Budgerigars / Budgies - Common Diseases

Budgerigars / Budgies - Common Diseases
Budgie Information
Index of Bird Diseases ... Symptoms and Potential Causes ... Bird Health Care ... Glossary of Avian Medical Terms ... Medications Used in Avian and Exotic Medicine and Pharmaceutical Terms ... How to administer oral medications to a bird


Budgies, like all birds, are very adept at concealing their illness. This is a self-preservation mechanism, as the sick and the weak are the ones predators will focus on. By the time your pet looks ill, you can assume that your pet is seriously sick and is likely to deterioriate quickly unless appropriate treatment is provided.

By observing your pet daily you will learn its normal behavior and you will be able to notice anything out of the ordinary. Below is a list of things to look out for as possible indicators of disease / illness; and a vet may need to be consulted.


Signs of illness to watch out for:

Critical / Serious - bird needs to be taken to vet:

Could be serious - consult with vet:

  • loss of appetite
  • fluffed up and/or untidy appearance
  • abnormal droppings
  • excessive feather picking or plucking
  • abnormal sleep pattern (continuous, both feet on the perch when normally one foot is tucked up, head tucked under the wing, head turned towards the wing with eyes only partly closed)
  • any change in normal activities (talking or whistling, playing with toys, preening, interaction with other birds or humans, energy levels, different perching area)
  • disorientation
  • drinking a lot more water than usual (diabetes?)
  • soiled vent (diarrhea)
  • drooping head, tail or wings
  • cere changes color to purple brown (in male budgies) - could be a clue that a budgie is suffering from testicular cancer.

Diseases / conditions budgies are usually diagnosed with:

  • Malnutrition:
    • Vitamin A and calcium / vitamin D deficiency are the most common deficiencies seen in seed junkies. Since seeds are higher in fat than many other foods, many seed eaters are often obese as well.

What you can do:

Introducing healthy foods - such as green leafy vegetables; red or orange fruits and veggies (which contain beta-carotene) - is a natural way to provide this nutrient safely. Calcium blocks should be provided also, to prevent calcium deficiency.

For seed addicted birds offer sprouted seeds instead. Sprouted or germinated seeds are usually more easily accepted by "seed addicts" than fresh fruits and vegetables.

  • Sprouted seeds are healthier as the sprouting changes and enhances the nutritional quality and value of seeds and grains. Sprouted seeds are lower in fat, as the process of sprouting utilizes the fat in the seed to start the growing process - thus reducing the fat stored in the seeds.
  • Sprouted seeds will help balance your bird’s diet by adding a nutritious supply of high in vegetable proteins, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and chlorophyll.
  • Soaked and germinated "oil" seeds, like niger and rape seeds, are rich in protein and carbohydrates; while "starch" seeds, such as canary and millets, are rich in carbohydrates, but lower in protein.
  • It is an invaluable food at all times; however, it is especially important for breeding or molting birds. Sprouted seeds also serve as a great rearing and weaning food as the softened shell is easier to break by chicks and gets them used to the texture of seeds.
  • Malignant Tumors, Lymphomas and Fatty Tumors (may be caused by seed-only diet): Tumors can be benign or malignant (cancerous) and can involve any organ or system. Some species of birds tend to develop benign fatty tumors called "Lipomas."

Once cancer has been diagnosed, luprin is usually prescribed to reduce the tumor and, hopefully, prolong life.

Find Your Local Avian Veterinarian

Information contained on this website is provided as general reference only. For application to specific circumstances, professional advice should be sought.


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