Arthritis in budgies


New member
Mar 18, 2023
Charlie, 8yr male budgie, spangle
Moby Dick, rescued male budgie, sky blue

[sad rescue story ahead, be warned]
Hi there! About 6 months ago I picked up a scruffy little bird I decided to call Moby Dick from a rescue. I could see Moby had health issues despite the lady telling me her 'budgie-man' had given him the clear - he was floofed, swaying slightly and his toes were super curled up (back toes face in the wrong direction << ). I took him anyway because my other bird Charlie has health issues and it's generally not that much more expensive to vet two budgies than one. Charlie had just lost his husband of 8 years and was grieving, and needed a new friend asap, too. All I was told about Moby was that he'd been a little old lady's bird, and had been severely neglected. The cage he came in was barely twice his size. No duh.

My suspicions were correct - Moby had a bacterial infection, a wing which had broken and healed incorrectly (meaning he can't fly & constantly breaks his flight feathers), a lump where his liver should be, and what we initially thought was a birth d
efect turned out to be severe arthritis.

Moby's learning to eat vegetables under Charlie's guidance, learning bird body language (which he has little-to-no concept of) and learning to be curious about his surroundings again. It's slow going but after 6 months he's vastly improved. He'll finally step up consistently, which is so important because he likes getting into tiny spaces under cupboards and getting stuck.

Biggest improvement has been thanks to the mobic and topical anti-inflammatory he's been put on, which have meant his toes are uncurled 70% of the time. I've also put a couple of flat platforms in the cage for him. He still sits on a perch most of the time (copying Charlie I presume) but he often sleeps on the platforms, so I think they're comfier for him. Charlie has foot sores due to weight issues/a tumour so I can't only have platforms (he needs to exercise those feets) but the variety of perches/platforms seems to be good.

Moby's also struggling with his weight because he can't fly/exercise, but I've taught him to body slam onto my squishy couch cushions (rather than land in the sink), so hopefully that'll improve soon. (I say 'body slam' because Moby Dick is not a graceful bird.)

I'm looking for any other suggestions I can make for his environment? I've seen people suggest looking at hamster/ferret stairs etc, which I think is a good idea. Just gotta be careful with the wood, cos Charlie c h e w s.

TLDR; my bird has arthritis, any suggestions on changes I can make to his environment to help?

Thanks for reading!

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