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Dr. Elaine
Dr. Elaine, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1388
Experience:  D.V.M. 26 years of small animal emergency and general medicine, including pet birds, poultry, waterfowl, and birds of prey.
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My budgies claws are falling off. They go black then fall off.

Resolved Question:

My budgies claws are falling off. They go black then fall off. Help.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Elaine replied 6 years ago.

Hi there, this is Dr. Elaine.


How long has this been going on?


What is her diet?


Is she an egg-layer?


Any history of illness?


Drinking a lot of water?


Eating ok?






Customer: replied 6 years ago.
The first claw went black about three weeks ago and I watched it and then it fell off about a week later. Since then I have noticed all the claws are now black, one more has fallen off and the others are loose. She doesn't sit upright on her prech, she leans over it and it appears she is trying to hide. Her balance is off as her claws of couse can't grip.
Her diet is seed, Trill and water. Honeysticks sometimes and millet. She isn't eating her new honeystick and has been playing with her seed, tossing it out of the dish.
She doesn't lay eggs.
She doesn't have a history of illness.
She does drink water, normal amount and always has two containers of fresh water available.
I don't think she is eating as she used to, but is eating but completely ignored the last silverbeet leaf I offered.
Our town does not have a bird vet and the animal vets don't know about birds so I have had to guess with alot of her care. I realise she is old but the claw problem worries me as soon she wont have any claws. I will get a ladder to put in across her cage for balance. I will buy her a new cage also. Her poos are normal and she has a bird friend in a cage next to her.

Expert:  Dr. Elaine replied 6 years ago.

Ok, thanks.


I would be concerned about a couple of possibilities here.


Diabetes occurs in budgies, and as it can in other species, adversely affects circulation to the extremities. this can cause a gangrenous situation within the claws, whereby they die and slough off.


Budgies are also prone to tumors. Some are associated with the kidneys or the left ovary (the only remaining ovary in birds), and by virtue of their location can interfere with blood supply to the feet.


The claws in either case are the first to suffer, as they are the furthest out in circulation.


Some cases of diabetes in birds are actually secondary to infection, so it is important to have her seen if possible.


A very treatable problem would be mites (scaly leg mites)--these also cause claws to overgrow, split fall off (not necessarily turn black). Ivermectin (200ug/kg) can treat (orally). Be CAREFUL with dosages--check with a veterinarian.


Hopefully this sheds some light on matters.




Dr. Elaine


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