Puddings & Toyboys

A blog about my beautiful budgies.

Category Archives: feathers

Tail length

Tail lengths

Someone once observed that Dalai had a long tail.  This has prompted me to measure them & here are the results:

  • Dalai:           13.1 cm / 5.1″
  • Perry:           12.3 cm / 4.8″
  • Bezukhov:     12.1 cm / 4.7″
  • Lennie:         11.8 cm / 4.6″

 

Note that I had to unbend Bezukhov’s tail to get the true length!

Dalai’s tail certainly looks long as it is thin too.  I am surprised that Lennie’s tail is the shortest of the four.

Dalai & Lennie are the best flyers, so clearly Lennie’s ‘short’ tail does not hamper him in his flying ability.

Perry, Lennie, Dalai & Bezukhov

 

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Moult and Millet

Further to my previous post on their spring moult, Dalai has really been stringing his out.  Granted he did have a break in the middle, but maybe if he had not, he would have got over it all much quicker!

He seems less grumpy now though not quite back to his usual socialising levels.  His flying has improved with him feeling confident enough to make wider & wider laps of the room.  That said, only a few days ago he dropped yet another flight feather; he had just had a fly then went back into the Villa & had a mad moment where we all looked at him wondering what was going on, but it turned out the feather was loose & he was just jiggling about to release it.

 

To celebrate leaving the bulk of the spring moult behind, I cracked open the millet.  I usually only sneak a millet bobble to individuals at odd moments, so they were a bit surprised to see a few two-inch sprays dotted about.  They soon got over the shock & all tucked in.

 

 

Moult City

Moulting has been going on here, off & on, for the last month or so.

Dalai started to lose feathers first but then recovered quickly.  I thought that was it but probably due to the changeable weather we have had, Dalai has started moulting again & has some pin feathers & is currently a little grumpy.  Here he is with his latest pin feathers:

 

Perry has lost some feathers but apart from one or two pin feathers on his head, does not appear to have suffered much.  Here he is with a few pin feathers:

Perry

 

Lennie displayed some impressive pin feathers on his head but he got through his moult fairly quickly:

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Through all the confusion over whether it was the right time to moult (or not), Bezukhov made the decision to moult & stuck to it so his spring moulting journey has been more steady than the others & fortunately, not extreme like in Autumn (the Extreme Moult Experience).

Here he is with his slightly longer moult:

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Upside-down heart

Perry has a patch of white feathers on the back of his head.  Most of the time they resemble a blob but occasionally they fleetingly form themselves into a heart shape.

Recently, I managed to get some photos when the heart was showing clearly.  Unfortunately, it only really showed up well in the photos when upside-down!

 

Extreme Moult Experience

So, right on schedule, we had the annual Extreme Moult Experience.

This is the 3rd year running this has happened.  It began when Bezukhov suffered this affliction in October 2015 (click here to read that story).  Last year, Bezukhov upped the stakes by introducing compulsory crop-feeding to keep him going (click here to read that story).  This year, Bezukhov pulled out all the stops & managed to scare us all.

Not counting the final follow-up visit, we had clocked up 16 vet visits/crop feeds in 14 days.   In total, there were 17 vet visits in 17 days which clearly averages as 1 visit a day.  Astounding statistics.

On the 19th September, Bezukhov dropped many large feathers, including his remaining tail feather.  His smaller, fluffier feathers were also beginning to fall off him.  When offered millet, he declined.  His poops were also going a dark green colour.  It was time to call in the vet.  When the vet examined him on the 20th, she said his head was inflamed where pin feathers (not yet noticeable) were about to come through.  Instead of sensibly gradually moulting out his feathers, he decided to drop them all at the same time & grow new ones.  His body was clearly not able to cope with this, hence his lack of appetite (& subsequent dramatic weight loss) & extreme lethargy.

 

Knowing the pattern from previous years, although his weight was initially healthy at 50g, the vet began with a crop feed in an attempt to ‘get ahead of the game’.  You can see from the table below, that things did not go as well as we had hoped.

 

The main complication this time was that Bezukhov was repeatedly vomiting.  He had a crop wash on the 26th September to rule out reasons other than an extreme moult.  This came back clear, but we were still left with the vomiting problem.  It was thought it might have been a side affect to the antibiotics, in which case we would have to wait a few days until after the last dose to see if this was the case.  His weight continued to fall, despite having crop feeds.

Thursday the 28th September was the worse day of all.  He looked terrible & I feared he would not last the night…. but last the night he did & his further loss of 2g, to a critically low (for Bezukhov) 38g, explained his worsening state.  It was at this point we increased the crop feeding to twice a day.  On the Friday, he thankfully vomited less & from the Saturday all but stopped.  This was indeed a good sign & we hoped it would be the turning point, which indeed, it was.

You can see from the table above, that Bezukhov’s last weight was 41g that he had kept stable for a few days.  He still needs to put on weight but is now in much better spirits & eating by himself so we are hopeful that he will be his slightly tubby self soon.

 

 

A troublesome feather

For about 3 days last month, Dalai had a very troublesome feather.

It is likely that the wing feather suffered a break in the shaft, near the base.  How the break happened, I do not know.  All I know is that Dalai spent the best part of 3 days trying to sort it out.  The feather clearly was not ready to be pulled out (I had the flour ready to stem any blood loss!) & was not ready to fall out.  The only option left was to break it in two.  Because of the break, the feather would dangle lower than the others.  Dalai spent simply ages gnawing it & as he progressed, the feather became more & more vulnerable & more & more prone to sticking out at strange angles.  Finally on the third day, he managed to release it.  He must have been so pleased to get rid of that troublesome feather.

Here is the offending feather:

 

 

 

Toggling a Tail

Like normal budgies, Perry has two tails.  Normally they are the same colour but Perry is the first budgie I have had whose tail feathers are different colours.  He has a white tail & a dark blue tail.  He toggles them so each day is a surprise.

Here he is displaying his blue tail:

Perry’s blue tail

Perry displaying his white tail:

Perry’s white tail

 

Sometimes he manages to display both at the same time:

Perry’s two-tone tail

 

An Alarming Feather

When cleaning the bottom of Perry & Lennie’s cage, I found a feather with the end of the shaft caked in blood.  As you can see from the photos, it looked pretty horrible:

Bloody feather

Close-up of bloody feather

 

My instinct is that it was Lennie’s feather, though I briefly wondered if it was Bezukhov’s feather that had floated across to their cage.  I spent the next hour or so watching the two of them & waiting for them to raise their wings so I could see if there was any problem, but all was well.  It seems strange that such a scary looking feather should not leave a trace of where it came from; it looks like it was violently wrenched from a wing.

Oh well…. another worrying day when sharing your life with birds….!

Lennie preening

 

 

Two weeks in the life of a blood feather

Bezukhov has been going through another moult.  This time his head feathers have been completely overhauled.

Here he is at the beginning, looking fine, even though he had lost 3 spot feathers in one go:

This slideshow shows progress over the two weeks:

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A long-drawn-out moult

It was not that long ago (December/January) when Dalai had a problem with uneven wings, due to moulting out some flight feathers.  Less than two months later he is going through another moult which has been going on for several weeks.  He only needs to have a shake & feathers fall off him.  Now he has pin feathers on his head.  He has been quite grumpy.