Health & Nutrition
Signs of a Sick Bird
Birds hide illness until they are
literally incapable of hiding it anymore. This is because in the wild they
are prey animals. By the time you notice your bird's illness, he will be
Typical symptoms of a sick bird include:
- excessive sleepiness
- puffed up ruffled feathers
- consistent trembling
- standing or lying on the bottom of the cage all the time (remaining inactive)
- weepy eyes (residues around the eyes)
- runny or blocked nose
- droopy wings
- droopy tail
- changes in color/consistency/frequency of droppings not related to change in diet
- loss of appetite
- grinding seed to powder instead of eating it
- slow bobbing tail (indicates difficulty breathing)
- vomiting and excessive sneezing
If you notice any of these in your bird persisting for more than 24 hours please take him to an avian vet as soon as possible. Until then...read up on how to deal with a sick bird.
How To Deal With a Sick Bird
Put the cage in a quiet, warm, dimly lit place in your house. Cover all but one side of the cage with a sheet to reduce stress on the bird and help keep her warm. You can use a small lamp to provide heat. Shine it on a comfortable covered part of the cage, making sure (1) not to create a fire hazard and (2) that part of the cage stays cooler so your bird can move away if the heat is too intense. During times of illness, the body causes fever because pathogens do not tolerate heat well. Therefore, most sick bids will gratefully accept the heat of the lamp.
If your bird is not drinking or eating you MUST get to an avian vet urgently. It is vital that the bird takes in food during illness because the whole body is working at its max to fight against whatever illness has befallen the bird, and to keep the bird going, she will need energy which is obtained from food.
Avian vets (and some breeders) can give your bird vital hydration and liquid food through a tube if necessary that can make the difference between life or death. If you must wait 24 hours or so before you can get to a vet or get the help of someone who knows how to hydrate your bird, get a clean syringe (minus the needle) or eye dropper and gently place a drop or two of water on the end of the beak so that your bird will have a chance to drink. Do not hold the bird upside down as this can choke her. Be careful not to get the water into the nostrils. Never force feed your bird.