Puddings & Toyboys

A blog about my beautiful budgies.

Category Archives: feathers

Holiday Emergency

Normally, at the beginning of a new year, I like to do a review of the previous year.  However, the last few weeks have been a little torturous & we are still in uncharted waters, so instead of a review, I will bring you up-to-date with Perry’s health.

I had previously reported (click here) that on the 15th of December, part of Perry’s lump had shrivelled & fallen off.  All was relatively stable until the 26th December, when there was some overnight blood loss.

There was no sign of blood on either Perry or Lennie.  In fact, they both looked fine.  But where did it come from?  There was no sign of a blood feather.  The blood looked like it dripped rather than sprayed.  I wondered if perhaps Perry had been picking at his lump (it was going black again).  There was some evidence of blood on a small feather under his tail so perhaps it was linked to a feather?  But Perry has a lot of white feathers & there was no sign of blood anywhere else on him.  Nothing on perches or cage bars either.  He was a bit quiet but was eating & drinking.

Three days later, the 30th December, was a bad day.  Perry bled three times.  The first time I noticed his foot & leg, the side of the lump, were bloody & there was blood on a perch, but nothing on the floor.  I assumed he had picked at the lump.  I had to go out & on my return there was more blood.  A lot.  There was a big clump on the perch & a large patch below it.  Perry was all bloody near his lump & it looked like blood had congealed on his feathers & formed clumps.  Again, he was quiet but had a drink, some fennel & a little seed.  Later on, I noticed what was the third & final bleed that day.

I had agonised over whether to take him to a vet but felt any major upheaval (transferring him to the travel cage & the journey to the vet etc.) could have a fatal outcome, so decided against that.  I recognised that no action could also have a similar outcome, but I thought we would ride out the night together.

 

Perry survived the night.  He seemed relatively stable & had not bled any more.  I decided to take him to the vet that morning, the 31st December.

The vet visit was wrapped up in mad rules which caused further (unnecessary) distress, but we got through it & I was relieved to get Perry back home again.  The vet seemed to suggest that the lump was actually an abscess (on reflection, it is possible she could have said ‘cyst’ but I struggle to understand when people are wearing a mask).  She cleaned the area as much as possible – a proper clean would mean putting him under anaesthetic.  She said there was still some dead tissue left in a crater/hole but she did not want to stress him or cause him any pain by removing that part.  She plucked the feathers, so there was a round, pink area.

Perry was understandably traumatised after the ordeal but I kept him quiet & covered in his own cage (Lennie was fortunately temporarily in Dalai’s cage).  It took Perry some time to feel like eating & drinking.  I checked on him overnight & was hopeful he was stable, however the following day, the 1st January, he had another bleed.  This time the blood loss happened as I was looking at him, so I immediately grabbed him & smothered his ‘lump’ with cornflour (I had all the emergency items handy).  I put him in a small carrier for a few minutes then checked him again.  I saw an area of fresh blood so put more cornflour on.  Whilst doing this, I noticed a round black area that must have been the dead tissue the vet mentioned – it was above where the bleeding was.  As I already had F10 disinfectant lined up, I swabbed it.

 

The cornflour stopped the bleeding & at the time of writing he has had no further bleeding.  We are hoping to see our usual vet as soon as she is available, but until then, we continue to do our best.  During all this trauma I have discovered that when Perry did not feel up to eating seed, he could usually manage some fennel.  It is always handy to know what food/vegetable your pet favours when they are not well.

We have had an unpleasant start to the New Year & there is still huge uncertainty around Perry’s condition.  However, against all odds (significant blood loss & severely limited veterinary services due to holidays etc.), Perry continues to eat & drink & I am eternally grateful we have got this far.

Perry

 

 

Fluff face

Perry had a big piece of fluff in the middle of his face.  It was there for ages, so I got some photos…

 

Head rub

Lennie found that rubbing his head on the frame of the open door helped give him some relief from some pin feathers….

 

 

Lennie’s feather problem

During the vet visit on the 16th June for Perry’s ‘turns’ (click here to read), I also asked the vet to check Lennie’s wing feathers.

The last time the vet checked his wing feathers was a year ago when he was already having problems flying.  At the time, it was thought a severe moult had caused the problems.  Since then, Lennie has grown wing feathers back again but also lost some, never getting to a point that he could fly properly.  The feathers he dropped also looked of poor quality.  In addition, we had the ‘crime scene‘ with a suspected broken blood feather.  It seemed appropriate to ask the vet to take another look.

Prior to her physical examination of him, I showed her many of the feathers he had lost.  She identified stress bars & also evidence of chewing.  Stress bars were not too surprising as Lennie is a bit of a worrywart.  The chewing was more concerning & raised lots of questions, primarily, was he chewing because there was something wrong with the feather or was he chewing on a healthy feather & if so, why?

On examining Lennie, apart from his strange feathers & whopping weight (a staggering 73g!) he appeared healthy.  She took some sample feathers for him to be tested for Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD) which fortunately came back negative.

When the vet returned the following day to check on Perry, as a precaution, she gave them both treatment for (feather) mites, which I followed up on the 13th July.

 

Without further tests, it is difficult to establish the root cause of Lennie’s feather problem.  It is possible he has a psychological issue given he suffers from stress & anxiety.  Even if his feather problem is resolved, his weight gain will not help with his flying ability.  So, this continues to be a problem to monitor…

 


Sample of feathers:

 

Crime Scene

Four weeks ago, on the 7th of March, I woke to find a disturbing crime scene.

Blood everywhere.

But fortunately two birds looking fine & strangely innocent.

The more I looked, the more blood I found.  It was all over the cage bottom, dripped & smeared.  It had spattered & sprayed on the floor outside the cage, up to 26 inches away (night-time cover only goes part the way down the front).  There was no sign of blood on their back cover & only a couple of drops on the inside of the top cover.  One drop managed to land sideways in Dalai’s cage on his platform perch.  Some drops were on the rope perches (lower to mid-level) but otherwise nothing on the perches.  Some drops of blood were on a seed trough.

 

Absence of significant blood on the perches ruled out a toe injury, plus there was no sign of bloody toes or feet.

Perry’s wing feathers were bloody but it is possible he had a (night) fright & may have fallen in the blood & smeared it, otherwise, there were no other visible signs of blood on Perry.  When cleaning, I found one wing feather that had splatters of blood but had that dropped before or after the bloodbath?  There were no visible signs of blood on Lennie.

 

My instinct is that it was a burst blood feather, but there was no sign of the offending feather itself.

Perry & Lennie were fine that morning, if a little quiet.  Millet helped.

Lennie & Perry preening

 

We were lucky – this could have easily had a bad outcome.  Please all, be prepared for such an event.  Check that your first aid kit is well equipped for an injury resulting in blood loss.  There are lots of resources on the internet advising what to do in such a situation.  If you have a trusted vet, then have a chat with them & see what their advice is.

 

Severe moult, long beak and a strange growth

As you know, from my earlier post (click here: Three near-flightless birds), we are having a pretty bad moult season.  Since that post, Lennie has lost more flight feathers resulting in one wing being, well…. not much use as a wing.

It has not stopped him from feeding Dalai:

 

To add to that, Dalai decided to grow his beak…

 

…that the vet trimmed down yesterday.  She also investigated a strange thing beside his beak that I had noticed a few weeks ago. At first I thought it was a stuck seed, then I wondered if it was a strange feather. The vet confirmed it was fleshy & attached to him, similar to a skin tag.  She whipped it off pretty smartly.  Hopefully, whatever it was, it will not grow back.

 

 

Three near-flightless birds

It is moulting time again.

 

Dalai has been hit hard by it.  Often he has a mini-moult before the main moult, lulling me into a false sense of security, thinking he has been let off lightly.  He lost a few feathers earlier then stopped losing them, so I thought his moult was over, then overnight he lost 3 flight feathers & his main moult began.  Flight feather loss has been severe enough to stop him from flying.  To say he is grumpy about this would be an understatement!  You can see from the photos below that he has one wing significantly shorter than the other.

Lennie has had flight problems since his last moult & though those flight feathers grew back, he has since lost some more, so is still struggling to fly.  As with Dalai, he has one wing significantly shorter than the other.  If only they could work as a pair – they would probably get combined decent flight!

 

Perry preening

Perry has lost flight feathers too though his loss is less severe.  However, the combination of some feather loss & his growing lump, also results in poor flying ability.

For some days, both Dalai & Perry have stayed in their respective homes, with just Lennie dashing between them, either sitting with Perry, or sitting with Dalai (at a safe distance from his moody beak jabbing).

So, there you have it…. three budgies, all with flight problems.  Hopefully both Dalai & Lennie’s wings will grow back quickly.  I am still hopeful that Perry’s lump will just stop growing!

Preening Perry’s head

Perry still likes to have his head preened & Dalai still likes to oblige.

 

 

 

Three in one

Last Friday (12th) we had a visit from the vet, to check over all three, Dalai, Perry & Lennie.  I had/have concerns about all of them for various reasons, one of which may be my paranoia!

At the time the vet came, Lennie was locked in by himself so we decided he would be first up.  I had concerns that he was having trouble flying –  only that morning he had attempted a lap of the room & landed in the plant pot!  The vet checked over his wings & found some missing flight feathers on both wings.  She said his heart sounded fine, which suggested the flying problem was a result of moulted-out feathers, which should be resolved when they have all grown back in again.  The only problem with this is that I find that when a bird has a few crash landings, their confidence can be dented & they are put off flying again, which in turn makes the problem worse.  Hopefully Lennie gets over this & is flying well soon.

The big shock with Lennie is that the vet weighed him & said he was 64g!!!  She did not seem concerned as she said he was clearly not overweight but did have a full gizzard.  There is a slight chance there may be a mass behind the gizzard, so I am to keep my eye on him.

 

Perry was up next.  The last time the vet visited, she identified a lump, which has since been growing.  Sometimes, at certain angles & when he is fluffed up, the lump is not noticeable at all.  However, it is definitely there, defined & dense.  It currently appears to be isolated, i.e., not attached to anything major.  Certainly, it is not imposing on Perry’s health or behaviour yet, but at sometime in the future I may need to get a sample from it in order to work out possible treatment.  Perry weighed a very respectable 55g, lump & all.

Perry contemplating eating some vegetables

 

Dalai was last.  He has been very much under the weather & his poops had changed.  He did have a very dodgy poop that was ringed with red, but I only found one of those (believe me, I was checking ALL of them after that discovery!) & the vet said he may have strained when passing that particular one.  The day before the vet came out, Dalai dropped a mountain of feathers overnight, which then made it clear that a lot of my concerns were most probably because he was moulting (again!).  Additionally, he has developed a dark mark on his beak.  I was not aware of him having bumped/crashed into anything for it be a bruise.  The vet thought it was either a blood blister or just a pigmentation change.  Dalai’s weight was also respectable, coming in at 45g.

Dalai

 

So, for a change, the vet did not leave me with any medication.  It took Dalai, Perry & Lennie awhile to recover from all the prodding & poking & it took me awhile to recover from the news of Lennie’s weight… in fact, if truth be told, my jaw is still on the floor over it!

 

 

Seasonally Confused

When I mentioned to the vet that the birds were moulting again, she said they were clearly ‘seasonally confused‘.  What a good & descriptive phrase!  It may well apply to humans too, particularly in the UK, with our extremely changeable weather!

Here, we have had a series of mini-moults.  It is never long before there is another flurry of feathers.  Right now though, they are going through a ‘proper’ moult, with tails lost, wing feathers lost & pinny heads.  Not to mention a bit of grumpiness.

However, despite looking like he has been pulled through a hedge backwards, Lennie is the one who tends to stay upbeat through it all, possibly irritating both Dalai & Perry more than he usually does!