Dirty vents mean upset tummies. Healthy budgies, also called parakeets and budgerigars, have clean, smooth feathers, even around their vents, where poop comes out. Charlie's diarrhea is due to something he ate or a more serious condition. Poop-checking gives useful information when budgies have dirty vents.
Budgies hide ill-health well, and a dirty vent might be Charlie's only symptom. Sometimes diarrhea only lasts a day or two, but longer-lasting problems indicate a more serious condition, requiring a visit to the vet. Dangers of diarrhea include waste build-up due to clogged vents, and intestinal damage from blocked ducts. Dirty vents can be difficult to spot. Checking Charlie underneath daily helps nip problems in the bud.
Charlie's diarrhea makes him at risk from dehydration, weakness, lack of appetite and weight loss. Extreme cases lead to fits and starvation. Checking Charlie's poop when he has a dirty vent can give useful information. Normal droppings are soft, olive-green to brown and coiled or cylindrical. Poop that's very dark, very pale, liquid, lumpy, dry, sticky or bubbly mean illness and need vet attention.
Green-stained vents often mean poor quality feed and usually appear within 24 hours of eating new food. Providing healthier food should make symptoms disappear. One check of feed quality is biting. Grains should split cleanly and be hard to bite.
Intestinal inflammation causes most diarrhea in budgies, due to bacterial or fungal infections. Vets can test for infections and treat with antibiotics. Worms, gut changes due to abnormal growths, viruses, liver disease and problems with egg production can also cause diarrhea. Less obvious causes of upset tummies are stress from a change in environment and over-use of antibiotics, causing an imbalance in normal gut bacteria. Vets can use probiotics and prebiotics to re-introduce healthy bacteria.
Sick budgies need to be kept warm to conserve energy, and clean water is important in preventing dehydration. When he's lost his appetite, tempt Charlie with his favorite treats, or offer specially-designed, easily digested feeds. Some budgies love soaked millet sprays. Cold, sweet black tea provides fluids and energy from sugar, and tannin in tea coats his intestines. Intensive nursing can often help in cases without a specific cause.
A graduate of Leeds University, Jenny Green completed Master of Arts in English literature in 1998 and has been writing about travel, gardening, science and pets since 2007. Green's work appears in Diva, Whole Life Times, Listverse, Earthtimes, Lamplight, Stupefying Stories and other websites and magazines.