Bird Health Issues You Should Know About
With the larger birds of the parrot family (the parrot, the cockatoo, the macaw), feather picking is one of the more common health problems. Birds that are stressed, anxious, lonely, or bored will start picking at themselves and pulling out their feathers. This obsessive behavior shouldn't be confused with the natural loss of feathers that will occur through molting.
Sometimes the picking can be controlled with the use of bad-tasting substances sprayed on the feathers (such as Bitter Apple) or even collars that prevent the bird from pulling its feathers. These help the symptoms but not the cause of the problem. The bird's living environment should be examined to help ease stress or alleviate boredom.
The rest of your home can have an impact on the health and well-being of your pet bird. Many bird species are sensitive to toxins in the air and can become quite ill from things you might not suspect. Appliances that have non-stick coatings give off fumes when heated that are very dangerous to a bird. Not just frying pans, but also bread machines, waffle irons, regular clothing irons, and even blow dryers. Pesticides, cleaning solutions, and other such volatile products should be avoided in the home.
Psittacosis is one particular bird disease that should be watched for, namely because it can be transferred from bird to owner. The disease is caused by the Chlamydia bacteria (not the same strain that causes the sexually transmitted disease) and is most often seen in parrots, though it can strike many other species of birds.
Symptoms in birds include lethargy, eye discharge, diarrhea and fluffed-up feathers. In humans, you can expect flu-like symptoms with fever and chest pains. When seeing a doctor with these rather general symptoms, make sure to inform him or her that you have a pet bird so that Psittacosis can be tested for. The treatment of the disease is antibiotics.