bird arthritis

6 Plant-based Anti-inflammatories & Antioxidants for Birds

Learn how to reduce inflammation and pain in birds with natural plant-based anti-inflammatories and antioxidants!
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It is essential to make sure our feathered friends, especially those that have lived difficult lives and are getting older, are not in any pain. Unfortunately, a great deal of pet birds suffer from the uncomfortable ailment of arthritis, which reduces their quality of life. Fortunately, there are a variety of bird-safe plants that can help manage and minimize the pain associated with arthritis. This blog post outlines 6 of the best natural pain relief plants that can keep your older pet bird happy and healthy. 

What causes inflammation in birds?

Arthritic birds may suffer from injuries, pre-existing diseases, and defects in their connective tissues and joints. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in pet birds. Oftentimes, more than one joint will be affected with the exception being when the condition was acquired after an accident. Arthritis will and inflammation and pain in the bird experiencing the condition.

Birds experience 3 main types of arthritis including osteoarthritis, septic arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

it is important to offer your bird pain management, as arthritis can severely impact a bird's quality of life and activity levels. And, there is no better method for taking care of your bird's health than through natural, plant-based anti-inflammatory and antioxidant solutions. Not only are these remedies free from adverse effects, but they also enhance your bird's nutrition absorption.

How can you tell if your bird is experiencing inflammation?

Arthritis in pet birds can cause swelling, stiffness, and pain in their joints. It's important to watch for signs that your bird is experiencing inflammation so that you can help them manage their pain. Some signs of inflammation in birds include limping, favoring one foot or wing, difficulty perching or climbing, and a lack of interest in activities they used to enjoy.  

In the body's attempt to protect itself, the inflammation process causes white blood cells to release chemicals into the blood and infected/injured tissue. This causes an increase in blood flow to the affected areas, manifesting as redness and warmth. 

Symptoms of inflammation in the body include:

  • Poor general appearance (feathers look tattered)
  • Fluffed-up feathers
  • Reduced appetite
  • Changes in amount of drinking
  • Weakness, reluctance to move, and inactivity
  • Drooping wings
  • Listlessness
  • Depression
  • Aggression
  • Feather plucking.  
Bird in pain

If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet bird, it's important to consult with a veterinarian to determine the best course of action.  

While arthritis is a common cause of inflammation in pet birds, there are other conditions that can cause similar symptoms. It's important to work with a qualified veterinarian to properly diagnose your bird's condition and develop an effective treatment plan. By staying vigilant and monitoring your bird's behavior, you can help them maintain their quality of life as they age. 

It's important to note that birds are instinctually wired to hide their pain. This is a survival mechanism that has developed over millions of years. In the wild, showing weakness makes a bird vulnerable to predators, so birds will try to mask their pain and discomfort as much as possible.  

As a bird owner, it's crucial to be attuned to your pet's behavior and any changes in their habits or activity levels. Even small changes in behavior can indicate a larger issue that needs to be addressed. It's also important to establish a strong relationship with a qualified avian veterinarian who can provide specialized care for your bird's unique needs. 

When it comes to managing your bird's pain, natural remedies can be a safe and effective option. In the next section, we'll explore six natural plant-based anti-inflammatories that are safe for senior pet birds. 

How do you reduce inflammation in birds?

As a responsible pet owner, seeing your feathered friend suffer from painful inflammation can be distressing. Fortunately, there are several safe and effective ways to help manage your pet bird's pain. Here are some plant-based anti-inflammatories options that can help your senior pet bird find comfort: 

Studies show that some spices have anti-inflammatory properties, making them an excellent natural remedy for reducing pain and inflammation in birds. These tasty spices include turmeric, ginger, ceylon cinnamon, rose hips, and cayenne pepper. Many of these spices also contain antioxidants, which help neutralize free radicals in your pet bird's body, reducing inflammation and joint pain. 

Turmeric is a spice that has been used for centuries in traditional medicine for its medicinal properties. This spice contains a compound called curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory effects that help reduce swelling and pain.

Turmeric is safe for most parrots, but it's always best to check with your vet before giving it to your feathered friend. You can add a pinch of turmeric to your bird's food or mix it with water to create a paste that you can apply topically to the affected area. 

Ginger is another spice that has anti-inflammatory properties. It's safe for most parrots and can be added to their food or given in a paste form. Ginger also has analgesic effects, which means it can help reduce pain and discomfort. However, ginger can thin the blood, so it's best to avoid using it if your bird is taking blood-thinning medications or has a bleeding disorder. 

Ceylon Cinnamon has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce swelling and pain. However, it's essential to use Ceylon cinnamon and not the common cinnamon variety found in most grocery stores. The latter contains a compound called coumarin, which can be toxic in large amounts. 


What experts say about feather plucking birds

Your avian veterinarian will ask questions, do a physical exam, and obtain lab work to rule out medical causes.


Rose hips are the fruit of the rose plant and are a good source of vitamin C and antioxidants. Studies have shown that rose hips have anti-inflammatory properties, making them an excellent natural remedy for reducing pain and inflammation in birds. You can give your bird rose hips as a treat or add it to their food. 

Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, which has analgesic properties and can help reduce pain. However, it's essential to use it sparingly and avoid getting it in your bird's eyes or mucous membranes. Using natural remedies for pain management in birds can be effective, but it's crucial to use them in moderation and under the guidance of your veterinarian. If your bird's pain persists or worsens, it's essential to seek veterinary care as soon as possible.  

Use spices in moderation and avoid giving them to your bird if they have a history of digestive problems or allergic reactions. Also, it's important to note that while these natural remedies can help reduce pain and inflammation, they should not be used as a replacement for veterinary care. If your bird is experiencing severe pain, you should take them to a veterinarian immediately.

Other options for pain management include prescription medications, physical therapy, and supplements. With the right care and treatment, your senior pet bird can enjoy their golden years with as little pain as possible. 

What are the pros and cons of using natural pain management for birds?

Natural pain management for birds can have its pros and cons, just like any other form of treatment. One of the biggest advantages of using plant-based anti-inflammatories & antioxidants is that they usually have fewer side effects than traditional medication. Additionally, natural remedies are often less expensive than prescription medications, making them a more budget-friendly option for pet owners. 

On the other hand, natural remedies may not always be effective in managing pain, especially in severe cases. It's also important to remember that not all natural remedies are safe for birds, and some may even be toxic if given in too high a dose or the wrong variation. Therefore, it's crucial to do your homework before administering any new treatment to your pet bird. 

Another potential downside to using natural pain management is the difficulty in administering the remedies to birds. Birds can be picky eaters and may not want to consume the herbs or supplements that are recommended for pain relief. It can also be challenging to get the dosage right, which can result in over- or under-treating the pain. 

Ultimately, the decision to use natural pain management for birds should be made on a case-by-case basis, with input from a veterinarian. While natural remedies can be a safe and effective way to manage pain in some situations, they may not be the best choice for every bird or every type of pain. When in doubt, it's always best to seek professional advice.  

When should I take a bird to the vet?

Parrot health and wellness


The Association of Avian Veterinarians suggests that all pet birds undergo annual check-ups, including blood work, to ensure they are healthy and to detect any underlying health conditions. In addition, if your bird has been diagnosed with arthritis or other chronic conditions, regular check-ins with a veterinarian are crucial for monitoring their progress and adjusting their treatment plan as necessary. 

If you notice that your senior pet bird is experiencing significant pain and discomfort, it's important to consult with a veterinarian. Inflammation and arthritis can be excruciating for birds, and a professional can help determine the underlying cause and provide proper treatment. Don't delay getting your bird on a treatment regimen.  

Here are some signs that may indicate it's time to take your bird to the vet:

1. Your bird is limping or showing signs of stiffness when moving around.

2. Your bird is no longer able to perch properly.

3. Your bird is less active than usual and seems to be in pain.

4. Your bird has stopped eating or has difficulty eating.

5. You notice any changes in your bird's appearance, behavior, or appetite.  

It's essential to remember that birds are masters at hiding their pain. By the time you notice signs of discomfort, they may already be experiencing severe pain. This is why it's crucial to be vigilant about any changes in your bird's behavior, eating habits, or mobility. Early detection of health issues is key to providing proper care and preventing more severe problems.  

In Conclusion

Pet birds can live for several decades, which means that as they age, they may experience arthritis and inflammation. As pet owners, we want to ensure that our birds are comfortable and free from pain, especially as they enter their senior years. Fortunately, there are natural pain relief options available that are safe for birds. 

By incorporating certain plants into your pet bird's diet or environment, you can help to ease their discomfort. Turmeric, ginger, chamomile, and peppermint are just a few natural pain relief plants that are safe for birds. However, it's important to keep in mind that while these natural remedies may help alleviate pain, they should not replace veterinary care. 

If you notice that your pet bird is displaying symptoms of inflammation, it's important to consult with a veterinarian. They will be able to properly diagnose the issue and provide the appropriate treatment. By being proactive and taking steps to manage your bird's pain, you can help to ensure that they have a happy and healthy quality of life in their golden years.   

Related Posts:

5 Important Tips For When Older Birds Start Plucking

Parrot Foot Health

 How To Tell If Your Bird Is In Pain And What To Do About It


Watch Dr Paul Bird, rheumatologist,... - Arthritis Australia

Diane Burroughs, LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist trained in ABA therapy techniques. She specializes in avian anxiety disorders and is certified in Nutrition For Mental Health. Diane has written a number of bird behavior books and she offers behavior consultations. She's developed a range of UnRuffledRx Science-backed Parrot Wellness Supplies.

Diane's products have been featured in the Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery and at Exoticscon, a conference for exotic pet veterinarians. Her bird collars & supplements are stocked in avian vet clinics and bird stores throughout the US. With over 30 years in the field of behavior, Diane has created thousands of successful individualized behavior plans that help pets thrive.

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