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How Do You Know Your Bird is Sick?

Generally, by the time your bird is showing signs of illness, he or she is already very ill. Birds hide their illness well. This is because they are prey in the wild and instinct tells them to act normal so they are not different from the rest of the birds and picked off by a predator.

So how do you know your bird is sick?

You should know what your bird looks like when he is healthy, and you will notice very subtle changes when he is not healthy.

1 - What do his eyes look like?
2 - What do his feathers look like? This will be different depending on whether he is resting or looking alert or flying, but see what his feathers look like in all ways.
3 - How much singing or talking does he do?
4 - How active is he?
5 - Does he normally sleep with one leg up or with both legs down?
6 - What do his dropping look like?
7 - What does he weigh?

If you observe your bird every day, you will notice slight differences in one or another of the items above on a normal basis. When you notice differences in more than one item, it may be time to consider that your bird might be ill.

When you are looking at your bird's dropping, don't be alarmed if he has red droppings, the day after he eats beets, but if they are red and he hasn't been eating red foods, please take a look at some of the other signs such as his eyes, his feathers or his activity level. If you are weighing him on a regular basis, you may notice a sudden drop in his weight before you notice any other problems, but that is certainly a reason to observe the other items on the list and make an appointment to see an avian veterinarian as soon as possible.

If you do not notice anything until you find your bird fluffed up and on the bottom of the cage, there is a good chance that your bird is seriously ill and there is no time to waste in seeking the help of your veterinarian. If you have a female bird, one of the first things to consider is egg binding, even if your bird has never laid an egg before and even if you do not know whether your bird is a male or a female. Egg binding is life threatening and must be dealt with immediately.

The Complete Pet Bird Owner's Handbook (Revised Ed

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