Puddings & Toyboys

A blog about my beautiful budgies.

Tag Archives: feathers

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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A troublesome feather

For about 3 days last month, Dalai had a very troublesome feather.

It is likely that the wing feather suffered a break in the shaft, near the base.  How the break happened, I do not know.  All I know is that Dalai spent the best part of 3 days trying to sort it out.  The feather clearly was not ready to be pulled out (I had the flour ready to stem any blood loss!) & was not ready to fall out.  The only option left was to break it in two.  Because of the break, the feather would dangle lower than the others.  Dalai spent simply ages gnawing it & as he progressed, the feather became more & more vulnerable & more & more prone to sticking out at strange angles.  Finally on the third day, he managed to release it.  He must have been so pleased to get rid of that troublesome feather.

Here is the offending feather:

 

 

 

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

 

An Alarming Feather

When cleaning the bottom of Perry & Lennie’s cage, I found a feather with the end of the shaft caked in blood.  As you can see from the photos, it looked pretty horrible:

Bloody feather

Close-up of bloody feather

 

My instinct is that it was Lennie’s feather, though I briefly wondered if it was Bezukhov’s feather that had floated across to their cage.  I spent the next hour or so watching the two of them & waiting for them to raise their wings so I could see if there was any problem, but all was well.  It seems strange that such a scary looking feather should not leave a trace of where it came from; it looks like it was violently wrenched from a wing.

Oh well…. another worrying day when sharing your life with birds….!

Lennie preening

 

 

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.

 

Uneven wings

Last month, Dalai moulted out quite a few wing feathers.  The only problem was that they were from his left wing only.  His flying was compromised; he was landing in unplanned places.  However, he soon worked out where the problem lay & adjusted his flight.  He seemed to fly with more of a wobble, but had more control over where he was going.

Here he is on the 20th December:

Dalai

Dalai

 

Fortunately, just a few weeks later, his wing feathers have grown back & normal flying has been resumed.

Dalai

Dalai

 

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

Under wing feathers

Bezukhov has been showing off his under wing feathers.  Dalai joined in but I think he needs more practice in the art of showing off the feathers under his wings.