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August Abbott, CAS
August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 7621
Experience:  Cert. Avian Specialist; Int. Assoc.Animal Behavior Consult; Pet Ind. Joint Advisory Council; author
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My budgie seems to be constipated. She keeps picking at her

Customer Question

My budgie seems to be constipated. She keeps picking at her bum and seems bloated.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. What is the bird's name and age?
Customer: Her name is Mushy (my son named her when he was 5) and she is 31/2.
JA: How old is Mushy?
Customer: She is 3 1/2.
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Mushy?
Customer: I feed her Higgins Vita Seed and give her some conditioning food once a week. I also give her lettuce a few times/week.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  August Abbott, CAS replied 1 year ago.

What you're describing is usually an urgent care situation. What I can do for you here is give you a support outline to hopefully help her survive until you get to a knowledgeable avian vet - or ANY vet with at least 1/3 of their clientele being birds.

If you need to find a bird vet - call every pet store and regular vet in your area and ask who they use. There is always a bird vet around, just not always easy to find

At home hospital room:

Use a thick, clean sock and fill it ¾ with plain, raw white rice. Knot the end and microwave it for about 1 ½ minutes. Shake it afterwards to distribute the heat and be sure it's not too hot. Tuck this in just under the cloths.


A heating pad under the box is also helpful, set on low. This is one of the few times I’d ever use both heat sources if necessary to maintain incubation temp (90-105 degrees).


If ever using an electric source for heating anything in anyway, please be vigilant and constantly double checking carefully.


Gently drape a light cover over this box to further help hold heat in and keep light low.

--- Now, to address what seems to be going on (but this could be any number of things)

When a bird is acting ‘off’, possibly spending a lot of time at the bottom of the cage, appearing fluffed up and especially with any swelling, protrusion or signs of something wrong at the vent - this is always serious.
You may notice feathers being plucked from this area or other signs of distress such as hyperactivity, pacing or lethargy, sleepiness, loss of balance, difficulty perching.
If a female, egg binding is when an egg doesn’t exit the bird. Dystocia is the obstruction of oviposition or cloacal function because of the egg in the distal oviduct. Not all instances of egg binding will be obvious or able to be felt. If an egg is further up, deformed or stunted, chances are that only an X-ray will confirm the presence.
If you even suspect that your hen (female bird) is egg-bound, getting her to a doctor who is experienced with birds, preferably an avian specialist, is necessary right now. You cannot delay.
In the meantime, making sure she gets some plain water with an eyedropper just inside the beak, a drop or two at a time (slowly, not forcefully) may be helpful in keeping the bird alive until medical intervention.
You can try swabbing her vent area with a bit of KY jelly or other lubricant (not Vaseline) – even regular cooking oil is ok in a pinch.
Set her in a shallow pan of warm water (not hot) – this might relax the muscles enough to pass the egg.
Bringing her into a hot, steamy bathroom while trying to keep her calm and going through the shallow, warm water bath and vent massage - while finding a vet to see her urgently is another option.
Put a heat source in her transport carrier or box lined with layers of newspapers, old tee shirts or smooth towels. An easy and reliable heat source is a ‘rice sock’. Fill a thick, clean sock about ¾ with raw rice and knot the end. Heat in microwave for 1 ½ to 2 minutes and shake it out afterward to distribute the heat evenly. Lay this on the bottom and cover with a few layers of newspaper or cloth - it’s a moist heat that may even help the egg move.

You don’t have much time - find an urgent care facility and go now. It’s far better to be driving two hours to the nearest caregiver rather than trying to wait this out.

She may not only face a life threatening situation here, but this is a common cause of paralyzation in birds. Sometimes permanent.