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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28442
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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I look after birds in an aviary at my work. Last week the

Customer Question

Hi I look after birds in an aviary at my work. Last week the vet came in and did a health check on all the birds. I told her I was worried about one a female club budgie who looked sick. The vet said she was fine two days later she died. Today I went to
the cage and found another female had died she was in the breeding box it looked like the other budgies had got her. I can't get to check that box often as its up high I have no removed the box there is still six boxes in the cage. I am really upset as I have
looked after them for many years now I am a big angry at the vet too saying they were Ok when they weren't. They are regularly wormed when due fed good quality seed and get plenty of fresh fruit their cage is cleaned daily and their dishes washed I don't undersand
how I have lost two. Will the male club budgie be ok they were a breeding pair. Also the other budgie has two sisters in the cage too.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry to hear of this. It's important to note that once a budgie acts ill they're quite ill and in need of the attention of an avian-oriented vet (please see here: Was this vet such a specialist? This is a protective mechanism because sick birds are attacked by other birds in the wild. Jewel and Skylah's symptoms were unclear to me but just "looking sick" is important symptoms but not pathognomonic (specifically indicative) of any one disorder. It's best to remove such a bird from the aviary and place it in a "hospital" cage away from the aviary.

An avian-oriented vet might first treat symptomatically and supportively by providing supplemental fluids and electrolytes by needle and tube feeding a "recovery" food. Blood tests and cultures of your bird's choana - the slit between the oral cavity and nose - and cloaca (vent) may be taken.

Until these birds can be attended to, please heat up their environment to 29.4C by means of a 100W bulb shined into a partially covered cage (not at night when they needs to rest) or by taping a heating pad set on its lowest setting to the sides of the hospital cage. Remove the perches and put food and water on the bottom of the cage along with the bird. Add a water soluble avian vitamin such as Oasis brand to the water at half of the recommended dose so as not to make the water distasteful. Add a calcium supplement such as Calcivet or Calciboost to the water. These supplements are available in pet/agricultural merchant stores. Avoid over the counter antibiotics designed to be placed in the water. They won't be effective if only because an ill bird won't drink enough to medicate itself properly.

Nutritional imbalances are a common cause of illness in our pet birds. Seeds should compose less than 20% of their diet. Ideally, a balanced pelleted diet such as can be found here: or here: should be fed as well as hard boiled egg yolk, pancakes and cornbread, the tops of fresh greens, dairy products such as yogurt and cheese, fresh fruits such as apples, pears, melon, kiwi, and berries, vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, beets, asparagus, cabbage, sweet potato, and squash, and even tiny pieces of meat.

When more than one bird dies in an aviary, it's important to perform a necropsy on it in an attempt to identify cause of death and then be able to treat the rest of the aviary appropriately. A newly dead bird should be refrigerated (not frozen) until it can be necropsied or a seriously ill bird sacrificed and refrigerated. Please talk to your vet about these deaths and about the availability of necropsy.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
That's the bird with the lump I took her back to a different vet today they did a swab of the lump she is having trouble flying now too her wing isn't broken.
She has antibiotics and anti inflammatory now. The vet said it may even be a cyst
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I don't see mention of a lump in your first post. That's not a cyst. It appears to be a xanthoma in a typical area for such a tumor to be found. Please see here: My moderator requests your opening up a new question for a new bird. Thank you for your consideration in this matter.