Worming – Purchasing – Vitamin D – Showing Hens

Should I worm my stud & use an anti-protozoal drug against trichomonas & giardia?

GSB: Apart from an overall treatment in the first instance, if it has never been done before, you should not treat again unnecessarily.

The sensible action is to isolate ALL new arrivals in a separate room and treat them immediately before release into the main stud.

Your outside flight must also be covered on the roof to prevent any indigenous infected birds excreting into it and thus infecting your disease free stud.

There are countless examples of fanciers ignoring these basic rules and budgerigars being lost in good numbers

When buying a bird, what should I check before parting with my hard-earned money?

GSB: Firstly examine the bird closely. Is it tight in feather or loose feathered and huddled? Catch it and check for the following:

  1. Is it clean round the vent area and with no stained feathers?
  2. Is it full in the hand and has bright eyes?
  3. Look for and feel for any cysts around the lower gut area and in particular examine the wing butts where cysts are easy to miss.
  4. Feel the crop. Is it normal with some seed inside it or is it bloated – which raises a question about the bird’s digestive tract?

My aviary is completely enclosed. What should I do about the lack of direct sunshine with its vital vitamin D factor?

Seed treated with cod liver oilGSB: Vitamin D that is lost in this way should be replaced artificially via multivitamin solutions and / or cod liver oil bought from your pharmacy.

Should hens be taken to shows?

GSB: Hens are generally more easily stressed during transport and while being moved around inside the exhibition. I suggest that you take them to no more than two to three shows only and certainly not three day shows.

On arrival home from a show, give them every care and attention and allow them access to food and grit before extinguishing the lights should you arrive home late.

Do not overshow them and they will subsequently breed well.


Filed Under: BeginnersBreedingExhibiting



About the Author: Gerald Binks began breeding budgerigars when he was 12 years old and is now arguably the most knowledgeable budgerigar fancier in the world. He has bred his fair share of Best in Show birds, judged in no less than 20 countries, founded the World Budgerigar Association, and has published two of the three classic books on the hobby. His stud in the UK attracts fanciers from near and far and is always high on the list for those wishing to purchase BA23 quality budgerigars.

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  1. Twila Gage says:

    One of my hens is eating the eggs shortly after they are laid.

    The first egg was broken and shen removed it out of the next box. She ate the second egg soon after laying it and did the same with the third.

    She lays in the afternoon and by the time I get home from work all that is left is a bit of shell.

    It’s frustrating that I can’t even get to the eggs to remove them.

    It seems she may be deficient, but I feed her budgie breeder and budgie tonic, feast softfood with wheatgerm oil, and a cuttle fish bone.

    She is a good quality bird, what should I do?

  2. Hi Twila

    This is a common problem and, if a quality hen is involved, very frustrating.

    However the breeder needs to be careful as frequently it is the cock that can be the offender. Cocks do chip a hole in the egg and eject it from the nest.

    The solution is to re-pair it / them to another female to check this out.

    If you are certain it is the hen that is breaking up her eggs then you have a problem that cannot be solved.

    Some breeders have a nest box concave with a hole through the centre in the hope that the egg(s) will drop through into a “catching receptacle” which contains sawdust to prevent breakage. That can work but frankly most breeders “move on” to re-pairing the non-offender to another partner.

    Finally it should be mentioned that some cocks try to mate inside the box with disastrous results to the eggs.

  3. Dr Rob Marshall says:

    Hi Twila

    My view on the egg eating hen problem is as follows:

    This abnormal behaviour may be an inherent parenting flaw or a physically induced behavioural problem.

    My approach to this problem is to see if the abnormal behaviour occurs in related birds. If so, breed away from this family. If there is no family relationship with this abberant behaviour then a low blood glucose or low blood calcium level is the immediate cause of the egg eating as low calcium and glucose levels induce irritability and anxiety in birds (and humans). Recall how we become irritable by the afternoon when miss lunch or do not eat all day.

    The underlying cause of the low blood glucose or calcium in an individual bird does not always indicate an inherent weakness. Rather it is more likely that this bird has entered the breeding cabinet at an inappropriate stage of its breeding cycle (see Chapter 22 The Budgerigar book). So it would be unwise to cull such a bird from your breeding plans until appropriate treatment has been completed.

    Egg eating will occur when the hen has been placed in the breeding cabinet too late in her breeding cycle or before she has shown signs of breeding condition. When placed in the breeding cabinet too late she has not received the courtship stimulation or nest making activities that prime her female hormone release. In some birds this may produce a “cystic ovary” that produces copious amounts of fluid in the abdomen. This hormonal condition causes anxiety in budgerigars. You may have noticed this condition as a tight feeling abdominal distension (with tail bob and wet pasted vent) in affected hens.

    See chapter 22 “Breeding Pair Problems” of “The Budgerigar” book for a detailed discussion on this subject.

    As well, if the hen has been placed in the breeding cabinet at an inappropriate time she becomes susceptible to low blood calcium and energy levels whilst laying the eggs. These abnormal blood findings will cause anxiety and egg eating in an attempt to replenish her calcium levels. This condition will occur usually after the second egg so it is important to observe when she starts eating her eggs.

    The immediate treatment is to fortify the food or drinking water with an energy source (e.g. Quick gel) and potent calcium source (e.g. Hical or Calcium Sandoz syrup) each day for 5 days. Remember a diet lacking in energy and calcium and vitamin D or lack of sunlight (which provides vitamin D) will also predispose to a calcium availability problem.

    In terms of vitamin D deficiency it is important to note if the hen is in a breeding cabinet that is in a dark spot in the stud away from the sunlight or UVA (an artificial vitamin D) light source. For example a nesting site that is high near the ceiling or too close to the floor.

    I hope this helps you with your problem.

    Dr Robert Marshall. Veterinary Advisor to Budgerigar.co.uk

  4. Martin McKibben says:


    I have a male english budgie that sits fluffed up and has been like this for several months. In the summer he comes around. He also sits very close to a heat lamp.

    He eats well and his droppings look normal but he always looks unwell – his feathers look a bit ruffled.

    He gets a good diet of vegtables, cuttlebone, iodine and some egg food now and again.

    I would appreciate any help you can give.

    Thanks in advance, Martin

  5. Gerald Binks says:

    Dear Martin,

    As your bird has a protracted, long term appearance of the symptoms described, I am suspicious that the amount of iodine may well be your trouble – as only minute quantities are needed. An excess will affect the thyroid gland adversely.

    However you do not indicate if you have one bird or more. If more and they are fit, then iodine overdose is not a factor.

    There are at least 15 different budgerigar diseases that give the same symptoms you describe, so may I ask you to work your way steadily through Dr Robert Marshall’s diagnostic techniques which are published on this website under “Health”.

    This will narrow down the possible cause.

    Gerald Binks

  6. Tiago says:

    tenho uma fêmea que comprei recentemente á qual juntei um macho.
    Tiraram 2 crias, mas um dia quando vi tinha o macho morto, sem cabeça, a fêmea estava cheia de sangue no bico e as crias estavam frias no ninho, quase que as perdi.
    Por agora tenho a fêmea numa gaiola em separado, mas sempre que junto um macho ela passa ao ataque.
    Fêmea do criador Rui Teixeira de Portugal, muito boa, mas com este temperamento não sei o que fazer? Existe solução?

  7. Hi Tiago,

    Just go on website home page where you will find few bars including translate, search, archives and tags.

    Google will help in detection or finding language.

    Translation from Portuguese into English language are as under:

    “I have recently bought a female who will be joined which a male.
    Took 2 chicks, but one day when I saw the dead had male headless female was full of blood on the beak and the pups were cold in the nest, almost lost them.
    For now I am a female in a separate cage, but whenever she passes along a male to attack.
    Female designer Rui Teixeira of Portugal, very good, but with this temperament do not know what to do? Improve?”

    Gerald will reply you,

    Habib Ur Rehman, Pakistan

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