The Budgie & Parakeet Place FAQ Pages:

Does My Budgie Have Parasite Problems?

Lice

Feather lice look like tiny dark lines, about 2 mm long, and lay along the feather barbules, especially on the under side of the wings. They are basically harmless, though unsightly if you know they are there. They want nothing to do with humans, as we have no feathers. They can be easily be treated with an anti-parasite treatment for birds that you can get at any pet store. I have found that a product called Mite and Lice Bird Spray is very effective at quickly eliminating feather lice. See the photo below.
NOTE: These pests do not infest humans.

Scaly Face Mites

Advanced Scaly FaceScaly face mites cause the build up of scale growths to occur on the beak, on the legs, and/or around the eyes, where skin is exposed. If left unchecked, the mite can cause deformations to the budgie's beak and face. The picture on the right is an example of an advanced, untreated case of scaly face (this bird was found in a poorly kept pet shop). Several treatments are available, the best of which is Ivomec or ivermectin.You can get this medicine in a product sold at bird stores, or from an avian veterinarian. You can use http://aav.org/search/index.php to help you look up an avian vet in your area. You must follow the instructions provided by the vet or listed on the product carefully. If you want to try, you can treat this non-medically. You can use shortening (like Crisco) or vegetable oil. Rub a bit on the affected areas, twice a day for about a week. It is important to disinfect the cage and all accessories, once at the beginning and once at the end of treatment.
NOTE: These pests do not infest humans.

Red Mites

Red mites are oval shaped and have a lighter mark on the back. Here's what my book says:


"The Red Mite can be introduced to aviaries by wild birds in the vicinity. These minute parasites live in dark cracks in woodwork and similar sites, venturing out in darkness to feed on the budgerigar's blood. Birds which are breeding are at particular risk, because they spend most of the day and night in the nest box. Both chicks and adult birds are at risk, and anemia will develop in severe cases. Feather-plucking can result from the irritation caused by the mites. Their numbers can increase very rapidly in warm conditions, and they are capable of surviving in small numbers, without feeding, in cages or nest boxes from one breeding season to the next.
"They can be detected by covering a cage with a white cloth at night and then examining the inner side of this the next morning for small red or black specks, which are the engorged mites."
Source: Budgerigars, A Complete Introduction by Tony David


They can be treated with an anti-parasite spray for birds, but the best treatment is probably Ivomec or ivermectin prescribed by an avian vet. If you have a problem with this parasite, you should consult an avian vet for advice on treatment and prevention. You can use http://aav.org/search/index.php to help you look up an avian vet in your area.

Treatments for Parasites

Bird Mite and Lice SprayMite and Lice Bird Spray is very effective in eliminating mites and lice. You can pick this up at a local pet or bird store.

Ivomec (Ivermectin) administered either orally, by injection, or topically (directly on the skin) is particularly effective against parasites. There is a form of this medicine available at bird stores. You can also get a prescription strength from an avian vet. You can use http://aav.org/search/index.php to help you look up an avian vet in your area. This is an excellent and safe treatment, and it kills all parasites, internal and external. Be sure to carefully follow instructions given by the vet or listed on the product.

When treating for parasites, always clean and disinfect the cage and all accessories, once at the beginning and once at the end of treatment.

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