Parakeets, like most birds, can use their beaks and legs to scratch. This, which can sometimes be a normal attitude, on some occasions, such as excessive scratching, can be dangerous for the parakeet. On the one hand, it can be an indication that you have a disease and, on the other, it can hurt yourself. We must monitor his behavior regularly to be able to detect when he behaves differently.

If you ask yourself “why does my parakeet scratch a lot?” In this article you will find the possible explanations, causes and solutions to this problem, to improve the health of your parakeet.

When a parakeet scratches in its normal behavior

We must learn to differentiate normal situations from abnormal ones. Budgies scratch normally in the following situations:

  • If it is scratching at the beginning of the tailand then scratching through the rest of the plumage, it is cleaning itself. In this area is the uropygeal gland, which secretes a kind of oil that they use to clean and waterproof the feathers.
  • If they scratch each other on the neck, they are helping to remove the keratin sheath from the feathers in that area, since they cannot do it themselves.
  • If they scratch their beak against the bars, this may simply mean that they are cleaning food debris from the beak, but it could also be because they are very comfortable in your home.

When a parakeet scratches in abnormal situations

In general, when a parakeet scratches excessively and it is not due to any of the above situations, it is because it has parasites. Although the ideal is to take him to the vet, first we can wait and pay attention to the behavior. In this way, if we finally make a visit to the vet, we will know what we have to tell him.

In general, if the parakeet has parasites, in addition to scratching a lot, it develops other behaviors. We can observe other symptoms such as restlessness: the parakeet will be restless, rubbing, fluttering around the cage…

The most common parasites that cause the parakeet to scratch a lot are red mites and malophagus. In the case of red mites, the itching and restlessness can be accompanied by nocturnal panic attacks, that is, in the middle of the night you hear that it flutters in the cage and makes a lot of noise. In addition, parasites such as mites are one of the main diseases of parakeets, so they are more common than it may seem at first.

EMA syndrome (a skin disease that occurs only in parakeets and lovebirds) can also cause a lot of scratching. It is characterized by the appearance of eczema in certain areas, where the skin thickens and forms blisters and scabs. In this case, you can get wounds that could become infected.

What to do if my parakeet scratches a lot

Let’s see what steps you should take in case your parakeet scratches a lot:

  1. Observe:the first thing we have to do is observe his behavior well to be able to answer the vet everything he asks us.
  2. Take him to the vet:After observing him a bit, we will take him to the veterinarian specializing in exotic birds for a diagnosis.
  3. Give him the treatment:after having a clear diagnosis, the vet will have given us a treatment for the parakeet, so we must apply it following his instructions. Usually it could be a spray treatment. When putting it on, we must take special care with the eyes and face of the parakeet, so we will spray it from behind and gently.
  4. Clean the cage thoroughly:we must leave the parakeet momentarily outside the cage to clean it thoroughly. If there is any parasite left in the cage, we will eliminate it, avoiding reinfestation. If it was not parasites, but EMA or any other disease, we must also clean the cage because there may be any bacteria in it. Under normal circumstances it could be harmless, but in the event of open wounds with the beak or other parts of the body, it is best that hygiene is very careful.
  5. We must not:neither apply products without the advice of the veterinarian, nor interrupt or prolong treatments if what is prescribed says otherwise. Nor should we reuse a treatment in a new situation where there is a lot of scratching without knowing if it is the same case.


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