I wrote this article for TalkBudgies, but I thought "why not post it here either?"
How do you recognize a healthy bird?
The health of birds is something I really like to investigate, and I love learning more about health every day. Birds have a really complicated body, and especially budgies and other small birds. Illnesses are most of the time not shown because of their natural habitat. They live in a flock, and the weaker birds are easily picked out by hunters. They have to hide their illness to survive, that's their instinct.
I want to show you how a bird in good condition looks like, and how you can recognize a healthy bird. It's very important to know how the body of your bird looks like when he's healthy, because the outside of the body can show us if there is something wrong.
Important: this does not mean your bird is healthy when his body looks
healthy! You always have to observer their behavior too. When you're buying a bird from a petshop, look at all
the birds, and not only the one you want.
A healthy bird has shiny, bright eyes, without any visible haze. Around the eyeball you can see the eyelids. They are important to remove dirt, and to protect the eyeball. The little 'balls' you see attached to the eyelids, work the same as eyelashes do: they keep the eyes clean and they prevent dirt and water to come in to the eye.
The beak, cere and the nostrils
A healthy cere with pigment. The pigment is because of his age (6 weeks).
A healthy beak is shiny and not too long. A healthy cere looks smooth, without (brown/dark) crusty flakes (except for females in breading condition!). The nostrils has to be dry. Sometimes you see some light flakes on the beak or on the cere. These flakes are normal and it means the dead cells are being removed from the beak and cere.
The inside of the beak
The inside of the beak has to look clean. Some birds have some pigment in their beak, and some birds don't. In the picture you can see the tongue and the tendon who attached the tongue to the lower part of the beak. De skin has to look pinkish, except for the pigment.
Healthy feathers are shiny, and overlaying without big gaps. Most birds with vitamin deficiency have dull feathers.
The toes and nails
Healthy toes are very flexible and without (brown/dark) crusty flakes. The nails are shiny, and not brittle.
Another very important thing is the vent. The vent has to be clean, and the droppings not sticking to the feathers. Their droppings can tell a lot about their health
Hopefully this thread will help people