If you know what you're looking for, you can offer your sick bird the support it needs to get well.
When our bird, Peachy, a Moluccan Cockatoo, was critically ill after an injury, we provided around the clock supportive care in a Large Wingabago Bird Carrier for over 3 months.
Luckily enough, we found that this bird carrier fits very nicely into a Snap & Go Child Stroller. This stroller allowed us to easily transport Peachy back and forth to the vet. We also took him everywhere he was allowed if we were going to be gone for any length of time.
We used the stainless steel door for ventilation, but also found that we could attach a Snuggle Up Cage Warmer to the door to keep Peachy warm. Peachy was very weak and he needed a stress free, warm environment that restricted his movement yet allowed easy access to food and water in order to recuperate.
You may be wondering if the Wingabago Bird Carrier is too small and confining for a bird to stay in, but a sick bird needs a very calm, stress-free environment to recuperate. Your bird instinctively knows that it needs to rest. A clear bird carrier allows you to observe your bird. Use a towel to cover the bird carrier if you want your bird to rest more.
Remember, that just like you confine yourself to bed when you're sick, your bird desperately needs to use all of its physical reserves to get well as quickly as possible.
A bird hospital cage also comes in handy when you simply need to observe your bird for a short time, like when they've broken a blood feather,
When Peachy was sick, we wanted to insure more than ever that he could get a good nights sleep. We actually wheeled the hospital cage into our master bedroom walk-in closet where he could get commotion free, totally dark rest for 11-12 hours a night.
Sick birds need a stress-free environment to recuperate. Being animals of prey, a sick or injured bird is even more easily startled and worried since it knows it doesn't have the energy to protect itself from predators.
Place your hospital cage in a quiet area with minimal traffic. If you have kid or other pet commotion in the house, cover the carrier so that your bird is encouraged to sleep as much as possible.
Sick or injured birds lose a lot of body heat and they are very prone to getting chilled. You want your bird to use its energy to recuperate, not to keep warm so provide supplemental heat in your bird hospital cage.
We like the Snuggle Up bird warmer that attaches to any wire door and offers thermostatically controlled heat when placed near your bird. In the photo above, you can see the rectangular gray bird safe heater on the Wingabago door.
Keep your bird hospital cage clean. Bird poop combined with moisture, food crumbs allows for bacteria and fungal growth. Change the paper on the bottom of the cage and lean the hospital cage with soap and water every day.
Carefully monitor your birds weight as it is recuperating from an illness or injury. It is very common for a sick bird to refuse to eat or drink, making it even weaker. Peachy's baseline weight is generally around 930 gm. When he was sick, he went down to 850 gm. at one point.
As he was recuperating, his daily weight would vary up to 50 gm a day. We noticed that if he got below 900 gm. he'd be significantly weaker and would deteriorate quickly. The vet gave us plastic syringes to hand-feed him, but Peachy chewed right through them.
We went to the Goodwill and bought a creamer pitcher to hand feed him during this time. It was also a great way to give him his meds.
We found that when we mixed Peachy's meds in organic baby food, he ate it all up.
Sick or injured birds need their food to be easily accessible, otherwise they may refuse to eat. Keep fresh food and water accessible at all times and if need be, hand feed your parrot to insure that it has the reserves to recuperate.
Another pro-tip is to give your bird electrolytes. Here's an easy recipe:
2 C. fresh water
1 teaspoon of honey or Karo syrup
1/2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking soda (Bob's Red Mill Baking Soda)
1/2 teaspoon table salt.
Mix well. Use a dropper, a curved teaspoon, or a creamer pitcher to get your bird to drink.
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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