Birds: Detecting Illness
The health of a bird cannot be determined by its appearance. A bird will often hide its sickness out of protection for itself, so owners must be watchful and ready to act at the first sign of illness. rn
Appetite: When birds become ill, aside from the sickness, they get nervous, defensive and scared. What’s more, their appetite can disappear. With this knowledge, a bird owner can best understand what might be causing poor health by watching how the bird behaves when in contact with food or water.
Droppings: Watch for any change in the appearance or amount of droppings.
Activity: Any bird that becomes less active, that sings or chirps less, or that has an overgrown beak or toenails may be coming down with something.
Mood: A troubled bird will often reflect this in its behaviour with a shifted attitude and lack of friendliness.
Appearance: More easily detected will be a change in the way a bird looks. Bad posture, ruffled feathers, constantly closing eyes, and a drooping perch position all point to indications of severe illness.
Breathing: Pay attention to the regularity of breathing while the bird rests. Also try to notice any uncharacteristic changes in voice, panting, wheezing or spluttering.
Lumps: Any strange swelling, even fat, is most unusual in birds.
Lesions: The appearance of crusty growths or sores, lack of colour, or bodily inflammation are signs of danger in a bird’s health.
If an answer to the bird’s problem cannot be satisfactorily given, either in the form of helpful advice or the selling of a cure, by the pet store that sold the animal, the immediate course of action will be to contact a veterinarian. In the meantime other emergency measures can be undertaken:
Incubator: A makeshift incubator can be assembled by aligning a heating pad with the cage and then wrapping everything with plastic and a cage cover. An infrared light or 150 Watt light bulb could also be used. A temperature of around 80 degrees (F) is ideal. Should the bird get overly hot and start breathing too rapidly, its wings can be pulled out from the side of its body for temporary relief.
Food: Any bird that refuses to eat will eventually die. The owner must do everything possible to get the bird to eat. Food can be placed in a cup next to where the bird is perched; or, if the bird is off its perch, try scattering food across the bottom of the cage.
Rest: Make sure that a sick bird gets plenty of rest in addition to its normal times of sleep. Cover its cage for a few hours in the morning or afternoon to encourage a nap.
Droppings: Do a random count of droppings and pass this information on to the vet along with some sample droppings that can be inspected.
Don'ts: Whatever happens, never resort to any of these courses of action: 1. Don''t give whiskey. 2. Don''t use laxatives. 3. Don''t use oil. 4. Don''t stop food.