Tell if Your Bird Is Sick

Edited by Yuliya, Anonymous, Derek S, Eng

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How birds see illnesses

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Being sick as a human means getting treatment, being made more comfortable, and generally getting taken care of. Being sick as a bird may mean danger. If a bird shows symptoms of illness in the wild, it's essentially painting a big red target on it. Weak, sick birds are the perfect prey for animals who find them delicious.

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So birds have evolved not to show signs of sickness until whatever is plaguing them has taken a deep hold. Unfortunately, this instinct has followed the bird into captivity, making it very difficult to tell if a pet bird is sick, especially if he thinks someone is watching him. Sadly, if you notice that your bird is acting sick, it's often too late to do much to help him.

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That's why as a bird owner, it's imperative to know of the small, tell-tale signs to look for in order to figure out if your bird is feeling sick - before the signs become obvious.

The importance of a good vet

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Many vets only see cats and dogs. Many others say that they'll see a bird, but don't know enough about birds to be much help. I took a canary with watery eyes in to a vet who said he sees birds, and he spent the entire half hour visit telling me about how to tell a canary's gender. When I mentioned her eyes, he shrugged it off. This was not a good vet visit!

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When you're choosing a vet for your bird, you should ask and look around. Find a vet who specializes in birds. This is often included among the blanket term of "exotic pets" which also include reptiles and rodents.

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Birds are living creatures, and when you get one, it becomes your responsibility to take care of it. This means making sure you get your bird good health care. Get a good vet for your bird!

How to tell if your bird is sick

As mentioned before, birds don't show too many signs when they're sick. Here are a few things to look for, that may mean your bird isn't feeling well:

  1. 1
    A bird's droppings are often the first place you can see if something isn't quite right. Some things to look for are runny droppings, droppings that are smeared or stuck to the feathers around your bird's bottom, strange colors, and the absence of the solid, dark part of the dropping. If your bird's bottom appears clogged, has any discharge, or has any sign of blood, take your bird to the vet. Some of these symptoms may also be a result of a diet change, but as they say, it's better safe than sorry.{
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  2. 2
    Do you sit up straight and alert when you're sick? Neither does your bird. Watch for a hunched posture and puffed up feathers. Birds fluff up their feathers at night when they go to sleep, but seeing fluffed feathers often during the day is a sign your bird might not be feeling well. Healthy birds balance on both legs about an equal amount. If you notice your bird favoring one foot over the other, you may want to get him examined. Spending a lot of time near the bottom of the cage is a bad sign that warrants an examination as well.
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  3. 3
    A healthy bird preens and takes excellent care of its feathers. Poorly groomed feathers may mean your bird is sick. Over-preening or not preening enough is also associated with mental health, and whether your bird is stressed. Other things to watch for are abnormally shaped feathers, torn or tattered feathers, and feather pulling, especially if it's concentrated in one spot.
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  4. 4
    If your normally sweet bird suddenly becomes angry and irritable, it might not be feeling well. Changes in temperament can be caused by many things other than illness, but remember that a healthy bird is alert and quick to recover from stresses. If you notice your bird acting extra nippy or very mellow and tired, something may be wrong.
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  5. 5
    Ragged breathing, tail bobbing at every breath, any kind of discharge or sneezing, are all signs of a problem.
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  6. 6
    Regularly check your bird for cuts, lesions, or color changes in their skin.
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  7. 7
    Beak and cere.
    The cere is the nostril area above the beak in pigeons, doves, and parrots. A crusted-over cere is a sign of mites, while an overgrown beak is a sign of malnutrition or a metabolic disease.
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  8. 8
    Rapid weight loss is not only a symptom of an underlying sickness, it's dangerous for small birds on its own. To tell if your bird is underweight, run a finger down the front of his chest. If you can feel a sharp bone, your bird is malnourished.
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  9. 9
    Any sign of blood is never okay.
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Questions and Answers

I do not know what is the reason but my birds died, I think there is a stomach problem with my bird?

Stomach problem, I do not know that, what I do? There are some birds in my cage but now there are only 9 birds or 8 birds so now I do not know that what. I do but I think they have a stomach problem because they are urinating. I have tried: I am from Pakistan I used two kind of medicine flaygel and amodium.

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Categories : Birds

Recent edits by: Derek S, Anonymous, Yuliya

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