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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28489
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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I have 4 newborn baby cockatiels. They are a few days old

Customer Question

I have 4 newborn baby cockatiels. They are a few days old and are parent-fed. The parents have only been eating brown rice and seeds. I tried feeding them healthier food but they won't eat it. I'm pretty sure the all of the babies have developed a sour crop today, and I don't know what to do. I tried giving them some pedialyte but wasn't too successful. Please help.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. We don't have many avian-oriented vets on the site. Sour crop should be considered when a bird repeatedly regurgitates "sour" smelling crop contents. I would be surprised if an entire clutch developed such a disorder. Please tell me which symptoms you're seeing in these babies. If I suspect sour crop, I evacuate the crop by tilting the bird forward and gently express the crop with my fingers. I then tube an antimicrobial solution such as chlorhexidine into the crop. This usually suffices to normalize a bird. In severe cases I might administer an antiyeast drug systemically. You're necessarily constrained by what you can do at home. Having an avian-oriented vet (please see here: check all of your birds at this time would be ideal. Make sure that your adults have an avian vitamin product such as Oasis brand added to their water at half of the labeled dose so as not to make their water distasteful. Primary seed eaters are usually deficient in vitamins D3, A, B12, and K as well as calcium and so adding a calcium supplement such as Calciboost or Calivet available in pet/feed stores would be prudent as well. See if you can get them interested in hard boiled egg yolk, dairy products, the tops of fresh greens, and even tiny pieces of meat. Nutritional imbalances make up the bulk of disorders I see in pet birds. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Some seem to be worse than others. The crops look yellow with small red veins on them, and one of them looks like it had and air bubble in it. I actually think they got better overnight because they're smaller then they were yesterday. Sometimes the chicks open their mouths and stretch their neck... maybe like they were going to vomit? It kind of looks like they're trying to clear their throat when they do that, but there isn't anything stuck in there, and the inside of their mouths look fine.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for the update. The appearance of the crop is normal in such young birds. The presence of air is expected in fledglings gaping to be fed as opening their mouths and stretching their necks indicates. All in all, it sounds as if you have normal little cockatiels. See if you can get them interested in a balanced pelleted diet when weaning time comes. Please see here: and and please continue our conversation if you wish.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you!
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
It's my pleasure. I can't set a follow-up in this venue and so would appreciate your returning to our conversation with an update - even after rating - at a time of your choosing.