Budgie Parasites – Health Problems of Crusty Beaks

Budgie Parasites - Health Problems of Crusty Beaks

Is your Budgie Sick and Inactive? Maybe it has Budgie parasites? Normally, budgies aged 6 to 12 months are more susceptible to this disease.

A living body is a complex machine that often gets attacked by parasites. Everyone falls sick; humans, animals, and birds. Where it’s easier to sense our and our animals’ sickness, birds are hardy to let it out. Their tolerance levels are such that the owners might not know about his sick bird until it gets to the point of immediate medical attention. This all holds for the most famous pet bird; budgie too.

Budgies are believed to be hardy birds and can tolerate pain and uneasiness for long without letting others know. This has always made it difficult for their pet parents across the globe to act on time. But there is always a way out for every supposed problem and there are quite a few here too. If your budgie does not want to bother you by intimating you about his sickness, you can always find it out, just as all parents do.

Signs of Sick and Inactive Budgie

A sick and inactive budgie is not a good sign. Your budgie might be in great trouble if you are noticing him inactive lately. And then there are some more signs too, to confirm his sickness:

⦁ fluffed-up feathers
⦁ Watery eyes
⦁ Watery droppings
⦁ Loss of appetite
⦁ Lack of energy
⦁ Taking more sleep than usual
⦁ Limping
⦁ Loss of feathers
⦁ Watery eyes
⦁ Overgrown beak
⦁ Unusual bleeding
⦁ Loss of feathers

Seeing any or a few of the above signs surely means there is something wrong with your budgie. It’s time to know the reason behind his inactiveness to decide the further course of action.

Budgie Parasites - Health Problems of Crusty Beaks
Two Healthy Budgies Male and Female

Reasons for your Budgie being Inactive

To make your budgie active again, it’s time to find out the cause and address the problem head-on.

Unhygienic conditions

Just as we do not like staying unhygienic, so do our budgies hate it. Add to it the uncomfortable feeling of dirty and dry feathers, the persistent itching, and probable mites bugging the little bird all the time, the bird is surely going to feel withdrawn.

Bored life

Boredom has been known to cause depression in humans and eventual death. Budgies are no different. With nothing to do and no one to interact with all day long, your budgie will certainly fall into depression. Statistically, they have been reported to be extremely prone to boredom and becoming inactive and sick from then on.

Feeling the chills

Budgies are native to the Australian continent and have braved the harsh conditions for millions of years there. But that doesn’t mean that they must be kept in extreme temperatures. These birds will feel the chill if it gets a little too low than tolerable temperature limits. And they are famed for tolerating all the temperatures. Budgies will keep trying to adjust and warm themselves up at a personal level; fluffing up feathers or snuggling tightly at the rear of the cage. But all this would slowly make him inactive and sick.

Disturbed sleep cycle

For budgies, their sleep cycle greatly impacts their well being. A disturbed sleep cycle leads to a disturbed budgie; physically and mentally. Just like humans, the body clock of the budgie gets disturbed with odd timings of sleep and it is just the beginning of the onset of diseases. Apart from physical illnesses, the mental illness kicks in, and your budgie will start showing withdrawal symptoms; loss of appetite, inactiveness, crankiness, to name a few.

How can you treat your Sick and Inactive Budgie

⦁ To address the hygiene issue of your budgie, it’s time to add a water bath to your bird’s cage. And if your bird is not comfortable with water anymore owing to the long gap, mist him softly with lukewarm water for all the warmth and comfort.

⦁ To kill your budgie’s boredom, it’s time to do the right thing for your bird now. Add multiple ways of entertainment to his cage. Varied toys, puzzles, perches for physical activities, music, and a few dedicated minutes to him. After all, his happiness was the reason you brought him home from an aviary, right?

⦁ It is always better to keep an eye over the temperature in your budgie’s room. Set the temperature of the room warm in which your bird’s cage is placed. The optimum temperature is around 22-25 degrees Celsius. This will improve his body temperature back to normal and set his system right by:

⦁ Improving digestion;
⦁ Stimulating the reduced appetite;
⦁ Reactivate the body’s immunity to fight back physical and mental inactiveness/sickness.

⦁ To make your budgie active and well again, set his sleep cycle right. The sleep cycle of budgies is 12 hours each; day and night. So, if you’re keeping the lights of his room switched on all the time, he’ll be unable to sleep thinking it to be a day yet. Similarly, when it’s still day, remove the cover from your budgie’s cage in winters, to let him know it’s time to get up. Keep his sleeping and getting up time fixed and natural.

⦁ Make sure that your budgie is eating all the nutrients daily. Lack of essential nutrients might cause him physical and mental health issues that can make him inactive over time.

⦁ Do not forget to add a few varied sized perches to your bird’s cage. They are important to prevent your budgie’s beak from overgrowing. Such a condition can make him start hating food for the sheer inability of chewing it properly.

⦁ Get your little bird medically checked if the situation of his inactiveness persists for longer seven after many basic lifestyle-changing attempts.

⦁ If you have more than one budgie or pet bird, do not forget to separate them from your sick budgie as a precautionary measure for other’s health and safety.

Budgie Parasites – Health Problems of Crusty Beaks

Pets are as sensitive as infants and when it comes to the little feathery family members, they need constant care and attention. All of ours’ favorite little budgies aren’t as expressive as some other pets like dogs. They hardly express their displeasure any time soon and take the pain silently owing to their hardy nature. Hence, it then becomes important for the budgie parent to have a keen eye on his little bird to notice any behavioral change. Such a change might be due to an underlying disease or discomfort arising from it. And with budgies susceptible to parasitic attacks, it is always better to act instantly.

Crusty Beak- One of the most common Budgie Diseases

Many budgie parents often complain about their bird’s beak getting crustier with time. A crustier beak generally forms due to the overgrowth of the tissues on the surface of the cere. For a quick recall, the cere is a band of tissues just above the beak. This overgrowth starts forming crusts over each other giving a fuzzy look to the beak.

Source: https://www.rarebudgerigarclub.org.au/

Reason for Budgie’s Crusty Beak

Mites are to be blamed for this condition. And Knemidokoptes is the one, particularly responsible for this condition. Usually attacking the beak first, it then slowly spreads to other body parts of the bird. Technically there are two subspecies of this bacteria, namely; Knemidokoptes Pilae and Knemidokoptes Mutans. But the former one is infamous for attacking the beak and a few other body parts eventually.

The little bird may catch the disease if:

⦁ There hasn’t been an optimum hygiene standard maintained in budgie’s cage and around it. The dirt surrounding acts as a breeding ground for such parasites.

⦁ A healthy budgie comes in contact with the infected one. Though not impossible, such transmission is rare in older budgies. Hence, the younger birds are more prone to catch such an infection.

⦁ A budgie has a genetic history of having such an infection, the chances of him getting attacked are higher than otherwise. This kind of infestation follows family lines.

⦁ The budgie happens to be immunocompromised or from other such defects in the immune system.

scaly face/burrowing mites on budgie
Source: https://www.talkbudgies.com/

Budgie Parasite Effects

Though unusual to be found in pet budgies, once infesting the little bird, mites not only damage the beak, but also some other areas. Following are some of the health impacts of Knemidokoptes attacking the little bird:

⦁ Damaged feathers around the beak area;

⦁ Plaque formed around the cere and on the beak;

⦁ Severe itching around the eyes, nares, on the legs and around the vent;

⦁ Permanent deformity of the beak if left untreated for long.

⦁ Eventual falling off of the infected body parts resulting in the bird getting handicapped;

⦁ Very often, budgies succumb to the injuries and weaker immunity caused by this mite.

Source: https://www.reddit.com/

Early signs of Crusty Beak

To protect your little bird from the above-mentioned aftereffects of the mite attack, it is always advised to arrest the disease the moment it starts. But these mites easily pass unnoticed for days owing to their small size and thus, their invisibility to a naked eye. However, the bird might start showing the signs of discomfort caused by these parasites in the initial days itself. Look for the following signs to know the mites’ presence:

⦁ On being infected by this mite, the budgie will feel extreme itching. Usually, this itching is not on the beak which means that the parasite has progressed from beak to infecting other body parts. The itching felt by the bird is so severe that many birds have been reported to bleed themselves by itching harshly against hard surfaces of the cage, etc. If your bird is scratching his eye area, legs, or area around the vent, it is time to take it seriously.

⦁ When the mite has just attacked, the beak and the area around its corners form a plaque layer which eventually becomes thicker and thicker if not treated on time. Though the plaque is a white thin deposit initially, it will get harder with time.

⦁ The upper mandible (beak) would form small tunnels or burrows since these burrowing mites start digging deeper into the skin layers to weaken the underlying skin and tissues.

Treating Crusty Beak of Budgies

There are many treatments available to treat the crusty break of your budgie. But first, make sure of the presence of this issue. Once confirmed, choose any of the following treatments:

⦁ Though a bit traditional, just like lice, mites are killed if they are suffocated to death. Hence, there are numerous good paraffin wax, disinfectants, or petroleum jellies available for topical application.

⦁ If the above old-school method seems messy, you can opt for the new-age antiparasitic drug Ivermectin. Many formulas like Avimec contain this drug and are available in the form of a liquid ‘drop-on’ formula. Simply apply the liquid on the infected area every week for a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 8 weeks depending on the severity of the issue. The formula can be easily bought from any veterinarian.

That said, if you’re not the one to go for treatments at home or are afraid of it, it is always advisable to take your bird to the vet on spotting the early signs of the disease.

Summing Up Budgie Parasites & Crusty Beaks

Budgies are sensitive birds and they keep delaying in letting their pet parents bother about their bad health. So, it’s the parent who is left with the duty of staying aware of his bird. The best way to always be aware of your bird inside out is to have a close bond with him. This way no budgie parent has ever failed to arrest the little bird’s illness on time.

Normally, budgies aged 6 to 12 months are more susceptible to this disease. The disease can either be hereditary or caught on from another bird in the aviary. Sometimes, the symptoms may take over a year to appear. So, if it’s even been quite a time since you’ve adopted your little birdie and has kept him and his cage clean, don’t ignore any such symptom shrugging it as an impossibility. The parasite took its time to attack the bird. And once any of the birds in the flock has been diagnosed, it is a must to treat all the other birds as a measure of prevention. Lastly, contrary to the belief, a parent bird can not only infect his chick alone but the other adult budgies too. It is rare but not impossible.


Alen AxP is an experienced budgie owner who is passionate about sharing their knowledge and expertise on budgie care. Through their articles and resources, they provide valuable insights and practical tips on topics such as diet, housing, and health, to help other budgie owners create a happy and thriving environment for their feathered friends.

3 thoughts on “Budgie Parasites – Health Problems of Crusty Beaks

  1. Can they itch from dry air, mine has been itching I spray him with spring water. We have hard tap water so not using that.

  2. Mine done like misting . they use to bathe in a bird bathtub but wont anymore for some reason. Where do you get the home remedy supplies such as the ones you mentioned? Most vets in my area are quite inept with birds .

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