-- First, take a deep breath and stay calm. Being tense, which I totally understand, doesn't help anything and may make your bird more stressed.
Birds are among the most masterful at hiding illness, weakness or injury because just one mistake in the wild and their life could be over.
You aren’t the only they can confuse: A bird may show their weakness, illness and lack of energy one moment, even for a few hours or days - and then “suddenly” seem to be fine. This is their getting a second wind. Finding the strength to ‘mask’ the illness or problem. And since this masking can continue for a while, the underlying issue is only getting worse. The next time you see the bird acting ‘off’, it might be really, really bad.
If your bird is acting ‘off’, no matter what – no matter when, they need to be seen by their vet. Infections and disease are far more successfully and inexpensively treated when tackled early. Unlike mammals, avians don’t fare well with a “watch and wait” protocol.
These should help you find an avian vet near you
These days, with birds growing fast in popularity as in home companions, many DVM’s are quite experienced and able to see and treat many birds. If you have a pet store that sells birds or know of any bird breeders – ask them who they use for their bird care.
While Board Certified Avian Vets are the ideal choice in most cases, it’s not necessary. I’ve met BCAV’s that I personally feel shouldn’t be allowed in the same room as a bird, and I know ‘regular’ vets that specialize in avian care to the point of being published with the American Veterinary Medical Association repeatedly and highly sought after for information, input and personal research.
If you have a Pet Smart in town you may have a vet for your bird. Most Pet Smart’s now have a veterinary clinic inside and many of them will see birds (open 7 days a week too).
Finding an emergency clinic may mean making calls to every single vet in your area. There is always at least one that maintains urgent care hours and often cover for each other. Sometimes they switch offices; for example, one vet will do it for certain time period, then another will do it, etc..
Make the phone calls - listen to the answering services - they should give options for “in case this is an emergency”.
What you can do while securing a vet to see your companion is supportive care.
Just in case you’re wondering, never use any antibiotics from a pet store – they not only do not work, but they are increasingly blamed for serious complications, including death. These manufacturers do not have the same controls or ‘truth in advertising’ as human products do.
Most birds will need a heat source to maintain body heat while you’re getting their medical treatment lined up or while you’re on your way to see the vet with them. Ideally, a brooder is suggested in order to keep the bird comfortable, calm and warm.
For a makeshift brooder: Use an appropriately sized box lined with soft clothes like tee shirts. It should be like a ‘nest’ for your bird, not too big. Tuck in more materials to make an oversized box ‘smaller’ on the inside if necessary.
Use a thick, clean sock and fill it ¾ with plain, raw white rice. Knot the end and microwave it for about 1 ½ minutes. Shake it afterwards to distribute the heat and be sure it's not too hot. Tuck this in just under the cloths. The heat should last a couple of hours and even though it’s dry, raw rice - it’s a moist heat. You can use two socks if you feel it’s appropriate.
A heating pad under the box is also helpful, set on low. This is one of the few times I’d ever use both heat sources if necessary to maintain incubation temp (approx. 90 degrees F, 32.2 C). If you use the heating pad - I’d only use one rice sock, if any at all. Be sure you only put the heating pad underneath ½ of the cage bottom so the bird has the option of moving to a ‘cooler’ side.
If ever using an electric source for heating anything in anyway, please be vigilant and constantly double checking carefully.
Gently drape a light cover over this box to further help hold heat in and keep light low.
You might also want to put a vaporizer in the area - no meds in it. The warm, steamy air is helpful for just about anything that might be wrong. Not a cure, but helpful.
Good luck and remember, you need to stay calm and keep your little one calm in turn.