Puddings & Toyboys

A blog about my beautiful budgies.

Tag Archives: fatty lump

The last weeks and days in the life of Phineas (1 of 3)

Phineas is no longer with us.  It is a great shock to us all.  There were signs that things were not right, but this still in no way prepared us for his eventual loss.



It was quite a few weeks ago that I noticed he seemed to be getting fatter in his ‘undercarriage’ area.  When he did the hand jive, I could feel a soft pad.  Because it felt soft, I guessed it was fat & perhaps we needed to do something about his weight.  For several weeks, I religiously picked every groat out of their seed mix as I understood these can be fatty.  They must be quite tasty too as they are usually the seeds that are picked out & eaten first.

After removing the groats & monitoring his eating habits (he did not noticeably eat more than the others) there was no change.  He still had poop bombs but these appeared to be getting caught on the fatty lump, rather than his feathers.  His flying was more clumsy – like his centre of gravity had shifted.  Apart from these changes, his behaviour was exactly the same; he still had his daily jiggy-jiggy, he was still lively, he was still winding Bezukhov & Dalai up.

Because of my concerns, I took Phineas to see Ms Exotic Hospital Vet (EHV) on Friday 2nd September.  The first thing she observed was that he looked well.  However, when she examined him, she said she could feel a distinct lump behind a fat pad.  She believed it was a tumour.

Phineas in the travel cage

Phineas in the travel cage

It was decided that surgery was the best option.  To help give an indication on what type of tumour it was, she took a sample via a fine needle to be sent for analysis.  Results were due back on the Monday, so we booked Phineas in for surgery on Tuesday 6th September.

When we got home, I was relieved to see that Bezukhov had retired to the Villa – he had refused to be locked in anywhere (Dalai was locked in the Manor).  I opened the door to the travel cage, but though Phineas wanted to get out, he was having trouble with the small door.  Bezukhov & Dalai by this time were flying over his cage to the window perch & eventually, on one of their flights back to the Manor, Phineas managed to negotiate the open door & fly out.  He was not quite prepared & it looked like he was not going to make the turn in order to get to the Manor, so I stretched out &, amazingly, gently caught him, mid-flight & returned him, to the manor to be reunited with his friends.


To be continued…



Dodgy poops & more worry

Yesterday (Saturday), Phineas presented me with a few things to worry about:

  • Firstly, on uncovering him in the morning, I scanned for his overnight poops but could not find any.  I found that very puzzling.  There is always a poop pile the next morning.  Odd.
  • Secondly, when I offered Phinny an in-cage jiggy-jiggy, his bottom area felt different.  Swollen.  Softer.
  • Thirdly, when Phinny pooped during the day, they were abnormal.  As you can see from the photos, they were a very murky yellowy colour.  A few times he just pooped water.
  • Fourthly, when Phineas preened his bottom area, it looked a bit red.  It is generally a little bald, due to his “bot rubs” but more pinky.
  • Fifthly, he slept a lot.  He rarely sleeps during the day.  When Cagney & Bezukhov are sleeping then he may, at a push, have a quick nap, but he certainly never sleeps if they are not sleeping.

So worry I did.  Naturally, being the weekend, the vet’s was closed, although an emergency number is supplied.  I found myself searching on the internet for other exotic vets (an avian vet is now like gold dust ’round these parts).  I came across a veterinary hospital that has recently opened a new in-patients ward for exotics, & has its own vet with a special interest in exotics – reptiles & birds.  What is more…. it is open on Sundays!

I spent a worrying night as Phinny did not sleep on his swing (another departure from the norm) but fortunately awoke this morning to find he had pooped & they were back to a more normal looking colour.  He was also in good form & keen for an in-cage jiggy-jiggy.  His bottom area still felt swollen.

To be on the safe side, I booked an appointment at the veterinary hospital. Read more of this post

A minor setback

Atilla has been unwell for a couple of days.  On Sunday & Monday she was very quiet & did not come out of the Manor.  Her poops were getting caught on her lump.  They seemed to be dribbling out.  She had either lost the energy to propel them out away from her lump and/or they were not solid enough.  Several times, I had to grab her & remove the poop buildup.

Fortunately she was still eating.  I started giving her antibiotics in case she had some kind of infection.

This morning when I uncovered them, she stretched her wings & chirped.  This was a very good sign.  There was no overnight poop caught on her lump.  Another very good sign.  During the day she perked up enough to check on the mirror under the manor & even visited the poang chair a few times.

The toyboys have been fussing around her, not leaving her alone for a moment.  In fact, I believe that was her main motivation for going to the chair… so she could hide under the tea towel from them for a little peace!

Here are the boys keeping an eye on her:

Still magnificent

It is a year on from Atilla’s last photo shoot and she clearly felt another session with the camera was due.

To me, she is as beautiful & as magnificent as ever, despite her health problems.

As you can see from the last photo, Atilla can still balance on one foot whilst preening, even though her lump is large. You can also see from the second photo that Cagney is always on the alert & watching her back. 🙂

The elephant in the room

…. or rather, the lump in the room…

Since I reported on Atilla’s last visit to Mr Avian Vet, I have not mentioned her fatty lump & hernia problem.  This has not been intentional.  It is just that she is still a busy madam & gives me lots to focus on other than the lump.

Unfortunately her “undercarriage” lump is gradually getting bigger.  It can be seen in some of the photos in other posts.  It is big, soft & wobbly.  The far side of it has fluffy feathers on as she cannot reach there to preen.  However, I have seen Cagney preen her lump!  He did not plan to, but was climbing up the cage bars & Atilla was on the peg above him & as he reached her he looked up & was faced with her fluffy lump.  He immediately started to gently preen it & Atilla did not mind in the slightest. 

The lump is starting to upset her balance a little but she still gets around as much as before.  She attempts a big fly at least once a day but always lands on the floor.  I have now set up a “stairway” from the floor to the Manor if she should find herself stranded & I am not around to help her up.  I do supervise their out of cage time but may go out the room for just a few minutes.  One time recently I returned & she was on the floor by the Manor, unable to work out how to get home & that is what made me think of constructing the stairway.  At least she has the option for independence although I suspect she will prefer to wait for my hand lift service.

So, apart from the lump getting bigger, there is no other health impact so far….  Atilla is still busy, bright-eyed & the boss.

Follow-up vet visit

Last October, I took Atilla to see Mr Avian Vet.  He suggested we have a follow up appointment  two months later to check Atilla’s progress.  Atilla was not well in December, with her infection & also the moult, so I left it until now, today in fact, to visit the vet.

Clinging to Atilla's cage

As per usual procedures, I got Atilla into the nicely spruced up travel cage the night before, to ensure we could leave for the vet in good time the next morning.  It was relatively easy getting her in the travel cage – I waited until she was laying across my hand to chew on the chair & then I cupped my other hand over her & quickly ushered her into the cage.

She was not happy about it.  The toyboys were not happy either.  For the rest of the evening they both clung to the side of the travel cage to be with Atilla.  I wondered if they would go back to the Manor for bed.  They finally went back for bedtime seed & were not impressed when I locked them in.  Cagney, in particular was running around trying to get to his girl.

Bedtime without Atilla

I put Atilla’s cage close to the Manor so overnight toyboys & Atilla could see each other.The next morning I left them both covered up a bit longer than usual to try & minimize stress but when I started bundling Atilla up, the toyboys began to shout.

After scraping ice off the car, myself & Atilla were on our way to the vet.  It is about a 40-45 minute drive to the Avian vet.  Atilla coped well & I think she even munched on a little millet during the journey.

Mr Avian Vet gave Atilla the usual prod & poke.  He said that the hernia has got larger & the undercarriage lump is probably about 50% hernia, 50% fat.  An operation is out of the question as she would not survive it.  Basically, I need to keep a close eye on her & watch out for difficulties in breathing, pooping & perching.  Of course, keeping a “close eye” on Atilla will not be difficult for me as it is part of my routine anyway….

Atilla's not far away

Once again, Atilla was bundled up & we made our way home.  This time Atilla managed a few chirps & it may well have been my imagination but I’m sure she was getting louder & chirpier the closer we got to home!

By the time I got her in through the front door, there were chirps all round, from Atilla & the toyboys.  Needless to say, the first thing I did was get Atilla into the lounge, unbundle her & let Cagney & Bezukhov out.  As soon as I opened the Manor, both boys slammed straight into the side of the travel cage & almost knocked it over in their haste to see Atilla.  Atilla, was also very quick off the mark when I opened up the travel cage & immediately flew to the Manor.  She then did her tour of inspection to make sure everything was how she had left it. Canoodling & smooching could then commence, although in this case it was mainly the two boys trying to kiss her at the same time.  They were overjoyed to have their leader back!  

The Leader

For the rest of the day, they shadowed her every move.  🙂

A special trip

The alarming sight of Raspy stumbling across the Ferplast, as reported in my previous post, made me search (again) for an avian vet.  Mr Vet who has been seeing the puddings recently is really Mr Exotic Vet.  What I needed was a Mr Avian Vet.

When I first got the puddings, I took them to an avian vet for a check up.  He then retired (I do not believe it was related to his encounter with the puddings).  However, during my search this week, I found that he has semi-retired & has surgeries on certain days at different practices.  The nearest one was about a 45 minute drive away but he is only there once a fortnight. Fortunately, that day was just a few days away so I booked both puddings in – Raspy for her balance problem & Atilla for her lumps & bumps.

As you know, I was so concerned about Raspy that I took her the next day to see Mr Vet & I am pleased to say that with a little rest, she has been improving.

Anyway, this meant that Atilla was now the prime patient for Mr Avian Vet.

Toyboys bow down to their leader

Can we tunnel in?

The night before the special trip, out came the travel cage again…. You should have seen Raspy give it a wide berth when she flew past!

How to get Atilla in though?

Well, I was very lucky as she flew to the side of the Manor & whereas usually I would offer my finger for her to step up, this time, I cupped my hands around her & with a little juggling to stop her from escaping, managed to get her into the travel cage!

Unlike Raspy, she did not settle at all.  She was most indignant at being put into such unglamorous surroundings!  And Cagney?  Oh boy…. he could not understand why he was unable get to his girl!  I could not risk letting him in (as I did Bezukhov with Raspy) to give Atilla a kiss as I knew Atilla would barge her way out the second the door was opened.  So, it had to be “cold turkey” for the couple.

It was a tough night for them. Cagney took ages to settle in the Manor, & in the end, perched on the peg at the front of the cage directly where he could see his girl, a couple of yards away in the small cage.  I do not think Atilla slept at all…. she looked quite bleary eyed the next morning.

Fortunately, the appointment was in the morning.  I wrapped up the travel cage & took Atilla out the room.  Cagney was going spare at this point. 😦

Atilla coped well during the car journey & shouted a good few times.  We arrived at the vets with just 5 minutes to spare so were not waiting long before being called in.

Mr Avian Vet asked lots of questions about Atilla’s diet, her background, her living quarters & her exercise levels.  He then gave her a prod & a poke.  Atilla was very, very vocal at this point & Mr Avian Vet’s assistant promptly gave her a cloth to chew on.

Here, take this nail file...

How can we get jiggy??

Mr Avian Vet’s expertise could very easily be measured by the fact that Atilla had no chance of giving him a bite!

So, we know Atilla has fatty lumps….. but what was his verdict?

He agreed about her fatty lumps, however, he said that underneath her “undercarriage” lump was a hernia.

Dietary changes are the first thing to do, most of which I do already.  The only addition is to increase her iodine intake.  This can be done by feeding seaweed or scraping iodine block over seed.

We are to report back to him in 2 months time.  The best we can do is contain the lumps & hernia.

So, consultation over & just the drive home before Atilla could be reunited with her flock.  For all I knew there was anarchy at home with no flock boss!

Atilla was more vocal on the drive home & shouted quite a lot.  I sensed that she knew the worst bit was over & the best was to come.  On our return, she shouted even more when she heard the others.  As I took her into the room, the feathers on her head were all stood up with excitement!

I did not waste any time getting her back to the Manor & to Cagney!

Cagney was besides himself with joy at having her back.  To say he was on her back within 10 seconds is not an understatement!  However, she shook him off as she had to inspect the Manor first.  She had a seed out of each pot, some water & sat on each perch & once she was satisfied everything was how she had left it, boogie-woogie could commence!

An unbalanced but brave girl

Last Thursday morning, I noticed that Raspy was wobbling.  She would sit on my finger & her grip was fine but I could feel her body swaying like she was trying to keep her balance.  She was flying well but when landing, her balance was clearly not right.  I also noticed that when she stretched out her wing she did not lift her foot at the same time.  Hmm….. not good.

She seemed to be struggling to avoid Cagney’s advances so I separated her into the Ferplast with Bezukhov, & only let her out to stretch her wings when Cagney was locked in the Manor.   She was trying to carry on as normal & at one point, sat on the swing, preening, bent double with one foot up….. but still wobbling…  She fell off the perch at one stage & that was too much…..

A vet visit was on the cards….

I managed to get her booked in at the vets for the next day.  Normally I go for the convenience of a home visit but this time the wait would have been too long, plus because Raspy was stumbling around on top of the Ferplast, it was easy to gather her up & pop her in the travel cage.

During the evening I let her out for a fly but she was still much the same.  At intervals, I let Bezuky go into the travel cage to give her some regurgitated food or for her to give him a preen, but Raspy spent the night alone in the travel cage.

The next morning, Raspy had to be very brave, as I covered the cage up & took her out to the car for the drive to the vets.  Once in the car, I opened the cover a little so she could get her bearings. She was very quiet but coped well.

At the vets we waited patiently for our turn.  Mr Vet came out to the waiting room & saw the little covered cage & the first thing he asked, through gritted teeth, was, “Are the two of them in there?“.  I think he was relieved to be dealing with just one pudding!

In the consultation room, Raspy put up a good fight!  She squirmed & twisted & turned & managed to bite Mr Vet so that he winced & said, “That was hard!”  There’s something a little comical about a grown man wincing over a bite from such a tiny creature…. & a girl at that! He gave her the cloth to bite on to save his fingers & then gave her the customary prod & poke.

His verdict?

Mr Vet believes she has some fatty tissue around her lower belly that has moved & unsettled nerves near her leg/s.  He prescribed rest & relaxation for a few days.

A couple of other things were fortunately ruled out.  She does not have a respiratory problem or a problem with her central nervous system, both of which could cause balance issues.

So, we were free to go… once my wallet was a little lighter.

Raspy seemed less stressed on the trip back, almost like she knew she was on her way home. 🙂

Once I put her travel cage back on top of the Ferplast, all the chirping & shouting immediately started.  I did not waste any time…  I got her into the Ferplast, then I opened up the Manor.  Cagney immediately flew to the window perch (as usual) but Bezukhov flew straight to the Ferplast where I let him in so he could give his girlfriend a big welcome home kiss!

In fact, it was not long before both couples were having celebratory boogie-woogie-ing!

Since then, I have let them have flight time all together – Cagney has not been harassing Raspy too much – but have separated the couples at locking up times.

A few days later, I am pleased to say that Raspy does not seem as bad as she was. 🙂

Operation “Lose Lump”

After the last vet visit, when Atilla was diagnosed with a fatty lump, I have looked into ways to help slow down or halt the growth.  Due to her weight, it’s likely she may have a fatty liver so puddings & toyboys now have milk thistle extract added to their water.

Milk thistle has been used for over 2000 years as a remedy for various types of liver disease.

Along with their new “medicine” I am also implementing a new regime whereby (on a day I am not in the office) they have vegetables only during the day.  The added bonus of this is that if I have to go out in the afternoon, giving them back their seed is a great way of getting them all back in the Manor. 😀

Raspy has put on weight too so I am hoping both puddings will benefit from the changes.