This article was very generously shared with us by experienced budgie breeder and shower, Barrie Shutt. Thanks!
Every bird room, household and aviary should have a well-stocked and handy First Aid Budgerigar Kit. A well-stocked First Aid Box will enable you to handle minor emergencies or stabilise your bird’s condition until you can contact and reach your Avian Vet. A suitable container for your kit can be purchased at most D.I.Y stores. Do write the avian vets name address and contact phone number on the top of your first aid box.
Ring Cutters - Always be aware of a bird that puts more weight on one leg than the other as this may be a problem with the ring cutting into the leg, all it takes is one little nip from another bird or a tiny foreign object lodged behind the ring and you are faced with a swollen leg. If this is your first time at cutting off a ring I suggest you get someone to help.After removing the ring spray on some Savlon and isolate the bird for a few days until the leg can take the birds weight again.Ring cutters can be purchased from the
Budgerigar Society;and Savlon spray will be available from any chemists.
Scissors - How many times do we shout, "where are the scissors"? Always keep a pair in your first aid box you never know when these will be needed. Never use string in your cage/aviary it is so easy to find a bird hanging by a leg that is tangled with string, those handy scissors could prevent the loss of a birds leg. I always have a separate pair of scissors for cutting the stalks off millet sprays before they are fed to the birds I shudder when I picture how these dried stems could injure a budgerigar’s eye.
Optrex, Golden Eye ointment, cold black tea - How often do we find a breeding hen with a sore eye, it may be caused by a little sawdust or matted feathers around the eye, the cure can be simple, just apply cold, black, weak tea to the eyes using a cotton wool ball. The cold tea would normally cure a red eye if it were caught early. If the symptoms persist then you can try Optrex or Golden Eye ointment, which are both available from your chemist.
Cotton wool balls - For eyes and cleansing minor wounds.
Styptic Pencil - Avian blood has only a few clotting agents in comparison to human blood so we must act fast when faced with a broken blood feather or a cut, a bird can literally bleed to death from a broken blood feather. And then we have the D.I.Y claw and beak cutters who never seem to realise that when trimming the nails, it is best to pare off a little at a time, so that you do not cut into and expose the nail's quick. The "quick" refers to the blood and nerve supply that grows partway down the nail. In light-coloured nails, the quick is easily seen, but black nails hide it completely. If the quick is cut, the nail will bleed profusely and cause the bird pain. If you do not have a Styptic pencil use a bar of soft soap and run it across any area of bleeding on the beak or claws
Cleanliness is next to godliness - Avian Disinfectant is one of the most important items every bird keeper should have. Every day I use Vanodine V18 diluted as per the suppliers instructions, all my seed and water dishes are soaked in Vanodine V18 before getting a good wash and rinse. I never feed Millet Sprays to my Budgerigars unless they have had a minimum 12 hours soaking in Vanodine V18 followed by a rinse in cold water. The perches, walls and cages are all washed using F10 or Vanodine V18 on a regular basis. Vanodine V18 diluted to 10 ml per 5 litres of water can be used to sanitise clean surfaces. The same dilution is ideal for Ariel disinfectant through a mist generator (Fogger). Dilute one part V18 with 1500 parts of water for drinking water system sanitisation. For general sanitisation apply at a rate of 20ml V18 to 5 litres of water. F10 Available from
If only we all could afford the luxury of a hospital cage. A sick budgerigar needs urgent attention The earliest symptom of something wrong is unmistakable, the birds tail droops, it may just be unhappy or it may be sick, but you have seen the first sign, a sign that appears at the start of any threatening ailment, spot this early and we can treat the bird before it becomes critical. Second symptom is loss of energy, walking and climbing instead of jumping and flying, then the eyes become dull and lifeless, the upper eye lid begins to drop making the eyes appear lemon shaped.
Now the birds’ temperature shoots up and the feathers open out and are held away from the body so that the air can get in helping it to cool down, our bird now has a sorry appearance nothing at all like our healthy bird. The head and face can then become wet confirming we now have a very sick bird and treatment is required fast. Heat is required fast so cover the cage on three sides and point the open side at the radiator, some people have infra red lamps or hospital cages, I use electrical operated propagator and with the top vents open I can keep the bird at 82F. My hospital cage, which I believe, is within all our budgets; available from most D.I.Y. stores.
Calcivet - I always have a bottle of Calcivet in my “needs” box. I do not want any of my hens suffering from calcium deficiency and this is added to the water as per the manufactures instructions (do not overdose). Calcium deficient hens will produce thin or soft-shelled eggs and smaller clutches will be laid. A hen deficient in calcium will use it from her organs that then cease to function correctly and is a problem often associated with egg binding. Egg binding occurs when a hen that is forming an egg in her uterus does not have enough calcium to finish forming the eggshell. The shell does not become hard enough to push out, which causes the hen extreme stress and risk. To prevent egg binding it is very important to have a cuttlebone and mineral block available in the breeding cage. It is important to regularly check if the cuttlefish bone and mineral block have been used up, if so they need to be replaced immediately. Always have oyster shell grit available, this is also a good calcium source and if necessary you may need to supply a calcium supplement like Calcivet.
Guardian Angel - This is a new product for me that I found when looking for a pick me up for a couple of birds that were just not 100%. I was so impressed with the results that it soon claimed its place in my First Aid/Needs Box. Birdcare have been using herbal extracts to support the immune system of sick and stressed birds for many of years. But these ingredients are not water-soluble which limits their use. However a worldwide search has found a number of exciting new ingredients that have demonstrated dramatic performance in trials on sick and stressed birds and that can be given in water or on food.
F10 Germicidal Barrier Ointment
Used against bacteria, fungi and viruses and to treat open and contaminated wounds and provide a barrier to help prevent re-infection.
Open wounds can be treated with ointment as a topical antibacterial prior to surgery. F10 ointment can actually be packed into wounds.
Ivermectin 0.1% - One drop on the skin behind the neck will kill all internal and external parasites; it will also cure scaly face and scaly leg. For treatment of mites in cage birds and fur, ear and mange mites and lice in small companion mammals (e.g. mice and hamsters). Now available without veterinary prescription. Very cost effective, with enough product to provide a full course of treatment to 50 birds. Can also be used prophylactically. Easy to apply with the dropper provided. Product information sheet with dosage guide is included.
Available from your local vets.
A set of syringes - Ideal for supplying that correct dose of meds and for giving that new born unfed chick it's first feed. If a chick is not fed by it's mother then start feeding it with a Kay tee Exact hand rearing formula as per the makers instructions, place the baby on it's back and feed it on the left hand side of it's beak with a small syringe when the liquid is lukewarm. The most common cause of death at this age is dehydration so liquid is important.
Two important items for our "needs box" are a hand rearing formula and a bent spoon, just hold the bent spoon up to the baby chick and it will amaze you with it's immediate swallowing of food.
Crop needles - The crop needle is a tool that all bird breeders should be able to use. This will save the life of your birds once you have mastered the simple technique of how to use them. Available from www.mah-shop.co.uk
Tweezers - Which are ideal for removing broken blood feathers.
Wire Cutters - It is very easy for a bird to become trapped on a small piece of Twilweld wire. Take time and check for loose ends of wire in your Aviary as these can slip behind a birds ring and will cause serious damage to a bird’s leg.
Micropore Tape - You may never use it but do include at least one roll in your first aid box. Always be prepared for the unexpected.
For more budgie information take a look at Barrie Shutt's website.Go to Budgie Health