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Thread: Help! Stressed feathered bff

  1. #1
    Brand New Egg
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    Trini
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    Question Help! Stressed feathered bff

    Hi all.
    I always come here for information on my babies but this is my first time posting.

    I have parakeets and one of them (my first one) seems to need help outside of what I understand to do.
    Citron was found outside, in fact some random gardener in the neighborhood just plopped him in my husbands hands. We brought him home and he immediately felt safe in his cage.

    After a few weeks we were worried about leaving him alone all day (we work a lot of hours) so we thought we'd get him a friend. Introduce: Cielo.
    Pretty girl did not like him much. Everything we read said that if they don't like one another than there's nothing you can do. But now I have two lonely birds so after several months of their bickering, we thought we'd get Bijou (another little girl) hoping to mediate. Bijou took to Citron really quickly. Citron was kind of meh about her but they didn't fight.

    So now we are 2 girls 1 boy (huge cage!). The girls fight non-stop. I've tried separating them but Bijou gets depressed. She wants to do everything they're are doing. She's very co-dependent. 'Oh Cielo is eating? I'll eat too. Oh Citron is bathing? I'll bathe too. Oh they're eating out of a different dish, I'll go to that one.' At this point, Citron is starting to want to stay away from the girls. I have another cage, so I move him into that one alone. They played marco-polo for hours. He didn't like being away from them.

    So we get the (not so) bright idea to get another boy to even the playing field. We researched and read that it might be difficult to read genders in young budgies. We browse the stores and the breeders. We decide to seek outside help and went to a well known budgie breeder but she said she didn't have any babies available for a while and gave us tips to look for but agreed that maybe another boy might help break up the imbalance. So we pick out a little gray one with a bright blue cere. We ask if for sure it's a boy. They say yes. We feel good about this. We name him Nimbus. He's really skittish but we'll work on that.

    OMG within a week we realize we have another girl. Worse! ALL THREE GIRLS go into season at the same time. Citron was done with them completely that's when we realized his behavior was different. He's breathing heavy. Is he not able to breathe? I obsessively clean their cage. I start setting them outside. Most of the time he's totally fine. Singing and puffy and happy (not heavy breathing). But when the girls start their bickering he's clearly all stressed out.

    Because we're still trying to balance the hormones, we're pretty sure we have a boy now. But we have kept him completely separate from the others for the past 2 weeks. He's really well behaved and was easy to tame/train. Reminds me of Bijou actually.

    Yesterday, when bringing in the cage from the patio (we bring them inside at sunset) I noticed that Citron had one eye closed. Then I saw a big scratch on his head. Since Lucky (the new one) is tame, we moved Citron in with him. The girls are in a cage on their own (so far less bickering). He's happy as long as he's in a cage, Lucky is happy outside of it so there is not a lot of interaction between them. We're still getting Citron his own cage today.

    I'm not sure what else I can do for his stress. Will it go away over time? Did I traumatize him by being an idiot owner? By the way, please please do not shame me for my mistakes. I am doing my very best and am committed to my babies and just want them to be happy. I do not think he is sick and this town has ONE avian vet and they have no appointments for a long while out. I believe it's stress. I'm playing all his favorite artists and he's starting to calm down but he's become an incredibly skittish ball of nerves. Like I said, he's more calm than when in the other cage but he's still breathing heavy periodically (it isn't consistent 24/7). Any advice you can give me to help calm him, I will accept.

    Seriously, ducks are way easier

    Edit: I've been doing more reading. We found an article that practically lists his symptoms and so he may be sick after all. The girls have not bickered once today. Do birds in a flock avoid/annoy sick companions? I'm going to try and get a sooner appointment with the avian vet but I'm not sure there's much that can be done. He's a little thing and I've no idea of how old he actually is. I will still happily accept any advice you have about gender balance.
    Last edited by Duckmem; 05-07-2020 at 05:38 PM.

  2. #2
    Tailfeather
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    Ellen
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    Re: Help! Stressed feathered bff

    Hi, and welcome to the community. Do you know the ages of all your budgies? Female budgies begin hormonal activity at about 9-12 months old. When that happens, the cere, the spot above the beak, which is white or ivory color, will turn crusty brown. Then, the hormones are going to produce egg laying. Hens do not need a male in the cage to lay eggs. Since you do have males, it is a natural instinct for a hen to know there is a male close by, and the egg laying will begin. Having two females together in a cage presents problems, especially when one starts to lay eggs, and during hormone time. A hen protects her eggs, vigrously, and will get into a fight, with the other hen in the cage. And of course, the other hen will be interested in the eggs. Never put a happy hut, or tent, or nestbox in a cage with two hens. All cause hormones to uptick.

    If it were me, here is what I would do. Get a DNA test at an avian vet, or, get a dna sexing kit on line. Find out the sex of each one of them, so you know for sure. Once you have the result, then put a male and a female in one cage. And put all females in separate cages, and any single males in a cage of their own, unless you want another male\female pair.

    Go to a pet shop and buy small mirrors for every cage that has one budgie only. Put the mirrors on each end of a perch. Budgies love mirrors, and will be happy campers with a new mirror girl or boyfriend.

    I have owned budgies for many years! And mirrors and swings keep them happy. Breeding a pair can be challenging. But females together just tend to cause problems. You will have much more peace, with the setup I just shared.

    And if you do have a pair, male and female, keep them a distance from the others in their own cage, and if they mate, and hen lays eggs, get a budgie wooden nest box, and put in the cage. No happy tents or huts in any cages, ever. But do not put the box in the cage until you see an egg.
    Last edited by maxollie; 05-09-2020 at 02:54 PM.

  3. #3
    Tailfeather
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    Ellen
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    Re: Help! Stressed feathered bff

    Citron very well may have a respiratory or bacterial infection. In my view, he needs an avian vet wellness check asap!
    Last edited by maxollie; 05-09-2020 at 02:56 PM.

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