How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
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.
Type Your Pet Question Here...
Patricia is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

my nine year old parakeet has a large bulge under its neck ...

Resolved Question:

my nine year old parakeet has a large bulge under its neck ( on right) is all fluffed up and brown poop stuck to its bottom. I have been giving it fresh vitamin treated water, a five day round of antibiotic and small amount of iodine-etc-mineral-grit thinking it may be goiter. I love my birdie...can i save him?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Patricia replied 9 years ago.

Hello. There are several things going on here that you need to change right away.

Get the grit away from him. Has he always had grit available?

Where did you get the "antibiotic"? What is the name of it and how much and how often have you been medicating him?

Stop right away putting anything in his drinking water. Wash and scald the dish immediately and replace it with only fresh, plain water.

How long ago did you first notice the lump?

How long has his droppings been sticking to his bottom?

Please tell me everything in his normal dailey diet.

Thanks, Patricia

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Patricia's Post: Oh thank you thank you for prompt response!
Lump three weeks poopy bottom about 1.5 weeks.
Just took the grit out of food dish, was trying to get iodine in him...he and his two sons have grit always available in dish in bottom of cage but I never see them eating it..again was trying to get iodine/iodide in him but just dumped it!
he has A good appetite but isnt singing at all and is all puffed up poor baby
The antibiotic was an OTC from Petsmart for birds...anti bacterial...5 day liquid as his water supply but that was administered over 1.r weeks ago....didnt help
I have been oot for four days and just now got back to observe his downward spiral..
Oh...NOW hes down there eating the grit! And now back up eating the fresh food..He REALLY wants to get well!
Now what? Should I spend the bux to take him to birdie vet?...he will be SUPER stressed in doing so...has never been out of the cage..
I dearly miss his happy songs!
Karen (edited for privacy)
Expert:  Patricia replied 9 years ago.

Okay Karen, thanks for the extra information. I was afraid that's what you meant when you said you gave him some antitiobic. The problem with that over the counter junk in pet stores is, it's worthless at best, XXXXX XXXXX the worst cases. Of course the employees will tell you it's just what you need but they want your money and could, in most cases, care less about your bird. If they had a real antibiotic, you would not be able to buy it over the counter. Real antibiotics are not available without a prescription. The stuff they sell is a very watered down version that does nothing to fight of a bacteria, assuming your bird even has one. Birds don't handle antibiotics real well, even when they do need one and these watered down products only cause them to start building a resistance against antibiotics, making it harder to cure them when they need a real one. An Avian vet will first check your birds droppings to see exactly what, if any, kind of bacterial or fungal issue is going on. Then they will prescribe a true, full strength one like Baytril, Cipro, Flagyl or similar. It will be given to him orally by dropper, for no less than 10 days and the dosage will be figured exactly, based on his body weight. The stuff from the stores, even if it was real, is usually meant to be put in the drinking water. That further weakens it, plus you have no control whatsoever, over the dosage and you have no idea how much he is getting. Normally, Parakeets do not require grit and gravel. It's an old wives tale. If they ingest too much of the wrong kind, they can get impactions or injuries to their digestive system. Crop impaction is one possible explanation of the lump. They can have one, for the calcium but it must be a water soluble version. Never allowing them to run out of cuttle bone is the safest way to keep calcium in their diet. Yes, they need iodine and the best way to provide that is with a proper mineral supplement, approved by your vet. The symptoms you have described indicate that your bird has been ill for even longer than you know. 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. The droppings sticking to him is indicative of diarrhea and that's very serious for a bird, especially a small one. If he is not dehydrated by now, he soon will be. For now, you need to make sure he does not get chilled and is not in any kind of draft, and keep alert for any of these other symptoms. You need to go back to a scrubbed and scalded bacteria free dish of plain fresh water. If you can get him to take a little Pedialyte, that will help keep him hydrated and will help his electrolytes. Keep him as quiet and stress free as possible until you can get in to your avian vet. Yes, to save him, I'm afraid you are going to have to get him to a proper vet. He is not going to get over this by himself. Just in case you don't have one, I'll give you links to help locate one. Another thing you may be aware of, but for just in case, I'm going to give you some links to information about the many dangerous and toxic things we may have in our houses that can be deadly to parrots. Most things we don't give a thought to because they are harmless to us and to our other pets. But with parrots, some things can kill them, almost within minutes; other things are cumulative and take longer but are just as fatal. Just to mention a few, any aerosol product, burning candles, strong cleaning products, an over heated piece of non stick cookware, using the cleaning cycle of a self cleaning oven, cigarette smoke, any kind of air freshener; the list goes on and on. Also many houseplants are toxic. I'm also going to give you further information on proper parakeet diet and some of the health consequences you may see if he has not been getting the fruits veggies and leafy greens and if he has been getting too much fat in the way of seeds and especially sunflower seeds. Too much fat (seeds) can be fatal for a parakeet. If you aren't sure about his diet or whether you have any dangerous items in your home, it would be good to print out these lists and keep them handy. But for right now, you need to get him to the vet asap. Please don't delay or you may lose the little guy. Try to get him in asap, tomorrow. If his cage is small enough to put in your car, you can take him that way. Take out the water dish so it doesn't spill and cover the whole cage with a light cloth. That will keep drafts off him and will make him more secure from all the scary things outside. The vet will be able to safely take him out and handle him for the exam. Let me know if I can help any further. 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

Click here: Diet: Safe & Toxic Foods

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: More Birds Die as a Result of Air Fresheners: That Stinks!!

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

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

Click here: The Silent Killer, by Joanie Doss

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

Patricia and other Pet Specialists are ready to help you