My parakeet seems to be gagging herself and vomiting. She positions herself under her perch, one foot on the bottom of the cage, one on the perch and she sticks one 'toe' down her throat until gooey half digested food strings out of her mouth. Has anyone else experienced this?
Deb from Kauai, HI
Chickens do this when they need to eat pebbles or calcium. Do parakeets have to eat something like that as well to help break down their food??
A bulimic parakeet, now I've heard everything! Seriously though, sounds kind of like the behavior when cats eat grass. But I'd Google or call the vet. Hope she feels better soon.
I'm not sure, but don't they regurgitate their food to feed their babies? Could she be having a false pregnancy?
This person needs to have gravel in the bird's cage to help the bird be able to digest her/his food. You can go to any pet shop and ask them what they have...Good Luck.....
Thanks for the feedback...especially the bulimic parakeet bit! LOL
It is really the strangest thing. I have googled like crazy getting all kinds of possibilities...but nothing that fits this picture exactly. We live on Kauai and there are no avian vets here.
She really doesn't seem sick/ill...it almost seems like a nervous/emotional behavior/habit she's formed. She's very sensitive and we've had lots of visitors/guests staying with us over the holidays so maybe she's just way too over stimulated...I know I have been!
Thanks for the comments!
Your parakeet is showing signs of love. They do regurgitate or (gurge) to show affection. That is how they feed their young and will even feed one another. I've seen a bird nurse a mate back to health by feeding. We run a rescue for domestic and exotic birds. We have birds that try to 'feed' us. As disgusting as it sounds, it's the ultimate sign of love for them. ha ha Diane http://www.LaziBirds.com
Is it normal for the parakeet to use it's toe/foot to gag itself? She does it repeatedly throughout the day.
If my parakeet was really vomiting and not regurgitating, would she gag herself or would the vomit spew all on it's own without her gagging herself for assistance?
Ewww...sorry, I know that's yucky!
Thanks for your comments...
Parakeets need to eat gritty stuff to "chew" their food. Do you have that in the cage?
Yes, we have grit...however we hadn't been using it for awhile because she seemed to use it only as confetti and never actually ingested any of it. When we'd put it in the cage she would have all of it dumped out within one minute! It did occur to me that this may help so we put some in this morning and she devoured it! Obviously she needed that!
Also we noticed that she was trying to 'feed' her little toy parakeet last night and this morning and was using completely different 'language' with the toy than usual. I guess her mothering instincts have kicked in big time! I took the toy out just to see if the gagging/gurging behavior lessens as a result.
She's always seemed perfectly happy with just us as her family...do you think she wishes she had a mate now?? I'm not sure we're ready to go there!
Parakeets do NOT need grit. Pet stores will sell it to you but it can actually cause health problems. We have 160 birds here at the rescue and only TWO of them are given grit (gravel). They are doves and should have it. Diane Lazicki's Bird House & Rescue, Inc.
When we had a parakeet when I was a kid we put the grit in the bottom of the cage. We had that bird for a long time so I'm pretty sure the grit didn't cause any health problems...
Aloha Guys, you've given me great feedback so far...
It's been 3 full weeks of this gagging/gurging behavior and it just continues! She's eating (although some days it seems like her appetite is less than normal); she's drinking her average amount of water. She's showing absolutely no other signs of being or looking sick. It's just this behavior that she's NEVER had before and the fact that it seems SO constant. All day...every day...no matter what we do. It seems like a nervous/emotional thing to me...
Any other help or suggestions?? I don't know what to do for her?!
Deb from Kauai
Gagging and regurgitating can be a sign of an impacted crop or a love offering. This is the time of year for them to be hormonal so I would bet she is giving you love offerings but to be safe it wouldn't hurt to consult an avian vet.
Your parakeet may have something stuck in her throat and she is trying to get it out, either that or her throat may be itchy and she is trying to scratch it. Take her to the veterinarian as soon as you can, because she could accidentally hurt herself.
I don't know what to tell you but I do know that parakeets DO NOT need grit to digest their food there are some birds that do need grit but parakeets are not one of them. I think that you need to take your bird to the vet ASAP to make sure nothing is wrong. Other than that if everything is healthy, they do that as a sign of affection and it is kinda like a love offering good luck.
After 3 vets and numerous visits I finally found out why my parakeet was gagging. He has a tumor and will die from it. The only thing I was told to do was give him drops of predisone in apple juice. It stops him from gagging and also helps with his breathing. As long as he's in no pain and eating I'm good with catching him every day to give him the steroid. I consider it end of life care.
You might want to try changing her food. My parakeet started to exhibit the almost continual gagging and then spitting food/vomit symptoms that would go on for a quite awhile. I had also experienced this with previous birds I've owned where I put it off to 'love offerings'. This time I immediately changed her diet and the gagging stopped. Been over a week now and it hasn't restarted. Good Luck!
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