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How To Treat A Sick Bird, Here is What To Do

how to treat a sick bird

Treating Finches for Shock

Any sick bird usually follows a rapid downward spiral of loss in stamina which quickly results in death because of lack of heat. Most sick birds show a lack of interest in food. This refusal to eat results in a lower body temperature and less stamina as well as a loss of interest in living. If you are a serious breeder, you should have an infirmary cage (or a sick cage) ready at all times. 

Even if we don't like to admit it, we all have sick birds at one time or another, and if we don't cooperate with each other and ask for help some of these beautiful birds will be gone forever. No matter how much we love and care for them, just like us they can become ill. You should have a quiet, scenic, warm, humid, and dimly lit environment ready (the infirmary or sick cage).

Keeping the Bird Warm Is the Greatest Concern

A bird's temperature should be 40-42º Celsius. Birds lose body heat rapidly, that is why the first sign of illness is being perched and all fluffed up. The feathers are not tight to the body. Being fluffed they increase the insulating properties of their feathers and reduce heat loss from their body. 

Have the infirmary cage warmed to 80-85º Fahrenheit using an incandescent red bulb or place a heating pad on the bottom of the cage (it's a good idea to cover the heating pad with several paper towels). Cover all three sides of the cage to keep heat in. Be sure to put a humidity and temperature gauge inside the cage. 

The heat lamp should be placed either in the middle of the tile cage or toward the bottom. If the bird is not perching, put a perch a few inches from the bottom of the cage so that the bird will try to perch. Put another perch in the middle of the cage. Make sure that the perch is long enough so that the bird can move freely. He will feel more comfortable moving in and out of the heat.

Dry Heat Can Dehydrate a Bird

can my bird make me sick
So keep the humidity about 75-80 percent. If you need to increase the humidity, place a small shallow dish or container with water in one corner. Be sure to cover the dish with a piece of window screen and secure it with a rubber band or string. We don't want the bird to fall in and drown.

It's very important to put a small, shallow seed dish and a small, shallow dish of fresh water on the infirmary cage floor. You want shallow dishes, again so the bird won't drown and because he can't perch. This makes it easier for the bird to eat and drink. Do Not Give Any Fruit Or Vegetables, Especially Grit, To The Bird.

Another thing that has helped me is I found it's best for the sick bird to have a mate. Place the mate in the infirmary with the sick bird. If there isn't a mate, place a society with him for company. Do Not Examine The Bird At This Point.

Bird in Shock Symptoms

Generally, there are two symptoms to look for when a bird is sick or in shock. The first symptom is when you see a bird perched, fluffed up, his head is tucked in his back, and the eyes appear smaller. The second symptom is when you find a bird on the floor of the cage or aviary. The bird will appear weak and doesn't want to move when you approach. 

The Birds Will Have a Drooping Posture

sick bird symptoms
The breathing is very shallow (runs out of breath quickly). The pupils may be dilated (wide open) resulting in a staring gaze, loss of stamina, and no interest in food. This is the most critical stage. If the bird is handled too long it could die right in your hand, so you must act quickly. Be sure and have everything ready in advance to minimize any further stress for the bird.

The main thing to remember Do Not Handle the Bird Long, when in the second stage of shock (finding bird on floor-not perching). And most importantly; even though you may want to, Do not force feed or give any medications at this time as it can choke and kill the bird.

If the bird doesn't show any signs of improvement after 8-12 hours you should call for your Vet's advice. In about 80% of the time, you will see a great improvement in those 8-12 hours and the bird has recovered from the shock. Now you can examine the bird to help determine the illness and/or the cause of the illness and proceed to apply the appropriate treatment. 

Again, I can't emphasize enough: Do not attempt to force-feed the bird during the symptoms of shock. only because, most of the time you will end up choking and killing the bird. Wait the 8-1 2 hours and see if the bird is perching or any other signs of improvement occur.

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