Follow Up to Did a 6 Week Absence Cause My Budgie’s Negative Behavior?

Follow Up to Did a 6 Week Absence Cause My Budgie’s Negative Behavior?

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

Hi Mitch,

I just noticed that you posted my questions about Ricky on your Blog. 

Here’s the original post

I’m fine with that but feel a bit uncomfortable about naming my bird’s vet and giving her web address.

I came to you with my query as I am not seeing improvement in my bird after several appointments. 

Your advice has been read and will be re-read. 

I like my bird’s vet and I don’t want to see her name tarnished in any way.

Is it possible to remove her name and web address from your blog? 

I am not comfortable with that being public.

With all due respect, websites are in the public domain.

I’ll advocate that you forward the post for her to defend.

I have a network of world-class avian veterinarians that I can call upon for clarification.


Mites in the genus Dermanyssus are external parasites of birds


From Michigan State University (a little about parasitic bird mites) 


Barbara, at-the-end of the day, I asked the question, if your bird has “mites” why have none been seen?  



I will do that. 

I do remember her telling me that they are not always external and that’s as far as it got. 


I will pursue that with her, that’s for sure.  First I wanted to digest all the info you gave me and give everything a second read.  I have already forwarded some questions I have to you after taking notes on the first read. 


More about bird mites


Once I figure out how to implement the necessary changes, she will be contacted and I will definitely question her about the whole course of treatment she’s been doing.

Unfortunately, when I take Ricky to see her, no one is permitted inside the office. 


I have to wait in the car and when she’s done examining, testing, etc. they call me and I can come to the steps and the receptionist hands me the cage. 


I haven’t liked this, since the pandemic, as I don’t get to be Ricky, nor can I ask questions while he’s being examined. 



I started emailing her to ask her what she did to him and what we can expect. 


Then, at his last two appointments, I e-mailed her prior to bringing him to tell her I wanted her to come to the door and explain what occurred during the appointment, etc.  


Mitch, when he was first examined, her first thought was that he was stressed out about being at my sister’s so long, but that avenue was never explored. 


It went from that to stains and cultures, etc. 


I love my little guy and just want to do right by him.  I’m hoping the light therapy will work but need some more questions answered before it’s implemented. 


Also need further directives on feeding, etc.


Again, I thank you for taking the time to help me help Ricky.




I just got done looking through the wealth of information you sent me.  I need to look at it a second time and my husband also needs to take a look.  


I feel I have major changes to do with Ricky as far as feeding, toys, perches, lighting, etc.  


I am a bit confused re the feeding. 


His first feeding is around 8:00 and that’s when I give him the birdie bread. 


Catherine’s Special Budgie Blend ~ Video


From what I read, should I be giving him the seed mixture using the 2 Vita products, 2 Sunburst products, and the Hagen Clay instead of doing the birdie bread


Do I give him a second feeding at 4:00?  


His 2nd feeding consisted of all those treats mashed up which I understand to be too sweet, salty, etc., and not good for him.  


Should the second feeding also be the seed mixture?


You did have a video of birdie bread, but I’d rather see the ingredients listed with the amount to give for each ingredient.


I’m just not sure how he should be fed now.  


Should I delete the birdie bread I was making for his first feeding and go with the birdie bread on the video after I get all the ingredients from you OR should I do the seed mixture you referred to?  


Will I be feeding him once or twice a day??  


When I implement this change in feeding will that harm him?  


I say this because when I got a parakeet 15 years ago and had her eating seeds, the vet told me to switch to all Harrisons pellets and I did, but she did not like it.  


I called the vet after 2 days and told her she wasn’t going near it and she said to keep giving it to her as she will get hungry enough and eat it. 

Instead, she died!  Is this a major change for Ricky??


As far as shreddable toys, do you have suggestions?  


As you can see, his cage is not huge. 


His favorite toy is the hanging rings which have a bell at the bottom.  


He is on that bottom rope walkway a lot playing with those rings.  


Can you send some images of good shreddable toys that aren’t huge and will accommodate his cage?


As far as the lighting, the recessed light I have was installed 3 years ago when I had my living room renovated.  I can ask my electrician if he can replace the bulb with a 120-volt outlet that will screw into the recessed light socket.  


Since his cage is small is one swag light enough and what should the wattage be if set about 6 inches above the cage? 


Do you sell the swag lights or can it be any swag light that will emit the needed wattage?    


My other thought is —  Have you ever seen a floor lamp that is pretty tall with a flexible light?  


Could something like that work?  


Just curious.


Also, once the lighting is set up, I’m not sure what you meant by your final statement: “…the two of you are able to execute proper light therapy with both the 72 hour and daily lighting protocols.” 


Not sure what that means. 


Do you mean, to go 3 days without ever turning the light off and then revert back to just regular lighting that he’s always had?  


I do know that Dr. Goodman did check out the bottom of Ricky’s feet on his last appointment and she said everything looked good.  


So, I need further clarification about feeding Ricky.  


Can he just have the seed mixture you mentioned and if so once or twice a day?  


Or should he have the birdie bread mixture as the first feeding and the seed mixture as the second feeding? 


If you think I should do the birdie bread, I will need clearer instructions as to ingredients, amounts, baking time, etc.  


Also need to hear from you regarding lighting and shreddable toys for a small bird in a small cage. 


I may have Ed send you a picture of two perches I have but have never used.  


Let me know what you think of them.


Again, many thanks.




Dear Barb


Why are you not asking that very same question of Dr. Goodman?




Hi, Barb,

In my humble opinion, I think you are making Ricky’s feeding tasks more complicated than they need to be.

 We have six budgies.


In the morning they get more of their special seed blend,  freshwater, and  Catherine’s mixed vegetable recipe


The birdie bread can be introduced anytime throughout the day there doesn’t have to be a schedule.


When or three parrots go downstairs in the morning they all have a dish with fresh fruits and vegetables.


It’s not until the afternoon when they come back upstairs do we top off their regular food dishes (ringneck, quaker, and cockatiel).


10 to 15 minutes before the full spectrum lighting turns off, the ringneck and quaker get a small portion of Lafeber’s Avi-cakes.


The ‘tiel gets about 1 inch of a millet sprig,  and whines and dances as he watches the other two birds get their “nummies” first.


Once I place the small sprig of millet in Barney’s dish and close the door he will be munching on it in no more than 5 seconds regardless of where he was in the cage.


A Better Bird Ep 3 Feeding Five Fids on Friday ~ Video


That said regardless of what you might have “heard”  on the internet, there is no protocol for feeding pet birds other than keeping their food and water fresh daily.


It’s that simple.


Ricky weighs what ~  25 g ~ 35 g –  50 g?


So roughly a one-ounce of bird will never come near to eating his body weight on a daily basis.


At the end of the day birds intuitively expect 40% of the day to be hunting for food and 60% of the day trying not to be food.


We feed our birds on a schedule because it suits us but it’s not important to feed them on a particular timetable. 



Birds are happy just to keep a full crop.


Avoid feeding time becoming a chore,  It should be part of your daily routine not a prescribed timetable.


I’m sorry to hear about your bad experience with a vet who recommended nothing but Harrison’s bird food.


I know that you were troubled by my questioning people with high levels of education and degrees (like your current vet).


If we had this conversation at the time you were seeing the first vet I would have told you that 60% of pet birds die of malnutrition.

You can’t starve a bird into a change of food.


As you found out it simply doesn’t work.


I’ll always challenge any individual who says “pellets are required for top-level bird nutrition.”


If that was the case why do we see no pellet trees in the rainforest?


Pellets are nothing more than everything you’re feeding your bird now ground up and then extruded like a child’s play-doh press.


In answer to your question “Is this a major change for Ricky??” 


I’m not the one to ask.


Our 9 birds get 3 different bird food formulations for their daily diet based on their size


The ringneck and quaker get food appropriate for small parrots.


The cockatiel gets food appropriate for a cockatiel as do the budgies.


The blends that we give them are not things that we made up out of the box but created based upon watching what they would and would not eat.


If Ricky stops eating a new diet you have now learned to immediately go back to the old diet because you’re making the transition too fast (and the bird could die of starvation).


Catherine interjecting here: It is not clear that you are leaving food in the bird’s cage between feedings or not.

There should be a dish of dry food in the cage all day and night. It does not have to be a lot, but birds don’t eat three squares as humans do.

They graze on and off all day. Not so much at night, but they are capable of taking a bite or so if they wake.


You can find toys I recommend for Ricky here

And here 


A single swag light with a strong Daylight bulb on a timer will be sufficient for Ricky’s small but comfy cage.


 We do sell swag lights found here 


But it doesn’t have to be complicated or fancy.


The only floor lamps that I’ve seen that are tall enough to go over the cage were in antique shops although you might be able to find one online.


This Sunlite floor lamp would work well but must be shining down above the cage and if not tall enough, it can be set on a small table or cube to raise it up.



You don’t want the bright light facing directly into the bird’s face – above the cage is more efficient, just like the sun and less bothersome for the bird 


Regarding light cycles, we go 3 days with constant light, then 12 hours of light (like 8 am to 8 pm) every day thereafter.


The three days of constant light reset his circadian rhythms trying to eliminate possible self-mutilating behavior which could be why his face is raw.


Extended light therapy cost you next to nothing and the bird needs to take no drugs.


I await to see pictures of perches that you have never used and will be happy to make recommendations.


I’m going to wrap this up by circling back to your veterinarian issues.


One bird died under the care of your first veterinarian.


Ricky has been under the care of your second veterinarian for 5 months without a cure.


It’s important to ask yourself now, is this acceptable?




Hi Mitch,

Thank you so much for your detailed response to my previous e-mail.
I have initiated some changes and I haven’t seen Ricky rubbing his head hardly at all. 

Of course, I am not looking at him all day, but he looks good and the eye area looks good, too.
My husband just sent you some pictures of Rick’s cage.
As you can see I have taken out the dowel perch and installed a Comfy perch.


I also changed out some toys and he’s having fun with the new ones.


I purchased a 6-foot ZooMed Avian Sun Lamp for him and right now have it on top of a stool.

He’s been getting his UVA and UVB rays for 3 days now!

He seems fine with it.


I still play my soothing bird CD’s, too.  All in all, things are going well.

As far as feeding, I will be making a patch of birdie bread and making some changes to that, too.



We’ll see how he takes to it.


I will try again with fruit and veggies, but I had no success with that for the first several months when we got him.


I don’t want to change everything at once, so I am easing into it. I promise not to be as strict with his feedings.


There are a few things I am considering buying from you.


In one video you showed a product that you use to clean his bowls, etc. and in another video you showed a product that you sprinkled on the fruit and vegetables.


I’ll have to go back and see what the names are of those products.


I sure do wish I could find shallow seed cups or feeding dishes for him.  They are nowhere to be found.


His cage is small and the feed cups I use for him measure 3 1/4 inch by 1 inch and are 3/4 inch deep.


They were made by Vo-Toys Inc. Harrison, NJ.


It also has a perch and clings beautifully to the inside of his cage.


It specifically says it is for parakeets and small birds.


The dimensions I gave you are strictly for the feed area.


In all, counting the perch, it’s 3/12 inch by 2 1/2 inch and the same depth.



Do you know of anyone who may have this type of feed cup?


Most of what I’m looking at are like 5 or 6 inches wide and just way too out in the cage.


The cage won’t accommodate that.


Mitch, 3 years ago we renovated our living and dining room and got all new walls, ceilings, recessed lighting, etc.

I didn’t want to alter the look of what was done by having a hook and swag lamp coming from the ceiling.


I am hoping this lamp I got will serve Ricky well.


I’ll keep you posted and very much appreciate your time and effort in helping me help Ricky!



This Post Has One Comment

  1. Hi my name is Cheryl.

    I have a five year old Green cheek Conure. His behavior changed and he started borrowing and nipping when I was holding him. He was also trying to masturbate on his toys.
    Also wanna point out that I live with Amber who has the Cocateil with the egg laying issue. I think she has that result though thanks to you.
    I did the light therapy with my Bird It helped him with his sleeping habits but did not help with the burrowing and biting.
    However now his sleeping habits have gone awry and he’s getting up in the middle of the night and tearing up his toys, he’s even ripping apart his wooden ones. What do you suggest?
    Your help would be greatly appreciated thank you in advance. Cheryl

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