Parrots face many household dangers from unhealthy fumes, to spoiled food to other household pets. If your bird is sick, promptly take it to the vet. Your vet will most likely encourage you to provide "general supportive care" by keeping your bird quiet, warm, hydrated and fed as it recuperates.
A Bird hospital cage is on our Top 5 Must-Have Bird First Aid Supplies List!
When our bird, Peachy, 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. You can get a used one at a used baby supplies store like Once Upon A Time. 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 bird needs a very calm, stress free environment to recuperate. Your bird instinctively knows that it needs to rest. The clear Wingabago allows you to oserve your bird yet, you can easily cover it to minimize stress and encourage rest.
Remember, that just like you confine yourself to bed when you're ill, your bird desperately needs to use all of its physical reserves to get well as quickly as possible. You can use a hospital cage to observe your bird for an hour or so, like when your bird breaks a blood feather or even long-term recovery. Peachy found so much comfort in the hospital cage that he prefers to sleep in it at night to this day.
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 stree-free environment to recuperate, as well. 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 it's 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. Other brands are available, too, but the Sunggle Up fits so nicely on the Large Wingabago.
A hospital cage can become dangerous if allowed to remain soiled. Bird poop combined with moisture, food crumbs and warmth are a bacterial and fungal breeding ground. Clean the hospital cage daily with a low fume, bird safe cleaner. Aviclean is a general cleaner while Pet Focus is a disinfectant. Change the cage liner and wash food and water dishes with soapy water daily.
NUTRITION & HYDRATION
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 ARC and purchased a creamer pitcher to mix up hand-feeding formula and serve his medicine. To make the mix more palatable, we'd add organic baby food in his favorite fruit and vegetable varieties.
Sick or injured birds need their food to be easily accessible, otherwise they refuse to eat. Monitor your birds weight closely during recuperation. 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. Consider adding a bird specific electrolyte supplement to the water such as Cool Bird and Electrovites from Avitech.
BE YOUR BIRD'S MOMMA
Your sick bird still needs some socialization. While you don't want to handle a sick or injured bird any more than is necessary, your bird will surely appreciate soft words of encouragement, gentle head scratches and knowing that you are near.
Follow your avian veterinarian's advice to the letter!
MUST HAVE HOSPITAL CAGE FEATURES
• Easy To Keep Warm
• Easy To Clean
• Easy To Observe Bird, Food Quantities And Droppings
• Cover To Reduce Stress