It is almost unheard of for pet budgerigars to get worms. In the aviary, under some conditions, it is possible, and they can become infected with Ascaris roundworm. These creatures live and breed in animals’ guts, and their eggs are passed on via droppings. The adult worms can grow 3.5cm long, which in a budgie is a major problem. Once confirmed, a vet will prescribe a suitable wormer.
A veterinarian (vet), also known as a veterinary surgeon or veterinary physician, is a medical professional who practices veterinary medicine by treating diseases, disorders, and injuries in non-human animals.
Trichomoniasis is a disease caused by a microscopic protozoa called trichomonas and they are usually found in the crop, mouth, pharynx or trachea and sometimes in the lungs and liver. It is transmitted by direct mouth to mouth contact between two birds or in contaminated water and food and is most common in budgerigars as well as pigeons.
The clinical signs of Trichomoniasis are:
Vomiting and regurgitation
Weight loss with increased appetite – birds often crush and powder the seed as they are unable to swallow.
White plaques and/or cheesy material in the crop and trachea
Being “fluffed up”
Poor growth in young birds
Birds become severely emaciated and even if treated may still die. To make matters worse, some birds can be carriers and show no signs even after several years of infection.
Birds can be treated with Ronidazole (Ronnivet-S) in the water for seven days. It has a wide safety margin. The cage should also be cleaned thoroughly daily and then disinfected. Quarantine all new birds is best practice.
Breeders often routinely treat against Trichomoniasis.
Some budgies suffer from overgrown nails. Your vet can trim them for you. If your budgie needs a regular nail trim, your vet can show you how to do it safely. It may be that the breeder you purchased your budgie from will provide this service – please just ask.
In the wild, predators are on the lookout for the weakest as they make for an easy meal. To help overcome this, birds hide the signs of illness so that they look well even when they are quite sick. A sick budgie will go downhill very quickly and so if you spot any of the following, speak to your vet straight away:
Fluffed up feathers
Lack of energy/sleeping more than usual
Roosting during the day with both feet on the perch
Laboured breathing and a pumping tail
Loss of appetite
Drinking much more or less than normal
Limping or holding one leg up
Watery eyes or nostrils
However, during the year your bird will discard feathers (called moulting) and this will depend on temperatures, heating or lack of it and other factors. Some birds may seem to be in a permanent moult while for others this may just happen once a year. As long as the bird looks healthy there is nothing to worry about if the bird is moulting.
It is generally accepted that each budgerigar requires a minimum of 8 inches of perch space each. Overcrowding presents a stressful situation for our birds and fighting is likely to occur. Birds must fight for the right to use perches. If there are not sufficient perches, they end up sleeping on the wire which is not a good situation. Additional stress is caused because of pressure on the feeding dishes and with the extra droppings, this can cause sickness as bacteria multiplies.
Mites are a very small insect that ingest blood, skin and/or feather material from the bird. For budgerigars there are three main culprits. They are scaly face mites that live within the skin, red mites that bite the bird through the skin and live on the feathers and air sac mites that live within the respiratory system.
The fact that we feed our bird extensively on a seed diet could attract rodents and vermin in and around our birdrooms. At worst rats can kill your birds and both mice and rats will cause havoc in the breeding cage.
You will be aware of them by longish brown pelleted droppings, and you must take action at once or the problem will just get worse. The best way to do this is to call in pest control specialists, as they will have the expertise to deal with them without putting your birds at risk.
Mice can quickly become a serious problem, as where there is food freely available, they will breed and multiply rapidly. They will destroy your aviary in no time, as they can get in-between the lining materials in the walls and nest there. If they find a place in the floor to nest, it will be very difficult to get rid of them with poison or traps.