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How to tell if your bird is sick

How to tell if your bird is sick

Birds are the least domesticated of all the species’ commonly kept as pets and as a result they are able to disguise illness successfully for longer than other species’ can.  This is because they are prey species’ in a natural setting and appearing weak or ill will make a prey animal more susceptible to attack from predators.  It is for this reason that a bird owner must be vigilant for any changes to a bird’s habits or behaviour. 

Warning signs of poor health

It is important to understand and observe your bird’s normal behaviour and to be familiar with its normal dropping appearance, as the warning signs that your bird is sick can be very subtle to start off with. These mild early symptoms eventually give way to more obvious signs of illness, but by this stage your bird may very sick indeed.  Some of the common signs to look out for include:

-          Ruffled feathers

-         Cloudy eyes

-         Reduced activity level

-         Loss of appetite

-         Red/inflamed cere (area around nostrils)

-         Change in colour or consistency of droppings

-         Sneezing

-         Droopy wings

-         Weight loss

-         Inability to perch

-         Swollen joints

-         Change in vocal sounds

-         Lumps and bumps

-         Unusual complacence

-         Sleeping more

-         Change in breathing pattern

-         Scaling/crust on skin

-         Change in stance/lameness

-         Matted feathers

-         Change in beak appearance. 

You can also minimise the risk of illness in your bird by ensuring its diet is healthy, that it always has access to clean fresh water and that it’s cage is cleaned thoroughly on a regular basis. If you notice any of the following signs, or suspect your bird is ill, take it to your local vet immediately to get it checked over. Noticing subtle signs early means your bird will be in with a much better chance.