Since budgies, like other bird species, hide diseases and pain as much as possible, it is especially important to recognize signs of disease as early as possible.
If you don’t know what to look for, you often don’t notice diseases until they are advanced or, in the worst case, until the bird falls dead from the perch.
Behavior as a sign of disease
Basically, any change in behavior must be watched closely, as it may be an indication of a disease or other problem.
Sick budgies are usually quiet and perhaps even apathetic, that is, they show little interest in what is happening around them.
It is especially suspicious when a previously shy bird suddenly seems to be “tame” and possibly even lets itself be touched.
Here are some possible behavioral changes:
- plays or nibbles significantly less
- remains sitting in the cage
- puffs himself up when he feels unobserved
- also sticks its head into its plumage more often during the day
- sleeps unusually much
- is chased and pecked by the other budgies in contrast to otherwise
Posture as a sign of disease
While healthy budgies often tighten one leg while sleeping, sick birds usually hold onto the perch with both feet.
However, if the same leg is repeatedly pulled up or spared during the day, this could indicate problems or an injury to the foot.
If the budgie is constantly sitting with its back arched up and tail bent down, this could indicatechanges or pain in the abdominal area (e.g. intestinal diseases, tumors, etc.).
A marked increase in bobbing with the tail feathers in rhythm with breathing could indicate acute respiratory distress. In case of strong respiratory problems, the beak is also open for breathing.
Since sick birds often also have disturbed heat balance, they still ruffle their feathers to minimize the loss of body heat.
A sure sign of a health disorder is also cloudy, half-closed and deep-set eyes.
Excretions as a sign of disease
In budgies, feces and urine are excreted at the same time and have a thick to solid consistency before drying out. Depending on the food ingested, the color of the feces can vary from black to brown to dark green. A whitish blob of uric acid is then still clearly visible in the center.
- In diarrhea, the actually solid (usually black) feces is liquid.
- In kidney disease , on the other hand, the solid fecal matter “floats” in liquid urine and the white spot of uric acid is absent.
Plumage as a sign of disease
Unusual changes in plumage may also be a sign of disease.
- stuck springs (e.g. at the cloaca)
- bald spots
- dull plumage
- Fading or discoloration
- broken springs
- Excessive number of unhulled regrowing feathers (“spines” )
Excessive stress, blood loss, injury, etc. can cause the budgie to go into shock.
Symptoms of this may include:
- Sitting on the floor (spread wings) or side position
- Closed eyes
- fluffed feathers
- lack of escape reflex
- disordered breathing
A state of shock should always be considered life-threatening.
- Doris Quinten: “Ziervogelkrankheiten”, p. 37f.
- V. Kostka & M. Bürkle: “Basisversorgung von Vogelpatienten“, p. 66
Other sources of information:
- “Krankheitssymptome – kranke Wellensittiche erkennen” (Wellensittich-Infoportal)
- Doris Quinten: “Ziervogelkrankheiten” (book)
- Veit Kostka & Marcellus Bürkle: “Basisversorgung von Vogelpatienten” (book)