Like people and other animals, birds will have different signs of illness depending on what is affecting them. Knowing what kind of signs to look for is the first step in determining if a bird may be unwell.
Birds instinctively need to hide that they are sick in the wild as if their flock finds out they will chase that bird away so the infection cannot be passed to the other birds. Therefore some birds are very good at showing they are healthy until they are too weak to hide the truth anymore. It is for this reason that any abnormality or sign of illness is a concern for a bird. Immediate action is necessary to ensure the best possible outcome. A bird should be removed into isolation and a veterinary consultation/some form of treatment should be started.
The following are some of the most commonly seen symptoms of ill health in a bird:
Abnormal droppings are an early sign that a bird may be sick. A bird???s droppings can vary slightly from day to day depending on what they???ve eaten. But the consistency and amount should not change dramatically. Excessively firm or watery droppings may indicate a problem. Colour is very important to acknowledge, for example black/red colours can indicate blood. Green/Yellow colour could indicate something like Psittacosis or other underlying medical problems like liver/kidney problems.
Soiled vent feathers can indicate a serious problem such as a gastrointestinal illness. Droppings can stick to the vent feathers; the feathers may look soiled and clumpy with mucus or fluid. This bird probably needs medical attention.
Poor groomingcan make a birds plumage look dull and raggedy. A sick bird will not groom themselves as they normally would. A bird that would normally bath regularly may also stop doing this if unwell.
Ruffled feathers can indicate illness and or a bird that is in a windy/cold area which could lead to illness. Looking quiet, fluffy and sleepy can also be an indication that a bird may be unwell. A vet may be required for closer inspection.
Changes in temperament and personality could be a sign that a bird is not feeling good. A bird that would normally be friendly, vocal and playful could become withdrawn, aggressive and sullen when they???re sick.
Sitting on the bottomof the cageis not usually a good sign, not only does this mean a possible injury but it can also indicate a bird that is too weak to sit on a perch or fly. Immediate veterinary attention is recommended.
Different eating and drinking habitsis common in an ill bird. Refusing to eat their favourite food or any food, drinking little or no water is a big concern. Birds can loose weight quickly and become dehydrated if they stop eating/drinking. This can be caused from stress, injury or illness. If a bird has stopped eating/drinking a vet should be notified as the bird may need force feeding/medical attention.
Excessive sleeping and weight lossare other indications of illness. Recording the bird???s weight on a daily to weekly basis can be helpful in detecting a problem. Excessive sleeping (more than normal) can indicate that the bird is running low on energy or stressed and could be a possible sign of illness.
Discharge from the nostrils and eyes can indicate a serious respiratory illness. A bird should not be wet around the nostrils or sneeze regularly. If a bird is sneezing, and has discharge from the eyes and or nostrils it should get immediate veterinary attention.
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