Puddings & Toyboys

A blog about my beautiful budgies.

Category Archives: tail

Corn flour is essential

Just 8 days after seeing the vet for Lennie’s health problems, I was back at her clinic.

All initially seemed fine on the morning of the 2nd November.  Normally, I would let Perry in with Moriarty where they could get their morning flirt out of the way without interruption from Lennie.  This went ahead as usual but I noticed it ended quicker than usual, & Moriarty wanted to go & say good morning to Lennie.  This meant Perry was on his own in Moriarty’s cage.

Not long after, I noticed the tip of his beak was red.

Now was the time for some intense observation.

I thought I saw a flash of something dark around his preening gland area.  I wondered if he had a broken blood feather.  Sure enough it was not long before, I started seeing spots of blood on the bottom of the cage…  Then bigger drops.

More blood from Perry

I rang the vet hoping there was a cancellation for a home visit, which there was not.  She was already out doing home visits but would be back at the clinic in about an hour or so, so they suggested I make my way there.  I immediately covered Perry in corn flour.  He was bleeding as I was doing this (the place looked like a crime scene afterwards).  I could not quite work out where it was coming from so just pressed my finger in certain places & if it came out red, I shoved corn flour in that area.  There seemed to be a spot below the preening gland that was bleeding.  I put him in the travel cage.  Fortunately, the corn flour temporarily stopped the bleeding.  The cab ride would be at least 30 minutes, so I put some corn flour in my bag in case it was needed on route.  We got to the clinic about half an hour before the vet.  It was not until about 5 or 10 minutes before she took him in, that I saw a drop of blood on the bottom of his cage – so the corn flour held up well.

It seemed like forever that Perry was in with the vet.  The longer he was gone, the more worried I was getting.

It turned out the bleed was from a broken blood feather on the left side of the main tail.  The feather itself was not in situ & to date, still has not been found.  (It is possible there was not blood on it when it came out, so I may have missed it).

There was quite a big hole left by the feather & the area was inflamed & bruised.  By that time, the bleeding was heavy so the vet cauterized the feather follicles to stop it.  She also removed some of the surrounding feathers.  She gave Perry an anti-inflammatory injection & also made sure he was well hydrated.  The vet said several times that it was absolutely the right thing to bring him as soon as we did.

 

We finally got home early afternoon.  Perry started chirping to Lennie & Moriarty as I brought him into the lounge.  I left him in the travel cage for about an hour as he seemed comfortable there (knowing he was back home).  Moriarty was going mad, wanting to give him a kiss but I think he too calmed down a bit just seeing that Perry was home again.  Both Moriarty & Lennie were locked in Perry & Lennie’s cage.  Whilst Perry was resting I took the opportunity to clean up Moriarty’s cage.  When Perry started to stir a bit, I offered my finger & he came out, so I put him into Moriarty’s cage.  To try & get some normality back, I let Moriarty in at intervals so as not to tire Perry out.

Perry was quiet for the rest of the day but in the evening had some water & also tucked into some millet.  I checked on him during the night & he was stable.  The vet nurse rang first thing in the morning to see how he was.  Importantly, there was no further blood loss.  The anti-inflammatory was due to wear off 24-48 hours after administration, leaving the sore, bruised area which will take a little longer to heal.  So far, Perry has continued to recover well.

 

I would like to end this post by recommending that all who have birds should have a tub of corn flour in their medicine cabinet.  You never know when it might come in handy.  Without corn flour Perry may not have made it to the vet.  Lastly, I would also like to say a big thank you to my vet who immediately understood the gravity of the situation & responded as quick as she could & was a star!

Corn flour

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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.

 

 

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

 

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.

 

 

A tale of poop

Once upon a time, Bezukhov pooped.

The poop fell on Dalai’s tail.

The end.

Tail pulling

Both Bezukhov & Dalai have bent & chewed tails.

My first thought was that Phineas was the culprit, mainly because his is the only tail that is still straight.  Also, if a tail is waved in front of Phinny then he will tug it, to the point that whoever’s tail it is will almost unbalance & fall off the perch.  It seemed the likely scenario.

However, over time I have witnessed another culprit…. Dalai!  One time, when Bezukhov was minding his own business, I saw Dalai on the ttmss swing below him, purposefully swinging across & grabbing his tail.  The striking thing was that this was done in the name of play.  Bizarrely, Bezukhov appeared to just go along with it & did not seem to mind Dalai grabbing his tail & almost hanging off him.

On another occasion, Phineas was on the landing platform & was tucking into a slice of apple that I was holding.  Dalai noticed this but was torn between wanting to eat the apple too (flock mentality) & not wanting to eat it because I was holding it (not tame) so in the end, pulled Phinny’s tail as if to physically drag Phinny away so no one could eat the apple!  This took Phinny by surprise but he was too big to budge so Dalai gave up.

 

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.

 

 

Snap!

Last week, during one of our every-other-morning medication battles, I heard Bezukhov‘s tail snap.

Ouch!

What's that doing there?

What’s that doing there?

During the struggle, his tail obviously got into a position I did not think it was in & as I moved him towards my chest, I heard the loud crack of it breaking.  I quickly smoothed it down as I could see it sticking out at an alarming angle.  When he had successfully avoided taking the majority of his medicine I put him back in the Manor & hoped the tail damage was not too great.

Over the next few days his tail continued to stick out at strange angles.  Bezukhov would twizzle his bottom & it would stick out sideways.  Then he would have a little preen & it would be put back in place again.  It was also floppy which was particularly noticeable when he was flying as it would hang down.

It must have been hanging by a thread as it finally broke off.  You can see by the photo below that the break was about along the tail, as compared with a previously moulted tail.  Fortunately, his other tail is still fully intact.

Broken tail

Broken tail

I said ‘Sorry‘ to him countless times for breaking his beautiful tail.  Hopefully he does not hold it against me…