Baby monitor for birds

With ongoing health issues among the flock, I thought it would be a good idea to try out a baby monitor, specifically for viewing them during night-time.

baby monitor
Baby monitor

Normally, during times of increased worry, I will check on the birds at intervals during the night.  Because of the darkness, it means having to turn the lamp on in order to properly check that all was ok.  If all was ok, then I regretted potentially disturbing their sleep by momentarily turning the light on.  Also, in the case of Perry’s seizures, I worried that suddenly turning the light on would trigger one.  These thoughts led me to getting a baby monitor.

This is a game-changer as far as I am concerned!  Now, when I wake during the night, I can flip the monitor on, via my phone, & check if there is any disturbance, all without having to enter the room & turn a light on!

Baby monitor night time view of bird cage
Perry & Lennie’s cage at night time

Granted, it is not perfect.  Their cages are partially covered overnight so I can only view the bottom part, so if any ‘difficulty’ is happening in the upper area, under the cover, then I will not be able to detect it, unless they are making a sound.  Also, the positioning of the monitor means I cannot see the cage floor, which would be useful to determine if there is any blood loss occurring.  That said, the primary purpose was to see if Perry was having/had a seizure, in which case, 99.99% of the time he would be on the cage floor.

The night picture is grainy & the cage bars & cage furniture can throw all sorts of weird shadows.  Each night when I turn the last light off, I take a screenshot to use for comparison.  If I am unsure of what I am seeing during the night, I take a look at the earlier screenshot to confirm a suspect area is actually a normal shadow, rather than something to be concerned about.

An added bonus is that when I am not in the room, either in another room, or out & about, I can still access the monitor & view them during the daytime, with far less faff than setting up a standard webcam.  The monitor is kept on ‘privacy’ where the lens is physically rolled into the bottom of the unit & only switched on whenever I want to use it, rather than being ‘on’ all the time.

All in all, it has been a very good investment!

Baby monitor night time view of bird cage
Both cages at night time
sweetpea pet memorial advert

Twelve Years Blogaversary!

On this day, 12 years ago, I posted my first entry on this blog.  Somehow, in all that time, I only celebrated the 500th Post at the beginning of 2014, but missed all other anniversaries!  Never mind, I am putting that all right by celebrating today!

I had no idea this blog about my beautiful budgies would continue for so long, but I guess the subject matter dictated that there would always be news & content, good or bad.  My passion for my birds, every single one of them over the years, has also kept this blog alive.  Every single bird, past, present, blue, green, opaline, gentle, bossy, independent, randy, chewy, charming, handsome, chilled, anxious & cheerful, has been & continues to be, loved & cherished.

As we near the New Year, I would like to share my new motto: “Done is better than perfect“.  Maybe this will help me to continue with creating blog posts for the next 12 years, knowing that it is better to post than procrastinate, waiting for perfection.  That said, this is post 1,045, which means there has been an average of 87 posts published per year, with a high of 209 in the first year of blogging, down to a low of 40 in the ninth year.  My blogging has certainly improved from that tentative first post.

Here is a small selection of my favourite posts over the years, in no particular order, but including all the flock, past & present:

Last but not least, Bezukhov’s guest post from 2014: Guest Post: How to avoid taking your medicine

I hope you have enjoyed the last 12 years & join us for the next 12!

Happy New Year to you all.



Note: Recently, I upgraded the blog theme, so I am in the process of checking past posts for formatting, so if some look a bit odd, I have not got around to amending them yet.

Beak Trim and a Bald Patch

We had another vet visit a couple of days ago on the 6th of December.  It was booked primarily to give Perry’s beak another trim, but with Perry’s catalog of ailments, there were other things to review.

Blue and white pied budgie sitting on perch
Perry resting

A few days prior to the visit, a balding patch on Perry’s belly was showing a visible lump.  Though the area has been looking ‘patchy’ for weeks, the recent changes meant the vet visit was timely.

On examination, the vet said the lump was hard & was sat on top of a soft (probably fatty) lump.  There is no way of knowing what it is without doing something invasive, so as usual, speculation was the only thing to do.  Given Perry’s history of a burst abscess, it is possible another one may be developing.  Currently, it looks stable & the skin in that area looks healthy.  It does have an impact on Perry’s mobility & balance.  I continue to monitor it.

Blue and white pied budgie snoozing
Perry sitting on one foot

Perry had his beak & a few toenails trimmed.  His weight was 47 grams so he is maintaining weight, which is good as he still does not eat from any seed pots!  He has evidence of slight bruising on his legs which would be from his occasional falls.  The vet said he actually looked better than the last time, when she was particularly alarmed by his heart rate.

We continue to give him Epiphen to manage his seizures/mini-strokes.  I have adjusted the routine slightly in that I now give him a smaller amount twice a day rather than half a drop once a day.  He has it on a thin slice of celery in the morning between 10-11am & in the evening on a slice of apple at around 9pm.  Most of the time he co-operates!  Because the dosage is even smaller to spread it out during the 24 hours, I literally dip the syringe into the medicine & dab it onto a plate, where I can soak it into the celery or apple.  To make sure I know which end I have done, I cut a tiny notch in the slice & this also differentiates it from the other slice given to either Lennie or Moriarty.

So, we carry on.  Dealing with each day as it comes.

Blue and white pied budgie sitting on one foot
Perry soldiering on, on one foot

The cost of keeping a budgie (veterinary bills)

For some time now I have wanted to write a post detailing the possible costs with keeping a budgie.  Compared to bigger birds & other pets, budgies are relatively cheap to buy & I think it is easy for someone to think they will be cheap to keep.  Maybe some are…  But sometimes they are not!

I want to focus specifically on veterinary bills as these can be particularly expensive & are difficult to avoid if you have concerns about your budgie’s health.

Using my own experiences, I have done some number crunching.  The data set chosen is from May 2014 to April 2022.  In these 8 years, I spent approximately £5,395!  This averages out to £674 per year.

To get a better feel for what that means, I have broken the cost down by bird.  Costs include veterinary consultation fees, various tests, e.g., blood/crop/fecal, x-rays, plus any medication prescribed.  The table below shows the breakdown of data:

Table of veterinary costs per bird

This is the same data in chart form:

Chart showing veterinary costs per bird

There are additional costs not included here:

  • Supplements, e.g., Milk Thistle, Calcium
  • Food, e.g., seed, pellets, cuttlefish, iodine block, grit, vegetables, fruit
  • Transport to veterinary clinics
  • Cages
  • Cage furniture/accessories
  • Toys/Enrichment
  • Cremation

In conclusion, be financially prepared!

sweetpea pet memorial advert

Perry on See-Saw Swing

Perry still occasionally has ‘manic’ moments when he flies & jumps around the cage erratically.   Most of the time he lands reasonably well on a perch but a couple of times he accidently landed on the see-saw swing, that he has not been on in years.  Moriarty was so excited, on both occasions, that he immediately joined Perry & jumped on the other side.

I managed to get some evidence with photos & an 8 second video!


Lennie Goes A-Wanderin’

Lennie has not come out of his cage for some time.  He comes out onto the door platform but that is about it.  In the morning, when Perry has gone to sit in Moriarty’s cage for the day, I open up Lennie’s so Moriarty can pop in & out to play with Lennie.

However, one evening, at the beginning of October, I looked up & saw Lennie was out!  He had made his way to the top of Moriarty’s cage.  It was meant to be a time for winding down for bed, but here he was, on a jaunt!  I quickly locked Moriarty in (Perry would not come out anyway) as I was not sure if there would be any territorial issues over Perry.  Lennie had a little roam around, then went back home.

Strangely, he did the same the following evening.

It felt like he was waiting for Perry to return for bedtime & decided he would go & find out what the delay was!

The following day he came out about 11am.  Once again, I locked Moriarty in to keep things calm.  Lennie stayed out for quite awhile.  He made his way over to Moriarty who was in his old cage.  Then he went to the top of the cage where Perry was, before making his way down to sit on the top of the open door where he preened for a bit.  He returned back to the top of the cage & played with the ball with crinkle paper before retiring back to his own cage.  He came out another couple of times later that same day.

I had hoped this would be the first of many outings, where I could gradually introduce Moriarty, but he has not been out since!

Here are some videos of the rare outing:



If you are wondering about that dodgy wing feather, it was sorted out by the vet a few days later on the 11th of October.


Lennie’s Sticky-Out Feather

Lennie had a defective wing feather some weeks back.  It was dangling precariously from his side for about 3 weeks.

Budgie with feather sticking out
Lennie on the door platform

Initially, he spent some time fiddling with it, but then gave up & just accepted it, even when it was flicking around in positions it was not meant to be in.  After the blood loss drama when he lost his tail feather in September (click here for that post), I kept a close eye on the wing feather.  My thinking was that the longer it hung on, the less chance it would cause trouble when it finally dropped.  However, it withstood several vigorous flapping sessions, four occasions when I grabbed Lennie to transfer him to a different cage (click here for that post) & many times when Lennie trod on it.  When the vet came on the 11th of October to see Perry, the feather was still holding fast, so I asked her to take a look at it.


It was not clear what the problem was, but she gave it a short, sharp tug & it was free.  Fortunately, it was a clean separation without any complications.  I am not sure what happened, but I feel it would still be connected to this day had it not been forcibly pulled out!


A Challenge and a Bonus

Since the last visit from the vet on the 11th of October (click here for that post), we have settled into a routine to support Perry & his health issues.

blue and white pied budgie

Perry’s anti-seizure medication is given to him every morning. The time varies slightly depending on his mood & whether he takes it quickly. The dosage for Epiphen is basically half a drop, a very small & challenging amount to administer. Fortunately, it is able to go on food, so I use either celery or apple, & Perry, for the most part, eats it. To measure out the medicine, I first syringe one drop out onto a plate, then try to get a smaller drop out (that I can compare to the full drop). I then dip thinly sliced celery or apple into it. Most of the time I offer the medication when Perry is alone & the others are distracted, but sometimes I offer it when Moriarty is around, as if he eats, then Perry may follow too (if he is being a little reluctant). In that situation, I make sure the celery/apple slice is a long strip so one end is ‘loaded’ & the other is free so Moriarty can eat it (if he wishes) & hopefully encourage Perry to eat his end.

Sleeping budgie
Perry snoozing

The medication for Perry’s heart issue (Frusol) arrived in the post a week after the vet visit (we have postal strikes happening). It is to be given orally 2/3 times a day, but I decided, for now, not to give it to him. Coincidentally, I had bought passionflower extract as it is supposed to be good for epilepsy, but read that it is also good for the heart. I had not used it because I was unsure of dosage, but when the heart problem was diagnosed, & I did not yet have the Frusol, I decided to start putting a few drops in his water.

Perry’s water is now like soup – it comprises of chamomile tea, turmeric, milk thistle, Calcivet (5 days) & passionflower extract. I offer it to him roughly every 2 hours & he usually takes a glug or two. He has stopped drinking from the water bottles, hence my offering it to him. He has not eaten from a seed pot in many weeks now, so most of the time I am holding up millet to him (he refuses regular seed), or, if he is on his own, I peg it up but he will only eat it if he happens to be near it. Perry was never a fast eater, but now he eats very slowly, sometimes taking ages chewing/cracking each seed. Other than millet seeds, he also eats celery, apple, fennel, & small amounts of basil & lemon balm.

Continue reading “A Challenge and a Bonus”