Pets like budgies play such a big role in our lives that it can be a real shock if something unexpected happens to them. Pet health challenges or the death of a budgie can take owners by surprise as these little creatures often do not display any obvious signs of illness before a disease or problem is very advanced.
In this short article, we will explain 7 symptoms that might indicate that your budgie is dying. We hope that recognition of these symptoms and signs may buy you precious time to get your pet bird treated or at least provide compassionate care.
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How long should you expect a budgie to live?
In captivity, a budgerigar can enjoy a long life of up to 10 years. Despite their small size parakeets are hardy and if not predated or escaped you can expect to enjoy many years with your pet.
Leading causes of death for parakeets.
Aside from old age, there are a variety of infectious and non-infectious diseases that can kill a budgerigar. Yeast infections like sour crop and Avian Gastric Yeast (AGY) can go undetected until they are severe and parakeets are also vulnerable to Psittacosis (parrot fever).
In these situations, early recognition of diseases that are common in budgies can be life-saving.
A major contemporary cause of death in budgies and other pet birds is obesity from overfeeding. These birds develop significant fat infiltration of their liver which can rupture and cause death.
Teflon fumes are a cause of sudden death in budgies. The toxic vapors released by heating a non-stick pan are particularly noxious to small birds.
7 Symptoms that might indicate your budgie is dying.
If you encounter these key symptoms, you are dealing with a bird that is gravely ill. Do not wait to see if things improve but act quickly by seeking immediate veterinarian advice or care.
1. Unable to move
A budgie that cannot remain on its perch and is on its back on the bottom of the cage is about to die. it is best to make the bird as comfortable as possible.
Seizures may be due to injury, infection (fever), or reduced oxygen from breathing problems. As organ failure progresses, a sick bird may tremble or kick its legs.
3. Wheeze or noisy breathing
Respiratory distress in a parakeet can be caused by viral and bacterial infections or parasites. In addition to the sound, the head or tail of the parakeet may bob up and down and they may stretch their neck to attempt to get air into their body.
4. High temperature
If your budgie is hot, move quickly to cool your bird down with tepid sponging and fresh air. A fever can progress to seizures without your prompt intervention.
An untreated yeast infection is a common cause of severe vomiting which can kill a budgie quickly without veterinary care. Vomiting is different from regurgitation, the budgie will tremble and shake with the vomitus running down its front.
6. Poor balance
A budgerigar that cannot sit on its perch but continuously loses its balance is extremely ill. If spotted early, its life may be saved with veterinary care.
Recurrent or persistent infestations with mites, worms, or other parasites indicate an underlying progressive disease process that needs to be treated urgently.
Sick budgies will often stop their grooming and preening behaviors making them more vulnerable to pests.
Making a dying budgie comfortable
If the death of the budgie is imminent, you can still make your dear pet as comfortable as possible, Comfort your budgie with gentle strokes, regulate the temperature in the room, and ensure the bird gets plenty of fresh air and sunlight if it can be tolerated.
Disposing of a dead budgerigar
If sadly, your budgie dies, you need to know how to dispose of the remains safely and lawfully.
A small dead bird can be disposed of with domestic waste if it is double-bagged.
If you prefer to bury your bird this can also be done, though you must make sure that the bird is buried at a suitable depth to avoid attracting wild animals.
When handling the remains of the budgie, it is wise to wear gloves to ensure that you don’t spread any disease that may have infected your budgie. Companion birds may need to be quarantined on the advice of your veterinarian.
Protecting the health of your pet budgerigar.
Boost the longevity of your parakeet by making the effort to ensure that your pet has a good quality of life.
Stress deteriorates the health of small birds so it’s vital you make sure that the budgie gets adequate sunlight, fresh air, and proper rest when needed.
As social creatures, your lone budgie will need you to provide company and toys or a companion to share its days with.
Pay attention to providing a nutritionally balanced diet and ensuring the budgie’s cage remains sanitary with droppings cleared promptly. All your hard work will hopefully be rewarded with a long and fulfilled life for your feathered friend!