Puddings & Toyboys

A blog about my beautiful budgies.

Category Archives: moult

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.

 

 

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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.

 

Dalai’s dander

During their moult, feather dust & dander is more noticeable.  Sometimes, Bezukhov & Dalai sit on the perch preening & you can see it drift down & settle below them.  I have singled out Dalai in this post simply because the dander he leaves behind on the ttmss swing in the Manor is particularly noticeable because of the dark colour of the perch.

Bezukhov very rarely sits on that swing which is why I know the dander pictured is Dalai’s.  Bezukhov prefers the counterpart (hot pink) swing in the Villa.

 

Dalai’s first misting

Yesterday, Dalai had his first misting.

Since his arrival, Dalai has witnessed several mistings.  Both Bezukhov & Phineas have demonstrated the art of prancing about in some wet leaves whilst I spray water over them.  Dalai would usually take himself off to the Villa & leave them to it.  I was not too concerned because he does take regular baths in the Thomas Bath.

Several factors may have influenced Dalai to try out a misting: they are both going through what seems like a never-ending moult, Bezukhov was very keen to throw himself into the celery leaves, & the sun was shining brightly though it is now clearly winter.  Whatever the reason, after he watched Bezukhov have a go, he decided to join in.  I think he enjoyed it.

Dalai investigating the celery leaves:

 

Dalai & Bezukhov preening afterwards:

(Click on photos to enlarge)

A Short Tale

This is a short tale about a short tail.

Once upon a time (about a week ago), handsome Prince Bezukhov had two tail feathers.  However, Bezukhov was moulting & the tail feathers worried about their future.  They were right to worry because one day, Bezukhov’s friend Dalai “helped” him remove one.  The tail feather was sad at the bottom of the cage.  Some days later, the remaining tail feather dropped out & was reunited with the first one who was now living on the coffee table.  They resignedly watched as new tail feathers started to grow in their place.  The prince will soon look handsome again as his odd, short tail morphs into lovely long tail feathers.  The end.

 

 

Pins, poop & preening

Bezukhov is getting better.  He is eating a reasonable amount each day.  His poops are looking fine.  He is chatting again with Dalai & has even engaged in the odd flirting session here & there.  He is still moulting though, so looks a bit rough & still likes to have a sleep during the day.

Dalai is also moulting.

 

During the last week, I have noticed Dalai preen Bezukhov’s cheek feathers.  I have only witnessed it happen about 3 times & each time was very brief but I did manage to get one little session on film:

Despite the rather brusque ending, I think Bezukhov appreciated the attention.

 

After the last few weeks, it gives me great pleasure to see Bezukhov tucking into his seed:

 

Poops are looking good too:

 

 

Relapse

An unwell Bezukhov

An unwell Bezukhov

One day feather loss

One day feather loss

Medication

Medication

We have had a difficult time with Bezukhov.  After I posted that Bezukhov had become unwell (click here to read that post), the hopeful signs of improvement stopped.  On the 29th September, Bezukhov began a heavy moult.  Almost overnight there were feathers everywhere.  He lost mountains of small fluffy feathers, several larger feathers, including flight feathers & a tail feather.  At the same time, his poops got worse again.  He also stopped eating.

He was extremely lethargic & I was sufficiently worried to call in Ms Independent Vet (IV) who visited on the 30th September.

Once again, she suspected the problems were a continuation of stress from losing his friend Phineas, but now with the added complication of going into a heavy moult.  She weighed him & he was only 44g, so a loss of approximately 14g in 9 days.  His temperature was very high, but otherwise she could not find anything else obviously wrong.  She gave him an injection of anti-inflammatory to help bring down his temperature & also antibiotics to guard against infections whilst his immune system was low.  I was to orally give him the anti-inflammatory (Loxicom) twice a day for the next 3 days & antibiotics (Baytril) once a day for the next 7 days.  She also advised that I steam/nebulise him with F10 as she thought his breathing was a bit laboured.  She also gave me Emeraid, so I could syringe feed him to get his weight back up.

Of course giving Bezukhov medicine is a challenge.  Despite being unwell he still managed to do his very best to avoid taking anything orally.

I was marginally better at giving Bezukhov the medicine than the Emeraid.  Some birds will apparently eat Emeraid when offered as it is a nice smelling (& probably nice tasting) porridge-like substance.  I did offer him some on my finger but he refused so I was left with having to syringe feed him.  I tried my very, very best to give him the food but he pulled out all the stops & thwarted me at every twist & turn.  I managed to get a few drops inside him now & then.  Ms IV advised that I give him the Emeraid morning & evening but because I could hardly get any inside him, I added another battle session in the middle of the day.

Despite my best efforts, Bezukhov got worse.

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Reduced medication update

In December, when I last spoke to Ms Exotic Hospital Vet (EHV), it was agreed to reduce Bezukhov’s medication, to be reviewed the end of January.

Bezukhov

Bezukhov

This new regime began on the 12th December.  He was now to have medication every third day, rather than second day.  The amount of Destolit to stay the same but I reduced the amount of Lactulose.  Unfortunately, after two reduced dosages, in the evening of the 17th December Bezukhov had an ‘episode‘.  He was on my finger at the time & had just finished eating seed.  Phineas went to peck at him & Bezukhov pulled his head back to avoid him but this prompted a reflex type spasm for a brief moment.

He was due medication the next morning so I reverted back to the normal dose whilst I contacted Ms EHV.  She suspected the ‘episode’ was a one-off rather than related to the reduced medication so suggested I carry on with the new regime.  So, three days later I went back to the new regime.  On the 1st January, I stopped giving him Lactulose completely, so now it was just Destolit (for his gallbladder) every third day.

Yesterday, I spoke to Ms EHV to review how things were.  He has not had any more ‘episodes’ since the 17th December & apart from having another moult, seems in otherwise good health.  She suggested we stop the Destolit too, in other words, no medication.  Scary!

However, because he is currently going through a moult, we agreed to stop the medication when he is back to his normal self.  When this happens I will be monitoring him more closely than ever!

 

 

 

 

 

Whole again

A few months back I reported that during the tussle of catching Bezukhov for his every-other-morning medication, his tail snapped (click here).  A few weeks ago, I came across a strange looking feather on the floor.  It took a few seconds for me to realise it was the stumpy part of his tail that was left behind.  I reunited it with the upper part of the tail that snapped off.