One of the unfortunate realities about bird owners is that they seldom give their birds a thorough health check. This is mostly due to a lack of knowledge about what to look for. What symptoms indicate a sick bird? How do they behave? What should you do if they exhibit indications of illness?
Birds have evolved a tendency to conceal indications of illness. This dates back to when they were living in the wild. A ill bird became an instant prey for predators. It is risky to demonstrate weakness even in an aviary setting. Many times, a sick or wounded bird has been attacked by the other birds in the cage. As a result, their inclination encourages them to conceal such symptoms.
It may be challenging even with all of our expertise. Fortunately, my wife has an instinct for detecting when a bird is unwell. My wife will often stop feeding and doing routine maintenance to examine a bird. It seemed to be OK to me, but she detected something. And, for the most part, she was correct.
However, the rest of us must learn what to look for and recognise the symptoms that they are ill.
EARLY PREVENTION FIRST
Birds also have the capacity to get ill on weekends, holidays, or when the vet is away. This is something I haven’t worked out either. As a result, you must be prepared in the event that something occurs. Remember that once a bird exhibits clear indications of disease, it may be too late to rescue him. It is critical to identify issues as soon as possible.
Request a list of qualified veterinarians in your region who know how to treat birds from your regular avian vet. It should be noted that many veterinarians are unfamiliar with avian medicine, and the last thing you want to do is start looking when an emergency arises. Obtain the names of after-hours veterinarians and clinics. Your veterinarian may even be able to refer you to an expert bird breeder. My wife is available to do emergency “triage” on a bird until we can get to a vet. Many birds have been spared as a result of this.
Start a solid cleaning routine as well. You’re asking for trouble if you force the bird to live in a filthy cage. You must clean and disinfect the cage once a week, as well as inspect and repair any hazards.
WATCH FOR BEHAVIOR CHANGES
Hopefully, you’ve been keeping an eye on your bird for some time. You’ve figured out its schedule, how it behaves, what it does throughout the day, and all of its behaviours. You may notice early warning symptoms of a bird by observing these behaviours for changes.
Is it eating differently now? Is it spending more time at the bottom of the cage and less time on the perch? Have you noticed how quiet he is in the morning, when he used to wake the dead with his screams?
When you stand near to his cage, he may seem lively and exhibit no indications of distress. Step away from his cage for a few moments and study him. If you can, peek behind the corner so he doesn’t see you’re observing. He may begin to exhibit indicators of a problem now that he knows you are not looking.
It is also necessary to do some careful inspections. Here’s what you should look for:
Blood Feathers are feathers that have not been retracted back into the skin after formation. They become annoying, and the bird starts chewing on them. Your bird will bleed to death if they burst. Learn how to spot them and get rid of them.
Fluffed Feathers – The most typical sign of a sick bird. They do it to keep warm. If you see this happening regularly or over an extended length of time, begin investigating for the source. It may be as easy as a draught, or it could be more severe. Take a closer look….
Vent – Make sure this region is clean and dry. Diarrhea is indicated by dirty vents. This might be due to an excess of specific foods, stress, parasites, or internal organ disorders. To avoid dehydration, immediate medical intervention is required.
Droppings – Place clean newspaper on the cage floor so you can readily observe the birds’ stools on a regular basis. The urates should be visible as an opaque fluid with a dry white drop in the centre. You may have an issue if it seems green, yellow, or any other colour. If it’s watery, you’ve got diarrhoea. Keep an eye out for undigested seed or food, frothy stools, or changes in dropping volume.
Sick birds do not want to draw attention to themselves, therefore they are silent and do not sing. They will keep silent.
Are your eyes wide and aware, or half-closed and watery/glassy? That is another another indication of a sick bird.
Nostrils – A draining, runny, or plugged nose might be an indication of a problem.
Respiratory Issues – Does the bird seem to be struggling to breathe? Coughing, sneezing, and excessive nasal discharge may all be issues.
Changes in eating patterns, particularly if they refuse to consume their favourite sweets.
Lethargy – They are not active at all and may sleep much more than usual.
There is also a great website where you can check up a variety of symptoms and obtain a diagnosis of what is wrong with your bird. This is not a substitute for a skilled avian veterinarian, but in an emergency, it might save your bird’s life. For additional information, visit The Bird Channel.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU NOTICE SOMETHING
If you have other birds, you MUST quarantine your bird. Place it in a brooder, or any other form of container that can be watched and heated. Sick birds should be maintained in a warm, dark place.
Seek emergency medical assistance from your veterinarian. Remember that once a bird shows indications of illness, it may be too late… However, timely medical intervention may save it.
If you can’t get your bird to a vet right away, give it pedialyte (which should always be in your emergency first aid box) to keep it hydrated. A drop of Pepto-Bismo may be administered to birds suffering from acute diarrhoea. Your kit should also include some soft baby food or powered rice cereal (without zinc) and powered hand feeding formula so that you may feed your bird by hand if required.
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