Puddings & Toyboys

A blog about my beautiful budgies.

Category Archives: feathers

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update on Dalai: 45 days

The last time I posted on Dalai’s health (click here), I stated that we had commenced the 45 day treatment for Chlamydiosis.  This ran from the 1st December 2018 to 14th January 2019.  Treatment was the medicine Ornicure, in water for all three: Dalai, Perry & Lennie.

The medicine was made up 1 litre at a time & kept for 7 days in the fridge.  Apart from ensuring the light-sensitive medicine & solution was measured & stored correctly, administration was really no problem at all.  They all drank the water without any qualms.

The difficulty was all the cleaning that had to be done.  The infectious element is shed in cycles so it is important to have an effective cleaning routine.  Given that they have an awful lot of ‘furniture’, I decided to clean most of it once & then store it away & return it at the end of the treatment.  This has meant we have been living a minimalist lifestyle!

In week one, the playgym took 3 days to dismantle & clean & at the time of writing, has not yet been returned.  As I bagged up newly disinfected items, I marvelled at how many pegs they have & how many beads!

Temporarily, I replaced some wooden perches & the rope perches with easy-to-clean plastic perches.  I replaced their chewy toys with plastic toys.  As paper is easy to replace, I used a lot of crinkle paper & curly paper on the toys to generate interest.

They all continued to moult – each losing a tail feather during December.  Intermittently, Dalai would tail bob, so on those occasions I would nebulise him in the travel cage with F10.

 

A few days after treatment was completed, I arranged another visit from the vet (17th January).  I still had some concerns about intermittent tail bobbing.  The vet checked Dalai over.  His weight was either 45 or 46g.  The vet said that last time she was starting to feel his keel bone so it was good he was back to a healthy weight.  His temperature was also normal, compared to last time when it was slightly raised.  His toenails were fine (no problematic bruising) but were a little long, so they were clipped.  She detected a slight clicking which suggested there was still a lingering respiratory issue.  If linked to the Chlamydia, she said it may take a little longer after the end of treatment for it to clear up.  Because the vet thought Dalai was in otherwise good health & in good spirits, she suggested I continue to nebulise him with F10, as & when the tail bobbing is apparent, but to continue a few days after he improves.

Dalai’s poops 17/1

Dalai’s poops have improved over time.  The initial worrying green colour that prompted the vet to suggest treatment for Chlamydia, has gone.  Of course we still do not know if they had or have Chlamydia, but either way, they all now appear well & happy.

Just so Perry & Lennie were not feeling left out with all the attention the vet was giving Dalai, they both had their toenails trimmed.  Perry, in particular, had a very long toenail that I was concerned about.  Lennie was a very difficult patient & it took the vet & the nurse ages to trim his toenails!

Over the next few weeks I will continue to bring back more of their toys & also the playgym.  I am sure it will not be long before we are completely cluttered again!

Dalai

 

Social media, feasting and a prize!

I joined Instagram recently (@onesweetiepea) & took part in the Instagram challenge #12daysoffolksy.

Folksy is the home of British Craft, where you will find thousands of beautifully designed creations – all made by clever hands crafting away across the UK.  They set up an Instagram challenge to help promote Folksy, promote its sellers (& others!) & to have a bit of fun!

I am a new Folksy seller & you can imagine that some of my items are inspired by birds or bird-related (link to my shop is at the bottom of this page).  Naturally, I used some of the chosen themes to ‘promote’ my birds!  Day 10 was ‘Feast’, so I posted a picture of Dalai, Perry & Lennie feasting on red millet:

Dalai, Lennie & Blurry Perry

 

I was delighted to find that they won a prize for the best animal-themed post for Day 10!  They had more red millet to celebrate!

The eagle-eyed amongst you will have recognised the above photo from a previous post in 2017.  (Click here to see that post).  The slight sadness in this is that the red millet was in celebration of Bezukhov’s 7th birthday & you can see him in the photos in the original post.  So, I feel he deserves a mention too, given that had he not had a 7th birthday, they would not have had that millet & therefore the photos would not have been taken & the prize not won!  So we give big thanks to our dearest, departed friend, Bezukhov.

You can also see in the photo that Dalai had his troublesome feather!

 

Update on Dalai

Dalai

Following on from my last post on Dalai’s health, he finished the 10 day course of antibiotics (3rd-12th November).  During that time I monitored his droppings & they gradually improved.  He continued to be unsociable, preferring to be in his cage on his own.  He had moments when he wanted to come out but was only out briefly & mostly wanted to just stretch his wings.

He carried on with his moult, losing a tail feather & further wing feathers.  He had lots of pin feathers on his head.  I felt that he wanted a bath but did not want to bother coming out to have one, so a few times I held up a sprig of wet basil & he had an awkward bathe in the wet leaves, as he was trying to do it whilst balancing on his swing!

He had a set-back on the morning of November 16th when his poops were just white splats with no dark bits.  However, by the afternoon they recovered.

The vet provided AviPro Plus, a probiotic to support their gut.  I put this in Dalai’s & Perry & Lennie’s water from the 20th-30th November.  Dalai’s droppings improved & as a bonus, Lennie’s did too (they have always been a bit… not right!)

Dalai ready for F10 nebulising

On the 23rd November, after a further consultation with the vet, she confirmed that videos I sent showed Dalai was definitely tail bobbing (there was slight evidence of this earlier).  We decided to give them all medicine for chlamydia (I refused any invasive tests & also did not bother with the fecal test as a negative result does not necessarily mean they do not have chlamydia).  Whilst awaiting the medicine (it needed to be ordered), the vet suggested I nebulise Dalai a couple of times a day with F10 SC disinfectant to help with any respiratory problems.

The first ‘steaming’ session was on Friday 23rd November at 2pm.  Dalai was difficult to catch in the Silver Villa & when I did grab him he screeched & screamed!  He never did that when the vet grabbed him!  He was not best pleased when he found himself in the travel cage, under a cover, with a bowl of hot water.  (To be clear, the water was outside the cage).  I did this again on the following occasions:

  • 24th November – 10:30
  • 25th November – 10:30, 17:00
  • 26th November – 10:30, 17:30
  • 27th November – 10:00, 17:30
  • 28th November – 10:30
  • 29th November – 10:15

Each time Dalai screeched & screamed when I grabbed him.  After the last two ‘steamings’, he seemed a bit brighter & livelier.  After his steaming on the 28th, he stayed out for a bit & even gave Perry’s head a little preen.

The medicine for chlamydiosis (Ornicure) arrived yesterday, & treatment has commenced.

In the meantime, here is a slideshow for the poop aficionados amongst us.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

And some prettier photos:

 

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

 

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:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

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:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

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.