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Old 09-20-2014, 03:06 PM
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I have a sickly Obese Parakeet. How can I make him healthy?

Ever since I got him from the Pet Store 2 years ago, he's always been pretty "big". He is bigger than my 2nd Parakeet(who is avg size for a parakeet) , and he runs out of stamina pretty easily, compared to the 2nd one . Both have mostly had a seed diet with some Vegetables.

Anyway, recently I went to the doctor because he was sick( scratching his vent, and straining to poop. And when he did, it would either be dark green+ watery, or show none at all except something yellow ). While he is getting MUCH better(Not straining anymore, his stool is normal, not scratching) after a couple of days , I want to think of the long term and how to help him lose weight, and prolong his life for the best

So I was wondering, what are my options? How do I get him to help lose weight? How do I change his eating habits? Do I strive to limit my parakeets food intake? If so, how should I do it?

Rowdy bush Pellets were recommended. But how do I get him to eat it, and have him stick to it?(he's stubborn to pellets). I'm willing to do whatever it takes, just as long as I can turn his life around.



Basically, what options do I have in having my Parakeet lose weight, so he can live a normal and healthy life style?


Notes:
- Doctor mentioned he's 20% overweight. Specifically, he's 47 gms

- The Diagnosis through physical+blood work was that at the time of his sickness he had: Bacterial, Viral, and Fungal Infection. Fatty Liver, and Heart Disease. And obesity.

Since monday(when he got sick, and I went to the doc) , he's gotten much better. But he's still not finished with medication yet.

Last edited by John6670; 09-20-2014 at 03:39 PM.
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Old 09-20-2014, 05:06 PM
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Re: I have an Obese Parakeet. How can I make him healthy?

Is he flighted? If not, being out and flying around during the day will burn most of that off and improve his health. Budgies don't do well clipped and confined. If he is flighted, flight recall, and making him work al little for his food (like flying across the room to get it) will help a lot. Milk thistle seed tea will help his liver. Does he like greens/sprouts? Sprouted seeds are much healthier and lowfat than dry seed, as long as the seed isn't from a fortified mix. Sprouting broccoli, red clover, alfalfa, and radish are perfect budgie sized sprouts, as well as wheat berries and spelt. Sprouting can easily be done in a jar, there are many how-to videos on YouTube about it. There is also a product called aloe detox which has worked very well with birds with liver disease due to obesity/high fat poor diets....but the ingredient within that has the most benefit is milk thistle seed extract. Brewing just the tea and serving cold is the easiest, as it's almost tasteless.
But more importantly, listen to your vet, and get those infections cleared up before anything else.
Morning is the best time to introduce new foods. Perhaps get him used to feeding out of a certain dish with you (not in cage), than introduce healthier foods in the same dish, so it's a social, bonding activity in the morning, and you can better regulate what he's eating because you're feeding it to him personally.
I'm sure others will chime in with more advice. It's good to hear your doing everything you can to help him. Good luck.
Grinding up the pellets into a fine powder will make them easier to eat, but they shouldn't be the only thing eaten, and too many pellets with budgies can be detrimental. (Obesity, chronic egg laying, kidney and liver problems/toxicity. But a little won't hurt.)
And if your budgie isn't particularly motivated or bonded to you, there is no stronger motive than a companion budgie. Another budgie will have him zipping around the house in no time at all. They do everything together, including lots and lots of flying. A bird flying around all day could never be obese.

Last edited by Kalidasa; 09-20-2014 at 06:17 PM.
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Old 09-20-2014, 05:09 PM
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Re: I have an Obese Parakeet. How can I make him healthy?

If you've got an obese bird and the vet didn't give you a supportive diet, probably your first option should be to devise a suitable low fat diet, although budgies are seed eaters in the wild, then probably set up some morning flying sessions.....that should help both the obesity & the lack of stamina.....

Sounds like there may be some reading & practice in the culinary arts in your future.....let us know when you get pretty good at it & maybe some of us will drop by for a meal some time.....


Look's like I'm back to typing over someone else again...sorry K.....
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Old 09-20-2014, 07:00 PM
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Re: I have an Obese Parakeet. How can I make him healthy?

Is he tame? Maybe training and out of cage time and play can help with the obesity. How large is his cage? Can he fly a bit in it?
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Old 09-20-2014, 07:39 PM
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Re: I have an Obese Parakeet. How can I make him healthy?

First, is the bird tame? Immediately begin taming if not. If he is tame, immediately begins recall training and harness training, I specifically suggest a flight suit for a bird that small. These two things will help your bird be safer while still being able to fly. Next, bird proof your house and family so when your bird molts you can leave it free to fly instead of clipping. Wild budgies would spend most of their day flying, so it is hard for them to be healthy and clipped. This is a long term health solution and will take time.

The next important thing is diet. Yes, budgies eat seeds in the wild, but they eat LIVE seeds mostly, not dry dead seeds like you are feeding. This is easier to fix than you think just begin sprouting your seed. You can sprout the seed you are already feeding, as long as it doesn't have pellets mixed in. If it does have pellets you can still sprout it, you will just have to rinse more often. There are plenty of threads about sprouting here,and lots of how to videos and articles online. Remember that seeds are made to sprout. Sprouting your seeds will take your birds diet from basically burgers and fries to veggies, and will actually save you money as they eat less when the seeds are sprouted. This is the number one easiest thing you can do to improve your bird's health and I strongly believe everyone should do it.

Next, start focussing on adding more veggies to the diet. This is less crucial if you are feeding a healthy diet of sprouts, but still important.

How much out of the cage time does your bird get? Investing time and some money in playi with your bird can make a world of difference. Make sure your bird has plenty of toys that it finds interesting to play with when you are gone.

Also, feed meals instead of leaving the food in all day, two meals is fine but if you want you can feed three. Birds naturally follow more of a two meal schedule. This will cut down on boredom eating, which we all know isn't healthy no matter what species you are this is also good because when feeding fresh food you don't want to let it spoil in the dish.

Finally, make sure your bird is getting 12 hours of sleep each night.
This may seem unrelated but enough sleep is crucial to healthy body systems and lack of sleep causes stress on the body which cues the body to store fat.

Best of luck!

P.s. I do not recommend pellets. Natural healthy food is always better than processed food. Pellets are mainly recommended because they are better than dry seeds, which is basically the worst thing you can feed your birds. Most people do not take the time to feed fresh, live food to their birds, so pellets are better than feeding just seeds, but I do not believe that is a good enough reason to feed pellets. Fresh food is always better, just be sure to feed a variety.
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Old 09-20-2014, 07:41 PM
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Re: I have an Obese Parakeet. How can I make him healthy?

I forgot to mention foraging toys. Giving your bird toys that have food as rewards will help to make him work for some of his food, but most of all they are really good for getting lazy, food oriented birds to play.
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Old 09-20-2014, 08:10 PM
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Re: I have an Obese Parakeet. How can I make him healthy?

When you said his diagnosis at the time included viral infection(?!) did you mean he had a test for it, or he actually HAS something? Viral diseases are deadly and contagious. It's not something you can cure with medicine unfortunately. I hope I interpreted that wrong.

Can they lose weight? It depends on the reason behind the obesity. I had a second Budgie until fairly recently. His reason for obesity was not diet related. Despite being on the same good foods as my other Budgie (who is thriving and has always been normal weight), Pix just started blowing up one day, and fast! All of a sudden he had gone from 31 grams to 53!

Long story short he was one of the Budgies out there with bad genetics. His hunger mechanism would not turn off. They think he had thyroid issues and hormone issues which led to the constant and ravenous overeating of even low fat foods. He was given treatments, with no result. For months we would give him personal training sessions (included flying 'laps' until tired, climbing long ladder several times, run on hamster wheel) twice a day in addition to his normal activity. We reduced his food to 1 tsp per day as directed by his vet (which is a lot more than some other vets recommend), still he'd lose a little, then gain it back. Many of his organ functions were shot. Liver, kidney, intestines, were all giving symptoms. In Pix's case no... the little guy was just destined for a 2 year lifespan no matter what.

If your Budgie is truly healthy and it's only too much seed that's doing it, then maybe a vet recommended diet, plus my "personal training for Budgies" I mentioned above might work? Good luck.
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Old 09-20-2014, 08:41 PM
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Re: I have an Obese Parakeet. How can I make him healthy?

Wow! Quite a lot of good and detailed posts here. Too much to respond to individually so i'll just do my best to answer the questions here. Just to clarify, I currently have TWO Parakeets. Green(The one i'm talking about In this thread) and Blue(The skinny , healthy one)

1. Yes,both of the birds I have are flighted, and allowed to fly in my room up to a certain time. They are let out from around 7-8 AM TO 5-6 PM.
That said, when they fly, both of them only have two places to pitch on in my room .

A. The top of my window(which is near the cage). I only have one window in my room

B. The Cage
Actually let me correct my self. The 2nd Parakeet can pitch on my door(that leads to the hallway and other rooms), but usually doesn't. My obese one doesn't go that far. For some reason, neither of them pitch on the door(that leads to my closet) that is close to their cage.





2. Both parakeets I have like lettuce, and i recently discovered they liked broccoli. Other stuff like apples, oranges, grapes, and carrots are stuff i haven't had luck with.

3. Semi Tame. He'll step up on my hand when he is in his cage, and SOMETIMES when he is out. He'll let me touch him, and once in awhile eat stuff from my hand after 6-7 minutes. But most of the time he flies out of my hand, and spends time with the other parakeet.

4. I'll post a pic of the cage tomorrow. But it's pretty decent sized in my view, and they both can fly a bit in it. but it needs more accessories inside

5. Has something. It was a differential diagnoses, which listed all the current issues he was having.

The main thing the Vet made sure to highlight was that the weight seemed to be his biggest issue.

Truth is when I first got him, he was already big in comparison to other parakeets. And the doc did point out that genetics could play a part in why he's big+gets tired easily. And all the other problems he's having.


In terms of diet, the Vet recommended that I transition to an all pellet diet, atleast 80% of the diet should be pellets. While the 20% should consist of fruits, veggies, seed, beans,pasta.



Note: I've read all the advice given here. Just answering the question's i've seen.

Last edited by John6670; 09-20-2014 at 08:47 PM.
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Old 09-20-2014, 09:17 PM
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Re: I have an Obese Parakeet. How can I make him healthy?

Quote: Originally Posted by John6670 View Post
5. Has something. It was a differential diagnoses, which listed all the current issues he was having.

The main thing the Vet made sure to highlight was that the weight seemed to be his biggest issue.
I hate to say, but if he has "something" I hope it Is not viral. If so, I'm afraid THAT would be the BIGGEST issue! That is not something to take lightly. As I said, viruses are deadly and contagious!!

If he has a virus WHAT IS IT?? Did he tell you what this viral disease was called? If your vet did say virus and didn't address it, he might not know enough about birds (believe it or not, many all species small animal vets don't really know enough about birds). Please take a moment to google 'avian viral diseases', and educate yourself about it. You will see that this is a very serious issue in bird communities. I'm not trying to be harsh. Even if you search this forum you'll find that this unfortunately does happen from time to time.

Do you have him far away from your other bird? Even that is no guarantee, but might reduce risk a little anyway. Keep us posted.
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Old 09-20-2014, 11:26 PM
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Re: I have an Obese Parakeet. How can I make him healthy?

Agreed, if it is viral that is very upsetting. I am glad to hear they are flying. I still stand by my recommendation to switch to stouts, and you will most likely find that much easier than switching to pellets, most birds, ever seed junkies, tend to gobble up sprouts. Also, try to shy away from fruit for an obese bird, and stick more to veggies. For a bird as small as budgies, shred the veggies up as small as you can and mix it with their other food. Be sure not to let it spoil in the dish though.
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