Budgie Illness - Symptoms

A guide to a healthy budgie.

Why is it important to know about the symptoms of budgie illness? Once you have got your special budgie, found it the best home and toys and developed a good healthy diet you need to be able to recognise if something is wrong.

Being able to get help early is the best way to help your budgie if it gets sick. The first thing to do is observe your bird closely so that you know what is normal for it, then you will recognise if something seems 'off'. So lets start with the signs of a healthy happy budgie.

Signs Of A Healthy Budgie

The budgie on the right is a healthy looking light green normal hen. Lets run through the features that would indicate her health:

  • - feathers - clean, smooth and nice bright, crisp markings.
  • - posture - upright, natural and alert.
  • - beak, cere, eyes and feet - all clear and without any discharge or extra roughness or growths.
  • - vent - clear, without any build up of droppings.
  • - breathing - smooth and regular, not faster than usual or laboured (panting), not noisy.

All these things indicate a healthy happy bird. The other factor is the behaviour of your budgie. It may alter its behaviour, become quieter or agitated, sleep more, for example, before any physical symptoms show. So it is also important that you know your birds normal routine and behaviour.

Remember, budgies are a prey animal and one of the features that go along with this is pretending you are well, even if you are not. So if they look sick they are probably worse than you think - get help earlier rather than later.

Symptoms of Illness

At some time there is bound to be something that goes wrong with your birds health. It is a good idea to have a first aid kit handy, it may save your pets life!

For each of the features below I have given a brief description of what you should keep an eye out for. You can click on the extra links to find out more about parakeet illnesses that relate to that feature.

  • feathers and skin - an ill budgie will often sit fluffed up more than normal. They may seem to be otherwise normal but a bit more fluffy, this can be because they have a low temperature and are trying to stay warm. As they get worse they will become less active and appear to be sleeping a lot. If your budgie becomes very unwell it may sit fluffed up with its eyes shut like it is asleep but without its beak tucked under its wing.... try to get your bird help long before this stage. Any problems with the skin or feathers themselves could also be due to parasites.
  • posture - this ties in with the feathers a bit, being fluffed up and more hunched than usual. Sometimes the wings and/or tail will droop, making the budgie seem tired and weak. Again, this is a sign that things are seriously wrong.
  • beak, cere, eyes and feet - there are a few things to watch for on these areas. The first is any discharge from the beak, nostrils and eyes. These may make the feathers around the face wet and mucky. Also watch for sneezing, coughing etc. Regularly check these area for growths and roughness or any scaly looking bits. Issues here can be due to parasites or respiratory problems. Also check out the information on beak and toe nail trimming.
  • - vent - the most obvious sign here is mucky feathers caused by diarrhea. Also any blood should be checked out immediately. Problems here can be due to digestive or reproductive problems.
  • - breathing - be sure you are used to how your budgie normally breathes. If it is panting, breathing faster than usual or even less than usual then it is a sign of problems. A budgie that is unwell will often have its tail bobbing in time with its breathing when it is having breathing difficulties.

If your budgie shows symptoms of illness it pays to get veterinary advise soon. If you can find an avian vet it is best as many vets do not have much experience with small birds. However, if you can't then a vet that treat birds is the next best thing. Make sure you have found a vet before you need one! You do not want to be trying to find one while your pet suffers.

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Healthy budgie