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Everything posted by Chrysocome

  1. A microbial culture is when they grow the bacteria on a plate then do tests on it to figure out what type of bacteria it is. They usually also let it try to grow in different antibiotics to figure out what antibiotics are effective and which aren't. Hannah, what kind of water containers do you use and how do you wash them? I've been finding that the bacterial infections of the gut (and crop) tend to come from those who rinse out the water container with hot water only. It's my recommendation (as well as that of an avian specialist I spent time with in Brisbane) that you actually use detergent, then blast it with hot water before making sure all the detergent is gone.
  2. Thanks guys, I'm having a blast. Cheekfood, yes cockatoos are native. The whole thing breaks my heart too, as most of them who are brought in are usually hurt enough to be caught easily, and therefore the injuries are often quite bad. Oh, I know that Ratzy; now I realise that sentence doesn't read well. I deleted a line and I probably should have started a new paragraph but I had to rush out - that'll teach me not to try and post on forums five minutes before the end of my lunch break. My point was that the clinic went to great lengths even on common birds and were willing (and able) to absorb the costs. At most clinics (that have anything to do with birds), that kind of thing is usually reserved for pets and rare/endangered animals.
  3. I haven't popped in here for a while but this caught my attention so I thought I'd pop in my two cents. I'm a vet now. Wildlife is not simple - it's a case by case thing, what we do really depends on the injury. It's not as if we can fix it now and then let it go later in the week. It's a bit more complicated. In this case "broken wing" can cover a heck of a lot of things. In many cases I think I would have done the same - but again it depends. Broken ulna, hairline fracture, mild sprain - these I save as they heal completely. Broken humerus, dislocated joints, open wounds, loss of skin - these not only cost a lot (and yes unfortunately we have to talk about costs, because realistically who is going to pay for an extensive surgery? If you've ever had a surgery performed on your animal you would know how much it costs. The boss would let me pay for it out of my salary but if I did this for every wild animal I see but I'd be a poor person very quickly. And we always have paying clients waiting - we can't neglect them either) - and sometimes when they heal, they heal with strictures, loss of motion/meanouvreability, and are often very slow to get there. After that, someone has to rehabilitate it in order for release in the wild - usually the clinic has a wildlife carer in contact - but it's not like the bird can be given to any member of the public to keep. At my clinic the policy for wildlife is: it must be able to survive its injury AND survive in the long term in the wild. Yes we could save its life in the immediate period (if someone will pick up costs - which sometimes we do or the person who brought it in will). But a bird that can't fly well may face the following ends: it can't feed itself so it starves to death, or it is easily attacked by a predator - in most vets' eyes, this is a far worse death than passing away quietly in warmth and quiet. But not every bird will face that. It really is a case by case judgement call. Those are my thoughts, as an individual, and perhaps to give a little bit of insight to what happens in my clinic at least. I should probably add that I try my best to save what I can - that's my call. Some things my boss won't let me save even though I did try for a while - pest species and so on (it's actualy illegal). I mean, I've been to specialist avian clinics who will put metal pins inside the bones of common old magpies. But I still think I'm fairly lucky at this clinic; we go to reasonable lengths to save wildlife and yes we pay for it. Some places won't even see (or know what to do) with pet birds, let alone wild ones needing extensive expensive surgery.
  4. That's such wonderful news, so happy he's doing so well! How is his cere looking?
  5. I agree that now isn't the time; I'd wait a until he'd been well for a few weeks at least. Nutritional disease is often slow and can be healed with time. But whatever unknown is going on with Cosmo may not be able to tolerate him starving himself because he doesn't recognise the pellets. How I convinced by birds was this: I took the pellets and let them soak in some water until it quite mushy. I mixed their dry seed through it and added a mixture of chopped fresh veggies. Veggie patties for the birdies - they went for it They were trying to get the seed and veggies and got a taste of the pellets while they were at it. I slowly took the seed out (but I am not a believer of 100% no seed). Since the recommendation is to feed the pellet dry, over many weeks I decreased the water content until there were dry pellets and dry seed. They gradually recognised that the food was a bit different but it was still edible. Some other ways that have been used are to put the pellets on a mirror on the ground, or put a mirror next to the pellet container. They see the budgie in the mirror picking at it and want some for themselves. Or if Cosmo is humanised and will eat what you eat, pretend that you're eating it I don't like the method you've described, since it can be very dangerous if they don't recognise the pellets as food. I personally think it's cruel to starve them into eating it. Especially when they've been sick. I wouldn't drastically decrease seed in one day like that; I'd start with a ratio that slowly changes the other way.
  6. The others will give you good advice on seed. I'm going to jump in on pellets if you choose to use them. Reputed brands are Harrisons, Roudybush and Dr Macs. My impression from working at five different avian vet clinics is that although correctly formulated, the birds don't like the taste of Paswells. My birds like Harrisons and Dr Macs, won't touch Passwells, and I never tried Roudybush because it's hard for me to get here (although it appears to have the most detailed research out of all of them). Make sure that whatever you choose (seed or pellets), that you give daily, varied vegetables, and make sure that they are eating them (not just playing with it).
  7. I'm so amazed. It's now time for the Grand Finals. Two exams down, four to go. And then... I'll be a veterinarian. How quickly it all goes.
  8. On the subject of galahs getting around and hybrids.... Galatiels!
  9. Yeah, I do the exact same thing but draw up what I need through the needle. It works the same way. 1ml in needle + 3ml in syringe. Push plunger down = 3ml in bird + 1ml in needle. I suppose it doesn't matter greatly in this case as most of the drugs we use in birds don't require exact dosing we don't use massive crop needles.
  10. Let's say you've drawn up exactly 3ml according to the syringe and then put the (empty) needle on. Let's say the capacity of the needle is 1ml (it's not, but it's easier to understand). When you push the plunger down to "2ml", 1ml goes into the needle yes? It doesn't just fall out of the needle; the liquid will stick to inside of the needle and it stays there unless you push it out. So according to your syringe you've pushed 1ml out of the syringe, you think it's gone into the bird when in fact 1ml is sitting in the needle and hasn't entered the bird at all. It will only leave the needle if you push it out with the plunger. When you push the plunger down all the way to "0", your syringe says that 3ml has left the syringe: 2ml goes into the bird, 1ml stays in the needle. Does that make sense? I can draw a picture if it's easier.
  11. I hate calling it a needle because of the connotations people have with it, I prefer calling it a crop tube. I like to remind people that it's basically a stomach tube. Only just read this bit. If you do this you will underdose unless you suck up some air and push out the last bit of medicine sitting in the tube. If you draw it up with the tube on, you push exactly what you need through and the excess stays in the tube when you take it out of the crop. Does that make sense? Otherwise, if you draw up your dose then put the crop tube on, you'll find some medicine stays inside the tube when you take it out of the crop. This is especially a problem if it's a small amount of medicine you're giving - you may find a proportion of it stays in the tube if the amount you're giving is too small. Of course it's a different story if you draw it up with the tube on and push the last bit out of the tube with air. As you said this will be an overdose.
  12. Fantastic Riebie, how did it go?? While up visiting bird clinics in Brisbane I came across a great idea about making budgies work for seeds in bowls, for people starting out, birds who are really afraid of new things or people who couldn't spare a lot of time. The idea was to have something else in the bowl that they had to work around to get to the seed. The original idea was recycled newspaper cat litter. I checked how much it cost and with how things are at the moment, I couldn't spare $11 for a massive bag of cat litter (and I didn't want to explain it to my parents!). I got back to Melbourne and dug around in my room. I found plastic beads. I've posted a "how to" thread in the main part of this forum section :rofl:
  13. I had an idea while cleaning out my room today... Background on captive foraging A bird's activity in the wild is divided into three categories: 1) foraging (looking for food), 2) socialising (interacting with flock members and mates) and 3) maintenance (preening, bathing and resting). As you might know from threads on captive foraging in this section of the forum, budgies in the wild would spend something like six hours of their day flying vast distances looking for food. Food isn't usually freely available either, they might need to dig or rip up things in order to get to the food. When they're not doing that, they socialise with their flock members and rest during the day. Pet birds take about five minutes to climb down to the food bowl, pick out their favourite seed (usually the most fattening because they taste the best), eat more than is required of their activity for the day, then go back up on their perch. They spend the remaining six hours of the day doing... what? They may do behaviour 2 (socialise) and play with their toys, other budgies or with people, but can they really do this for six hours? The other behaviour they can choose to do is to 3 (maintenance - preen and rest). So they spend much of their day not doing much, getting very bored (and birds can't actually tell you they're experiencing this), which eventually leads to mental stress and/or obesity. (Can you imagine having nothing to do but sit in a room, play with the same old toys and maybe chat with a friend once in a while - all day - for your entire life?). It is well established that obesity leads to liver disease and shortened life span. The idea of captive foraging is to increase the time they spend looking for food, like they would be in the wild. It's natural and good for them. This reduces boredom and increases their activity. It gives them something to do and it simulates a natural environment. It is also very rewarding and fun for an owner to help set this up. Anything we can do to increase their foraging activity (even if it just means they spend longer picking out their favourite seed) can help them. So here is my idea. You will need: A packet of plastic beads. OR a packet of glass marbles, or glass pebbles (the ones for decorating vases or fish tanks), or recycled paper cat litter. Pretty much anything that's safe to chew on and takes up space. That is all. I used beads. They cost me all of $1 at the reject sjop. Make sure they're too big for your budgie to swallow. Pony beads or bigger are best. Step 1. If your bird is a neophobe and won't go anywhere near anything new, put a single bead into their food bowl. That's all. See how they react to it. If it takes them the whole day to get used to it being there that's okay. Leave it like that for a few days if you like. Step 2. If your birds are like mine and will investigate anything new, put a few in their food bowl. Choose colours they're familiar with - mine love broccoli and carrots, therefore ...and a sunflower seed as a bribe! Step 3. Every day, put a few more beads in. Put in new colours slowly. Keep it the same until your birds get used to the change. It can take hours to the whole day. If your birds are really fearful of new things and you want to take it slow, change the bead number very slowly - even weekly - instead. Step 4. This is your goal. The aim is to have the volume of beads far outweigh the volume of seeds. They still have their normal amount of seed in there, but now there are beads in it too. So what's the point? In order to get to the seeds, your budgie has to shove all the beads aside, constantly. It can't just dive into the bowl and have free acess to all it wants. It has to spend time working for its food. Anything we can do to get them foraging- working for their food and making them spend longer looking for it- will keep their minds occupied for a bit longer. If you're worried about your budgies chucking the beads out of the bowl and making a mess (I'm not, since this gives them something to do!) try using marbles, which they can't actually pick up. Simple and effective. :rofl:
  14. Budgies in the wild live in a huge flock. There is safety in numbers. A bird separated from the flock is easy prey for predators to hunt. The flock is safety. They don't really understand being by themselves if they've grown up with all their friends (in the aviary and then the pet store). Birds in a flock call out to each other so they know they're still safe. This is probably what's happening to your budgie, he is alone and he thinks he's in danger without all the members of his flock. That's why he is "in love", or rather he want his flock so he can feel safe. It happens to all new budgies if there's one already in the house, it makes no difference if they are both males or both females or not. Despite this we MUST quarantine. It may feel cruel or seem a waste of time, but trust me it can save both bird's lives! By quarantining we can find out if the new bird is sick and get it treated, and it won't have passed it onto the old bird that you probably love a lot. As others have stressed quarantine is extremely important.
  15. There are three bird-specific clinics with registered bird vets in Victoria. They are: Burwood Bird and Animal Hospital Dr Patricia MacWhirter and Dr Phil Sacks 128 Highbury Road Burwood 3125 http://birdclinic.net/ 03 9808 9011 Melbourne Bird Veterinary Clinic Dr Colin Walker and Dr Corrie Pinkster 1 George St, Scoresby, Victoria 3179, Australia http://www.auspigeonco.com.au/ + 61 3 9764 9000 Springvale Animal Hospital Dr Matthew Gosbell and Dr Ruth Barrett 570 Springvale Road Springvale South VIC 3172 Phone 03 9546 5022 http://www.sahvet.com.au/ The following places will also see birds, they're not specialists but know more about birds than regular dog-and-cat vets: Melbourne School of Veterinary Science Dr Tina Knight 250 Princes Hwy Werribee 3030 03 9741 3500 Templestowe Veterinary Clinic 288 Manningham Road, Lower Templestowe 3106 (03) 9850 5046 They're all I can think of.
  16. First of all: how big is your cage? Even if they have their own food bowls, they should be able to get sufficiently far away when (or before) he bites their tails. This continual harassment must be extremely stressful for your quiet ones, and I would advise either getting a bigger cage or separating him so he stops picking on them. It’s not fair on your other birds to be constantly harassed like that. My Milly occasionally sits there and screams her head off, but the birds now have their own room so it doesn’t bother me much. Usually she does it when she wants something (I unintentionally taught her this and enforced it by giving her what she wants when she does it – mainly attention or veggies in her case. I’m trying to break this cycle). Since your bird is not humanised, it’s probably not this, but keep it there in mind. Like people, every single bird is different. They have different personalities and different activity levels, and it sounds like your white pied is one of those naturally highly active birds. I should say now that birds were made to be noisy and it’s not natural for them to be quiet. The flock only goes quiet when there’s danger. Budgies love noise; any time anyone puts on the TV or music, or even have conversations in our house, the birds join in. The louder we get, the louder they get. It sounds like what your white pied is doing is joining in on making noise he hears around him, only his idea of noise is to scream. In terms of correction of the screaming behaviour, there are two approaches I can think of that may help you. 1. Positive reinforcement and behaviour training. Now I know this is rather difficult because you say the birds aren’t tame. The best way to do this is to separate him from the others. Find a food item he loves very much. A way to do this is to put a selection of food (seeds, bread, nuts, fruit and veggies) in front of him and see what he eats first. For most birds it’s sunflower seeds. These are very high in fat, so if this is the case, chop them up into quarters. Make sure you remove the treat item completely from the cage; he can only get this treat from you. Now go over to his cage. If he screams, ignore him. When he makes a sound you like, reward him. This is as simple as dropping the reward into the food bowl. He won’t get it at first, but be consistent, he will learn to associate being quiet/making a nice sound with his favourite food. My conure used to scream his head off wanting attention; we ignored him when he screamed, and rewarded him with attention when he whistled. Now he whistles his head off when he wants attention, but it’s a much nicer noise than screaming! This won’t happen overnight, it took months for us, but with persistence he’ll start changing the noises he makes because he learns that he gets what he wants when he makes a nice noise, rather than screaming. You can apply the second approach at the same time as this. 2. Give him heaps and heaps of things to do so that he’s too busy or too tired to do anything else. From what I can tell from your post, you have a mirror toy and a preening toy; what else does he have? It sounds like he wants to have something to do and is bored; so he makes noise and annoys the other birds because to him it’s fun and there’s nothing better to do. Give him lots of toys and things to shred like paper, veggies, bark etc. Rotate these in and out of the cage weekly and change their positions in the cage weekly. Get him captive foraging. In the wild, budgies would spend something like six hours of the day looking for food. Our pet birds spend two minutes going down to the bowl, picking out their favourite seeds, and then have the other eight hours to do… what? In this case he’s chosen to scream and annoy the others. So you could hide his food inside things so he has to rip things up and use his brain (and beak and feet) to get to his food. If he spends more than two minutes going to his food bowl and eating his fill, he might spend less time screaming because he’s just too busy. In fact, this captive foraging idea can be applied to your other birds too, since it’s a natural behaviour and good for them anyway. Consider clicker training him (even something as basic as target training), again to keep him busy. Plus it's a fun and rewarding thing to do with your budgies. Make sure you click on all the links in that thread; I got my Squee target training in literally half an hour, and you'll be amazed at what you can teach them to do. That’s the advice I can give you. Please try some if not all of these things. If you are at your wit’s end, consider putting him in a different room or giving him up to an aviary or even a foster home – there are plenty of people in your part of the world willing to take on birds that others don’t want or can’t keep anymore. Please don’t release him as he is domesticated and will not survive alone in the wild. Good luck, I hope you find something helpful in my long post. Please let us know what you end up doing and keep us posted on what's happening.
  17. Eastern (common) long necked turtles are under schedule 5B in Victoria, meaning that they can be held and released without a wildlife license if obtained from a legal source (ie bred in captivity or wild-caught by someone with a license to do so). I'd like to warn you that turtle care is not simple. There is a huge responsibility regarding water maintenance, heating, lighting, docking and feeding, which must be done properly or else illness and short life span will be the result. The thing about turtles is they don't readily tell you when they're sick or in pain. Posting about support of non-budgie animals is not allowed here, but please please look up proper turtle care from a reputable source such as an "exotics" or "herp" veterinarian before you "dig a pond" for it to live in. A pet store or "friend of a friend" is not such a source. Having spent three weeks with a reptile vet I've seen literally a dozen turtles who have really bad illnesses which were sadly preventable with proper husbandry.
  18. Birds are amazing creatures. They have a very efficient oxygen exchange system required for the very high energy demand involved with flying. As a result they have an amazing respiratory system, and an amazing circulatory system. I've always been fascinated by the whirr of my birds' heartbeats that I could hear with my stethoscope and have been at a loss as to how to share it with everyone. Recently I was lucky enough to witness surgery on a budgie, where a Doppler flow meter was used. In different veterinary clinics there are different protocols as to what machines are used in surgery. This was the first time I'd seen a Doppler. A Doppler basically measures pulses and translates it into sound that you can hear. So while I've never been able to record a bird's heartbeat through a stethoscope, I could finally record it through a Doppler. Here it is: http://s8.photobucket.com/albums/a14/Chrys...nt=MVI_8291.flv Yes it is a very short video but it's enough to hear what a budgie's heart sounds like. Each hammer-like sound you can hear corresponds to one beat (contraction of the heart). A human heart beats at around 80 beats per minute, allowing us to clearly hear the "lub-dub" sound. In birds it's so fast all you can hear is a whirr. In the video, the budgie's heart rate was going at around 350 beats per minute - which is normal. It can go up to 600 beats per minute in times of stress or exercise. It goes down to about 250 beats per minute in times of rest or sleep. :happy-dancing:
  19. Quick reply as extremely busy at work. I can't tell very well from the photo but if you describe that she was normal the past few days, it sounds very much like a form of abdominal hernia. This happens when hens have been in breeding condition for a long time causing weakness of the abdominal muscles. When they strain for some reason the line holding the stomach together splits as bit, allowing her insides to sag and sometimes they might go under the skin. It can be fatal if intestine becomes trapped, or they can have it for a long time if it is just fat that goes out of the hole. I'm sorry I can't tell from photos or even words. It could also be something ruptured inside, or a broken egg, or swelling of an organ. I would take her out of breeding immediately and foster any eggs. Is she pooping okay? Any other sign of sickness?
  20. Take care with the above info - we don't have some of those in Victoria or even Australia! In addition, some are only present in wild birds, or waterfowl, or chickens etc. From budgies, the only ones that spring to mind are psittacosis and breeder's lung, both of which are primarily respiratory diseases. There is plenty of info on psittacosis here on this site. If you want to have a google, the word you are looking for is "zoonosis" - diseases that cross from animals to humans. Make sure it's specific to where you are. If you want specific information about each state in Australia, look up the government site for your state. In particular for Victoria, it's this page here Hope this helps...
  21. Hi guys, I thought some of you might find this interesting. Having done a short course of veterinary clinical pathology and looking at things under the microscope for various animals, I thought I’d share some of my findings with you. There is a huge universe we can glimpse when we look at things under the microscope. There are an unbelievable number of different cells, and our bodies are made up of literally trillions of individual ones (that's 1 followed by over twelve zeroes). It’s quite amazing when you think that these little guys are what allow us to be alive, to function, to go about our daily lives, all without us being aware of them doing it. My first lot of photos is of… Bird blood! Gross, you might say. In that red fluid there are many different types of cells all with very special functions. The following photos are of blood from my very own budgie Millie. A long time ago when she was sick the vet made a smear using her blood. The vet let me keep it as my own reference. I kept it tucked away and only during my short course the past few weeks have I gotten them permanently fixed, and then used a special camera to take photos. So we have budgie specific blood to look at. (Different birds have different looking cells). To make a blood smear, a single drop of blood is placed onto a slide. It is then smeared out to make a thin layer of cells we can look at (so they don’t sit on top of each other and make it hard to distinguish individual ones). Then it is stained with special coloured fluids so that we can see the cell structures (most of which are normally colourless). This creates some artifacts you'll see in my photos - little bits of debris, some weird and different uptake of stain leading to different colours. The following photos are magnified at least 1000 times the actual size, and a think another ten times on top of that because I cut and zoomed in for you to see them clearly. So here we go: Milly blood. Red blood cells (erythrocytes) If you’re familiar with blood from say people and some other mammals, you’ll be familiar with red blood cells are mostly round with no nucleus. Well, birds are a bit weird! Bird blood has a nucleus and the cell is ovoid in shape. The role of red blood cells is to carry oxygen. The red blood cells pick up oxygen in the lungs and then circulate to different tissues, which use it for metabolism in order to function. Red blood cells make up the majority of blood. They're the ovoid reddish ones. There are some cells that are rounder and bluer. These are younger red blood cells, which will soon grow up to be mature red blood cells like the others. Platelets (thrombocytes) The role of platelets in all animals is to plug any holes in the blood vessels. They’re responsible for stopping a broken vessel from bleeding out indefinitely. After a certain series of reactions, the platelets are bound together to form a clot – if there’s a big enough clot we see them as scabs. Bird platelets are weird too – they also have a nucleus where mammalian ones don’t. Bird platelets like to hang out in groups on a blood smear. The thrombocytes are the little ones sitting together. White blood cells (leukocytes) White blood cells are a group of types of cells. Their role as a whole is to defend the body from invaders. They can be divided into granulocytes and agranulocytes. Granulocytes All granulocytes have granules inside them. These granules have special enzymes designed to break down material. Anyone familiar with the mammalian neutrophil? They are the most abundant white blood cell and their role is to eat and digest any invaders in the blood (and other tissues too). Their main target is bacteria. They engulf the bacteria and then release their granules, which break down and destroy the offenders. Neutrophils also engulf and destroy things that don’t belong in the blood or body, like dirt or splinters and so on. When a whole lot of neutrophils accumulate and die, the debris from their remains form what we call pus. Birds don’t have neutrophils, but instead have a cell called a heterophil. They have exactly the same job as the mammalian neutrophil. There are two heterophils in this picture (and a platelet, and a baby red blood cell) Birds also have eosinophils and basophils like mammals, though in a normal bird they’re rare. Milly wasn’t sick enough to have these, so I don’t have any pictures. Agranulocytes Agranulocyets are white cells without granules inside them. They can be further divided into monocytes and lymphocytes. Monocytes (like macrophages) come to the neutrophils’ (or heterophils’) defence if an invasion has been going on for some time, and to mop up any mess they make. They too are designed to engulf things, including invaders, but they also engulf dead neutrophils and red blood cells to remove their remains from circulation. Monocytes also call on lymphocytes to do their job. The monocyte is the one with a "kidney" shaped nucleus. There are also two heterophils, a thrombocye and a young red blood cell. The little clumps of dense colour are due to the stain being processed incorrectly. The main role of lymphocytes is in immunity and viral diseases. A subgroup these cells are designed to “remember” a certain invader, so that the next time it happens they send off signals quickly so a response can be launched faster (this is the basis for vaccinations). Another subgroup of these cells makes antibodies specific to the invader, which coats and neutralises the invader. Heterophils and monocytes then come by and engulf these coated invaders. Yet another subgroup releases toxic granules that kill any infected cells, killing their “own” in order to stop the spread of disease. The lymphocyte is the weirdly shaped cell in the centre that looks a bit squished (this is normal for them). I hope you’ve found this post interesting. Since I’m going to work with an avian specialist for the next three weeks, I’ll try to take as many photos as I can of things under a microscope, and post them here. Mods if this should be in the health section please move it.
  22. Rapeseed is most certainly present in a lot of budgie mixes (whether or not this is related to canola I do not know). From personal experience, budgies leave it on the bottom of the seed dish - I always assumed it was just because it was too small/hard for them to eat.
  23. Really pleased to have inspired you Riebie! Please post lots of photos and stories, so we can all share ideas and keep inspiring each other :budgiedance: I advise weaning them onto foraging, in that you should figure out how much they eat normally in a day. Start off by adding the foraging on top of bowl/dish food (use favourite treats), but then decrease bowl food slowly as you add more foraging in. Slowly change the foraging food from treats to their normal food. Do this over weeks (to months) rather than days. That way you're not suddenly switching them onto foraging without them understanding that they won't be getting a fixed amount of food in a bowl and potentially depriving them of adequate food. My avian vet has this galah who has no food bowls at all! He spends the entire day foraging for enough food that would have made up his normal meals. You've made me realise I never put up my "getting started" post with pictures about how to get them to recognise the parcels - I'll dig it up from my older computer. I'll also try to get some new updates on how the girls are going :budgiedance: EDIT: Just wanted to add something about getting their weight down. The act of converting to foraging alone (making them exercise more) should be enough to get their weight down initially. If you're going to change the amount of food in total (bowl + foraging food) so they eat less over the day, again do it slowly over days to weeks (you could do it at the same time as introducing foraging, or it may be safer to do it after you've converted to foraging). Watch them very carefully in the first few days to make sure they're actually getting around to all of the food you offer. When you figure they are eating it all, we need to make sure it's enough to sustain their maintenance needs. We want them to lose weight, but not too quickly because rapid weight loss is dangerous. Ideally you should check their weight with kitchen scales (at the very least feel their keel for progress, though it's nowhere near as sensitive. I'll admit I didn't use scales, but I wasn't changing their overall amount of food. Scales are the gold standard and it's the safest way to go). I suggest weighing every few days as you're changing ratios until you get them onto a stable amount. After that weigh them intermittently to check how much they're losing. Any loss over 1% per week is excessive. For a 50g budgie this is 0.5g. Remember to monitor for when you get them to an ideal weight (feeling the keel is probably the best for this, as each budgie differs in "ideal" weight for their size and build) and adjust their intake as needed.
  24. Not impressed. Totally unncessary and borderline negligent/cruel. There is a difference between a food reward/treat and completely depriving food for so long. I'm sure it would work but there are much better ways. Instead of leaving out food and offering a meal as a reward, why not leave the food in and offer a favourite treat it can only get from you? It has nearly the same principles, only the bird is not coming to you out of desperation, and the bird does not suffer any hunger. (This is #1 of the "five freedoms" of animal welfare by the RSPCA, underpinning our animal welfare legislations). This is born out of this idea that an animal should be "tame" quickly. And why? In many cases, particularly people who watch and then go do this method, it's for human desire that disregards animal needs. As SDavies said, the birds come to her because they are forced to, rather than choosing and trusting her. There were other things she said that irked me - "parrot bird"? What? "The bird is bored all day in its cage"? Great, her bird is deprived of mental stimulation AND food. I'm not impresed at all.
  25. Sounds like yellow urates with no poop. When did you first notice it mysixbabies? Any other signs? Yellow urates are usually indicative of severe liver or gut disease. Your best bet is an avian vet.
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