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DrRalston
DrRalston, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 2205
Experience:  Over twelve years of internal medicine, surgery, and preventive care.
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I have a year old budgie who keeps falling off her perch, cannot

Customer Question

I have a year old budgie who keeps falling off her perch, cannot walk properly, cannot move around the cage without having to grab hold of the cage with her beak, mostly unsuccessfully.
She struggles to fly, has no control over direction or height and just 'flys' into objects.
She still eats but is always still and asleep when not feeding.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  DrRalston replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I'm Dr Ralston. Thanks for your question.

In caged or pet birds with the symptoms you describe there are definitely more than one possibility for the signs you are seeing. However, from what you have told me the first two that I would consider would be:

1. bumblefoot
2. nutritional deficiency

Bumblefoot is an infection of the feet. In birds like chickens that are outside and scratch in soil this is usually caused by sticks, rocks, or other sharp objects that might damage the feet while the chicken is looking for insects. In the pet bird, husbandry is usually the problem.

Wire is very hard on pet birds feet. Wood and even plastic can be much better for them than wire as a perch. Also, the width of the perch must be wide enough to accomodate their feet, but not too small as to put too much pressure on the foot. It helps to have a variety of perch sizes available for the bird to be able to flex the feet on different widths and surfaces. Think how many branches and sizes of branches a wild bird will perch upon.

Also, bacteria is a problem. Not cleaning the cage frequently enough can lead to a build up of droppings and bacteria which when left in long contact with the feet can lead to infection, swelling, and pain in the feet. This will cause the bird to have problems landing, grasping/perching on objects, and may lead to a general lethargy as it is painful when they try to move.

Inspect the feet very carefully for sores or swelling. When caught early it is can be treated with antibiotics.

2. Nutrition - It sounds like this budgie is a seed junkie. It only wants to eat seeds. The truth is the bird WOULD eat other things, but has becomes so accustomed to seed that it doesn't want to eat anything else. Think of a spoiled child in this manner that doesn't want to their vegetables.

But caged birds NEED green veggies for healthy bones and joints.

Vitamin A and calcium / vitamin D deficiency are the most common deficiencies seen in seed junkies. Since seeds are higher in fat than many other foods, many seed eaters are often obese as well. Being overweight can lead to bumblefoot.

However, more serious than that are the affects of calcium defencies. This can lead to poor muscle contraction, fragile bones, egg binding in females, and a host of problems.

Obesity, bumblefoot, and calcium disorders can be diagnosed during routine Veterinary visits. If a Vet is not available for your bird though, I would definitely try changing the diet to include healthy greens.

"What you can do:

Introducing healthy foods - such as green leafy vegetables; red or orange fruits and veggies (which contain beta-carotene) - is a natural way to provide this nutrient safely. Calcium blocks should be provided also, to prevent calcium deficiency.

For seed addicted birds offer sprouted seeds instead. Sprouted or germinated seeds are usually more easily accepted by "seed addicts" than fresh fruits and vegetables.

Sprouted seeds are healthier as the sprouting changes and enhances the nutritional quality and value of seeds and grains. Sprouted seeds are lower in fat, as the process of sprouting utilizes the fat in the seed to start the growing process - thus reducing the fat stored in the seeds.
Sprouted seeds will help balance your bird’s diet by adding a nutritious supply of high in vegetable proteins, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and chlorophyll.
Soaked and germinated "oil" seeds, like niger and rape seeds, are rich in protein and carbohydrates; while "starch" seeds, such as canary and millets, are rich in carbohydrates, but lower in protein.
It is an invaluable food at all times; however, it is especially important for breeding or molting birds. Sprouted seeds also serve as a great rearing and weaning food as the softened shell is easier to break by chicks and gets them used to the texture of seeds." = Avianweb

I truly hope that helps. Please feel free to ask follow up questions.

DrRalston

What you can do:

Introducing healthy foods - such as green leafy vegetables; red or orange fruits and veggies (which contain beta-carotene) - is a natural way to provide this nutrient safely. Calcium blocks should be provided also, to prevent calcium deficiency.

For seed addicted birds offer sprouted seeds instead. Sprouted or germinated seeds are usually more easily accepted by "seed addicts" than fresh fruits and vegetables.

  • Sprouted seeds are healthier as the sprouting changes and enhances the nutritional quality and value of seeds and grains. Sprouted seeds are lower in fat, as the process of sprouting utilizes the fat in the seed to start the growing process - thus reducing the fat stored in the seeds.
  • Sprouted seeds will help balance your bird’s diet by adding a nutritious supply of high in vegetable proteins, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and chlorophyll.
  • Soaked and germinated "oil" seeds, like niger and rape seeds, are rich in protein and carbohydrates; while "starch" seeds, such as canary and millets, are rich in carbohydrates, but lower in protein.
  • It is an invaluable food at all times; however, it is especially important for breeding or molting birds. Sprouted seeds also serve as a great rearing and weaning food as the softened shell is easier to break by chicks and gets them used to the texture of seeds.
- See more at: http://www.avianweb.com/budgiediseases.html#sthash.83ovSOhX.dpuf
Vitamin A and calcium / vitamin D deficiency are the most common deficiencies seen in seed junkies. Since seeds are higher in fat than many other foods, many seed eaters are often obese as well. - See more at: http://www.avianweb.com/budgiediseases.html#sthash.83ovSOhX.dpuf
Expert:  DrRalston replied 2 years ago.
Hey there,
Just following up on our conversation on Just Answer from yesterday.

Did you have any questions for me? You should feel free to ask as many questions as you want. I don't mind. I'm here to help.

If I have helped don't forget to leave a positive review! :) Otherwise I do not receive credit for helping you.


I might not be online when you return. That's ok. Just leave your question and a message will be sent to me and I will get back to you when I am online again.

Thanks,
DrRalston

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