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Everything posted by KathyW

  1. Loren, he shouldn't be on his back all the time. He'll never develop any strength in his leg muscles if he can't stand up. Can you get a photo of him right way up so we can see how he sits? I know the parents sometimes feed them on their backs, but they should never stay that way. KathyW.
  2. Geez Macka ... my birds are bad enough with the flirting and bonking as it is :nest: ... don't know if it'd be safe to give them your (patented off course ) "Aphrodisiac" if you ever made it - they'd wear themselves out! :oliveb: Seriously Sean, a well fed and healthy budgie has an irresistible urge to breed. That is not your problem. Budgie eggs and chicks being kicked out is a sure sign of jealousy and competition over nesting boxes. Cabinet breeding is the ONLY way to stop that. I used to colony breed, and although it was extremely successful, it was not uncommon to have eggs and chicks evicted and/or attacked. Tracking down and isolating the offending hens in a large, high, open flight was no easy job either. Good luck, KathyW.
  3. I'd appreciate opinions: One particularly fertile pair is raising 6 chicks from 6 eggs. They have just started leaving the nest. One of the chicks (#3 in order of hatching) is exhibiting some odd problems I suspect may be neurological. He is well fed (always a full crop), is quite alert, and foraging on the floor of the breeding cage, but he does not stand upright on his legs. Instead he "waddles" and wobbles quite dramatically. His legs are quite strong in themselves - he can grip quite well! So much so I can lift him by his grip on my finger. So there is no leg muscle weakness. His head will frequently sway like a drunkard ... but once it settles he's fine. He can clean, preen, nibble and scratch his head with his back legs - although sometimes he seems to deliberately fall on his side to scratch an itch. If I try to pick him up he is very likely to roll over on his back, kick the air with both feet and squark. But once picked up he calms down quite quickly. No, there is no fermented seed in the cage, and their diet has not changed during nesting. None of his siblings or parents exhibit any symptoms so I do not believe it's dietary, environmental, illness or contagious. It looks like a serious lack of balance problem, but there's no sign of any cold or other illness. My suspicion is that his parents may be too closely related. They paired off in a mixed aviary before I moved them into a breeding cage, and I have no reliable records of their parentage being aviary bred birds. They are both very fertile birds and good parents, so I'll split them up after this nest fully fledges with birds I'm sure are not related and let them have one more nest this season. So has anyone had experience with this sort of issue? If my suspicion is correct and it's genetic / neurological, then there is probably not much that can be done for the little chap but to keep him from breeding. He may or may not cope in an aviary, but may be okay in a "small" cage. If he makes it through the next week without deteriorating, I may see if he'll tame down ... Any thoughts? KathyW.
  4. She sounds like she's adjusting - the way to a budgie's heart - through his/her stomach Phulleaseee give the bird some credit They can clean themselves, especially if it's a minor "accident". Sure you could clean it off ... but if she's not ill, and she's not a baby, put yourself in her position and leave her some dignity Besides, all jokes aside, they do get some beneficial bacteria from cleaning themselves off. We would do well to learn from that and stop getting so paranoid about (human) babies eating dirt or sand occasionally ... Cheers, KathyW.
  5. So the yolk cooks normally, but the "white" sets clear! How fascinating!! Thanks Nerwen. Any ideas why the white stays clear? KathyW.
  6. They are young, so should heal fast. Gently clean them as Kaz suggested but hopefully you will be right and the injuries will only be superficial. Keeping a working nest-box "hospital" clean is just not practical, but the parents and the chicks themselves should keep the wounds clean. It's hard to say which would be better - moving Ozzie and her family to a cabinet cage, or removing all other hens from the aviary for a few weeks so as not to upset Ozzie any further. The former might be easier, and make it easier for you to keep an eye on the injured youngsters. But I am not familiar with your setup or the facilities you have/don't have available to you. Just watch Ozzie closely, as she *might* reject or neglect the injured youngsters. Good luck and keep us posted, KathyW.
  7. Does anyone know *why* that is? KathyW.
  8. Nope Unlike insect eating birds with long sharp beaks our little budgie friends don't have the equipment or instinct to damage your eyeball. Now if the budgie is mischievously inclined (s)he can nip the bridge of your nose ... (happened to my sister). In theory (s)he could grab your eyelid, but it's highly unlikely. Because of the curved shape of the beak they need a ridge to grab - fingers are good but palm of your hand - very difficult. All the same, as eyes can be easily damaged, and eyesight too easily affected it's best not to let ANY animal (or certain humans) too close to your eyes. But nose to beak with your budgie should not be too risky. Insect eaters on the other hand, starlings as a common example, see your pupil (the "black hole" in the middle of your eye) as a potential insect hole that they will instinctively want to "probe". Cheers, KathyW.
  9. Blue grey feet are natural. Recessive pieds, albinos and lutinos usually have pink feet, but for a normal green bird blue or blue-grey feet are quite normal. Cheers, KathyW.
  10. Not me KathyW. Found it!! 1. A Study of the Dietary Requirements and Toxic Levels of Calcium and Vitamin D3 in Budgerigars. A moderately common problem seen in budgerigars and some other species of birds is calcium deposition in the kidney resulting in kidney failure. The cause of this disease has been hypothesized to be either excess calcium or vitamin D3 in the diet. To determine the cause of this disease, groups of budgerigars were fed diets containing various concentrations of calcium and vitamin D3 and allowed to breed. Results of this study showed that budgerigars need less dietary calcium (0.3%) than most other species for growth and egg laying. When dietary calcium concentrations reached 0.7%, mild calcium deposition occurred in nestlings and adults. When calcium concentrations reached 1.5%, death occurred in chicks and adult birds. All seed diets containing less than 0.3% calcium resulted in weak bones in laying hens and their eggs did not hatch. Vitamin D3 concentrations ranging from 500 to 3,300 International Units of vitamin D3 per kilogram of diet did not cause calcium deposition in the kidney as long as diet did not contain more than 0.3% calcium. This research is important because it shows that budgerigars can only tolerate a narrow range of calcium in their diet. Calcium concentrations in seeds are insufficient, but calcium concentrations found in most pelleted diets will be too high and could be toxic. Therefore, it is necessary to supplement seed diets with some form of calcium, e.g., cuttlebone and if you are going to feed pellets, they should be no more than 25% of what a budgerigar eats. This research also shows that budgerigars can tolerate a wide range of vitamin D3 concentrations in the diet without problems. David N. Phalen, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ABVP (Avian) Associate Professor Small Animal Clinical Sciences and the Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center Texas A&M University College Station, TX LINK: Presentation given to the World Budgerigar Organisation& BAA Grand NationalLas Vegas, Nevada October 21, 2005.
  11. What was the final "diagnosis" Vonn? If it was "mega" it NOT bacteria. "It has now been positively identified as a yeast and is NO LONGER named "megabacteria". Its new name is Avian Gastric Yeast (or AGY)". This is important as if any vet is recommending anti-bacterial treatments or disinfectants they will have little or no effect. The research paper is here: Studies on Megabacteria (Avian Gastric Yeast) by Dr. David Phalen, Dr. Robert Moore, Dr. Betty Tomaszewski. However I totally agree to get rid of all the old toys etc. It makes it easier to make a totally fresh start when you're ready for a new bird. I found it hard to re-use my much loved but departed German Shepherds collar on a new dog ... seemed like a betrayal. KathyW.
  12. Kaz someone (possibly you) posted an extract from an interesting research article in the past week (?) advising caution on calcium supplements as it can cause long term organ damage, especially to the kidneys. I cannot find the damn thing now ... but I remember he (the author) concluded that budgies have a narrow range of tolerance to calcium - too little AND too much can BOTH cause problems. As a follow-up on my own chick who displayed severe splayed leg in one leg but responded within 24 hours to additional (pet litter) box filling - he has fledged fine and shows no sign at all of his previous condition. Cheers, KathyW.
  13. In a small aviary, only budgies. You could have some quail on the floor if you wanted, but there are mixed views on that too and it's not without risks either. In a BIG, BIG aviary, with lots of cover, branches and places for birds to escape to the less aggressive parrots are okay. Eastern Rosellas are particularly sociable and easy to get on with. I've moved my Varied Lorikeets into the big non-breeding budgie retirement aviary (birds either too old or not suitable for my breeding program) and so far they are okay, but I'm watching them closely as I do not quite trust them yet. They can be a bit pugnacious at times when they are not busy being total clowns. Finches really do better in planted aviaries, and budgies will destroy any plant in an aviary given sufficient time. Finches and budgies do not mix well. My advice - don't do it. Cheers, KathyW.
  14. R.I.P. dear Lukie. Vonn, to you and your partner, remember the good times and let the bad times go ... With respect, KathyW.
  15. I've had a small but pretty bright emerald-green opaline hen I decided to cabinet breed with a nice sky blue recessive pied cock. This is their first nest and for a long time I wasn't sure it would work at all - she seemed pretty blasé about the whole breeding box business and he was on the rebound from losing his mate (she died suddenly). Anyway they sorted their differences and she laid 5 eggs of which only one has hatched. The youngster is definitely pied, definitely yellow. I am not sure whether it's going to be dark green/olive or a lighter green. Those quills have not yet opened enough to see colour although I suspect dark green ... I'm hoping for (eventually) a light or bright green recessive pied - perhaps in the next clutch. Anyway my question is: as the cock is a visual recessive pied and the hen is visually a normal opaline, does the pied chick mean she *must* be split for recessive pied? She is an aviary bred bird and her parentage is unknown. I'm working backwards on this one. Cheers, KathyW.
  16. Vetafarm is literally just up the road from here, based in Wagga. But with you in the UK there is no way I could get any to you in time even IF they still had some (and that's a big IF). There's some good reading here. Seems "megabacteria" is not a bacteria at all, but a yeast infection! The drugs you refer to are mentioned in the article as the most promising for their anti-fungal properties. They also offer the following alternative: "Another group of therapeutic agents which may help in managing Megabacteria, which initially might seem a little bit strange, are the acids. Stress disrupts the normal bowel bacteria, in the process interfering with their lactic acid production. This lactic acid keeps the pH of the healthy bird's bowel on the weakly acidic side, in the process helping to protect it from disease. With stress, this innate protective mechanism can be lost. It is thought that by lowering (i.e. acidifying) gastric pH, an intestinal and stomach environment is created that not only makes it difficult for Megabacteria to establish in uninfected birds but also makes it difficult for Megabacteria to multiply in birds that are already infected. Usually, either citric acid (a white crystalline powder) at a dose of 1 teaspoon (3 grams) to 4.5 - 6 (litres or apple cider vinegar (acetic acid) 5 - 10 ml to 1 litre, are used. Being natural nutrients, at the above doses, there is no risk of a toxic reaction and so they can be used fairly freely. Another possible useful and natural treatment that comes to mind might be honey (dissolved in warm body temp water). Not heat treated thou as that kills what useful anti-bacterial/anti-fungal properties it has. Perhaps chemists or pharmacies over your way have some used for wound dressing that might be suitable, or health food stores may have some cold-extracted (not heat treated). Even better - if you know a bee-keeper ... All the best of luck, KathyW.
  17. okay, you're up near Taree, Port Macquarie? Shouldn't normally get too cold there although I believe it's been unseasonally cold up north lately ... If your aviary is completely uncovered and exposed your birds could well die from exposure, not just cold alone. How big is the aviary? Is it near a wall or fence? Is your yard heavily planted or bare? All these things will have some bearing. If you can put up some photos we could have a look and be better able to advise you. Regards, KathyW.
  18. I've had quails in aviaries with budgies for years. Only real problem was with baby quails walking right through the bird mesh! They need 6mm mouse-mesh, wire flyscreen or solid panels around the bottom of the cage to keep them contained. As long as the quails have some "cover", eg grass, leafy tree branches on the floor, somewhere to hide, they feel secure and are not so flighty. If there's nothing for them to hide under they can be easily startled, which in turn can startle the budgies, especially at night. They do reduce the mess on the floor by eating any seed that has fallen, but they don't eat husks so as vacuum cleaners they aren't so good ... They are quite insectivorous and you will never have problems with slaters, small spiders, beetles or other sundry bugs down at floor level. They will even try those foul weavil moths that get into bird seed (although I believe they are toxic so I wouldn't encourage it). Cheers, KathyW.
  19. I've had hens lay the *occasional* small egg, and the occasional whopper! It IS unusual thou, especially for one bird to keep throwing small eggs. I wonder if that sterile cock "gave" her something that has upset her reproductive system ... KathyW.
  20. Hi Libby. I started out cabinet breeding with two pairs but when I got my first aviary and a few more pairs I decided to let the birds breed more "naturally". Yes I had dramas over the years but for the most part it was more positive than negative. My previous aviary complex was 3 huge open flights - irregular shapes in, under and around the gum trees - roughly 9 meters long and 4 meters wide each. The birds loved these and bred well (and sometimes fought just as hard too :dbb1: During years when many breeders couldn't get their birds to breed at all, I couldn't get mine to stop! Despite open flights and very little weather protection the nest boxes were only empty of eggs/chicks for about 2 weeks at the height of summer (when it got to over 46 deg C) and again during the worst of winter (-4C wet and miserable). As a result of letting them "do their own thing", which sometimes despite lots of choice led to "line breeding" instances (mother/son, brother sister etc) eventually a recessive pied trait started to appear. My original stock were "rejects" from a pied breeder, but obviously some must have been split for pied. So eventually after 20 years the proportion of birds carrying the recessive pied genes built up enough for some visual pieds to appear. Another spin off of uncontrolled breeding was that many birds reverted to the small "wild type" in size. By progressively selling off most of my non-pied birds I now have a strong recessive pied line that I'm trying to improve. So have made the decision just this year to stop uncontrolled breeding and return to the cabinet system. My new aviary complex has 3 big open air budgie flights that the birds can enjoy when they are not breeding, 3 finch flights (and a "cat cage" for my "vermin controller/despatcher"). It also has a lovely big bird room area for cabinets and holding cages. I would be the last person to try to discourage you from aviary breeding. It can lead to exciting developments as well as huge disappointments. If I had stayed with selective cabinet breeding from the start I may never have re-discovered the recessive pied genes in my own flock that I love so much now! So I wish you all the best with your aviary and birds. You will have bad times as well as good times, comes with the territory. But if or when you find the time comes that you want to experiment and control pairings for a specific trait, then cabinet breeding is the best way to go. All the best, KathyW.
  21. KathyW

    New Avairy

    Ummm ... nope. I would say with almost 100% certainty is that you have a "dead pixel" in your LCD. Quite common and has nothing to do with feather mites, dust mites or any other mite ... KathyW.
  22. If your hens are leaving the eggs they may not be fertile. Candle the eggs to see if it's even worth incubating. There should at least be some indication of a blood spot or vein development. If the hens have left the nest part way through incubation then the chicks may have already died in the egg. Again candle the eggs to see if there's any sign of life. Then foster the good eggs first, and leave the questionable ones for the incubator IF you run out of foster parents. Elly (Kaz) has posted some good info. Temperatures averaging 37.5 are the ideal, with minimal variation - not more than 2 degrees (ie 1 degree above 37.5 and 1 below). Humidity is also important when incubating eggs. Too dry and the chick will not be able to turn to pip the egg properly, and the membrane may be too tough for it to break. The eggs also need turning regularly to develop properly. Does your incubator have a turning mechanism of some sort? You'll also need a brooder to move the chicks into after they have recovered from hatching. Another book with useful info is "Practical Incubation" by Rob Harvey. Good luck, KathyW.
  23. I am also sorry to hear of your loss Shez. It's hard when you loose a bird you've tried so hard to save. For your information and future reference, if only one parent died, the other may have been quite capable of raising the chicks. Especially if you moved the surviving parent and chick(s) into a breeding cage with a nest box. It removes competition (for the nest box) from the other aviary birds and would have provided the surviving parent with plenty of food and water within easy reach. I second KAZ's comment re Petshop staff. Some genuinely mean well but most really do not know and cannot offer competent advice. Your vet should be a reliable source, as are the wonderful and knowledgeable people on this forum. Regards, KathyW.
  24. Budgie hide-and-seek: Bird 1: "Can't see anyone up here" Bird 2: "Nope, not hiding under this wing either ... " KathyW.
  25. Dear Sara, a trooper, gone but not forgotten. Cherish the good memories and keep her alive forever in your heart. Respectfully, KathyW.
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