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How to Be Prepared for Emergencies With Your Parrot

Juliet has owned parrots for over 20 years. She currently has two cockatiels—Rascal and Coconut—who both have big personalities.

If your bird is showing signs of illness, it means something is seriously wrong.

If your bird is showing signs of illness, it means something is seriously wrong.

How Can I Help My Sick Bird?

Unlike other animals such as dogs or cats, birds are very good at hiding their illnesses. Birds are prey animals, so they're designed by nature to not show sickness or weakness. So birds are magicians at hiding the fact that they're sick or injured.

So if your bird is showing that it's sick, that means it's really, really sick and it definitely needs to get medical attention as quickly as possible.

Signs Your Bird Is Sick

  • Fluffed-up feathers (if your bird looks puffier than normal)
  • Lethargy
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Decreased appetite (or no appetite)
  • Abnormal droppings (if they don't look like they usually do)
  • Changed routine or behavior
  • Bobbing tail
  • Breathing with an open mouth
  • Runny eyes
  • Lots of sneezing

If you've had your bird for quite some time, you'll be able to pick up on subtle signs if your bird is sick. And that's where you can really address the situation and hopefully prevent it from getting worse.

Though you should never treat your bird at home, a bird first-aid kit has a few tools that can help stabilize your parrot before you head to the vet.

Though you should never treat your bird at home, a bird first-aid kit has a few tools that can help stabilize your parrot before you head to the vet.

Get a First-Aid Kit for Birds

One good way to be prepared for emergencies with your pet parrot is to always make sure you have a parrot first aid kit. You can buy one quite cheap on Amazon.

In that first aid kit, there's going to be a septic powder, something similar to cornstarch, which can help stop the bleeding if your bird is bleeding. It also has sterile gauze that you can use, as well as several other tools to help you in an emergency.

This is also a perfect place to keep all your emergency numbers for your avian vets.

Find a Bird Emergency Vet

The one con to caring for birds is that there are not as many avian vets as there are regular vets, for example, for dogs or cats. So it can be very difficult to find an avian vet in an emergency.

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So the first thing you always, always want to do—let's say you move out of state or you move to a new city—is you want to make sure you have the list of phone numbers to at least a few different avian vets.

Not just one or two...you want to make sure you have three or four, at least. And hopefully one of those avian vets is available for emergencies because depending on what city you live in, it can be very difficult to find an avian vet and that can be very stressful in emergency situations.

Can I Take My Bird to Any Vet?

No. One thing that you really have to do if you're caring for birds is to make sure you have a whole Rolodex of avian vets that you can reach out to and contact in emergencies. If you have a sick parrot, you can't just take your bird to a regular vet that handles dogs or cats or Guinea pigs because that vet is not going to have the foggiest idea of what to do with a bird.

Birds are very specific. They have very specific needs and very specific treatments for their ailments or injuries. So you want to make sure you always take your bird to an avian vet.

Though it might be tempting to try to treat your bird at home, it's a terrible idea.

Though it might be tempting to try to treat your bird at home, it's a terrible idea.

How to Treat a Sick Bird at Home

Don't. If your bird is sick or there's an emergency, don't try to treat the specific injury or illness at home. You always want to get your bird to a vet.

For example, if your bird has a broken blood feather, attempting to treat it at home can be disastrous. Well-intended people have actually broken their bird's wings while removing the broken blood feather because they didn't secure the joint as they were removing it.

What If My Parrot Is Bleeding?

Put a little cornstarch or septic powder on a piece of sterile gauze and apply it to the affected area to try and help clot the bleeding a bit. And then rush your bird to the vet.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2022 Juliet Csaky

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