Choosing a veterinarian for your budgies

Medical intervention by a veterinarian may be critical to your budgie's life in emergency situations. Hence, you must locate a veterinarian in your locality before any emergency befalls your budgie. Once you move to a new locality it is better to look up the telephone listings or the internet to locate a suitable veterinarian for your bird.

Vets best suited for your budgies are usually Avian veterinarians who specialize in treating birds. Avian veterinarians are specially trained to treat birds .

Check out the vet's accreditations and qualifications. These can be obtained from the local Professional association for Avian veterinarians.
Talk to your vet about his experience with treating budgies in particular, his fees and his schedule (whether he will make house visits and emergency calls, in the night, for example).
It is good if the vet has budgies at his home. Such vets may be better accustomed to the needs of budgies.
Check out the ambience of the clinic and the approach of the staff to the birds brought to them. Birds should be made to feel comfortableAlso enquire about his fees for different procedures.

Splayed Legs

The term "Splayed Legs" refers to a condition in Budgies in which the legs of the bird are distorted away from the normal position. The legs are seen to be pointed sideways instead of forward. The bird struggles to walk. In severe conditions, the bird may not be able to stand at all.

The Exact reasons for splayed legs is not fully known. A wide variety of causes are suspected such as a mother sitting too heavily on a chick, calcium deficiency, slippery nest floor, etc.

Preventing Splayed legs

Give your budgies plenty of calcium. Calcium strengthens the bones and prevents them from getting splayed. Calcium can be given by putting a cuttle bone inside the cage for your budgies to chew on.  You can also give them calcium supplements your vet may prescribe.

It is important to ensure that the floor of the nest is not slippery. An ideal nest surface would be concave. It is a good idea to put wood shavings in the nest floor to prevent slipping.

Another idea would be to put a pebble in the nest floor, between the eggs, so that the mother budgie does not sit too tightly over the chicks.

Splayed legs can be corrected when detected early. A popular method of correcting them is by putting splints which hold the legs straight in very young chicks. Intervention at later stages does not help. Hence, it is important to identify the problem early.

Prognosis

Splayed legs result in reduced quality of life for the budgie. Budgies with splayed legs may not be able to fly as they cannot "take off". Neither can they land. They usually have to be content climbing the bars of the cage to reach their perch.

In cases of severe splaying, the breast bones may have to carry the body weight as they legs are spread wide apart. This can be make it difficult for the budgie to breathe.  This can eventually cause death.

However, there are survival stories as well. I had a budgie which was born splayed.  She grew to be a happy bird and a successful mother who raised many chicks. A born survivor, she would climb the walls of the cage holding on to the bars with her beak.

Cuttlebone for Budgies

Budgies, especially female, need calcium as they lay eggs. Calcium deficiency can cause a dangerous condiction called egg binding in female budgies where the eggs, having soft shells due to lack of calcium, get stuck in the vent, causing death.

Hence, it is vital that the diet the budgies eat contains lot of calcium. The Cuttle bone is a common source of calcium. Cuttle bone as the name suggests comes from the cuttlefish. It is available in all pet stores. The cuttle bone may be placed inside the cage. Some pet owners prefer to crush the cuttlebone into powder and add to the budgies' food. 

You can also provide other sources of calcium for your budgies such as broken eggshells and commercial calcium supplements which are available in the market.

Another alternative would be to use mineral blocks. Mineral blocks are supplements which contain calcium as well as other ingredients such as phosphorus, zinc, Iron, Magnesium, etc necessary for the health of the budgie.