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Ask Patricia Your Own Question
Patricia, Parrot Consultant
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 1759
Experience:  Published author, free lance bird behaviorist, adviser to the parrots at Sarasota Jungle Gardens.
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Why does my cockatiel want to sleep all the time You can ...

Customer Question

Why does my cockatiel want to sleep all the time? You can email me [email protected]   Thank YOu Christin
Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Patricia replied 10 years ago.
Hello. How many months old is your bird? How long have you had it. Are you sure it's a female? How many hours a day is the bird sleeping? How long has this extra sleeping been going on? Have you seen any change in the appearance of it's droppings? Is it keeping it's feathers fluffed up? Is it sitting on perches or the cage floor? Tell me everything that is in it's dailey diet. Did this bird come from a pet store or a breeder or where? This extra information will help me give you my best advice. Thanks, Patricia
Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Reply to Patricia's Post: Yes she is a female, about 3 months old and sice I bought her almost a week ago all that she does is sleep. She is always fluffed, and does sleep on the bottom of the cage. Sometimes she does sleep on her perch. The last day her droppings have gotten runny. I purchased her from Zoos Pet Center in Millville, NJ. She has been introduced to some new things such as, fresh carrots fully washed, and her reg food is Sunscription Vita Cockatiel Formula. I have tried fresh greenbeans and mashed potatos. That is pretty much all of her diet right now. Thank You Christin
Expert:  Patricia replied 10 years ago.

Hi again Christin. I hate to have to tell you but you have a very sick bird on your hands. She was probably sick when you brought her home. I am not at all familiar with the store where you got her but way too often, pet stores get their animals from very questionable sources. I know you have heard the term puppy mill. You can substitute bird for puppy and yes, there are many of them. One of the problems we have with our parrots is their very strong instinct to mask all symptoms of illness or injury, from us. In the wild, they are prey and to show weakness is to get kicked out of the safety of the flock. By the time we see any symptoms, it's because they are too sick and too weak to keep up the pretense. A couple of the first things we will be able to notice is a change in behavior, (less playing, less or no talking, etc.), any change in the appearance of the droppings that lasts more than 24 hours and cannot be accounted for by diet. For example, a lot of fruits or veggies one day can make more runny droppings but it should not last more than a day, then go back to normal. Other symptoms are sitting with feathers fluffed, giving up the perches and staying on the cage floor, and sleeping an inordinate amount of time. Obviously, you are seeing some of these symptoms and with the addition now, of the runny droppings, it's even more serious. In addition to whatever is wrong, dehydration is now a danger as well. For right now, you need to make sure she does not get chilled and you must keep her as quiet and stress free as possible. The closer we can keep a sick bird to 80F, the better. I suggest you cover the top and three sides of the cage and keep household traffic to a minimum around the cage. And for sure don't be trying to handle or play with her. I am going to give you several links to help you locate a real avian vet. All really good ones will have emergency clinic services available 24/7. You need to call and try to get in with her asap. In the meantime, you can try offering her some plain Pedialyte. It will help keep her from dehydrating and it will help keep her electrolytes in balance. This may be something that can be diagnosed with a test of one of her dropping samples and a 10 day course of oral antibiotics. But, it must be diagnosed by a qualified avian vet to know for sure. I won't lie to you and say it can be easily cured because there are too many different things it might be. For her to be acting like she is, and for this long, she is a very sick little bird. That does not mean she is going to die if you will get her in right away. It's good your are working on getting veggies and other good things into her diet. Both cooked and raw are good, (no raw white potatoes though) but for now, try offering her cooked, slightly warm and mashed up veggies. If you can get to a pet store and get her some weaning formula proper for Tiels, she may eat some of that and it will help her keep up her strength. She is still just a baby and will probably take right to it. It will be in powder form and you should only mix a very small amount at a time. Make if luke warm but be sure to test with your clean finger for any hot spots first. Offer her some with a plastic picnic type spoon. But don't ever use any as left overs. It grows bacteria very quickly. What she does not eat right away, pitch it and thoroughly wash and scald everything you used to mix it and to feed her. I hope you can get her right in and you really should insist that the pet store pay the bill, or at least help you with it. I'll warn you though, they will resist and will tell you they will take the bird back and give you your money or another bird. You don't need another sick bird and I can almost guarantee to you, if you let the store have her back, she will not receive any medical attention. They will not put any money into a little bird that cost them so little to purchase in the first place. Check these lists, find your closest avian vet and get on the phone. I'll be keeping your little bird in my thoughts and hope she can get the help she needs in time. If you need anything else or if you have more questions, just let me know. Patricia

Click here: Find your local Avian Veterinarian

Click here: Avian Veterinarians Recommended by Bird Breeders and Owners

Click here: Avian Vet List

Click here: BirdsnWays - Avian Veterinarians - Vets - Vet Services for Pet Parrots & Exotic Birds

This one looks like an advertisement for Harrison pellets but they are only sold by vets so it's another good list to check. Click here: Harrison's Bird Foods is a family of certified organic pet bird diets that were formulated to make your bird as he