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A Special Needs Budgie.

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Hi guys, i'm wondering if I could get some feedback about this little piece I wrote about my time with Dalek? I would like to get it to a point where I could put it in the local newspaper, to get people aware that special needs animals can be loved and have a good life.


A special needs budgie.

My time looking after a budgie with brain damage.

Dalek was born early December of 2010, the first chick that we had hatched out in our new adventure in to the wonderful world of budgies. As soon as Dalek was born, we knew that something was wrong with him, he wouldn't chirp that much, he liked to huddle with his mum or on my mother's hands. Unlike his siblings who were all bounding around the nest and chirping loudly and proudly.


He developed (body wise) normally, but he still stayed the same mentally, liked to be snuggled and held and was not an active bird. I know that some breeders would have put him down, and I did think about doing it (to put him out of his misery).

But he wasn't in misery, he wasn't in pain and he wasn't getting any worse, he just stayed the same.

Unlike most budgies, he didn't make much noise, but after a month or so he learnt to communicate with his bell. If he wanted my attention, he would ring his little bell until I came in and gave him cuddles and head scratches.


I've had a lot of my friends ask me if keeping him was the right thing to do, and even now I look back and think that I would do it all over again if we got another special needs budgie. The hardest thing to come to terms with is that he had a death sentence, he wouldn't make it to a year old. And trying to look past that, to give the bird as much love and the best life you can, is one of the hardest things that I have ever had to do.


When I first found out, I was heart broken and also very, very torn. A budgie's natural thing is to hide its pain and weakness, so how would I know that I was giving him a good life? I think that this is what makes most people weary of special need animals, they can't tell if the animal is okay or just hiding the pain. I spent the rest of the day watching Dalek, and he spent the rest of the day watching me (in between having his head shoved in the food dish, he never really did get table manners)

I always look back, even now, three months after his death, to see if I could have done anything more for him. But I look back at the photos of him, and all I see is a very happy bird, until he started to go down hill. The more you tried to ignore it and keep living life as if he was healthy, the harder it got.

I think that if you are going to get a special needs animal, or keep a special needs bird, you need to accept that it has a short life span. That's why some people euthanise the birds, because they know what was in store. I didn't realise what was in store for Dalek, I didn't realise how fast he would go down hill and how useless I would feel watching him slowly fade away.

His daily food intake was normal.

His poo was normal.

Even up until his last day, he was still eating (He passed away while eating). It was just brain damage. I sit and think each day, with the knowledge that I have now, would I have taken on a special needs budgie? Or would I have euthanised him, knowing what was going to happen to him.


Religion does have a part in the choice to keep him, I believe. I was raised a Catholic and raised to believe that every life is sacred and has a place on this world, no matter how short that place is. But in that saying, does that life still want to be here, even through the pain and suffering hits them? Humans can sometimes tell us, but animals can't.


And that is where we, as the owners/breeders come in to it. We have to make that choice for them and I honestly believe that the choice is the most scary choice of all. Some breeders can euthanise animals with what seems like no second choice, but that's not true. They do it because there is a reason and sometimes that reason is to huge to handle.


Dalek was a huge responsibility, I had to have him with me almost constantly when I was home, snuggled under my jacket on my collar bone. I had to wash his vent area and his head and also mush baby food with his seed so it was easier for him to eat on the really bad days. In the end, he spent his last few days constantly on me, only going in to his cage when I went to sleep or had to go down the street or outside.


When his time came I was faced with the same decision as before, euthanise or let him live his life out at home. I chose letting him live his life out at home, it prolonged his death by two days, and yes, it was probably selfish of me to do so. But I couldn't face seeing him put down, I would much rather have him at home surrounded by his favourite bells and his favourite seed dish, then in a strange place being held by a stranger.


Friends ask me if I had a million dollars, would I have done anything else to keep him alive? And I say no, not because I didn't love him enough to do that, but because I loved him to much to do that. It was his time to go and I don't think if I had taken him to a bird hospital would he have survived.

Dalek died on a Tuesday morning at his favourite food dish, he had made a mess like he usually did and died of a stroke. He went without pain and surrounded by his favourite bells.


I wouldn't recommend having a special needs budgie unless you are ready to accept that they have a short life span. And no matter how much you pray that they fight the odds and live, most times they do not. My first budgie was a special needs budgie, I went in with only knowledge of brain damage of children (as my brother has mild brain damage due to CP ) and I came out with a whole new understanding of another side of pets.


A side that is hardly ever shown or ever talked about, but needs to come out of the dark and be spoken about.


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This is a great post. While reading it I had a tear run down my face, it is just beautiful the love you show through this story. You definitely should get it published.

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i think what you wrote is great but im still wondering how you knew he had brain damage ???

was it just as he was not active and so on ?? or did a vet tell you this ??

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i think what you wrote is great but im still wondering how you knew he had brain damage ???

was it just as he was not active and so on ?? or did a vet tell you this ??


We suspected it for a long time due to his behaviour, and when we went to the vet he said it was very likely. It would explain everything and then explain the sezuires that came later in his life. It is very hard to tell if a budgie has brain damage, as you can't really do a CT scan on the poor thing, so it is mostly guess work. But we were all 90% sure he had some type of brain damage.

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okay but im not sure on that sounds like he had a infection actually all the things you state

point to infection not brain damage especially the seizures the constant eating being quiet and wanting love

still needed special care but most likely actually a weak chick due to something like

here is one problem that cause can effect a bird in the way you reported





The disease normally is restricted to young birds who will look miserable,listless and weak,they huddle together,some are stunted and die quickly.If some recover they can be carriers for up to one year, their droppings if ingested can contaminate other birds.A vet must be available for advice to confirm the disease




A sick bird suffering from salmonella may appear thin, fluffed up, lethargic and may have swollen eyelids.


Some infected birds may show no outward symptoms but are carriers of the disease and can spread the infection to other birds.






The risk of transmission is greatest in the aviary where large numbers of birds gather at feeding and water stations, dirty seed and water containers can cause an outbreak.






Most infected birds die if they have a low immune system or are elderly.






Salmonellas are transmitted by faecal contamination of food and water by sick birds, though it can also be transmitted by bird-to-bird contact.




Salmonella is a common cause of mortality in feeder birds, i.e. at breeding times.




Personal hygiene is very important when we are handling dead and sick birds; always wash your hands well before entering the birdroom.




Keep all feeding utensils and water containers free from droppings.


I have three sets of feed and water containers and at least one of these is normally soaking in a solution of clean water and f10sc disinfectant. .








If you suspect a salmonella infection take a bird and a sample of its droppings to an avian vet ASAP. Your vet will test a sample of the droppings and can then identify the bacteria.




Your avian vet may then prescribe a suitable antibiotic.


this above was taken from Barrie shuts bird web page


a world of information


but they wont test for it unless you ask as its a cultured diagnosis



im sure what ever it was

he was still special needs

brain damage or sickness id just be careful calling it a certain thing as others may read your page and belive they have found a brain damaged bird yet its really only ill

just my opinion sorry to be the stick in the mud


oh and you can do any test on anything its just at a cost

Edited by GenericBlue

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When I was a vet nurse and experience since as well......................99.9% of most animals or birds or creatures that had brain damage had a tendency to walk or fly in circles,....round and round and round. Repetitive behaviour.


On the brain damage diagnosis I have a tendency to agree with GB.


I was just looking back through topics re Dalek. in particular the one where you had him doing staged photos http://forums.budgiebreeders.asn.au/index.php?showtopic=30591&view=findpost&p=363472&hl=dalek&fromsearch=1


do you recall me sending you Private messages 20th April stating concern over his health ( respiratory infection ) as evident by those photos and urging you to get him to a vet ? On the 21st you decided not to stress him by taking him to the vet and by the 28th you still hadnt taken him to the vet at which point I commented on forum in that topic to stop with the photo opportunities and get him seen by a vet ?

It is evident by all previous photos he was well and not brain damaged and at some point became sick and the illness progressed and took hold.

I dont think he was brain damaged at all.

A sick budgie at the end will have seizures and it will stagger about weak and uncordinated.

Edited by **KAZ**

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well i never saw these pics but if you look

the last ones the Easter pics kaz is right

he even not only looks sick he has staining above the cere

i really am sorry to burst your image of a brain damaged bird however your bird was not well

that a look at your own post

not only is he fluffed

but hes cere is stained brown

he did need a vet and im positive looking at that bird he was not brain damaged

brain damaged bird as kaz said they tend to fall over themselves and try to fly but ending up flapping in circles

your bird you state wouldnt sit still flew off all time the only special need this bird needed was im sorry to say ....a vet


So everyone, I introduce my Easter Photos.


My props were an easter bunny I got last year, some chocolate eggs still in their wrappers and Dalek's food dish filled with seed.


okay, so because the way the photo was styled changed so much, I only have photos of the last shot I did. Because other wise we'd be here all night. LOL It took me about half an hour to do it, because once again Dalek was a dream.





This is him between takes. He just needed a rest so took up his spot on his play gym.






I was happy with this shot, until I realised I had cut him in half. This is the first time it's ever happened to me, and i'm still giggling about it. xDD







As soon as I hit the button to take the photo, he decided that his food was more interesting. This shot is kinda cool because it is like he's looking in at the eggs.





I love this photo because he was the one that decided to climb on to the bunny and looked at the camera. It's really pretty and i'm having trouble picking between this photo or the photo below.




Think i'll stick with the one above.



im sorry but your bird was special needs due to illness nothing else

you can believe what you want , but i see a healthy bird in all pics bar the last shots ive posted

infection is a gradual thing not instant

i feel although your writings good

i would not put in paper as it may in- courage others to be lead to the conclusion their sick bird is brain damaged when intact it is not its just unwell

Edited by GenericBlue

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I have looked back as well and I do agree with you. As much as it kills me inside to know that I made him suffer and it does make me feel that I don't deserve another budgie.


I made a mistake and I didn't have to proper care available and i only just found about the aviary vet a few hours away the day before he passed. Sadly the vet only worked on one day of the week and was full booked out. I feel horrible about this and like the worst budgie owner ever. :(

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you dont need to feel bad

i myself have miss read a budgies needs causing it to die

we all can do it

birds are very very good at acting well

its not till they are basiclly dead you know that something serious is wrong

at least your man enough to admit error

i say good for you

and he really was loved thats the most important bit

most of all

you will make a better owner for your next baby bird


one tip

alot of birds get ill from kissing them

placeing them near our face

i do this myself

its so so so bad to do

they can easy get germs from us

hygiene is so way more important for people with birds as they can get the smallest bug


be sure to wash hands before handling and try not to kiss em when you have colds so on really shouldnt kiss them at all

but as i said even i do that

i find it very hard not to

with a hand tame baby

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Thank you so much for those tips, I have to say I kissed Dalek a lot.


I just feel so bad about causing something to die from not knowing the signs to show illness. I know that with Flipper I will be a lot more vigilant with how he is feeling, and openly question my vet about it. I will also look at getting help from breeders who live close to me, if something really bad is happening.


Thank you for telling me the real reason behind Dalek's illness.

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i am not saying he had salmonella

but im saying he was sick not brain damaged

you will never know what he had

with out crop and poo cultures blood teat to start with

all illnesses play out very simular and its just anyone's guess whats wrong

but if going to a vet

please do not listen to their guess unless they have cultured samples please dont medicate on their guess

they need to know an exact problem to deal with it

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Me.......I am just upset that I contacted you behind scenes telling you about the cere staining and to get him to a vet on the 20th and on the 28th you still hadnt done so.


On the 20th when I told you about the staining you said he had had that for over a month and a half and that he had been sneezing and he had vomited that night also.


Maybe next time you will see the need for more urgency with regard to getting them to the vet. :(

Edited by **KAZ**

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