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Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 7938
Experience:  35 years in general practice, including avian.
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Hello my budgie .has been preening herself all the time for

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Hello my budgie .has been preening herself all the time for two weeks now and constantly itching her neck and under her wing.She seems depressed and does not sing anymore but is eating normally. She has created a bald spot around her neck which has bled a bit but has not for two days or so. She seems to be up and down yesterday she was her old self but today she is back to scratching again and being dosile. We have taken her to a vet and she could not find anything wrong with her and took a slide and put it under the microscope and found no mites,although the speed in which she examined fluffy was too quick and i don't quite trust her. We have cleaned her toys and cage thoroughly and cleaned fluffy every day as well.We are living in the middle of no where at the mo and can t get to a avian vet any ideas on what we could do or what is wrong. We have put vitamins in the water and given her red pepper and egg treaty any help would be much appreciated thanks in advance Mark Nash
Hello Mark, I'm Dr.Bob.
I'm sorry to read of Fluffy's condition.
As 90-95% of pet bird health problems are health related, I want to start by asking what you feed Fluffy. Please send a list of what she eats regularly.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
fresh seeds from the pet shop,millet spray,egg gold pate,egg,we try giving her some other fruit and veg ie broccolli,grape,apple,lettuce,red pepper,cucumber. Vitamin drops in the water.
Okay, thank you!
Do you allow her to bathe, or shower her regularly?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

she seems to twitch more when you put a blanket over her cage in the night time,this has happened for the last week only.We cleaned cage and got rid of that blanket straight away but all though there has been a marginal improvement she is still not well.

we do shower her once every 10 days or so. And in the eight years this is the first time we have had this problem she has been happy and cheerful upto now.

Thank you.
Has she been exposed to any other birds, or to things like the blanket that may have carried a parasite to her?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

the blanket has been outside with her to shield her from direct sunlight when she gets some fresh air in the cage. Obviously there has been other wild birds in the area but not up close.

Also she has been molting for a longer time than usual before she became unwell.She has got a lot of feathers growing at the moment as well including one or two on her red bald spot.

Okay, thank you.
After evaluating the information you've furnished, I would suggest the following changes:
Diet: The ideal budgie diet consists of the following: 70% high grade pelleted food like those made by Lafeber, Harrison's or Kaytee and available from better pet stores and online, 15-20% vegetables,especially dark leafy greens like Swiss chard, kale, collard or mustard greens, dandelion greens, spinach, cilantro, carrots with the tops attached, red, yellow or green pepper slices, and cooked sweet potatoes, yams or squash, and 10% or less, nuts and seeds. The reason for the emphasis on dark leafy greens (not lettuce!), is the vitamin, nutrient, and high fiber content. Seeds and nuts are low in calcium and vitamin A, which are both important nutrients in maintaining healthy skin.
To give you some idea of how important proper diet actually is, a recent study showed that the average life expectancy of pet cockatiels in private homes is 7 years. Cockatiels maintained in an aviary by professional bird managers lived an average of 35 years. The difference was entirely due to diet! Seed sold in pet stores is almost never shelf-life dated, and may actually be several years old by the time you feed it to Fluffy.
Bathing: Dry skin is often an irritating factor that causes birds to preen excessively. This can actually become established as a bad habit, and persist long after the original problem is gone. Frequent bathing help keep their skin moist and comfortable.
Sleep: Fluffy should get 12-14 hours of sleep in a quiet dark room under a dark cover. You may want to buy a standard cage cover, since birds can develop allergies, and many blankets are highly allergenic.
Medication: one low dose 81 mg aspirin tablet dissolved in one cup of her drinking water, made up fresh daily, will help with any inflammation she may be experiencing.
These changes will not get rid of mites, however, and if you suspect them, a product called Frontline spray, available online, is the simplest and easiest to use. One short spray under each wing will do the job for a month.
Hopefully, Fluffy will clear up and live a longer healthier life because you cared enough to ask this question, but if the itching continues, you should take her to an avian veterinarian to find out just exactly what is going on with her. You can locate the one nearest where you live by going to and clicking on the binoculars.
If you should have further questions, please let me know.
Best regards,
Dr. Bob
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