hook for hanging in the aviary.
      Handy tip - Sometimes if you use large seeds in your mixture, the widest part of the bell which is exposed during cooking will become slightly crumbly. This only happens for a centimeter or two, but if they are to be given away, and you want a less 'rustic' appearance, just spoon the mixture into the pot as usual, but mix another beaten egg white with seeds of last few centimeters and cook as instructed above. This extra 'adhesive' keeps the top layer very firm.

      Posted by Kaz

      Author: Kaz
      Last update: 31-Aug-2008 14:59


      Bird Bars

      BIRD BARS

      Ingredients
      3 ounces uncooked quick oats
      3 ounces TOTAL other cereals:
      - Shredded wheat crumbled
      - Grapenut cereal
      1 cup evaporated skim milk
      1 cup applesauce (no sugar added)
      1/2 cup reduced calories margarine, melted
      1 cup TOTAL of the following mix:
      - Chopped nuts (unsalted)
      - Raisins, dates, dried fruit
      1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
      1 teaspoon cinnamon
      1 teaspoon baking soda

      Method

      Preheat oven to 350 F. In large bowl, combine cereals; add other ingredients and mix well. Spray 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Bake for 30 minutes (until tester inserted in center comes out clean).
      Remove from pan and let cool on rack. Cut into 16 bars. Wrap each bar in plastic and freeze. Break one bar in pieces appropriate to bird size!

      This recipe is good for people too!


      Posted by Kaz

      Author: Kaz
      Last update: 31-Aug-2008 15:01


      Bird Bread

      BIRD BREAD RECIPE

      Ingredients
      2 Cups finely ground pellets
      1 Very ripe banana
      1/3 Cup wheat germ oil
      1/3 Cup vegetable oil
      6 Large eggs
      2 Heaping tablespoons of canned pumpkin
      1 Heaping tablespoon of applesauce
      1 Cup of mixed vegetables
      1 Cup of cooked or canned pinto beans
      1 Cup boiled brown rice
      2 Cups corn meal
      4 Tablespoons baking powder
      1 Teaspoon Spirulina (concentrated carotene)

      Method
      Mix the first five ingredients in a food processor until you have a fine blend. Add the next two ingredients and continue to process. Pour entire mixture into a large bowl and add the vegetables, beans, rice, corn meal and baking powder, Spirulina and stir. The mix should be the consistency of cornbread. If it's too dry, add the liquid from the pinto beans. If there isn't enough liquid add water. When you have the desired consistency pour into a 13x9 inch baking pan.

      Bake the bread at 325 degrees for about 40 minutes or until done. To test your bread insert a toothpick in the middle of the pan. If it comes out clean the bread is ready. Make several pans at once so you can freeze the loaves and use them as needed. Sprinkle vitamins on the bread and crumble it before serving. Good vitamins to sprinkle are: Wheat Grass powder.!


      posted by Kaz

      Author: Kaz
      Last update: 31-Aug-2008 15:03


      Mineral Bars #1

      MINERAL BLOCKS

      Ingredients
      equal parts of,
      Plaster of Paris (available at craft shops or Pharmacy)
      Calcium Carbonate
      Garden lime

      Method
      Mix these together with enough water to make mixture similar to pouring custard (don't have it too wet). Pour into containers/moulds and add a piece of wire shaped like a U. Have about 2" protruding from the top, this is used to attach the block to something in the aviary. For moulds you can use :- Plastic cups, muffin tins, empty fast food containers. Allow to dry before removing from the mould.
      You can also add your own vitamin or minerals or maybe a little grit to this mix. Note : the calcium MUST be "calcium carbonate".

      Author: Kaz
      Last update: 31-Aug-2008 15:05


      Seed Blends (s) for Birds

      Finch Mix
      1 part canary seed
      1 part hemp (if available)
      1/2 part white millet
      1/2 part Siberian millet

      Mix and store in containers.

      Canary Mix
      7 parts canary seed
      2 parts rape seed
      1/2 parts oat groats
      1/2 part flax

      Mix and store in containers.

      Parakeet Mix
      2 parts white millet
      3 parts canary seed
      1 part hemp (if available)
      1/2 part oat groats

      Mix and store in containers.

      Cockatiel Mix
      1 part canary seed
      1 part white millet
      1 part hemp (if available)
      1 part safflower
      1 part sunflower

      Mix and store in containers.

      Small Hookbill Mix
      1 part canary seed
      1 part white millet
      2 parts safflower
      1 part sunflower
      1 part hemp (if available)
      1 part oat groats

      Mix well and store in containers.

      Large Hookbill Mix
      1 part canary seed
      1 part white millet
      1 part safflower
      2 parts sunflower
      1 part hemp
      1 part oats (whole)
      1 part peanuts
      1 pkg. Sun Maid Fruit Bits

      Mix and store in container.

      For Parents  Birds Only
      1 part peanut hearts
      1 part hulled pumpkin seed
      1 part hulled sunflower seeds
      1 part hulled millet

      Author: Kaz
      Last update: 31-Aug-2008 15:07


      Mineral Blocks #2

      Mineral blocks

      "Most mineral blocks on the market are hard. Here is a basic recipe you can work
      with. Plaster-of -Paris is the hardening element. Try adding less of the plaster-of-
      Paris than the recipe calls for.


      2 cups plaster-of-paris
      1 tablespoon calcium phosphate
      1/4 teaspoon iodized salt
      1/4 cup blue mineral grit
      1 tablespoon of trace minerals

      Trace minerals can be obtained from a veterinary supply house. The calcium phosphate
      can be purchased from a pet shop or supply house.

      Mix the above ingredients with just enough water to make a very thick paste. The
      mixture is then poured into ice cube trays until it starts to set up. While it is still
      soft, bend a piece of wire into a (u) shape. Place the wire down in the center of the
      cube. After drying hard, the wire will make it possible to fasten the mineral block to
      a wire cage. Make sure blocks dry completely before using."

      Plaster of Paris is a synthetic, man made material, which is composed essentially of
      plaster or plastic. It is often used to make the non cement walls of garages or
      basements. The material is non toxic and will not harm the birds if they chew/eat off
      of your mineral block. Plaster of Paris is a stable material, so the mineral block
      will be sturdy for your birds to use.

      Posted by Kaz

      Author: Kaz
      Last update: 31-Aug-2008 15:09


      Seed Sticks

      Treat Sticks

      Preheat oven to 300 degrees and place a foil lined cookie sheet inside it

      Ingredients:
      1 cup mixed seed/pellets
      1 tsp. honey (or use corn syrup and it works just as good )
      2 tsp. smooth peanut butter
      1 egg
      1 tsp. unflavored gelatin (knox)

      Put honey,egg,and peanut butter in a bowl and mix very well. A wire whisk works
      best. WHILE STIRRING (important, otherwise you will have lumps) sprinkle gelatin over
      the mix. Stir well again. Add the seed/pellets to the mix and stir to coat. Let the
      mixture set up for a minute or so, then pack into hollow of the of wooden spoons or around a
      stick it takes some patience to get it to stick to the stick but it will work. Put
      them in the oven as you make them. If you use large eggsyou can put in a little more
      seeds. Measurements do not have to be exact. Experiment with the seed mixture add
      chopped dried fruits, vegatables, nuts, chili peppers, or bits of cuttle bone without
      the shell.
      Bake for about 45 minutes at 300 degrees they will just be a little brown.

      Posted by Kaz

      Author: Kaz
      Last update: 31-Aug-2008 15:10


      Budgie Brownies

      BUDGIE BROWNIES

      1 cup cornmeal
      1 tsp. finely ground cuttlebone
      1 cup hulled millet
      2 tbsp. liquid honey
      1/4 cup whole wheat flour
      2 eggs
      2 tbsp. raw wheat germ
      4 egg yolks (for larger birds add 1/2 cup peanuts)

      Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place all ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Pat into a greased and floured baking dish.

      Bake for 30 minutes or until firm (if edges start to get too brown, cover with foil).

      Cool and cut into small squares.

      posted by Kaz

      Author: Kaz
      Last update: 31-Aug-2008 15:11


      Mineral Block #3

      AAEBUDGIE'S RECIPE.....

      Ingredients:
      3 cups of Oats
      1/2 cup of Processed Bran
      1/2 cup of Wheat Germ
      1/2 cup of Egg and Biscuit
      4 Carrots
      6 hard boiled Eggs
      6 Endive leaves OR
      Bunch of Parsley

      Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl.
      Put hard boiled eggs including the shell in food processor then add processed egg to dry mixture
      Finely cut carrots then blend in the food processor.
      Add carrots to dry mix.
      Finely chop endives and/or parsley (we usually alternate between the endives and parsley every few days)
      Add chopped endives/ parsley to mix.
      Mix well.

      The mixture can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days. We lessen the recipe as needed, but we feed morning and night with the soft food, so we do tend to go through a lot.

      We also supply our birds with eucalyptus branches and leaves twice a week, fed in the morning after their first big morning feed and the leaves are taken out a few hours before lights out to ensure chicks are fed seed and soft feed for the night.

      Hope this helps. It sure has improved the crops on our little ones.

      Posted by Kaz

      Author: Kaz
      Last update: 31-Aug-2008 15:13


      Ravengypsy World Famous Budgie Bean Soak

      RAVENGYPSY'S WORLD FAMOUS "BUDGIE BEAN SOAK"



      Ingredients:

      1/2 cup dried split peas*
      1/2 cup dried lentil beans*
      1/2 cup dried small white beans*
      1/2 cup dried navy beans*

      *Note: you can also substitute the above with 3 cups of basic dried “bean soup mix” but do not use any that have added seasoning or sauces.

      1/4 cup wild rice
      1/4 cup dried popcorn kernels (un-popped, not microwave type!)
      2 boiled eggs (smashed with shell crushed for added calcium)
      1/2 cup frozen mixed vegetables (peas, carrots)
      1/4 cup raisins
      1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
      1/2 tsp cod liver oil
      1 cup bird seed of choice
      1 cup chopped fresh parsley (or non-toxic herb of choice)

      (Feel free to improvise with any other healthy ingredients your bird enjoys when available)


      Cooking Directions:

      Place dried beans, rice and popcorn in a container with approx 2 cups of water. Cover and soak overnight (6-12 hours). After soaking, drain mixture & rinse. Put in a pot and cover about 1-2 inch's over with warm water. Cover and boil for 20 minutes, then rinse.

      Separately boil 2 eggs. Mash the eggs into a nice crumble with the shells crushed. Mix the bird seed with the apple cider vinegar and cod liver oil together well, ensuring a nice coating on all the seeds. Add the mashed eggs, bird seed, frozen veggies (thawed), raisins, and fresh herbs to the cooked bean mix and allow mixture to cool before serving.

      Storage:

      Store any extra cooked mix in the freezer using old egg cartons, ice trays, or freezer bags. When ready to serve, remove the amount needed and allow mixture to thaw. You can optionally add dehydrated or fresh fruit/veggies to the mixture prior to serving. I usually add chopped spinach leaves, copped broccoli, grated carrots and diced apples when available.

      You can store the thawed mixture in refrigerator for up to 3 days. Any unused/unrefrigerated mixture should be discarded after 8-10 hours. I usually place in cage in the morning and remove mid-evening to allow birds enjoyment for their morning and early-evening feeding times.

      Note: This is a high-protein, low-fat meal that can be served in addition to a bird's normal daily diet of seed/pellet mix. It should not repleace their normal food!


       

      Author: Elly
      Last update: 31-Aug-2008 15:17


      Raven Birdie Bread Recipe

      Raven's Birdie Bread Recipe

      I find that my breeding pairs love the basic recipe for feeding young chicks, and I put this in the cage at night. But the non-breeding budgies enjoy it as a nice treat. Can also be used for larger birds!

      1 cup cornmeal or polenta
      2 tsp. finely ground cuttlebone
      1 cup millet/seed
      2 tbsp. honey
      1/4 cup whole wheat flour
      2 eggs
      4 egg yolks
      1/4 cup of soaked pellets or baby bird formula/starter
      2 tsp peanut oil or linseed oil (substitute vegetable oil if necessary)
      1/4 cup of fresh fruit juice
      Optional:
      1/2 cup of vegetables, fruits, or nuts (diced, mashed, grated or crushed)
      1/2 cup of Wheat Germ 3 tbsp. cut oat groats


      Mix the ingredients and pour into 1 medium or 2 small flour-coated bread loaf tins. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Allow to cool, then cut into slices and serve.

      You can store the unused bread in a sealed container with a small slice of bread to keep the moisture.


      posted by Ravengypsy

      Author: Ravengypsy
      Last update: 31-Aug-2008 15:42


      Avian Lollipops

      Avian Lollipops

      untreated twigs or lollipop sticks
      1/2 cup seeds
      1/2 cup nuts
      1/2 cup dried fruit
      1 egg
      honey.

      These can be made to suit any size of type of bird, just by altering the size and ingredients used. You can use any sort of firm twig for the stick, just make sure it is clean and free of toxins. Preheat the twigs or sticks by arranging them on a cookie or baking sheet. Place them in the oven. Then turn the oven to 150 degrees (or its lowest setting) and leave the sticks inside to heat.

      While the sticks heat up, add the seeds, nuts, and fruits to a small mixing bowl. Crack the egg into the bowl then mix everything together until the egg is completely incorporated into the mixture and all the ingredients are coated and are sticking together.

      Once the sticks are hot, remove them from the oven. Turn the heat up to about 200 degrees. Let them cool just enough so that you can handle them safely, but they are still very hot. Form lollipops by taking tablespoon sized clumps of the mixture, and forming them into balls around the hot sticks. For smaller birds, you can make smaller balls, and pet owners with larger birds may wish to make larger balls.

      Place the lollipops back onto the cookie or baking sheet and place them into the oven. Bake them for about 20-30 minutes, or until the lollipops are toasted. Remove the lollipops briefly and, using a pastry or basting brush, brush honey over the entire surface (the stick and all) or each lollipop. Once they are all coated, return the sticks to the oven and bake for bout 5 minutes more. Remove the lollipops and allow them to cool completely.

      Serve to your pet once they are cool, or store them in an airtight container until ready to use.

      Posted by Kaz

      Author: Kaz
      Last update: 31-Aug-2008 15:33


      Birdie Cereal

      Birdie Breakfast Cereal

      1/4 cup instant oatmeal
      1 tablespoon peanut butter
      1/4 cup chopped fruit (your choice)

      Add the oatmeal to a small, microwave-safe bowl. Then add just enough water to cover the oatmeal. Place the bowl into the microwave and cook it on the highest setting for about 1 minute. After the minute is up, remove the bowl (carefully!) and stir the oatmeal until all the water is absorbed and the oatmeal is soft and cooked through.
      Add the peanut butter, and stir it in until the peanut butter melts and is completely dissolved into the oatmeal. Finally stir in the fruit. Then let the mixture sit until is has cooled considerably. When the mixture is cool to the touch, and is no longer steaming at all, stir it again and serve it to your pet. Makes 1 serving, but for smaller birds you can keep any > leftovers in the refrigerator until ready to use.

      Posted by Kaz

       

      Author: Kaz
      Last update: 31-Aug-2008 15:34


      Soft Food Stew

      Soft Food Stew

      1 cup corn kernels
      1 cup dried beans
      1 cup brown rice
      1 cup fruits or nuts
      cinnamon, cloves, ginger (season as needed).

      This mixture is very similar to the popular prepared ones, but is much less expensive. It can also be tailored to fir your pet’s individual taste preferences. It has a very soft texture, for easy feeding and digestion. Prepare the corn or popcorn and the beans by soaking them the night before. Add the popcorn and the beans to any medium sized pan. Fill it with just enough tap water to fully cover the vegetables. Cover it with a lid, plate, or anything you have handy. This will prevent dirt and debris, and insects from falling or crawling into the pot.

      The next morning, uncover the pot and place it over medium heat. Cook the water until it begins to boil softly. Allow the corn and beans to cook for several hours, while watching the pan carefully to avoid it bubbling over. Stir it every once it awhile to prevent burning or sticking. You will need to add water to the pot several times, as the corn and beans will absorb the water and will plump up considerably. Cook the corn and beans until the corn has more than doubled in size, and the beans are fork tender.
      As the corn cooks, in a separate saucepan, cook the brown rice according to the package directions. Also add any optional ingredients that you are using to cook along with the rice. Do not add the cinnamon, cloves, or ginger yet. Compensate by using a bit more water, as needed.

      The rice should take approximately 1 half hour to an hour to cook. It should be plumped and tender when done cooking. Also check to see that your optional ingredients are soft, as they may take longer to cook. When everything is done cooking, drain it completely. As the corn and beans finish cooking, drain them as well. Then in a large mixing bowl, or other container, mix all of the cooked ingredients. Stir them together with a large spoon or other utensil. Also add the cinnamon, cloves, and/or ginger if you want to include these spices. Blend completely. If desired, mash the ingredients into smaller pieces.
      Divide the mixture into individual or daily sized portions, in seal-able plastic bags.

      Freeze until ready to use.

      To serve, let the mixture thaw, or place it in the microwave for faster thawing. When using the microwave, make sure the mixture is cool before serving to your pet. Do not let the food sit in your bird’s dish long enough to spoil; remove any leftovers promptly. Suitable for: Medium-Sized, and Larger Birds.

      Posted by Kaz

      Author: Kaz
      Last update: 31-Aug-2008 15:37


      Birdluv Beak Appetite

      A couple of weeks ago, l bought some beak appetit for my budgies and l thought that instead of buying this product for them why not make it myself. so l read the ingredients and l came up with this...Created by Birdluv

      l used frozen veggies that where already chopped.
      - carrots
      - corn
      - green beans
      - peas
      - broccoli
      (you can add any type of veggies that your budgies like)
      next time, l'm going to add some sweet potatoes.

      l also added some cooked grains;
      - oats
      - barley
      - cracked wheat.
      - couscous

      l added some;
      - crushed finely eggshells
      when l serve this to my birds l add sometimes egg/biscuit mix too.
      store bought beak appetit


      homemade


      after l mixed all the ingredients together, l put the mix into ice trays to freeze them. l also put away a small amount of the mix to keep in the fridge for a few days.


      l put the trays in my freezer overnight. l ran them under some hot water so they would easily come out of the tray.


      l then put them in lockable freezer bag.


      to serve, l take one cube and unthaw it. since l only have 2 budgies l only give them half and l put the other half into the fridge for the next time. l serve this to my budgie every second day, the other days l give them fresh food.

      Here is a picture of one of my budgies enjoying their meal. it is hard for me to capture them eating it, as soon as they see my camera they fly away 

      Author: Birdluv
      Last update: 31-Aug-2008 15:42


      Crumble Mixture

      • 4 x tea spoons of Budgerigar Starter
      • 2 x tea spoons of Crumble
      • 2 x tea spoons of egg and biscuit (or toasted bread crumbes)
      • 2 x tea spoons of hulled oats (soaked for 4 hours and drained is fine)
      • 1/2 cob of corn - kernels removed. (caned corn is suitible)
      • 1 gram of muti vitamins

      Mix all together well and serve in individual dishes.
      Mixture quantities are for 6 breeding cages.
      Mixture is not suitible to refridgerate over night.

      You can use any vegetable or combination of vegetables instead of the corn.

      Posted by member DAZ

      Author: maesie
      Last update: 01-Sep-2008 10:13


      Egg and Veggie Casserole

      I made this myself:

      1 boiled potato with skins off (until soft, easier to take it off that way)
      1 cup of rice
      Toss in a handful of broccoli
      1 cup of corn
      1 egg

      Boil all of them in different pans. Drain rice, corn, and broccoli. Cut the potato, corn, broccoli, and egg into beak-sized pieces. Mix it up with the rice. Let it sit in the refrigerator until it cools, then spoon over regular food. My birds go nuts over this! They love it!!!

      Posted by Woodycloud013

      Author: Elly
      Last update: 02-Sep-2008 10:25


      Homemade Healthy Budgie Grain/Seed Mix

      The actual recipe is from Gloria at Whitewing Farms.

      Homemade Healthy Budgie Grain/Seed Mix

      Make your own Budgie grain/seed mix:

       1 part Quinoa
      1 part hulled yellow Millet
      1 part safflower seed
      1 part Canary Seed
      1 part thistle seed
      1 part red proso
      1 part white proso
      2 parts oat groats
      1 part amaranth
      1 part flax seed

      Mix them all together and there you go. Happy and very HEALTHY budgies. Now this, incombination with a "Bouquet Salade" wired or clipped daily inside their house.....you have provided an EXCELLENT budgie diet.
      -Gloria at Whitewings Farm

      I'll add that budgies should get equal portions of a good seed mix and a good pellet as well as healthy veggies (high in vitamin A). Legumes are great to offer and there are many cooked mixes on the market now. Wheatgrass is another very nutritious food that you can offer a few times a week. Basically, they need a large variety of healthy foods in order to get everything they need.

      Posted by Eterri

      Author: Elly
      Last update: 02-Sep-2008 10:26


      Mothers Milk Alternative for Chicks

      Mothers crop milk for the chicks that need help along the way.

      This is what I came up with and has so far done it's job very very well smile.gif


      Ingredients: (Makes roughly 1ml)

      40 drops of water
      1 drop of calcivet
      6 sunflowers hulled
      12 whole hulled oats

      *mortar and pestel*



      Steps:

      1: - Get a mortar and pestel or some other kind of instrument for crushing and grinding.

      2: - Get 12 whole hulled oats and 6 black sunflower seeds

      3: - Hull the sunflower seeds

      4: - Add all seeds into the bowl.

      5: - Grind and smoosh tongue.gif

      6: - Add 40 drops of water

      7: - Continue to grind and smoosh!

      8: - add 1 drop of calcivet

      9: - Voila! home made crop milk!

      Author: Libby
      Last update: 08-Dec-2008 09:45


      Kaz's Homemade Egg and Biscuit

      Homemade Egg and Biscuit

      2 ounces cornflour
      1 pinch salt
      2 tablespoons peanut oil
      2 kilos self raising flour
      6 eggs, beaten
      4 fluid ounces water

      Mix all ingredients into a firm dough, roll out to fit a flat baking tray.
      Spray tray lightly with safe cooking oil spray.

      Cook in amoderate oven until pale brown.

      Allow to cool and than crush the cooked mixture in a blender until crumbled.

      Store in a airtight container and feed to birds as required.

      Author: Elly
      Last update: 24-Mar-2009 01:26


      Aviaries, Cages and Breeding Boxes

      Best type of cage for a budgie

      Square or rectangular cages are best as they provide the most usable space for the budgie and make arranging the perches in a suitable way easier.  Budgies prefer being at the very top of their cage, tall cages ultimately provide a much smaller amount of space.

      In a wide cage, your budgie will make use of the entire space as they fly horizontally (from left to right) not straight up and down. Flat top cages provide a good place for your budgie to play when he/she is outside of the cage; playgyms, stands and baths can be placed on top.

      Always buy the largest cage you can afford as budgies need a lot of space to play and stretch their wings, especially if they have to be in their cage for most of the day. 18"x18"x18" is a good size for a single budgie.  You can also read Minimum cage size for one budgie AND Cages: The good and bad

      If you are going to get a 2nd budgie in the future considering a bigger cage would be wise.  Do know that you will need to quarantine any added budgies so having a smaller cage just for quarantine is advised.  In case one of your budgies get's sick this would also be ideal for a hospital cage to quarantine your sick budgie.

      If you buy a cage that is smaller than this it will be difficult to fit an adequate amount of varied perches and toys in the cage and your budgie may become bored which could lead to health problems. When purchasing a budgie cage, make sure that the bar spacing is no more than 1/2 inch. Anything larger could be enough for your bird to get his/her head stuck (causing injury or even death) or even escape.

       

      Author: pixie25
      Last update: 29-Aug-2008 09:53


      Types of Perches

      Having many different sized and shaped perches in your budgie cage or aviary is very important to stop issues like arthritis and bumblefoot. You can use round and square dowel, rope perches, natural branches from safe trees. Check out these links Discussion on Safe Wood and Safe Wood There are also calcium perches and many more that are available from pet stores.

      Do NOT use sandpaper on any type of perch as this is very bad for their feet.Adding perches at the sides leaves the middle section of your cage free for flying. This exercise is important for the health of the budgergar, so try not to overcrowd your cage/aviary.

       

      Do not position them over water or food containers as it can be contaminated by their droppings.  Placing your food containers in a low position, with the perches at different heights, will encourage your birds to use all the space in their cage, giving them added exercise.

       

       

      Author: feathers
      Last update: 02-Oct-2008 19:18


      Safe paint to use for bird house, wire, aviary etc..

      Use non toxic, water base paint.

      Any rust spots should be sanded back to bare metal and treated with a rust preventitive. It should be allowed to thouroughly dry before applying the finishing coats.

      Click here for Journey of Daz's Aviary

      Author: Daz
      Last update: 12-Apr-2007 00:26


      Breeding Cage Size/Dimensions

      Budgerigars prefer as much room to exercise as possible. Available space will dictate the size of the breeding cage.

      Commercially manufactured Breeding Cages range between 12 inches height x 18 inches wide to 18 inches height x 36 inches wide. Depth being approximately 12 to 16 inches.

      Experience shows that the larger the breeding cage the more successful the clutches.

      (need to add picture of large breeding cage)

      You can also click here for more information Nesting Box Information

      Author: Daz
      Last update: 06-Mar-2008 09:01


      Difference between a cage and aviary

      An aviary is much larger than a cage and is kept outside. They often resemble sheds with mesh sides. Most are large enough for a person to walk into. Example of an aviary from Daz, BBC member: Journey of Daz's Aviary

      Cages are smaller and generally not tough enough to stand up to wind and rain and are therefore not suitable to be kept outdoors. Click to see Example of Cages from our Members AND Cage Setups

      Author: Bea
      Last update: 17-Apr-2007 15:58


      Nesting Box Information

      Nest box design, size, shape, and material of construction have been a matter of preference. A standard box is approximately 9" (h) X 6" to 8" (w) X 6" to 7"(d) with an entry hole of 2 inches diameter.

      The depth of the box is one of preference but should be no less than 9 inches high as shallow boxes encourage chicks to leave the nest early.

      Click here to see pictures of a breeding box set up with nesting box and more. How to set up a Breeding Cage Plus

      Author: Daz
      Last update: 12-Apr-2007 00:19


      Is MDF (Medium Density Fibre) OK to use to build a breeding box?

      MDF can be dangerous to use if the correct safety precautions are not taken. MDF contains a substance called urea formaldehyde, which may be released from the material through cutting and sanding. Urea formaldehyde may cause irritation to the eyes and lungs. As Budgerigars have a habit of chewing, they can easily ingest this toxin, therefore it is not safe to use.

      Click here to learn how to make a safe breeding box and nesting box for your birds How to set up a Breeding Cage Plus

      Author: Daz
      Last update: 12-Apr-2007 00:22


      Chicken wire is it safe to use?

      Sometimes the galvanising process leaves an excess of zinc on the wire. Budgies can chew the wire and end up with heavy metal deposits in their system which will kill them.

      That is a pretty painful way of dying!

      If you use galvanised mesh of any type, it is best to wash it down with vinegar. This is a dilute acid. Also make sure there are no pieces of zinc hanging on the wire that the bird can break off and digest.

      Click here for ideas Difference between a cage and aviary

      Author: Daz
      Last update: 12-Apr-2007 00:24


      Examples of Cage Setups

      Author: Elly
      Last update: 17-Apr-2007 16:00


      Building a Hospital Cage

      Do I need a hospital cage: You can make one up as an emergency thing by just using a warm lamp outside a small cage and covering 2-3 sides of the cage, in an emergency. any of us with a quantity of budgies or intending to breed budgies make sure we have a hospital cage at the ready for sick birds or for baby budgies needing warmth.

      What purpose does a hospital cage serve? hospital cage is necessary for warmth for a sick budgie. Any sick budgie benefits greatly from being put in a warm cage prior to a possible vet visit.

      What temperature should the hospital cage maintain: temperature for a hospital cage is between 27C- 30C

      Testing Your Hospital Cage: It is a good idea to test out the cage before you need it so you understand how it work. Run the whole thing with monitoring the temperature and leave it on for the whole day and check temps every half hour to see how the temperature either builds up, or not.

      Here is the hospital cage my Dad made for me. Its not a thing of beauty but it works really well.

      interior shot
      IPB Image

      The box is around 2 foot wide by 12 inches deep by 15 inches high. The top comes off for ease of access and is attached to the body of the hospital cage by latches on the sides. There are carrying handles as well.

      There is a main perch that runs across the width of the cage. A lamp fitting fitted into the cage and accessed by the bird on the lefthand side. The electrical components are simply a lamp fitting from the elctrical plug right through to the bayonet section that holds the light bulb. There is an external switch.

      You may recognise the electrical components from any old lamp you may have. The bayonet section with globe also is fitted with an old style metal shade which assists in directing warmth downwards.
      IPB ImageThe perch running across the width of the cage allows the bird to move under the heat source or move away from the heat source as needed.


      The perch is a maximum 2 inches above ground level. I put paper in to line the base and change the paper 3-4 times a day for health reasons. I also often have a diagonal perch in there running front to back...from floor level to the food and water dispensers that would be clipped to the front of the cage.

      The diagonal perch helps any sick birds who can neither perch not reach up to food dishes..it allows them to walk from ground level up to the main perch and access seed and water. The water is put on the right hand side of the cage and would be medicated with whatever is necessary for the sick bird at the time.


      As there is a cage front and not perspex, it seems to maintain a constant temperature with no chance of over heating. In this cage I use a 25 watt globe.
      As I said...it is no thing of beauty but it works really well, is easy to make and I could NOT do without it.

      Thanks to my Dad.

      Examples of 2 other hospital cages, how they were built and how they were improved Example #1 AND Example 2

      Author: Kaz
      Last update: 04-Jun-2007 00:45