Steve Duke, Tyne & Wear
Steve: I keep two budgies and have had some behavioural problems with one of them. I have completed the questionnaire as requested in your website, but thought a bit of background would help also.
The problem bird feather-plucked and skin-picked for a few years after his original partner (male) died. He was close to death a few times and spent most of his time with a “buster” collar on to stop him picking. I then contacted you and you recommended Calcivet, Potent Brew and Feather-Up. He has been on them since, and has not displayed any of the destructive behaviour for some time. However, I now have another problem with him.
For the last few weeks he has been squawking/quacking a lot. He does it a lot more and louder whenever someone goes near the cage or tells him to be quiet. He also chases the other bird around the cage. The behaviour is accompanied with some head and tail bobbing which makes me wonder if he is feeling “frisky”. He hasn’t done it much in previous years, but perhaps it is because he is feeling more healthy than he has for years?
Malcolm: The chances are that the Potent Brew is making him frisky. Now that the feather plucking has stopped I suggest you drop that and just keep up with the Calcivet and Feather-Up. The longer day lengths will also be encouraging breeding responses so, if you want to stop this cover them up early (with a dark cloth) and only let them have 10-12 hours of daylight.
Steve: Brilliant, thanks Malcolm. I’m trying your advice now. Fingers crossed. I wish all companies provided the same level of customer care as you.
One week later:
Steve: I’ve waited for a week to reply as I thought the Potent Brew could be out of his system by now. Well, he has quietened down a little bit but is still driving the entire house potty. It seems to be worst, although certainly not exclusively, first thing in the morning; from when I enter the room until several minutes after I’ve removed the cover. And woe betide anyone who tells him to shush.
Should I give it a bit longer? Or do you think I need to try something else? I’m a bit worried about my other bird as he seems to be withdrawing into himself because of this. It is for that reason I have been reluctant to increase their “night time”. I don’t really want to separate them either as they would fret and fretting is how the whole skin-picking thing started in the first place.
Malcolm: I think we still have a calcium deficiency problem. The fact that things are sometimes worse early suggests that he is worse when his body temperature is just a little low. This is common with calcium problems. So pump loads more Calcivet into him.
Steve: Thanks Malcolm, I’ll start giving it daily. Just one thing: does it make water taste different? I’m just concerned as I’ve had problems of birds refusing to drink water with antibiotics in it. If I’m giving it every day I don’t want him getting dehydrated. I could squirt it into his mouth with a syringe if that would be a better way of guaranteeing delivery. I’m guessing that it will not affect the other bird to give him Calcivet.
Malcolm: Calcivet has quite a sweet taste and it is incredibly unusual for birds to reject it. However I have no problem with direct dosing into the beak if you feel comfortable doing that. The dose is about 0.5mls 5 days a week.
Steve: Thanks for the advice; I’ve started the new dosage (fingers crossed).
I just wanted to take a minute to thank you very much for all your help, and all the help I’ve received from your colleagues. Without your advice (and products), it is pretty certain that my bird would not be here today. At the very least, we would be permanently wearing a plastic collar to stop him picking & plucking.
I just wish I could find more companies that provide the same sort of customer service as you.