Ask Lafeber

Question:

November 8, 2021

BLACK DROPPIMGS AND SLEEPS ALL THE TIME


I HAVE BEEN LOOKING AFTER MY MOMS BUDGIES. THEY ARE ABOUT 8 & 9 YRS OLD. THEIR DROPPING ARE PREDOMINANTLY BLACK… THEY SLEEP ALL DAY. THEY LOVE ROMAINE LETTUCE… SQUAWK BADLY IF THEY DON’T GET IT DAILY. THEY WON’T EAT ANY OTHER FRUIT OR VEGETABLE…. I NOTICED THAT YOU SAY NOT TO GIVE THEM TOO MUCH FRUITS & VEGETABLES. COULD ALSO BE BLEEDING.IN UPPER TRACK. THEY ACT SCARED OF ANY OTHER FRUITS/VEGETABLES . I ALSO NOTICED THAT THEY LIKE TO EAT CHARCOAL & OYSTER SHELL.. COULD IT BE CORN COBBING IN THE BOTTOM OF THE CAGE? IT ALL SEMMED TO START WHEN WE PUT RECYCLED BLUE PAPER DOR.THW BOTTOM OF THEIR CAGE & CHANGED THAT TO COBBING. MOM USED PAPER TOWEL. MOM HAD SOME EXPIRED OVER THE COUNTER ANTIBIOTICS WHICH PERKED THEM UP… BUT I CANT BUY IT ANYMORE. DO YOU KNOW IF THERE IA ANYTHING SIMILAR AVAILABLE? BRAND IS MARVEL AID ORAL REMEDY.
IT TAKES OVER A MONTH TO GET INTO A VET HERE.
I’D APPRECIATE IF YOU COULD HELP ME… I FEEL REALLY BAD. THANK YOU SO MUCH.


Answer:

Hi Sherry,

I’m very sorry that you lost your mom. I think there are a number of things going on here. Let’s start with what to stop doing. They do not need charcoal or oyster shells. Go ahead and toss these out. Charcoal is most certainly going to cause black droppings. I suspect you will see an improvement almost immediately. Paper towels are just fine for the cage bottom. Corn cob is OK, but it can have a lot of dust which can be irritating to birds. And if they eat it, it can get impacted in their system. So I would recommend going back to the paper towels your mom always used. NO MORE over the counter medicines! Those are very diluted, broad spectrum antibiotics and they can cause more harm than good. If a bird does have an infection, they can help the bird at first, but they are not strong enough to kill off the bacteria, so instead the bacteria come back stronger and the bird ends up dying without vet care. The one you mentioned is no longer being sold.

As for your birds, at their age, they can be considered elderly. So sleeping a lot is not necessarily a sign that anything is wrong. I do think you will see the color if their droppings change once the charcoal is out of their systems. The charcoal can actually absorb good nutrients, so this is not something they should have. Charcoal is administered very rarely by Vets, as a treatment for certain poisons. It is not something they should have otherwise. They also do not need the oyster shells or any type of grit. It was once believed that birds need grit, but grit has not been recommended for decades due to it not being necessary, and because it can actually kill your bird if it consumes a lot of it. A leaf of Romaine or other dark green is very good for them. As with anything, too much isn’t good, but giving them a small leaf of baby romaine, or tearing off a piece of a large leaf for them daily is good for them. Parakeets also tend to like broccoli florets.

For now, stop the items I mentioned, and continue with the romaine and their regular food. The droppings should look better in a few days to a week. If they still look dark to you, smear one on a white paper towel – most likely you will be able to tell that they are very dark green rather than black. Give them some time to get over all of the stress they have been through this year. Then in a month or two – maybe after the holidays – you can look into some better foods for them. If they only eat seeds, then most certainly it would be good to get them on a better diet. But for now, they have had too many changes, so it’s best to take away the items I mentioned and let them settle into their new routine, without the stress you mentioned.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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