Friday, September 13, 2013

Dealing with loss (29.07.13)

At the end of July, something bad happened...

I started to notice that the two youngest of my budgie flock, Leo and Pixie, were more quiet than usual. It was hot and clammy outside and I thought, the budgies must have had a bad night because of the weather; but what I failed to see is that both Leo and Pixie were showing the first symptoms of a slumbering illness.

The next day, I clearly noticed that something was wrong with Leo and Pixie. They didn't make a sound and they stayed in the same spot all the time. I got worried, drove to my parents to pick up a transport cage and called the veterinarian as soon as I had arrived there.

A couple of hours later, I arrived at the vet with all four of my budgies (Frodo, Isla, Leo and Pixie). Frodo and Isla weren't showing any symptoms up to this point, but it was clear that the two other budgies were very sick. I told the vet that Pixie had diarrhoea and that Leo seemed to have lost a lot of weight. The vet couldn't immediately say what was wrong with them, but she would examine them and keep them there for the night. I left, knowing that they were in good hands. After all, she has saved my budgies before.

The next morning, I got extremely bad news and it hit me like a bullet. Both Pixie and Leo had died in the early morning. It had gone really fast and the veterinarian was shocked - clearly she had no idea why this had happened.
My world crumbled apart after I heard the message on my phone. They were so young. They should have lived. I hadn't even had the chance to say goodbye to them. I should have reacted sooner. I should have taken them to the vet the day before. Frodo and Isla were still alive, but for the next couple of days I was terrified to hear more bad news.

While I kept blaming myself for what had happened, I had to wait for the autopsy to hear what had caused their deaths. Meanwhile, the vet kept Frodo and Isla in the hospital, so she could keep a close eye on them. We visited them every day, promising them that we would take them home soon, and everything would be allright.

One week later, the results came in: a streptococcal infection followed by sepsis. At least it happened quickly :-(

I read up on this disease and learnt that a lot of budgerigars can carry this kind of organisms without even being sick. There needs to be a trigger factor (something that weakens the bird so that they become an easy target for bacteria) that enables the bacteria to invade the blood stream and spread through the body. I learned that Frodo and Isla survived the disease because their immune system shielded them from getting sick. Then why did Pixie and Leo get sick? I'm not 100% sure but it has to do with genetics (they react differently to diseases than Frodo and Isla) and the fact that during their short lifespan, they didn't really have a chance to build up immunity against any diseases.

Trigger factors for bacterial infections include: overcrowding, poor diet, low hygiene, inadequate parasite control and extreme weather conditions. These factors can determine your bird's life or death so please indentify and correct them on time. When budgies are showing illness symptoms, then they're often very sick already.

I know for a fact that the extreme weather conditions were the trigger factor here. Secondly, I had bought what turned out to be the crappiest aviary in the world - I will tell you about this later.

We buried Leo and Pixie in a nearby forest, close to home, along with some of their favorite toys. It was the hardest thing to say goodbye to them and I hope I will see them again some day. I will never forget them and the good times we had together.

Frodo and Isla are back home, recovering from a week at the vet's place. They still call out for Leo and Pixie and it's heartbreaking, knowing that Leo was Frodo's mate. I know he misses her and there is nothing I can do to bring her and Pixie back. We are considering buying two new birds, because I know Frodo and Isla miss being part of a bigger bird flock. But first they need to recover. Dealing with loss is not easy, especially when you have the feeling that you lost your birds way too early. I hope Pixie and Leo find peace and freedom, wherever they are now.

Here are some of the last pictures I have of them:

Our little budgie flock.

Leo and Frodo, it's a shame they couldn't stay together.

This is Leo on the day before she got sick. I want to remember her this way <3 td="">

Pixie the explorer, she will always be in my heart <3 br="">

Saturday, August 3, 2013

New poll: budgies on a roadtrip?

Photo © Rahoul Narain on Flickr

I've come up with this new question for no other reason than that I'm considering driving 3000 km with my budgies next summer.

I know this sounds crazy, right?

Anyway, you can only select TWO possible answers in this poll. It doesn't really matter whether you have actually been on the road with your birds or not - I would like to know your honest opinion too. Do you think it's perfectly possible or not?

I have a bit of road experience with my birds. I've driven them to the vet and back a few times, which is 10 minutes by car. I drove 50 km on the highway with Pixie and Leo on the evening that I bought them. They usually get alert, but not really stressed, and it definitely helps to cover their cage a bit.

I can argument that long-distance driving with budgies would be okay under certain circumstances, such as:

  • when the cage is partially (so that the birds get enough oxygen) covered, in order to keep the stress level low and the sun out of their eyes
  • when you take enough breaks to check on their food/water trays and illness symptoms
  • when you know a bit about first-aid for birds
  • when the temperature in the car is not too warm and the airco doesn't run on high
  • when you're making an overnight stop, make sure they allow pets on your room (they should not be left alone somewhere)
  • the size of the travel cage should not be too small and toys should be put down during the ride to avoid accidents
  • no loud, thumping music - choose a relaxing cd instead
On the other hand, I would really like to hear if anyone has had a negative experience with this? All reactions are welcome! :-)

Poll results: how old were you when you got your first budgie?

The left side shows the percentage (a total of 812 people has voted, thank you!!) while the horizontal line shows the age of the voters.

The graph shows that budgies are hugely popular among 5 - 15 year olds. But are they really suitable pets for people of all ages?

All kids should get the possibility to grow up together with a pet. Budgies, however, are not ideal pets for all kids. For one, physical contact is unmissable for kids aged eight and below. Not all budgies like to be petted and you can't "cuddle" with them or squeeze them. Additionally, even the tamest budgerigars will get spooked when you're making a brusque movement or noise in front of them - something that a lot of small kids will do unintentionally.

But when your child gets older (ages eight and up), budgies might just be the perfect pets. You will find that your kid takes more time to observe the birds and ask questions. In other words, they become the perfect caretakers for budgies: gentle, loving and patient. I must have been 8 or 9 when I got my first budgie and I can only agree to this!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Do you expect Disco will say it?

Do you remember Disco the budgie? Erlend showed me this video yesterday, and I thought it was amazingly cute! He's trying to say that "no one expects the Spanish inquisition", a famous line from the Monty Python series. Our budgies haven't started talking yet, but I can tell they are trying sometimes! More updates soon.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Holidays needed!


Some of you might have started wondering why I haven't posted in a while. As usual, I will blame work, and the fact that we are still busy moving into a new apartment. Until that comes to an end, I can give you some quick updates:

1) Our budgies have moved from a cage into a small aviary!

2) Leonidas and Pixie have turned out to be both GIRLS!

3) Frodo seems very interested in Leonidas - or do we call her Leopatra now?

Pictures will follow!

Photo © kotorinai on Twitter

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Budgie of the Month: Buddy Lee

Photo © saudiak on tumblr

Long overdue post! This story was submitted on Me & My Budgie, by Lori Tomlinson. These stories just make me so happy, it proves that people really care about budgies.

For our one-year wedding anniversary, my husband and I decided to take a road trip to an Indian Casino about and hour and a half from our house. When we first arrived into town, my husband asked me to pull over so he could get a soda. I pulled into a fast-food drive thru, but my husband wanted bottled soda, not fountain (picky, picky!). So as I waited in the drive-thru line, he got out to run to the gas station next door. A few seconds later, he was tapping at the car window. I looked out and saw him pointing toward his shoulder. The cutest little bright green budgie had landed there! 

I got through the drive-thru line, and jumped out of the car. The bird had followed my husband around to the other side of the building. I asked the restaurant employees if they knew anything about the poor little bird, and no one did. Having no experience with birds, but being the sucker for animals that I am, I convinced my husband to help me capture the little guy and go in search of a pet store. Of course, there were none in the area, so the three of us headed for home. 

Over the past few months, Buddy Lee -- Bird of Adventure, has made himself at home. Having read as much as I could get my hands on about caring for budgies, I learned that they are happier in groups. So, I recently acquired a little brother for Buddy, named Dingo. I absolutely love having them around, though my two jealous cats resent having to share my attention with them. We have established a "rotate-the-pets-schedule" in our home -- when the birds have free-flying time, the cats spend the evening on the porch. 

My husband and I never did make it to the casino that day. But Buddy Lee (and his new little brother) have turned out to be a million times more fun that a slot machine!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Budgie found in Hareid Stadium (article)

Photo © Vikebladet Vestposten

Erlend sent me this article while I was at work. It's from last month but it's a sweet story!

A team of young football players in Hareid (Norway) were out practicing on the field, when someone reported seeing a budgerigar that came flying into the stadium. It was ice cold outside, so the budgie had come to the right place, because the team took the budgie inside where they kept him warm and safe.

The same evening, the lost budgie was recognized by its owner, who had seen him fly away through the window earlier. Happy ending!


Saturday, February 16, 2013

First recorded swimming attempt?

Oh my god, this budgie doesn't bathe, but he floats like a little duckie!

P.S. budgies can't really swim, and most budgies prefer a shallow plate or a little puddle for bathing. So please don't try this at home!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

New poll: how old were you when you got your first budgie(s)?


Photo © vilashiniv on tumblr

I changed the look of my blog a bit, partially because the Dynamic view takes such a long time to load, especially on my tiny laptop :-)

I'm secretly happy to be back on the old layout, because you can see things much better and it's easier for me as well :-)

In other news, I've put up another poll, and this time I'm not looking at your budgie, but at how old you were when you got your first budgerigar.

I can start with myself. I was eight years old when a dark blue budgie came into my grandmother's garden, lost and exhausted. They never found the owner of the bird, and since my grandmother already had to take care of her dog, she gave the budgie to my mum. I was immediately fascinated by the budgie and begged my parents to let it stay. They agreed, and budgies have been a big part of my life ever since!

Feel free to vote and/or share your story!

Have a good weekend everyone!

Orb-it - a very handy hand vac for budgie owners!

The Orb-it comes in different colors, we got a blue one :-)

A few months ago, I noticed that one of my readers had bought an orb-it to clean around her budgie's cage. It's a tiny vacuum cleaner that doesn't nearly make as much noise as the big one we have here :-) and I immediately saw the benefit to it - yes, my budgies fly around in the living room... and they leave some things behind ;-)

It's kind of a drag to pull out the vacuum cleaner every evening, or when you're getting visitors... So now Erlend bought me an Orb-it for Christmas, and I really love it! It's pretty cheap but it works really well! It takes me less than a minute to get rid of emtpy seed shells, feathers and poops around the cage. And my budgies totally love the noise of that thing. I strongly recommend it to anyone who owns budgies!

Pictures: You can use the brush to clean some things, but you can also take it off. When the Orb-it is full (took a few weeks for us), you just empty it in the trash bag.

Note: make sure you have the correct type of socket at home! Erlend ordered the Orb-it from Amazon UK, and they have a different kind of socket so we also had to buy an adapter to make it fit on a Belgian socket ;-)

Budgie of the Month: Pico

Photo © Budgie Diary on Wordpress

This is the story about Pico, a blue baby budgie, who became part of these people's family.

"From the very first day, we’ve been able to get close to him. Putting our hand in the cage to put fresh food and water has never bothered him, but it has never bothered him either when we’ve been stroking his chest and belly. I suppose that the first thing I should say is that ours is a flighted budgie as we don’t like the idea of clipping his wings and, as we’ve been told that it’s totally possible to hand-tame a flighted budgie, then we are happy to go for that option."

"Those who know me would say that I shouldn’t have any problems at teaching anybody to talk (including a budgie) because I do like a chat! However, although I’m putting lots on effort on teaching Pico to talk, I do know that not all budgies end up talking.

Photo © Budgie Diary on Wordpress

Whether Pico ends up talking or not, at least it won’t be because we haven’t tried! We talk lots with him and it’s great to see the way he reacts. At the beginning he used to just stare at us. Then he started to show us that he actually enjoyed us chatting with him by moving around in his cage showing us the “tricks” he can do, jumping from perch to perch and in general just looking so happy.

Last Wednesday, I was talking to him while stroking his chest and all of a sudden he started making really sweet noises. These noises were different to his usual happy chirping. It sounded as if he was replying in some sort of “budgie language”. Nevertheless, it made me feel he was starting to “talk back” to me… at least in his own way."

Meanwhile, Pico has grown to be a couple of months old and he's still part of a happy family. He flies around the room and managed to learn a few words, like "Pico", "Pico Guapo" ('Pico pretty boy' in Spanish) and "Mmmmuah!" (the sound of a kiss).

This is Pico relaxing in front of the garden.

Photo © Budgie Diary on Wordpress

Pico with his hamster toy, he loves riding around on it!

Photo © Budgie Diary on Wordpress

This is Pico on top of the hamster toy, on a very colorful floor. His owner got it because he enjoys running around on the floor, and it's more hygienic to have a flat, yet fun surface, that is easy to clean.

Photo © Budgie Diary on Wordpress

Pico riding the hamster toy:

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Good news


I had to wait a while to announce this, but we got some good news this week and I would like to share it with all of you! Wishing you and your feathered friends nothing but happiness!

Here is the news...

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Why do budgies bob their head?

Budgies look very funny when they're doing it, but why are they doing it? This behaviour is seen mostly in male budgies, but female budgies do it too!

1. Courtship ritual

A male budgie often does this to impress a female budgie. If the female budgie likes him, they will both feed each other and eventually mate. Single budgies sometimes bob their head in front of the cage mirror or another toy they really like.

2. Baby budgies

Baby budgies might bob their head when they're hungry and asking their parents for food. The mother and father will encourage the baby to fly from perch to perch, and the baby might again respond by crying and bobbing its head. It means they're still dependant on their parents.

3. Happiness

Every budgie has its own personality, and some budgies are more outgoing than others. Some budgies dance and bob their head simply because they like it, and they know we like it. They do it when they're happy or excited about something, and they really want to show it.

4. Unusual behaviour

If you think you notice a kind of "weird head bobbing", and other unusual symptoms (like your budgie fluffing up and staying fluffed up for a long time, or vomiting), it's always better to be safe and sorry and take your budgie to the avian vet.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Budgie Nail Art

If you find yourself in Berlin one day, you could stop by Supa Nails and have your nails decorated with this colorful budgie print!

Photo © Supa Nails

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Poll Results: Do You Own Any Other Pets In Addition To Budgies?

Photo © Sarah G. on Flickr

First of all, happy 2013! :)

Last year, I wanted to check if the people who visited my blog owned any other pets in addition to budgies, and this is what I found out:
  • Most people (38%) only got budgies at home (me included)
  • A lot of people (31%) own dogs in addition to budgies.
  • A remarkable amount of people own fish (25%), other birds (23%) and even cats (21%) together with budgies.
  • Some people got budgies and rodents at home (14%).
  • A few people own budgies together with farm animals (9%), lizards and turtles/tortoises (6%), salamanders and other amphibians (5%).
  • Last but not least: 3% claims to own budgies together with spiders or exotic animals!
Photo © *Deep* on Flickr

Thank you all for participating, and see you hopefully in the next poll!

Twinzy, the "One of a Kind" Budgerigar

Hello all,

Last week, I was browsing through some budgie pictures, when I suddenly found something amazing. The budgerigar you see below is a striking example (and as far as I know, the only one) of the extremely rare "half sider" mutation.

Photo © Rudy's Pet Supply

As you can see, Twinzy has the characteristics of a blue budgie on one side, and a green budgie on the other. Even his tail feathers are split into two colors! Twinzy currently lives in Rudy's Pet Supply in Oklahoma City.

Photo © Rudy's Pet Supply

There's also a video, in which you can see Twinzy in full action. The narrator reveals a bit more about the origin of the mutation as well. Look at the mirror, it's amazing how you can see both sides of Twinzy at the same time!