Q: I am fostering an adult budgie with three babies. I have never had budgie babies before. The chicks have all developed bald spots on their chests. The largest budgie, which is about 3 to 4 weeks old, developed its bald spot last. The youngest budgie, which is maybe a little under 2 weeks old, developed its bald spot first.
I have no way of knowing if the adult is the parent of all three babies or of just one or two of them. The birds were part of a group of 83 parakeets that were surrendered to the MSPCA. I keep the parent in a separate room from the babies.
I feed them egg food and seed and have been putting vitamins in their water. I also add vitamins to one of their seed mix feedings once a day.
I think the bald spots could be from next box rubbing, as they were on soft towels in the basket I found them in, or because of the moistened paper towels I use to carefully clean off the babies’ beaks after they’re hand-fed. Alternatively, do you think it could be too much vitamins in the water?
Margrethe Warden explains:
Mixing vitamins in a bird’s drinking water is not necessarily the best way to deliver them. The amount of water any bird might consume in a given day can vary dramatically and can result in it receiving an exceptionally high dose or almost none at all. If supplementing the diet with vitamins is needed, it might be more efficient to mix a measured dose in with the egg mixture or other soft foods that are fed daily. This will ensure the bird receives a more appropriate dosage and also helps prevent contamination of the drinking water. Birds being hand-fed should not need additional vitamin supplementation if a commercial hand-feeding formula is being used.
There are a number of factors that could cause bald spots on the chicks, including surface rubbing or being plucked by the adult. If you suspect the cause might be something other than that, consult an avian veterinarian.