strange sounds and puffed feathers

I have a question, my parakeet/ budgie (one of two) has started making strange sounds and has had its feathers puffed up very often for about a week or so now. He also seems to be breathing heavily or possibly shivering. The other (female) has been staying very close to him and is fine- no unusual behavior. I have owned various budgies for 20+ years and do not remember ever having this occur.

I am wondering if he may have a cold or be cold? We have had cold weather outside but I keep the house at a constant temp all the time. The cage in not near the door. I put a blanket over the cage at night, but forgot once recently. Do you have any thoughts? I thought maybe a lamp/ light close to the cage to help it keep warm IF that is what it needs- not sure? Both are eating and drinking fine. Im very confused, any insight you have would be appreciated. Thank you

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Jan 01, 2011
strange sounds and puffed feathers
by: Linda

Hi, I just read your question and Tracie's answer. The only thing I'll add is that is does sound like your bird has an infection as anytime you hear labored breathing this is result of an infection. The other issue here is that the other bird will also need to be taken to the Avian Vet at the same time and tested. I recommend a throat swab for both of them to determine kind of bacterial infection they have. The anal swab is almost useless as there is always some bacteria in the anal area. The throat swab gives an accurate reading as to what type of bacteria which then tells the Avian vet what kind of meds to give your bird.It could also be a viral infection which are just as contageous and dangerous as the bacterial. Both birds will be incubating either one.

Both birds have to be diagnosed and treated as one because infections, both bacterial and viral are highly contageous and very easily passed to each other. This is even more true if the birds live in the same cage where they eat and drink out of the same dishes.

Your bird may appear okay now with the eating and drinking, and this will change as birds do not get over infections without diagnosis and treatment. Do not give any over the counter meds as these can and do kill birds or cause kidney and liver failure. This includes meds found in pet stores. Why they are allowed to carry such dangerous drugs and not be vets, I cannot answer, but do not listen to pet store personnel as to what you should or should not do. When birds are sick, they have to have the services of a licensed and trained Avian Vet in order to safely get them back to health.


Jan 01, 2011
A puffed bird is a sick bird
by: Tracie

I am sorry to say, that Dr B can't help because your bird needs to be seen in person by an avian vet to determine what is making your bird sick. He just answered another person with a fluffed up bird and suggested they take the bird to an avian vet.

If you don't have an avian vet, you can look for one at the link below. There are a couple of links at the top of the page below where you can search, if you don't find one listed as a recommendation by our readers.

There are just too many things that could be wrong with your bird to off any suggestions. In fact, trying home remedies more often than not just make it harder for the avian vet to determine what is wrong, if the bird lives through not getting vet care in the first place.

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