How to Treat Sick Budgies at Home?

Here I include questions about how to handle budgies while they are unwell, visit this FAQs for more specific budgies breeding questions.

How can I treat an off-color bird that requires medicine or food given straight into the crop?

In response to your inquiry, I provided a crop needling video. I then showed the procedure first, followed by observation while others participated.

Remember to keep the budgerigar in your left hand, facing you. Insert the crop needle slowly and spin downward toward your left thumb. You should be able to feel the crop needle’s ball against your thumb.

I generally use an 8 gauge crop needle and have had tremendous luck with budgerigars from 3-4 weeks of age onwards, especially when feeding a hand-rearing meal. An 18 gauge crop needle is used for medicating big chicks to adults, while a 22 gauge crop needle is used for medicating 3-4 day old to 2-3 week old chicks.

I use three different gauges of crop needles: Crop needles in gauges of 8, 16, and 28
How should I proceed if the veterinary surgeon requests that I inject my budgerigar?

I’ll start by demonstrating the approach I employ. Always inject into the muscle after feeling for the keel bone. Alternate from left to right of the keel bone each time the bird is injected to assist reduce bruising.

I normally massage the injected region after I remove the needle. It is critical that you ‘bleed’ the needle of air prior to injecting the bird by flicking your finger onto the syringe (needle facing up) and pressing the “plunger” until air bubbles are no longer present and only liquid is coming from the needle.

Do you have any tips for identifying certain budgerigar diseases?

In a nutshell, “No.” Prior to therapy with any medicine, your Veterinarian must make a thorough diagnosis of any alleged condition. Some fanciers may “treat” their sick bird with a mixture of medications in a hit-or-miss procedure that may kill the bird or mask the true disease, making diagnosis difficult for the veterinarian. Some of these “cocktails” have proved ineffective because they undermine each other’s benefits. As previously indicated, consulting with a veterinarian is the best policy.

What steps should you take before bringing new birds into your facility?

All budgerigars introduced should be isolated for 6 weeks. By quarantined, I mean completely separated from your aviaries, limiting the danger of disease transfer if, by chance, a problem existed. During the quarantine period, feces and crop samples should be collected by your Veterinary surgeon or, if possible, collected by you and sent to the Vet for testing for worms, coccidiosis, psittacosis, and other diseases. My preference, especially with imported birds, is for the veterinarian to bring his microscope and necessary equipment to my establishment, allowing for on-the-spot testing for canker and megabacteria, as well as “setting” the slides with feces and crop samples for further examination and testing back at the clinic. A spread sheet is created that lists all of the birds to be tested, with results updated when they become available. Individual “problem” birds may be separated into holding cages for particular treatments, which is the beauty of this approach. If everything is clear, it might be a good idea to treat the birds with an adequate probiotic at this point to colonize the stomach and exclude dangerous bacteria.

Introduce to the quarantine facility, around 2 weeks following the arrival of the new birds (again, only if all tests are clear), either a “control” bird or droppings from your own aviary-kept birds (it would probably be a smart idea to have had some tests done on these budgerigars at the same time as the birds that are in quarantine, to ensure all is well). This allows for the introduction of “good” germs from aviary-kept birds to isolated animals without posing a significant danger. Prior to releasing the young birds into the current flock, it is important to ensure that the “good” bacteria is compatible.

If feasible, introduce newly bought birds during the breeding season, when the birds may be coupled promptly (if breeding fit), and the period of breeding serves as the quarantine period. The concept of isolation in wire breeding cabinets will be called into doubt. I use transparent perspex dividers to keep people apart. Farces and crop testing are still required for the birds.

All aviaries may benefit from the usage of “control” birds. By “control” bird, I mean a fit bird of lesser quality that will travel with your needed birds (2-3 each trip) for the purpose of being available for blood sample or autopsy if a problem develops during that flight.

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