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Ask Patricia Your Own Question
Patricia, Parrot Consultant
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 1759
Experience:  Published author, free lance bird behaviorist, adviser to the parrots at Sarasota Jungle Gardens.
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Help!!! my parakeet has been eating continuiously for ...

Customer Question

Help!!! my parakeet has been eating continuiously for the past 2 days. He sits in his bowl and continue to eat all day. He looks like he has blown up to look like a baby chick. I really worried that he might over eat and die. Any suggestions you can give would be appreciated. Should I not keep the food in his cage? Could there be a major problem that is causing him to eat 24/7. I'm really upset over this and need answers. Please help.
Sincerly, [email protected]
Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Patricia replied 10 years ago.
Hello. No, you should not take food away. He should have it available at all times. Please tell me everything that is in his dailey diet. Does he have access to any kind of gravel or grit? Any sandpaper covers on perches? Do I understand he is less than one year old? How many months old and how long have you had him? Is he a pet store bird or from a breeder? This extra information will help me give you my best advice. Thanks, Patricia
Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Reply to Patricia's Post: Thanks for getting to me so soon. My parakeet is
about 7 months old. I was giving him Vita - Tropical Fruit for small hookbill saffower formula. Today the pet store told me to feed him Vita - Tropical Fruit - Parakeet formula and to add a little bird greens. He was bought in a reliable pet store. He doesn't have access to gravel, sandpaper or anything of that nature. He does have a cuddle bone(I think that is what you call it). He very loved and cared for and loves to play. However the past 2 days, he been very quite. Please help!!
Expert:  Patricia replied 10 years ago.

Thanks for that extra information. It's very helpful. There are some diet issues that need to be addressed. He is not yet on the best possible diet. There is nothing wrong with what you are feeding him but there are definite additions you need to make right away. Seeds should not be more than 20%-30% of his entire daily diet. He needs a good brand of pellets added to the seed mix. My personal favorite is the LaFeber with no colors added but there are several good ones on the market. It's just that pellets are a hard sell until they finally accept them and after trying several brands on my flock, LaFeber seemed to have won the taste test. Adding the pellets and bringing the mix to that ratio has to be done gradually. They can be resistant to change and cannot be "starved" into accepting a change. He also needs many more items like fruits, veggies, cooked brown rice, well cooked bean mixes, hard boiled or scrambled eggs, green leafy items like Kale and Turnip greens. Lettuce is okay if it's Romaine. Ice berg will do no harm but it has zero nutritional value so much better to use the Romaine. I'm going to give you some links about proper Budgie diet and information about the consequences of incomplete diet. Budgies are particularly susceptible to fatty tumors and/or fatty liver disease. (Hepatic Lipidosis.) You should start right away adding some of these things to his diet each day. Of course you don't have to offer some of each, every day. You can offer something different each day but he should have his "dry" bowl available at all times. Now to his current situation; I feel pretty sure he is too young to be having one of these nutrition based issues going on yet. Those diet changes are for his future and long term health. There is some other kind of problem going on right now. One of the problems we have with our parrots is their very strong instinct to mask all symptoms of illness or injury, from us. In the wild, they are prey and to show weakness is to get kicked out of the safety of the flock. By the time we see any symptoms, it's because they are too sick and too weak to keep up the pretense. A couple of the first things we will be able to notice is a change in behavior, (less playing, less or no talking, etc.), any change in the appearance of the droppings that lasts more than 24 hours and cannot be accounted for by diet. For example, a lot of fruits or veggies one day can make more runny droppings but it should not last more than a day, then go back to normal. Other symptoms are sitting with feathers fluffed, giving up the perches and staying on the cage floor, and sleeping an inordinate amount of time. As you can see, you are already seeing a couple of these symptoms. He has become quiet and I believe you are seeing evidence of sitting with feathers fluffed. I urge you to get him into a well qualified avian vet asap for a checkup. You didn't say how long you have had him so with this symptom hiding instinct, it's hard to say how long he has been ill or whether he was ill when he left the store. That is a very likely situation when we deal with the large chain stores; much less likely, although not impossible, when dealing with other stores. At the least, there needs to be tests run on a sample of his droppings and the vet will give him a light physical, just checking his overall appearance and checking inside his mouth. There are too many possible issues including but not limited to something bacterial, fungal or (less likely) parasitic. Any time we have birds, there is alway a very real possibility of exposure to a toxin that we didn't even know was dangerous. There are so many things in our homes that we take for granted because they are safe around us and our other pets, yet can be deadly to birds. Some killing almost instantly, some are cumulative and kill over time. Just to mention a few; any aerosol product, any air freshener, most cleaning products, candles, cigarette smoke, an over heated piece of non stick cookware, using the cleaning cycle of your self cleaning oven, just to mention a few. There will be a link included about household poisons and toxic house plants. You should go through those and do a mental inventory to determine if he may have been, or is being, exposed to any of those. If you spot a possible culprit, that will be valuable information for the vet. It will give him/her a starting place for a diagnosis. If you don't already have a vet, I'll also include links to assist with that. BotXXXXX XXXXXne is you need to get the little guy in for that check up as soon as possible, and long term, start working on those diet additions. I hope this is helpful for you but if you have further questions, just let me know. Patricia

Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Reply to Patricia's Post: It sound to me that you are giving me advise on a parrot. I have a 9 month old PARAKEET. Who natually wouldn't eat pellets or some of the things you mentioned. I'm now having another problem and have written you. I'm sure you answer to my previous question would be great for someone with a parrot, however you did provide some useful information and I appreciate all you time and efforts. Now my other problem has me really worried. Please help me as soon as possible. Thanks
Expert:  Patricia replied 10 years ago.

Hello again. Your Parakeet is a parrot. Just a small one. And yes, he can, and should be having a good brand of pellet, and those other foods as well. If you did not check the information on these sites;

Click here: Hepatic Lipidosis

Click here: PetCareLibrary - Tumors in Parakeets (

Click here: Parakeet Medical and Safety Information

Click here: Parakeet Budgie and Keet FAQs and Info

You must, for your bird's sake. You can see, the information is for Parakeets, also known as Budgies. I freely admit, pellets can be a hard sell for any bird because pellets do not grow in nature. That does not mean that they do not have a full load of some very important nutrition your bird needs. The road to convincing them to eat them can be a long and tedious one but for them to have much of a life expectancy, free of the tumors and the fatty liver disease, it is our responsibility to give it our best try. You will have a hard time getting your bird to try them. But you should not have a whole lot of trouble getting him to start sampling the other foods. Please, please, for your bird's sake, check out these sites and study the information. They were not written by me. They all contain information from some of the best known and recognized true parrot experts in the country. As for your other question, it was accidentally posted in a category other than pets. I am able to get to it and read it but I cannot reply on that page. I have put in a request to the management of the board to have it moved into the proper category. I can tell you this much about your other question. Those symptoms are indicators of a very sick bird. As I explained above, he has been masking and he is now too sick to keep it up. If the vet you contacted is an avian vet, she surely has someone covering her practice and her patients when she is unavailable. If not, have you tried to locate another avian vet who can see your bird right away? He may very well have already been sick. Whether he was or not, it was not a good idea to have taken him back into the pet store enviornment where he may have been further exposed to an illness. I realize you probably were not aware of that and I offer the information, not as a chastisement but as information for future reference. We have to be very careful about exposing our birds to any other birds whom we do not know for a fact, are totally healthy. The birds in the store can appear healthy but again, there is that masking thing. I truly wish I had a magic answer for you; something you could do that would guarantee your little guy can make it until the 18th but I can't. I'd be lying to you and giving you false hope. All I can suggest is that you call that vet's number again, ask them if they have someone who covers for that vet in her absence. Then go to the vet locator information and try to find another one. Your bird needs a professional diagnosis and treatment asap. The only things you can do at home are to keep him warm and as stress free as possible. Trying to take him with you would only cause him more stress and there would be less you could do for him on the road, than can be done at home. The only benefit to him, of you taking him along is if you are going a very short distance and there is a good avian vet on the other end who is ready to see him immediately. For the next few days, you can forget about this other diet information. The most important thing is to try to keep him eating and drinking. If he can make it through until the vet visit, get a diagnosis, get the needed medication and get well, then will be the time to start working on the proper diet. If it is an avian vet you are working with, by all means, discuss your concerns about the diet with her as well. If you are unable to find someone to see him sooner, I can only keep my fingers crossed for all of you and hope he can hang on. I'll keep him in my thoughts. Patricia