Budgerigars, by and large, are good-natured birds that do not bother others of their kind and only rarely get into rather mild fights. It does happen on rare occasions that a bird is overcome by truly murderous inclinations. This happens more rarely with males than with females. The victims of this ire are the bird's own young, young from other nests, and often the male. The behaviour occurs suddenly and apparently without any motivation. The cause is unknown. The solution to such a murderous turn of events is to humanely destroy the perpetrator. Do it promptly--before the bird can inflict extensive damage in your aviary.

Vertigo--or dizziness--is a disturbance of the equilibrium that can occur in all psittacines. Sick birds seem to lose all ability to judge distances. In the earliest stage, they keep missing their target as they try to jump from one perch to another. They also have difficulty in maintaining their balance. In a later stage they stop trying to perch and stay on the cage floor, often bending their head backwards in a cramped position. The bird eats less and less and finally dies. In the early stage, supplementing the birds' ration with calcium and vitamin C seems to help. In later stages, there's nothing much you can do to help. As far as one knows, vertigo is not contagious. The problem often occurs in recently imported birds. In these cases, it probably can be attributed to improper care given en route and the sudden change in feed. Another cause appears to be excessive inbreeding.

Budgerigars can suffer from sudden seizures. The bird falls from its perch to the bottom of the cage, where it makes twitching movements and usually dies after a short time. In zoos and bird parks the illness sometimes affects birds that have received the most meticulous care. The cause of these seizures is unclear. Females are afflicted mote often than males and it is more common among birds weakened by excessive inbreeding. Some people attribute the problem to a fear of heights that afflict birds suddenly exposed to a big, roomy aviary after having been accustomed to the protection of a dense forest or a small cage. Others believe that summer heat is the cause. More likely, however, a sexual disturbance is involved. It has been found that seizures almost always strike birds deprived of a mate during their normal breeding season. The problem does not occur in colony breeding cages and aviaries. Sometimes it may appear the bird is having seizures when it is having an epileptic attack. This can happen several times a day and the bird may recover quickly after 30 minutes or so with no side affects. If the bird does continue to be unsteady or in pain or barely moves around it may have suffered a mild stroke or heart attack.

E-Mail: berniehansen@sympatico.ca



Hamilton & District Budgerigar Society Inc. 1996