Like any other animal, budgerigars occasionally suffer from various ailments. In the very beginning of life, some immature budgies suffer from a condition called “splay legs,” which is characterized by one leg that is permanently bent outward. This prevents a bird from standing properly and can affect his ability to reproduce and compete for food. Fortunately, it’s easy to ward off this issue. It’s usually caused by nest boxes with slick floors that cause young birds to slip and slide. Shavings or bedding can prevent this problem and keep splay legs at bay.
There are many budgie or parakeet ailments. A few of the most common ones are highlighted below.
- Bumblefoot - This condition begins with inflammation or infection at the bottom of a budgie’s foot. Over time, the skin gets thinner and redder. If left untreated, ulcers can develop. Eventually, the tissue on the bottom of the feet becomes necrotic or dies, which allows the infection to spread to the bone. Bumblefoot frequently happens in captivity when people provide the wrong types of perches for their budgies. Perches that are too hard can cause bumblefoot, and dirty perches can cause it too. Once the condition has developed, antibiotics usually need to be administered
- Scaly Face and Scaly Legs - This painful and unsightly condition is actually caused by a parasitic infection that involves mites called cnemodocoptes pilae. They cause the buildup of scales with tiny holes on or around a bird’s legs, vent, eyes and beak. It needs to be treated with a medicine called ivermectin, although it can sometimes be managed with a disinfectant called Dettol.
- Tumor - Due to budgies’ lightning-fast metabolisms, tumors usually grow quickly. Tumors of the kidney, testicles, ovaries and adrenal glands are the most common. Fatty tumors are also very prevalent.
- Polyomavirus - This condition is also known as budgerigar fledgling disease and usually strikes down chicks immediately after they hatch.
- Psittacosis - Another common term for this condition is “parrot fever,” and it can be transmitted through the air or orally. Digestive and respiratory symptoms usually occur. It is highly contagious among birds, so affected birds must be isolated. This condition can also be transmitted to humans.
- French Molt - This refers to a condition in which a budgerigar’s feathers fall out and don’t return. Feathers on the tail and wings are usually affected, and this condition can be spread to other birds.
- Feather Plucking - When a budgie excessively plucks his feathers, it is usually a sign of loneliness or boredom. New toys or a new friend can alleviate the problem most of the time.
- Goiter - If a budgie doesn’t get enough iodine in his diet, he can develop this condition, which involves the enlargement of the thyroid gland. This condition affects the sound of a bird’s voice.