Friday, December 31, 2010

The Budgiergar, By Rob Marshall

At the last meeting of the Maryland Budgerigar Society--December 4th 2010, the group held an impromptu book review of Dr. Rob Marshall's new book, "The Budgerigar".

Budgie club meeting host, Stephen Witmer, had a copy of the book, and shared it with the rest of us. For details of the book's contents or to purchase, and even a recommendation by Gary Hicken, go to:
"The Budgerigar" is no doubt the most extensive book to be written on the subject of the Budgie since Gerald Binks published "The Challenge". While the focus of "The Challenge" is more on the Exhibition Budgie and showing, "The Budgerigar", by Dr. Marshall, an avian vet, contains astonishing detail on Budgie health and disease. In fact, after reading Chapter Twenty Seven, Two Most Significant Budgerigar Diseases, Chapter Twenty Eight, The Most Devastating Diseases of Budgerigars and Chapter Twenty Nine, Diseases of Impaired Immunity, I am amazed any Budgies live at all. Nonetheless, the book is a treat for all aficionados of the budgie and is a must buy, even though it sells for a hefty $114.00.
Dr. Marshall also sells a number of supplements that he recommends in his book to maintain healthy birds. I purchased a number of the recommended supplements, and I am sure my Budgies will benefit from them. Happy Reading and Happy Breeding!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Simply Amazing Budgie Facts:

  • A budgie has between 2,000 and 3,000 feathers on its body.
  • Budgies have monocular vision, which means they use each eye independently.
  • Budgies have fewer taste buds than humans.
  • Budgies grind their beaks when they are contented.
  • 45% of pet birds kept in the US are Budgies, according to statistics from the American Pet Product Manufacturers Assn
  • Budgies have air sacs in some of their bones (pneumatic bones)
  • The budgie's average resting heart rate is 350 to 550 beats per minute.
  • Budgies can turn their heads 180 degrees (they have more neck vertebrae than humans).
  • A bird can only withstand the loss of 20 percent of its blood (for a budgie, that’s about 12 drops)
  • During breeding season, a female bird's bones become denser as they store calcium--a female's skeleton can weigh up to 20% more during the breeding season that it does during the rest of the year.
  • Vitamin D and protein aid in the absorption of calcium
  • Budgie egg shells are perforated by thousands of tiny holes (pores) that allow the free exchange of gases--mainly carbon dioxide and oxygen.
  • Light plays a large role in stimulating the ovary and bringing the hen into breeding condition.
  • Bird's lungs don't expand and contract to bring in air. Instead the bird's body wall muscles expand and contract--to force the air out and in.
  • Birds do not have a bladder or a urethra.
  • Budgies have semi-plume feathers, which are found on a bird's beak, nostrils (cere) and eyelids
  • Budgies have a 3rd eyelid.
  • In the past, Budgies were also known around the world as Shell Parrots, Warbling Grass Parakeets, Zebra Parrots, Undulated Parakeets, and Canary Parrots.
  • Budgerigar supposedly means "good to eat" in aboriginal language.
  • The average respiratory rate for a budgie is between 65 and 85 breath per minute.
  • The scientific melopsittacus undulatus, means song sparrow with wavy lines.
  • John Gould reportedly brought the first live budgie to Europe in 1840
  • All budgie colors originate from the green and yellow budgie. The first color mutation to appear reportedly was the yellow bird with faint green suffusion in 1872.
  • The first blue budgie appeared in 1878

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Turn Weeds into Feed!

Budgies love fresh greens. I feed them dandilions year round, fresh from the garden. The Budgies also enjoy mint, a herb that grows like a weed. Plant some mint and you will have plenty of fresh food. Another great bonus to feeding mint, as your birds chomp on it, your aviary will smell minty fresh. Rinse your greens well before serving and make sure they do not contain any wild bird poop on them--you don't want to pass on any disease from the wild birds to your beloved budgies. Serve your greens dripping wet to the budgies. They will enjoy rolling in them and taking a bath in them.
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Thursday, July 22, 2010

When to Assist a Chick in Hatching

Understanding when a chick is ready to hatch is difficult. An egg takes 18 days to develop only after the hen begins incubating the egg. Usually, the hen will start sitting in earnest on her eggs after she has laid a couple of eggs, which are laid every other day. So, even if you record the date the eggs are laid and number the eggs, you will not necessarily be able to calculate when the egg is truly due to hatch.

Begin to watch eggs closely after the 18 day window has passed for signs that an egg is ready to hatch. This is particulary important during the summer months or when the air is dry which can cause the membrane inside the egg to dry out and attach to the chick making it difficult for the chick escape.

Eggs that are ready will be darkened and solid looking. The air space in the egg will be quite small. With a pen light, the egg will reveal less liquid inside. Even after observing these indications however, if you decide you need to assist, you may be too early and the chick will die. Examine the egg closely to determine if there are any chips or cracks in the egg that the chick may have started. Usually, if all is going well, the chick will have little difficulty escaping the shell. Observing an egg with a pip in it probably indicates that the chick needs help.

The best way to tell if a chick is ready to hatch is by holding the egg up to your ear. If you can hear the chick peeping inside, it is ready to experience life. At this time, I always intervene.

To assist an egg hatching, use a penlight to determine where the air space in the egg is. Use a fingernail and gentley chip away the egg shell. At this time, the head of the chick can be seen, gentley peel away the rest of the egg. If the membrane is stuck to the chick, use some warm water to gentley remove it. The umbilical cord will be a bit bloody and attached to the membrane/shell. Carefully pull the umbilical cord free. It will dry up shortly. Return the chick to the nestbox. No need to dry the chick, it will dry on its own. If the chick is exhausted from trying to escape the shell, it may need time to rest. It may be weakened not able to cry much to be fed by the hen. If this is the case, and the mother hen is an inexperienced feeder, you may wish to put your newly assisted hatch baby in a nestbox with an experienced hen if she also has newly hatched chicks.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Nature sounds budgerigar calls for contented and healthy pets

Be Ready to Show

Be prepared for shows by keeping a show bag reserved just for shows. Probably the best show bag is one that isn't too large. A toiletry bag with a zipper is a good option. Your show bag should be kept packed and ready to deploy at a moments notice. Items that are a must for your show bag are:

1. toothbrush to use to clean up any last minute feather disasters
2. tweezers for spotting the birds' mask
3. clips for your show tags to apply to show cages
4. clear eye solution (great for getting out blood stains)
5. pre-ordered ink stamp with your name and address for your show tags
6. extra pair of eye glasses for the vision challenged breeder
7. band cutters
8. magnifying glass to have a good luck at any problem areas on your bird
9. pens to write up your show tag
10. personalized business cards with your contact info in case someone wants to get in touch with you regarding your birds
11. black sharpie to touch up your show cages if needed
12. small picture album of your aviary--Pauline Domenage has a wonderful small photo album that she keeps in her show bag to share at shows. The album has pictures of her aviary--the Budge Pad.

What other items do you keep in your Show Bag? Please share so we can all be prepared to show our birds at their best.