Recognizing A Sick Bird
How can I tell if my bird is sick?

In the wild, a bird will endeavor to uphold a strong appearance when sick. This is called, “survival of the fittest”. By the time a bird actually shows an owner that it is unwell, it has likely been sick for some time. It is because of this that bird owners must learn to recognise the subtle signs a bird presents when unhealthy before it is too late. Many things contribute to ill health. Improper diet is the most common cause of ill health. Trauma, poor upkeep, inferior hygiene, stress and genetics may lead to ill health. Just because the bird’s outward appearance is normal does not mean the bird is healthy. Any deviation from normal should be taken as a sign of ill health.

The following is a list of signs that should alert you that your bird is sick.

  • Any change in regular behaviour or personality
  • Irritability, agitation
  • Unusually tame behaviour
  • Poor general appearance (feathers “ratty”)
  • Eye discharge
  • Cloudy eyes
  • Swelling around eyes
  • Nasal discharge
  • Blocked nostrils
  • Sneezing (excessive)
  • Wheezing or “wet” breathing
  • Cere (the skin around the nostrils) irregularity
  • Laboured breathing or open mouth breathing
  • Tail “bobbing” with each breath
  • Change in voice or no voice
  • Anorexia (not eating or reduced eating)
  • Changes in amount of drinking
  • Weight gain
  • Weight loss
  • Fluffed feathers
  • Drooping wings
  • Listlessness, inactivity, depression
  • Sleeping more
  • Lumps, bumps, swellings or bulges on the body
  • Lameness or swollen joints
  • Paralysis
  • Weakness
  • Redness or visible irritation
  • Not perching, sitting on bottom of cage
  • Wet droppings
  • Diarrhoea
  • Change in the colour of the droppings
  • Staining of the feathers around the vent (anus)
  • Decreased droppings
  • Wet feathers around face and head
  • Vomiting or excessive regurgitation
  • Sore feet
  • Balance problems
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness
  • Flaky or crusty skin
  • Excessive scratching
  • Changes in the texture of the beak
  • Overgrown beak or nails
  • Feather changes, colour, chewed, plucked, damaged
  • Baldness
  • Prolonged molt
  • Abnormality of beak growth
  • Protrusions from the vent (prolapse)
  • Bleeding
Do not try to play veterinarian. If you are concerned about anything, consult your vet immediately.

Do not wait until tomorrow!