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Common Symptoms of illness

As with all problems, the experienced bird keeper will usually spot early symptoms of mental or physical illness by changes in behaviour, nature or habits. This could be as simple as a usually friendly bird attacking for no reason, feather plucking or the bird which won't come when called as normal and just wants to be left alone in its cage.

Many minor illnesses or problems can be treated at home, but this should only be attempted if you know what you are doing as misdiagnosis of a problem can have potentially catastrophic consequences for your bird(s). Consult a vet at the first possible opportunity if you are concerned, but below is a general list of common symptoms of illness:

  • Bleeding for no apparent reason or uncontrollable bleeding(If after a fight and the injuries are not significant, this can possibly be treated at home. Ask your vet or an experienced bird keeper how to treat these minor cuts and abrasions)
  • Change in activity level
  • Decrease in preening activity or bird begins to preen excessively, possibly concentrating on one part of its body
  • Dehydration (weakness, sunken eyes, feet cool, ridging of skin over sides of toes)
  • Discharge from nose and/or eyes
  • Distinct changes in routine and habits
  • Drooping wings
  • Eating stops or bird has noticeable difficulties in eating
  • Extreme changes in water consumption
  • Eyes closed most of the time(bird may appear to be sleeping constantly)
  • Feathers fluffed all of the time
  • Feathers lost and not replaced
  • Frequent flicking of the head
  • Frequent sneezing
  • Low, almost laying down posture on perch
  • Noisy breathing
  • Noticeable swelling
  • Prolonged or excessive molt
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Remaining huddled at bottom of cage
  • Self mutilation and/or constant scratching
  • Significiant changes in sleep patterns
  • Soiled or pasted vent, prolonged periods of diahorrea
  • Talking and/or normal levels of chattering stop
  • Unusual levels or prolonged periods of inactivity
  • Unusual tail bobbing with each breath
  • Unusually perching with neck extended and beak grasping wire of cage(Note, some birds do actually sleep in this kind of posture)
  • Vomiting (If a bird has recently been moved, then this may simply be motion sickness but this should be very carefully monitored)

This list is not exhaustive or an absolute indication that your bird is unwell, but should be considered as a general guide only.

 
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