Puddings & Toyboys

A blog about my beautiful budgies.

Tag Archives: moulting

Final review of Bezukhov’s health issues

Followers of this blog will know that my dear Bezukhov had various health issues over the years.  I thought a final review would be appropriate.


The first major health challenge began in mid-2014 when Bezukhov started to have ‘Vacant Episodes’.

These ‘episodes’ were handled in a variety of ways, detailed in the many posts over the years.  When they appeared to stabilise, the vet & I decided to cease all medication (early part of 2016) with the proviso to only administer medicine in an extreme circumstance.

I have previously posted lists of his episodes to date, with the last post being in December 2015 (click here to view).  For completeness, I have updated the list & here it is:

 

As I logged each episode, I spent much time trying to find a pattern as that may give a clue as to the cause.  All I know is that he seemed to have a spike in May/April time & the winter months were more stable.

Without knowing the real cause it is difficult to treat.  However, I believe it may have been a liver problem & early medication was focused on that & ongoing supplements (milk thistle & Aloe Vera Detox) continued to target this.  Given that we were unable to stop the episodes completely, we aimed to get them to a manageable/stable level & to reduce ‘cluster’ episodes, i.e., multiple ones in a short space of time.

The worst day was “Black Wednesday”, the 22nd of April 2015, when he had 4 in one day, 3 of which were within 90 minutes.  You can see the days where he had multiple episodes in the list above (figures in brackets).  The chart below shows an overview by month & year:

 

I greatly feared that Bezukhov’s end would be by a seizure & desperately hoped he would not suffer a prolonged one.


In the last few years, Bezukhov introduced a new health problem – his very own Extreme Moult Experience.  Though it is not uncommon for birds to have a severe moult, I was aware that Bezukhov’s first extreme moult happened not long after we lost his best buddy Cagney.  Was it a coincidence that his next two extreme moults happened around Cagney’s anniversary?  Bezukhov was a very sensitive bird which is why I wondered if there was a connection.

Fortunately, he tended not to have episodes during the Extreme Moult Experiences, which is just as well as I was already worried enough.  I feared during these experiences that he would just starve himself to death & I desperately hoped his end would not be that way.


In the end, it was something entirely different that took him.  A tumour.

The vet thought it was aggressive & grew very quickly (they can double in size each day), using up his body’s energy.  She suspects that the mass started on the outside of the small intestine & probably started growing inwards, explaining the initial lack of droppings & then the very dark ones later on that eventually contained fresh blood as the mass expanded.


Bezukhov was a fighter.  As you can see from what I have written above, he fought through many health problems.  The vet, who had looked after him from 2014, said that Bezukhov was possibly the most determined bird she had ever met.

Bezukhov was sensitive too & reacted emotionally to his surroundings, but he pushed on through all the changes & traumas in his life, possibly the most significant being the loss of his best buddy Cagney, with such grace & dignity.

He truly was remarkable.  I am grateful to have been a part of his life & feel honoured that he chose to trust me.

 

 

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Moult and Millet

Further to my previous post on their spring moult, Dalai has really been stringing his out.  Granted he did have a break in the middle, but maybe if he had not, he would have got over it all much quicker!

He seems less grumpy now though not quite back to his usual socialising levels.  His flying has improved with him feeling confident enough to make wider & wider laps of the room.  That said, only a few days ago he dropped yet another flight feather; he had just had a fly then went back into the Villa & had a mad moment where we all looked at him wondering what was going on, but it turned out the feather was loose & he was just jiggling about to release it.

 

To celebrate leaving the bulk of the spring moult behind, I cracked open the millet.  I usually only sneak a millet bobble to individuals at odd moments, so they were a bit surprised to see a few two-inch sprays dotted about.  They soon got over the shock & all tucked in.

 

 

Moult City

Moulting has been going on here, off & on, for the last month or so.

Dalai started to lose feathers first but then recovered quickly.  I thought that was it but probably due to the changeable weather we have had, Dalai has started moulting again & has some pin feathers & is currently a little grumpy.  Here he is with his latest pin feathers:

 

Perry has lost some feathers but apart from one or two pin feathers on his head, does not appear to have suffered much.  Here he is with a few pin feathers:

Perry

 

Lennie displayed some impressive pin feathers on his head but he got through his moult fairly quickly:

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Through all the confusion over whether it was the right time to moult (or not), Bezukhov made the decision to moult & stuck to it so his spring moulting journey has been more steady than the others & fortunately, not extreme like in Autumn (the Extreme Moult Experience).

Here he is with his slightly longer moult:

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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.

 

 

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: