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When Budgies Get Sick - Part 1

Updated on June 16, 2014

No matter how much we love them, or how well we take care of them, sometimes the inevitable happens: our budgie gets sick. This can be very disconcerting. What can you do for your little friend, and how serious is it? Do you need a vet? Is there anything you can do to help speed up the healing process? Or maybe you want some helpful tips on preventing illness in birds. No worries, you're on the right page.



  1. Difficult to spot
  2. Quick checklist
  3. Do you need a vet?
  4. What you can do
  5. Preventing illness

1. Difficult to spot

Generally speaking, when a budgie gets sick, you won't notice it. Most likely you will know of the term "survival of the fittest". This is a rule that states that in the wild only the strongest manage to survive. When a disease or disability strikes, nature's cruel side rears its head and you most likely fall prey to predators, or are unable to support your basic needs, thus starving to death. Considering the consequences of falling ill, it's easy to understand why most budgies avoid going near a bird with a sickness that could potentially be contagious, lethal or no.

Budgies live in flocks. They are supported by large numbers and this gives them protection from predators, access to mates for reproduction, and so on. When they get ill, they will do anything not to show they're sick. After all, if they're sick, they might get left behind by the others, or worse.

Only when a budgie is truly very ill, where it becomes impossible to hide it, will it exhibit any symptoms. Of course, living as a pet hasn't changed this innate instinct. Pet bird or no, any budgie will hide it when it's not feeling 100%.

2. Quick checklist

So how can you tell if your precious pet is feeling lousy? Luckily, there are some signs that could indicate illness. Follow through the checklist below and you will have a general idea of their health. However, there is one magic rule: better safe than sorry! If you're in doubt, go see a vet.

Quick Health Checklist:

  • Is your budgie puffed up?
  • Does your budgie seem generally lively, playful, curious?
  • Does it eat & drink as usual? Not a lot more, not a lot less?
  • Are the feathers healthy-looking and not plucked out?
  • Look at the vent: are there any droppings sticking to it (indicating diarrhea)?
  • Does the beak look shiny?
  • Is the beak too long or short?
  • Is the cere flaked or crusty? If your budgie is not a breeding female, this could be an indication of an infection, fungus, ...
  • Are the paws & legs healthy and not flaked?
  • Are the nails too long? This could indicate lack of activity.
  • How is its balance? Healthy budgies shouldn't fall off perches.

In The Next Chapter...

Of course, just having a checklist, while useful when you're in a panic, isn't enough to keep your budgie healthy. Sometimes, you need to see a vet. The following chapter will deal with how to decide if you need a vet. You'll also learn some basic First Aid for birds and what you can do to make your budgie feel more comfortable, but most importantly, how to prevent your birds from getting sick.

So read on... in Part 2.

A sick budgie in isolation... She was taken to the vet, diagnosed with a bacterial infection, and successfully treated with antibiotics!
A sick budgie in isolation... She was taken to the vet, diagnosed with a bacterial infection, and successfully treated with antibiotics! | Source

Have you ever had to take a pet to a vet?

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    • Elysianphoenix profile image

      Elysianphoenix 19 months ago from Belgium

      I would suggest going to the vet to get a general check-up and trim the beak (DON'T do this yourself!!!!!!). It sounds like the bird you got wasn't taken care of too well before you got it. Not sleepy is a good sign, but not curious/not drinking or eating is not a good sign. It might be your bird is depressed. I suggest:

      - go to the avian vet for a general check-up

      - consider getting it a buddy

      - talk to the bird throughout the day to bond with it

      - get it some toys

      - give it room to play and fly

      - give it wood to nibble on to trim the beak

      - and obviously fresh water, vegetables and seeds every day... ;) But I think you knew that already.

      Good luck with the budgie!!!

    • Mickji profile image

      Mickji 23 months ago from between Italy and Switzerland, travelling around the world thanks to a little special object

      How to use the check-list? I have a new budgie and it's not so sleepy,not so curious, doesn't eat nor drink much, beak seems to be long and crusty...and I don't know how to care about it. I've read many articles here on HP and I thought I was ready instead I'm not and I'm scared...

    • profile image

      margaret.sinclair 3 years ago

      my budgie seem a bit quite and sleeping he is normaly loud

    • profile image

      Pharme494 5 years ago

      Hello! kgaadaa interesting kgaadaa site! I'm really like it! Very, very kgaadaa good!