Bird lovers must constantly be on the lookout for signs that their pets are becoming ill. Even the most subtle symptoms can be “red flags” that their pet is in dire need of veterinary treatment. Because illnesses can be such a serious issue for pet birds, it is important to become familiar with the most troublesome health problems that can arise in our feathered friends.
Take a look at the bird health problems outlined below to learn more about some of the biggest bird health problems that could possibly affect your pet. Increasing your knowledge of bird health problems will help you to recognize any issues early on, and offer your bird prompt treatment and the chance for a swift recovery.
Several years ago, cases of avian flu made the news around the world, and recently they have again been popping up in the headlines.
While most of the cases focused on involve birds that are raised as food, pet bird owners should know that avian flu can affect birds of any species, meaning that parrots and other commonly kept pet birds are also at risk of contracting it if exposed.
While the risk of exposure to captive pets is considered minimal, there are things that can be done to further protect your feathered friend from this deadly pathogen.
Parasites can affect any animal, including birds and humans. It is important to monitor your pet bird for any signs of internal or external parasite infestations as children, other pets, and other family members can also contact them if exposed.
Certain parasites can be deadly to pet birds if not treated quickly, so learning as much as you can about their signs, symptoms, and risks of exposure is imperative to protecting your pet and family.
One health problem that strikes fear into the hearts of bird owners is Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease, also known as “PBFD.” It is a deadly virus that causes abnormal beak and feather growth, lesions, and various other problems.
PBFD can affect any parrot species, and there is currently no known treatment or cure. To make matters worse, PBFD is highly contagious, and can quickly spread throughout an entire flock of birds who are kept in close quarters.
It is important to learn about the signs of PBFD in order to prevent the spread of this devastating illness to other birds that may be owned by you or your friends and family.
Those who own male birds can breathe easy here – egg binding is a condition that can only affect female birds of breeding age.
Egg binding is a very serious problem and can cause death in affected birds if it is not promptly treated by an experienced avian vet, so it is important for those who own female birds to become familiar with the signs and symptoms of egg binding so that they can recognize any problems early enough to save their pets.
Pretty much every adult alive knows what stress is, but many don’t realize that stress can also affect parrots and other pet birds, and just as it does in humans, it can cause a decline in immune response and make a bird more susceptible to other illnesses.
While they are subtle, there are several different signs that bird lover can watch for so that they can identify stress in their birds and prevent the onset of more serious issues. Learn more about other bird health issues, check out Bird Care.
Birds are sensitive creatures that are prone to injury or illness from common household items. Things we don’t often see as dangerous can be deadly for birds.
Here are a few:
Birds have been found drowned in water glasses and even dog bowls.
Play it safe and keep toilet lids down, Jacuzzi tubs and fish tanks/bowls covered, and don’t let dishes soak in the sink while your bird is out of the cage…
Take down your ceiling fans, or make absolutely sure that they are turned off whenever your bird is out of the cage. You may think that your bird can’t fly that high, but you’d be surprised!
Fishing weights and old, chipping paint contain lead, which can be deadly to your bird. Keep these items far from your bird’s reach.
Anything that scents the air using chemicals can be very dangerous for your bird. You can get the same effect by boiling cinnamon sticks and scented teas, just don’t leave them on the stove when your bird is loose!
Nonstick surfaces found in cookware, space heaters, popcorn makers and various other appliances emit toxic fumes when heated that can kill birds without warning.
Before you use an appliance, ensure that your home is well-ventilated (e.g., open windows and screened doors), and temporarily locate your bird in an area of your home with a separate airspace. Swap out your nonstick cookware with stainless-steel cookware.
A pot full of boiling water might look like a great bathing spot to your bird — very bad! And worse, the pot may be full of hot oil or sauce. Keep your bird away from the kitchen when you are cooking.
A flighted bird may think that clean glass and mirrors are empty space and can be seriously injured or killed by flying into them. Sticker your glass and mirrors, or keep them dirty!
Many pet birds that fly away are never recovered. Keep your window screens intact, and be careful when you go in and out of the house.
Some pet birds find cords and wires appealing and chew on them.
You’ll often hear that birds hide the signs of illness until it’s too late, and the illness is either too far advanced to be cured, or the bird is belly up in the cage.
The truth is, if you know your bird really well, you can easily notice the subtle signs of something being “not quite right.”
Here are some Signs of Avian Illness:
Change In Demeanor - A typically active, playful bird that becomes listless and withdrawn may be feeling ill.
Sleeping Too Much - A change in your bird’s sleeping habits can indicate illness, especially if the bird is sleeping on two feet with his feathers fluffed up to keep warm. Sometimes an ill bird will crouch on the bottom of the cage.
Discharge From The Nares - The nares are your bird’s nostrils and are found at the base of the beak. They should be free of discharge.
Discharge Or Bubbles From The Beak - This is indicative of a respiratory infection.
Clicking From The Beak - A clicking sound that happens as your bird breathes indicates air sac mites, which finches and canaries are especially prone to.
Tail Bobbing - A bird that bobs his tail feathers (going back and forth) noticeably while at rest might have labored breathing. Don’t mistake this kind of tail bobbing for the kind that accompanies singing or breathing heavily after exercise.
Vomiting is different from regurgitating - Regurgitation is what a bird does when courting another bird (or you!) or to feed young. Vomit usually sticks to the feathers around the bird’s face and chest.
Lack Of Upkeep - An ill bird will usually look unkempt and ratty because he isn’t preening as much.
Being Picked. On by Cagemates - Birds will pick on other birds that are ill, and may even kill the weakened one. If you notice any of these signs, take your bird to your avian vet right away.
Just like with illnesses, birds tend to downplay their injuries as well. However, if you’re observant, you will notice when something is wrong.
If you suspect that your bird is injured, take him to the avian vet as soon as possible. If you can’t get there quickly or you have to wait overnight, put the bird into a “hospital cage” until you can get to the doctor.
Wild birds and other animals such as mice can carry a range of disease-causing viruses, parasites and bacteria. Make sure that your birds and their food and water are kept away from wild animals. Promptly clean up spilled feed and litter, and keep feed in sealed containers to avoid attracting unwanted guests.
Viruses, parasites and bacteria can live in organic matter such as litter and soil. Eliminate the risk of disease spread by routinely and thoroughly cleaning barns, cages, egg trays, gardening tools, and water and feed containers. No equipment should be shared with or borrowed from other bird owners.
Always clean your hands, clothing and footwear before and after handling birds. Promptly dispose of dead birds, litter and unused eggs. For more amazing bird cages (see: Pet Bird Cage with Stainless Steel Feeders-amazon), birds toys and more, which you can get easily on online stores like aviariesdepot.com.au.
Bird owners are legally responsible to notify authorities of serious bird diseases such as avian influenza. Call a veterinarian Immediately
Signs to look for include:
It is always better to be overcautious. Report any bird that you think may be sick. Early reporting can greatly limit the effect of a disease on the health of your birds.
People can spread bird diseases, too. As a general rule, do not give visitor’s access to your birds. If someone must enter your property or handle your birds, make sure that their clothing, hands and footwear are clean and free of debris.
Provide shoe or boot covers, or use a foot bath to prevent disease from entering or leaving your property. As well, the tires and wheel wells of any vehicles that have been around birds should be cleaned before entering your property.
Avoid introducing disease to your birds. New birds should be segregated and monitored for at least 30 days before entering your existing flock. Make sure that new birds come from reputable suppliers that have strict disease controls in place. Birds returning from shows or exhibits should also be segregated for at least two weeks.
Mango, pomegranate, bananas, cantaloupe or apples, it’s your choice, and it’s also about what your birds prefer. Just about any fruit imaginable is good for your bird’s diet. Full of taste and nutritional value, fruit is a wonderful source of vitamins, and these choices are a favorite among the vast majority of pet birds.
As with any fresh food you offer your bird, remove and discard any leftovers a couple of hours after serving. This prevents bacteria growth inside of your pet’s cage. Take it easy on the grapes, however. They contain a lot of sugar.
Beans are a wonderful source of vegetable protein. They’re good for you and good for your bird, too! Beans are also an outstanding source of fiber for your companion bird which helps keep her digestive system running smoothly.
Try boiling a 15 bean soup mix without any seasoning. Allow the beans to cool, and then offer a scoop to your bird. The chances are that this will become a fast favorite with your little friend. Remember to never serve raw beans to your companion bird as they can be toxic unless cooked.
Do you like alfalfa sprouts on your salad? Your bird will like them too! Leaning safely sprout in your kitchen is not difficult at all! Be sure to thoroughly wash any sprouts that you offer to your bird.
Some may have come into contact with pesticides in their journey from the garden to your local supermarket, and you don’t want to pass these toxins on to your pet. Growing your own sprouts is a healthy way to give live, raw nutrition to your flock.
Try offering your pet some thoroughly washed and rinsed broccoli, cauliflower, or greens next time you serve these veggies in your home. Other avian favorites include carrots, kale, root vegetables, and peas.
It is better to be aware of your birds’ health conditions as a bird lover, to prevent illness just provide your birds a healthy food and proper checkup. For more information about the best diet for your bird please visit Bird Nutrition.