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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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My parakeet keeps rubbing her beak against her perch. Her ...

Customer Question

My parakeet keeps rubbing her beak against her perch. Her eyes are almost swollen shut. She is eating and drinking but just doesn't act like herself. Can you tell me what is wrong?
Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Patricia replied 10 years ago.
Hello. Is there any kind of dryness to her beak or does it have a scaley look, not only on the beak but also on the cere, just above the beak where her nostrils are located. Also take a look at her feet and legs and tell me if they look dry and flaky. Have you seen any kind of discharge coming from either nostrils or eyes? Does she have any kind of perch other than the dowel rod types that come with cages? Last question, please tell me all about her dailey diet. This extra informaiton will help me give you my best advice. Thanks. Patricia
Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Reply to Patricia's Post: No scales on her beak or cere. Feet and legs look normal. Discharge coming from eyes, is constantly rubbing her beak and rubs her eyes.
Perch is dowel rods and wooden clothes pins. Daily diet is bird seed and water w/ vitamins.
Expert:  Patricia replied 10 years ago.
Okay, thanks for the extra information. Before I get to the beak and eye issue, I want to give you a heads up about the perches. The dowel rods that come with cages are one of the worst things we can do to our bird's foot and leg health. They are in the cages because they are the cheapest thing the manufacturers can find. And, if the clothes pins you are using are the clip kind that have the metal fasteners, that can also be very dangerous because if a bird licks on them or makes much contact with their mouth, it can lead to metal poisoning. I'm going to suggest you swap all that out with on natural limb style and the Manzanita perches are good for that. She also needs one soft surface to rest her feet, such as the twisted rope perches. You have to keep in mind, she spends 24/7, on her feet. She must have a variety of sizes, shapes, and material to keep from having foot and leg problems later on. The third type she needs is a true nail trimmer perch, but not those awful sandpaper covers. Those only blister feet. Here is an example of this type of perch. Click here: Safety Bird Perch That will not only help keep her nails in good shape, it will give her a proper place to groom her beak. Not having a proper place for rubbing her beak may have something to do with what's going on or it may not, but she needs this, in any case. Also, she is not at all on a proper diet so it's not impossible that she is having health issues from no proper nutrition. First off, you should not be adding anything at all to her drinking water. Not even an Avian vet will tell you to do that. I'm guessing this is one of the over the counter things from a pet store and no doubt, someone may have told you it's "just the thing" for you bird. So, not true. Those products are pretty much worthless and a waste of your hard earned money. They are not well absorbed by the bird's system and can really foul the drinking water. She needs to be getting her vitamins and minerals from a well balanced diet that is not more than about 25% seeds. The rest needs to be pellets, fruits, veggies, leafy greens and much more. I'll be giving you somel inks to help with the diet and I'll also give you some explaining the health problems she is going to have without proper diet. Seeds are much to high in fat and Budgies in particular, are at high risk of fatty liver disease, fatty tumors and obesity, all of which can be fatal. Now, to the immediate problem. If she is having a discharge, it is definitely cause for concern. It's not impossible that some is also coming from her nostrils and she is rubbing it up into, or near, her eyes, spreading the problem. Because of the diet situation, she may have a bacterial or a fungal issue going on, or even both. You really need to get her in to see a proper Avian vet for at least a check up. If you will act right away and not put it off, there is a very good chance that a quick check of one of her droppings will give the diagnosis and then about 10 days of an oral antibiotic will fix her right up. But, again, don't buy one of those over the counter things. Pet store employees will tell you they have antibiotic and it's what your bird needs. Yes, they do have a very watered down version. If it was the real thing, you would not be able to buy it over the counter. Not only will it not do any good, it will make matters worse and draw out the time it takes to get her cured. One other possible cause for her itching and discharge would be if you have been exposing her to any of the many toxic and dangerous products we all have in our homes. You can use those lists to do some detective work to determine if she has been accidentally exposed to any of these dangers. If you can pinpoint any from the lists, that will be a huge help to the vet and help them get to a diagnosis much quicker. I wish I could give you an exact, for sure, cause for her problems but in this case, there are too many possibilities and in any case, it would not be possible, nor ethical for me to try to give you a definite diagnosis in this format. You bird is going to have to be seen, in person, by a proper vet. I do hope this information will be helpful to you though and will help you ask better questions at the vet's office. In case you don't already have a good vet you trust with her, I'll be including some links to help with that as well. Let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any more questions. Good luck with your little girl. Patricia

Click here: Grit, Gravel and your Parakeet / Budgie

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

Click here: Toxic and Safe Plants/Trees for Birds - Household Poisons

Click here: Birdsnways - Safe Plants & Trees for pet birds, pet parrots &exotic birds

Click here: Nutrition

Obesity & Diets (budgies)

Click here: The Basics: Intro to Budgies / Parakeets

Click here: The Budgie and Parakeet Place - Care, Training, Pictures and More


Click here: Bird Proofing Your Home: Household Hazards for Birds

Click here: Bird Proofing Your Home - Avoid These Pet Bird Hazards

Click here: Find your local Avian Veterinarian

Click here: Avian Veterinarians Recommended by Bird Breeders and Owners

Click here: World Wide Avian Vet Listing

Click here: BirdsnWays - Avian Veterinarians - Vets - Vet Services for Pet Parrots & Exotic Birds

This one looks like an advertisement for Harrison pellets but they are only sold by vets so it's another good list to check. Click here: Harrison's Bird Foods is a family of certified organic pet bird diets that were formulated to make your bird as he