Can anyone offer me any advice to help my canary Tilley.
I had a budgie in one cage and Tilley next to him in another cage, she had been displaying to Taz the budgie for several weeks and at the beginning of April Tilley laid 2 eggs. I gave her soft food and plenty of oyster shell gril to replace calcium she would have lost due to the eggs.
Sadly Taz died on the 15th of April following a long illnes and to occupy Tilley I gave her a millet spray and a honey stick treat which have been replaced constantly since. The following week Tilley started a moult as I expected following the loss of her companion.
I play a radio if I have to leave her for any length of time, but other than when she is eating she just fluffs up and sleeps. Tilley has lost all her primary feathers and half her tail. When I had a look at the long feathers she has lost the main shaft of the feather is very brittle so I'm worried that she is low on calcium. There is cuttlefish constantly in the cage, but I haven't seen her touch it.
We are expecting to get new budgies but due to a delay in the delivery of their cage it will be another month before we can get them. Any suggestions as to how I can perk up my sad little birdie.
Mmm, yes it would be depression and boredom. Firstly - honey treats and millett are extremely fattening, and so please, only ONE of them once a week, and only a canary size serving! Also, she will be eating these (think kids and lollies#cheesy# ) to the detriment of her normal foods, and could be slightly malnourished from this. Lots of fresh vegies, and try scraping a small amount of the cuttlefish into her seed.
Does she get flight time? Perhaps more flight time would help, certainly to work off some excess weight.
What about toys and swings in her cage. I am definately against mirrors, but you could put ladders, swings, toys etc in the cage. Rearrange the cage often, and keep her stimulated.
What did the budgie die of? Most avian diseases are easily transmitted to other birds, so maybe a visit to an avian vet would be worth while, as it would be horrific to lose your canary to the same illness. How much grit did she consume? Sometimes they can eat so much that it blocks in their stomach. What are her poops like? Take a fresh sample (the newspaper or lining of the cage) when you visit the vet.
When you do get your new birds it is very important to quarantine them for at least one month. This is usually enough time for any illness the new bird has to show itself. Please do quarantine, it is awful to lose a loved and established bird because of impatience #cheesy# (yep, that's experience talking!)
Taz died of a tumour on his chest, in the final week of his life he had respiritory problems wheezing and gasping and the vet put him to sleep. I was and still am devestated by this.
Sadly no safe space in the house for out of cage time and ladders we couldn't use as her previous owner neglected her and she has deformed feet that make gripping perches difficult, I put two purches side by side to help her.
Tilley does have access to oystershell grit and I see her eat this several times a day. Only yesterday I ground some cuttlefish bone on to her dish as I was worried she didn't have the beak design to gnaw at it like budgies do.
I have had a serious internet surf thanks to your links on this forum and only now realise how much the treats are fattening. Have also in the last week been feeding her grapes about 1/4 of a grape peeled which she loves but have also heard that fruit too is mainly sugar and water so best limit that too.
Had a major sucess today as I grated a small piece of carrot and she ate some from my hand and was later seen to eat some more from the dish provided. Worried to give it to her too regularly or she might turn orange!!!! I read you can also give canaries brocoli, should this be raw or cooked. www.robirda.com was a good canary site and www.multiscope.com/hotspot/health1.htm gave an interesting info on diet. That was where I found out how bad the treats were.
I'm a bad mummy, poor Tilley I've taught her to comfort eat!!!! Will she be ok if I take away all the treats. (I know that sound lame) I'm worried about her stress level.
Don't feel guilty - we've all done the 'best' for our birds, despite a lack of knowledge. I cringe when I think what a poor diet and life my birds used to have
Where possible raw vegies, and just be aware that her poops may change a bit with a drastic change of diet, so slowly does it! And no, she won't fret when you take her treats away (sulk maybe, sounds like she's quite the spoilt madam ), as she is sure to find one vegie that she finds absolutely delightful
Don't worry about her beak not being as strong as a budgies - my canaries manage to scrape the cuttlefish just fine, and it has the added bonus of keeping their beaks from overgrowing.
Now, vegies, and I'm sure you know a lot of this now, but I will repeat anyway! Just skim over what you know! Broccoli(leaves and flowers), corn, celery (not highly nutritious, but tasty, including leaves,) bok choy, silverbeet, sprouted seeds, etc. Basically anything you would eat, all raw, except of course avocado, as that is poisonous. Things like iceberg lettuce are really rather useless nutritionally, and, too much of watery vegies will cause runny poos. Be careful that none of the fresh foods that you feed start to go off, will make the bird very sick to eat off foods. Things like sweet potato, potato, pumpkin, you can lightly steam, as these are quite hard vegies.
Fruits, again, whatever you would eat, but remove the seeds! Apple seeds contain arsenic, and a bird is only tiny. I remove all seeds just to be safe. Small amounts, as you will find that a lot causes runny poos!
Flight time is very important, can you let her out in the bathroom? Or somewhere small that you can 'birdie proof'? Or is her cage long enough for a decent flight? Keeps them healthy, happy, skinny and exercises those wing muscles. You know your own situation better than anyone, so don't fret with anything you can't do. Any change is better than no change at all And I know you will do all that you can.
The description you gave of her feathers is a cause of concern. Any chance you can post pics? (Hey, we love pics, but it would help to see how bad they are ), though I would suggest that if your worried at all, pop her along to an avian vet. Birds are vastly different to other pets, so please try to find a properly qualified avian vet for the best care for your girl
Thanks for the advice and moral support Lin, I found this forum at just the right time and have learnt so much from you all in just a few days.
Tilley's cage is 50cm long 50cm tall and 28cm wide, worried about letting her out in the bathroom as it is only 6'x 4' and has a floor to ceiling mirror all along one wall, bit worried she might fly at it and get hurt.
Regarding the quarantine, when the time comes, the only option would be to put one cage at one end of the room and one at the other. The room is partially divided. The budgies would be about 2 months old when they arrive would that separation be enough?
Glad you found us As far as the mirror goes, can you cover it? You'll find that birds will fly into walls, windows etc the first few times, but get it together after that, usually they don't hurt themselves, but they can. So, as you know your house best, it's your decision.
Quarantine - well, the BEST way to quarantine is a completely different air space (read room here). You need to make sure they don't share dishes, or toys etc. You should also wash your hands between cages. (If you think about the purpose of quarantine, to stop the spread of diseases and viruses, then you'll know what needs to be done). However, the reality is that most of us don't have that kind of space. My birds live in the lounge, and I quarantine in my room, but sometimes I find I have birds in quarantine, and I buy more. So, like you, I have a space problem. All you can do is seperate them as much as possible, and reduce the opportunity for any transfer of disease. Having said that, most of the time it turns out the new bird is fine, but, better safe than sorry. I actually bought a bird that turned out to have beak and feather disease. This is incurable, will eventually kill her, and the virus is highly contagious and nearly impossible to eradicate from surfaces. In this case, quarantine would not have made much difference, but, at least I had the chance to have her tested, and, as much as I can, she is permanently in quarantine. (Don't worry, it's a parrot only virus )
Hope you'll stick around and join us in the insanity here We are serious about our birds, but absolutely nothing else ;D
Oh I forgot to say, you can boil an egg for at least 10 mins, and mash it up, shell and all. Either feed like that, or mix with some grated vegies, and it's a great source of calcium, that most birds would kill for #cheesy#
A couple of times a week, especially if you make the egg food yourself - that's lovely and full of calcium! Mmm, have you felt the urge to go out and catch the odd ant for a bit of protein? #cheesy# In the wild they eat the odd insect, so anytime you feel like catching an ant, feed it to your bird #cheesy#
Ants, no way, not that I'm squeamish or anything but people put out poisons for them to carry back to the nest to kill the rest of the ants. If you just randomly grab ants wouldn't you be at great risk of introducing that same poison to your birds.
I'm thinking of taking Tilley to the vet before the new babies come, to make sure she hasn't got French Moult, shes always had scruffy feathers and has been to an ordinary vet who diagnosed and removed an infected feather follicle on her back.
Tilley ended up with a growth the size of a peanut which fell off in February. Took her to the same vet in May to have her claws trimmed and he confirmed she has the same trouble again, some of her feathers on her back grow from long tubes that look like bean sprouts. You only see a sticking up feather as she's so fluffy. The vet said its not life threatening but it will reoccur and will irritate her.
Going to try an avian vet this time, what will I do if it is French moult, it has been suggested that it is contagious. Also the site where I read about it insists any bird found with it should be culled!!!!!! I don't want Tilley to die but I'm worried that the new budgies would only be 2 months old and I wouldn't want them to catch it.
That's a hard one. I have a bird with beak and feather disease, and the advice I received was to put her to sleep, somtheing I could not do whilst she is healthy. I stick to as strict as I can quarantine situation - she is unfortunately permanently caged, no flight time as the virus is nearly impossible to eradicate from surfaces. She has her own dishes, I wash between touching her stuff and anything else in the house. When the illness affects her quality of life, I will have her put down then. Really, until you find out from the avian vet a diagnosis, just be as clean as you can, and try not to contaminate anything
I really hope I'm just being paranoid and that the two feather cysts she has had were just that, and that the loss of wing and tail feathers were down to a) stress at loss of companion bird or b) lack of calcium after laying two paper thin eggs.
I know I'm being over cautious, but due to a lack of good literature about bird illnesses we spent the last fortnight of Taz's life wondering why he was getting so stressed and not understanding that his squeaky wheeze was illness not over excitement at Tilley's 'come get me' behavior in the cage next to him. It breaks my heart that he was having breathing difficulties and we didn't understand what was wrong.
I have now got The Budgie Handbook and also The Canary Handbook, which have excellent chapters on nutrition and illnesses.
I have been trying for years to get decent books in bird care but until now the only books available were only suitable for children and the best nutrition advice was offer vegetables once a week without telling you which ones were safe. As a result my poor birds have only had the odd piece of lettuce and apple as I was a afraid to make them play Russian Roulette with food while I found out what they could and couldn't safely have. The big advantage of the Internet is that you can find so much information much more easily.
Tried homemade egg food for Tilley today and although she took some from my hand she has shown no interest at the rest in her pot. The veggies are still going well and she loves carrot. Been a bit quiet and fluffed up today, I expect its just all this new food introduced to her diet, perhaps its a bit of shock to her system.
Cheers Scully, Tilley has all of those available all the time.
On the up side Tilley has the beginnings of 3 new tail feathers so hopefully the veggies in her diet will help to make then nice ans strong. Tilley is pigging on a slice of carrot as I write this. She like a slice so she can gnaw pieces off it. The veggies are proving just as much interest and entertainment value as the old honey sticks were. : And she is beginning to call again after several weeks of silence. Mainley if I'm at the other end of the room or upstairs out of sight, but when I whistle a reply she will continue the game for a short while.