Was going to say that her vent looks perfectly normal, but you already have that from the vet. My own feeling is that the hens are more inclined to be on the tubby side to see them through the harder times of raising and feeding a family. How a budgie gets around their cage seems to be a personal thing, as well. I see this with mine and their approach to getting onto a swing - one might climb across on the cage bars and gently get on, while another will fly from the furtherest spot and set the swing flying so that the birdie on the other side almost hits the roof of the cage!
We are not Vets, Avian or otherwise. If you have any serious doubts about your budgies' health an appointment with an Avian vet should always be your first point of call.
My extremely beloved, unusually intrepid and intelligent, very tame and very beautiful budgie hen died suddenly and unexpectedly overnight. To calm myself down I'm going to tell the whole story and I'd be grateful for any advice but PLEASE be gentle as I am extremely fragile.
I will outline what happened for anyone who has time to read, as I'm trying to understand what went wrong. (Although I already have a fairly good idea.)
Bimbo was only a little over two and a half when she died, which is way too young. I posted pictures of her on here when I got her back from the aviary. She was always so beautiful and confident. I got her when she was eight weeks and spent a great many hours with her when she was young. She became extremely - I'd say unusually - tame; in turn, I became very attached to her. At times, she seemed more human than avian. About six months ago, my guilt (at leaving her alone when I left the house) reached a peak. She would go all still, stare into the distance, and sway from foot to foot. It also didn't help that she would sometimes get into the mating position for me. So - although my retired husband is often in - I decided to re-home a boy of a similar age (Buster - his owner didn't seem bothered about him). I was worried it would dilute our bond / her tameness but it didn't seem to. They got along relatively well but it was always a little one sided (he - utterly devoted - followed her like she was a queen. She - less enthusiastic, would reject him at times and tolerate him at other times). She allowed him to feed her and they would do mutual head preening.
So, we are all living happily when I began to notice (now there are two) how much more active he was than her. I began to leave the cage doors open all day so they can go in / come out / fly around the room as they pleased and then go back in. On the four days that I work (not too long hours). Buster was out like a shot. He seemed to have cabin fever and although she did come out and fly around a bit, she didn't shoot out the way he did. Also, (and how I wish I'd worried more about this now), when inside the cage, he would hop from perch to perch like a canary and be more mobile around the cage (a Ferplast Canto). She would always clamber up the bars and climb laboriously across the sides, using her beak, rather than hop. She had been like this from a young age.
I wasn't unduly concerned but realise now that I should have been.
The next thing - and probably my fatal error - was that they appeared to be mating every now and again and she was displaying excessive nesting behaviour. She was trying to make a nest all the time out of everything: folds in curtains; my handbag; pushing her body in between books on the shelf; diving inside the cardboard insert of kitchen roll; jumping into the seed pot; getting into drawers; climbing into shoes, etc. Although knowing the risks of egg-bound hens, I decided to facilitate this instinct so I got her a nestbox. I figured that, yes, she is a caged, tame bird (which is unnatural), so wouldn't it be nice for her to be able to follow what was clearly a strong natural instinct? Would it really be fair to deny her the opportunity of being a budgie mum? Within eight days of fixing the box to the cage, there was an egg in it! She absolutely loved going in that nestbox! I knew she was nesty but was still surprised by how quickly it happened. The egg was slightly streaked with blood and she had dried blood on her vent feathers which I dabbed off. She showed no signs of distress or discomfort - if she had, I would have brought her in to the vet. Two days later, the second egg arrived, but it was on the floor of the cage so I picked it up and placed it in the nestbox. Again, this egg had traces of blood but her vent was clean this time - no matted feathers or clotted blood. She was proud of her eggs and was constantly going in and out of the nestbox and would get agitated if I lifted the door up. About a day and a half / two days later (so when the next egg was due) she died. The manner of it was horrendous.
I covered her cage and left them in darkness at about 10.30pm. She was looking a bit tired - her eyes were closing. She had been nibbling some seeding rye grass earlier that evening, but not with quite her usual enthusiasm. Buster ate the same grass and he eats from the same seed pots. I know the grass hadn't had anything chemicals sprayed on, as I only ever pick it at wild places. At about 7.15am the next morning I went in to say good morning to them as I always do, knocking on the door first. I saw Buster but not her, so thought 'Oh! She must have already gone in the nestbox'. It was then that I looked around the cage and saw her laid out on the floor - obviously very dead. It was one of the worst shocks of my life. She hadn't seemed ill but did seem a little weary. She had been chirping / playing the night before - perhaps slightly less energetically.
I am beside myself with guilt and remorse as I feel I caused this by letting her have the nestbox. Within 14 days of getting it, she was dead. I examined her vent and it was all closed up and normal-looking. There was no egg sticking out or poo stuck there. I had got her special egg powder from Jollyes pet shop and was adding it to her seed. I was adding Haith's tonic to her water. I was feeding her natural seeding rye grass and bits of carrot / apple. But ultimately, she didn't move around much in the normal course of events and was always a big girl. She was always eating oval seeds first and that is another regret. I wish I'd found a brand that didn't have any groats at all. I think (suspect) she was overweight and the effort of passing eggs caused her to have a heart attack. If I could turn back time I would never have got a nestbox. I knew it was always a risk but she was so insanely one-track-minded about trying to make a nest, it seemed kind to let her have a go at it and bless her, she nearly got there. I didn't want to deprive her of all her natural instincts. I thought the problem would be getting egg bound, which is potentially treatable if acted on quickly and I had the number of an avian specialist on my phone. I think her eggs would have been fertile as she was definitely doing it with her mate.
I utterly loved this bird. Whenever she had a whim, I would pander to it, and I killed her with kindness. I don't know what else it could have been other than a heart attack. On the floor of her cage, her feet were curled up as though she had been clutching the perch.
I am trying to hold on to the positives, which are many: She had a budgie mate in the last portion of her life, and he provided proper companionship of a kind I couldn't supply. She did become more active this year and started flying a bit more - following her friend She had an excellent life - came on holidays - went in the garden - had baths - even watched a carnival once She was only ever alone for about 36 hours - I always took her to someone who would provide companionship / noise, if I went anywhere. She had toys and enjoyed playing with them. She was happy, healthy and playful - always interacting. I gave her opportunities every day of her life to fly outside the cage (but she didn't always take them). She may possibly have had an underlying heart problem that was worsened by favouring groats and trying to lay eggs - in other words, it wasn't only her seed and her eggs. I had stopped giving her millet at least a year ago.
I do feel it was my fault. If only we could have had a bit more time with her! If only I had taken her to a vet to check her suitability and fitness before introducing the box (but she was so young, and supposedly in her prime)! If only I hadn't got her a mate (to make her life more 'natural') she might not have been so nesty, and then I wouldn't have got the box (to make her life more natural)! There are so many 'if onlys....!' If only she had been taken ill when I was there, I might have been able to hold her or comfort her, but instead she died alone, probably in distress, in the dark. But she was in her own cage in her own bedroom (yes, my budgies have their own bedroom upstairs) with her cage mate. I don't know how long it took her to die and I pray it was quick. She was not in obvious discomfort the night before but she did seem slightly less active.
Every day I would drive to a rural place on my way home from work to pick her seeding grass. Every day I would be enthusiastic about coming back to the house to see her. She made every day better. This has all gone now. The fact I feel this is my fault makes it worse. Meanwhile I have a bereaved and very sweet little boy who is distressed and calling for her. ((((Please don't say anything unkind about how stupid I have been.))))
Hi . A very well written post . I am sad for your loss . My hopes are that the future for you , your bird and family becomes brighter . There is that saying " that it is better to have loved and lost , than to have never loved at all " . Most sincerely Ron