Budgies can suffer from itchy skin because they need a bath or they have a parasitic infestation. Red mites, lice or scaly face mites could be to blame. When these are left untreated, the bird will progress from scratching to feather plucking to relieve the discomfort. A bird with mites, for example, might scratch its face so severely that it causes small wounds. The scales also build up on the beak and can cause deformities. Offer the budgie a bath initially to help relieve itching. Use approximately 1/2 inch of warm water. If this does not help ease the itching, then consider parasites.
Look at the base of the tail of the budgie and under its wings. Push the feathers back and look along them. Watch for tiny dark lines. Tiny dark lines in the budgies' feathers indicate lice.
Purchase a lice spray for budgies from a pet supply store or veterinarian. Follow directions on the label. Spray the bird once from head to tail and then wait two days before reapplying.
Wash and sanitise the birdcage and bird dishes. Use a combination of 50 per cent white distilled vinegar and 50 per cent water to clean the cage and perches. Run food and water dishes through the dishwasher.
Watch for a build-up of white scales around the eyes, beak and feet. These can look like tiny fish scales or little pieces of dandruff. This parasitic condition can cause deformities if left untreated for a long time. The budgie will often leave bloody wounds on its skin from scratching because scaly face mites cause intense itching.
Purchase Ivomec or Ivermectin from your veterinarian. Follow the vet's directions for using these solutions in the bird's drinking water.
Apply vegetable shortening or vegetable oil to infected spots to provide the bird with relief from irritated skin and itching. The oily substance helps to ease the itching and can suffocate the mites around the delicate eye area, surrounding the beak skin and on the feet. It will not damage the bird's eyes or skin. Vegetable shortening and vegetable oil are not a cure, but only a way to help ease the bird's discomfort.
Disinfect the cage at the start of the treatment by using 50 per cent distilled white vinegar and 50 per cent water. Run the food dishes through the dishwasher. Wait a week and then repeat the disinfection of cage and food bowls.
Watch the bird closely for infestation. Budgies that suffer from ongoing problems with scaly face mites often have an underlying medical condition.
Cover the cage of any budgie suffering from severe itching or feather plucking with a white sheet at night. In the morning, examine the sheet for small red or black spots that indicate red mite infestations. Mites live in the cage cracks and all areas of the house. They will venture out at night to feed on the blood of the budgie. They also bite humans.
Treat the entire house for bird mites. Dust the bird with mite powder. Follow the directions on the label for the miticide powder.
Purchase borax at a supermarket. Mix a ratio of 50 per cent borax with 50 per cent floor wax in a bucket. Mop all hard surfaces with the solution. Wash down all wood using this mixture including wood furniture.
Mix 50 per cent borax with 50 per cent water in a hand-held sprayer. Spray all walls, corners and ceilings. Lightly mist drapes. Wash the bird cage with the borax and water mixture.
Sprinkle undiluted borax on all carpets, area rubs, mattresses and upholstery. Let it sit for one hour and then vacuum. Launder all clothing with borax. Repeat all steps for red mite control every four weeks until infestation is cured.
When offering the budgie a bath, set the thermostat to approximately 26.7 degrees Celsius so the bird does not become cold. You can wrap the bird in a towel until it is dry if the budgie will allow you to touch it.
Bird mites can be extremely hard to eradicate. If the infestation for red mites remains after two months of treating with borax, call an exterminator.
Tips and warnings
- When offering the budgie a bath, set the thermostat to approximately 26.7 degrees Celsius so the bird does not become cold. You can wrap the bird in a towel until it is dry if the budgie will allow you to touch it.
- Bird mites can be extremely hard to eradicate. If the infestation for red mites remains after two months of treating with borax, call an exterminator.