On the 4th of July two beautiful rainbow budgies came to live with us, Charlie and Sunshine. They were born 1 May this year. Charlie developed breathing problems the following Wednesday and we rushed them both to the vets, the vet kept them in and it wasn’t until the 13th that we could bring them home. We had to continue giving them oral meds for a few weeks but they made a full recovery.
In August Charlie stared his first moult, all was going well, Sunshine joined him in her first moult a couple of weeks later and they came out for their first fly at the end of that month. Charlie was the more nervous but she mostly covered it and would be first to any toys which she would claim and hers and the same with food. There weren’t any big fights but a fair few sqabbles. her favourite thing is the world was to throw things, the bigger and louder the crash the better. Possibly this was coz I would invariably reply ‘Oh Charlie’ whenever she did so. I gave them a pot of wood and acrylic toys and she would throw them one at a time out of the pot for me to pick back up.
With the weather warm Charlie was also first in the bath! She took to the bath really well and would get in there with Sunshine. They both love veggies and Charlie’s latest thing was to grab mouthfuls of food and wander around the cage and spit them out somewhere else. This started after I put them back on regular seed after a while on ‘budgie rocket fuel.’ so we joked it was in protest but she got a reaction so would do it with any food in the end. I had to take them off the high energy stuff as they are in a Ferplast Record 3 cage as they were still on quarantine and it was making them far too bouncy for the space the cage allowed.
This week was coming to the end of 8 weeks quarantine after the extra month to be sure they were clear of the infection they had caught. I was hoping to get them side by side with Robin this week, I fed them before I had my breakfast and Charlie hopped on my arm as I put the food pot in, the were eating and drinking and chattering as normal. I had my breakfast and sat about 3 feet from them with a cup of tea, to catch up on a programme I recorded. I looked over and saw only Sunny on a perch but sitting tall as they do when they were scared. I called ‘Where’s Charlie?’ which if she was playing out of sight on the floor would normally bring her up to a perch to see what was going on but nothing happened, all quiet. I went over to look and my poor baby had died and was lying on the floor of the cage. I couldn’t believe it, there had been no sneezing no sickness, nothing to suggest she wasn’t in perfect health, only the day before she had been out for a fly. She was still warm so it must have only just happened.
If you have birds and want to help them through the loss of a partner bird Please read on.
After taking Charile out to check she had indeed passed on I put her body back in the cage. I’ve kept birds for over 40 years and its traumatic for everyone when a loved bird dies but if there is a partner bird and you just take one away, its even more heart-breaking to hear them call and call for the lost bird. I have found if you let them see the body and be with it for a while they settle afterwards much quicker.
At first Sunshine ignored Charlie, then he looked and called, next he went down to the floor of the cage and ate the sand sheet for a while getting gradually closer and closer to Charlie. After a while of this he nuzzled her, preened her, called to her and later came back to the perch and went back to ignoring her. Wait a little while longer but once the partner bird starts ignoring again, take the body out.
If you had to have your bird put to sleep or he/she died of an infection don’t put the body back in the cage but do leave it near the cage in sight of the partner bird. They will still call and investigate after the initial ignoring, it seems to help them.
We have another bird, Robin who is 5 years old in a much bigger cage but he was aggressive toward a previous bird (Tiny) so I’m nervous of trying to introduce Sunshine to him but Sunshine has gone quite timid with being alone as he’s always had Charlie with him. Health issues mean its not going to be possible to get any other bird for quite some time so I’ve started to put Sunshine’s cage near Robins just for a little while so they get used to being around each other.
Poor Charlie she was feisty, bity and bad tempered but I still loved her, even if she did take chunks out of me, I can’t believe she died, she was so young! I can only think it must have been a heart attack as she was showing no signs of illness nor made any sound before she died.
This is a picture of her with Sunshine, taken in July before their moult. Charlie is the blue one. She was only with us for 90 days and one morning.
Rest in peace Charlie, I hope you find the rest of our flock at Rainbow bridge and we can all be together again one day.