Parrotlet health care requiring first aid kit

Thank God We Had A Bird First Aid Kit

Bird accidents can happen in a flash, like what happened to Mika, our little Pacific Parrotlet.  Discover some good take-aways for responding to a parrot injury and sketch out your own plan of how to respond if your bird gets hurt.

Mika, my 8 year old Parrotlet experienced a mishap this morning at 8:30. She got into a squabble with Skeeter, a Red-Bellied Parrot, and suffered a nasty bite to her beak.

Red-Bellied Parrot

I pulled out my First Aid for Birds book by Tim Hawcroft (no longer in publication) to determine how critical the injury was. In a crisis, it is best to have expert advise available rather than just guessing what to do.

Upon examination: 

  • The wound was not bleeding
  • Beak bites are notorious for inflicting infectious wounds
  • There were no visible cracks or splits to the beak
  • Mika was breathing fine
  • She was able to balance on a perch

It was obvious that the injury was not life-threatening. But, even so, I could see bruising on the inside of her beak. I knew Mika was in a lot of pain. The vet did not have an available appointment until tomorrow so cleaned the wound and restricted Mika's movement in a make-shift hospital cage.

Observing An Injured Bird In A Hospital Cage Is Critical

As the day progressed, I realized that Mika wasn't eating or drinking and she did not want to venture from her Scooter Z Bird Bed.  Bird beds act as a blanket to  provide your bird warmth, but in addition, they make your bird feel safer. Mika wasn't responding to her name by 2:00 pm.  A 28 gm. Parrotlet can't go too long without food and in my mind, it was better to be safe than sorry. I hand-fed her some Formula One Hand-feeding Formula, but she didn't respond with increased activity.  So, I secured a 4:30 pm appointment with Dr. Kristin Ballotti at Dublin Animal Hospital in Colorado Springs.  These folks have avian certified vets on staff and are very experienced with birds. In fact, Dr. Ballatotti is into falconry. My big worries were that Mika, in serious pain, might starve herself and that she was prone to infection.

Dr. Ballotti and Mika

Dr. Ballatotti was so tender with my little friend.  Some vets don't even know the species of parrot you are requesting services for, but she discussed her experiences with parrotlets.  She took Mika into her backroom, which I imagine had better lighting and magnification, cleaned the wound, trimmed "snaggy" areas on the beak  that could catch in her bird bed, thereby causing more damage, "just like a hang nail" she described.  The vet assistants carefully measured out doses of antibiotics and pain medications.

Mika in hospital cage

Mika will be okay.  I plan to keep her in her make-shift hospital cage until she is eating better.

My Injured Parrot Treatment Plan

  1. Watch Mika's weight to insure dietary intake.  This is where a bird scale comes in.  She weighs 28 gm today.  Her beak hurts so bad that she is refusing food. Bird Scales are essential for detecting illness or determining if your bird is going down hill or has resumed eating.
  2. Soft Cooked Bird Foods: Dr. Ballotti suggests warm, soft, moist bird foods such as Crazy Corn Bird Food.
  3. Keep the Injury Clean: The soft bird food may get compacted and embedded into the injury, so I need to carefully wash the wound with a cotton swab and clean water at least twice a day. No topical antibiotics as Mika may lick them off.  Topical antibiotics are not for ingestion.
  4. Administer Medications:  Mika needs antibiotics and pain medication to assist her through recovery.  The vet techs dosed out minute doses that are easy to administer. I created a calendar to keep me on track.

Since getting home, the "pain drugs" seem to be helping.  Mika is ingesting some of her Goldenfeast Australian Blend Bird Food and alert what is going on around her.  She is even doing a bit of preening.  Mika kind of acts like she is "loaded" though.  I'll move her perch a little lower in her cage and I plan to weigh her daily until she is routinely eating and has had no weight loss for several days and watch her droppings.  

Let us, at,  help you plan your parrot first aid emergencies.  Don't wait until you need to make decisions in a crisis.

Please note that this post is NOT intended to replace a personalized assessment and veterinary recommendations.  If your bird is injured, take it to an experienced avian vet.

What is your experience in nursing an injured bird back to health?  Comment below.