How to Tell If Your Bird Is Sick
It is a natural instinct for all birds to hide signs of personal illness. And parrots are no exception. Hiding illness a survival instinct because, in the wild, birds will be attacked, chased from the flock, and not allowed to eat when they are sick. An ill bird attracts predators so the flock attempts to protect the "group" by making sure all members appear healthy. It is self-preservation for a bird to present itself as being healthy.
When a pet birds is feeling ill, they exhibit the same self preservation behaviors as their wild cousins. In the presence of their flock members
(you and me) parrots pretend that they are feeling well; they sleek their feathers, they stand up straight, they may peck at a toy half-heartedly, they will even pretend to eat by going over to the bowl and crack seeds or crumble pellets. So, how can you tell if your bird is ill before it is too late?
Vets tell us that sick birds don't eat and can lose weight rapidly. Get into the habit of weighing your bird at least once a week and feeling it's keel (breast bone) for decreased muscle mass. Untreated rapid weight loss is very dangerous. Consider supplementing your sick birds diet with hand feeding formula and Electrovites Avian Specific Electrolytes.
Another very early sign of illness may be a decreased level of vocalization.
If your bird is normally talkative or makes noise but is suddenly quiet, you should take him in to see an avian veterinarian immediately. A sick bird may also have fluffed feathers, have a in decrease activity level as evidenced by sitting in one spot for long periods, and will sleep more than normal.
It is very important to monitor your birds droppings. Each time you change the paper in the bottom of the cage you need to make a mental note of what the droppings normally look like. This will make you more aware when the droppings are abnormal.
Adapted from Dr. Greg Burkett, ABVP, Board Certified Avian Veterinarian
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