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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28524
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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I have a 10 year old parakeet Who has had behavior changes

Customer Question

I have a 10 year old parakeet
Who has had behavior changes
Could you please help me?
Sleeps most of the time
Puffs feathers and hides face
Has quit making bird noises
Eats well
Drinks well
Has loose green stools
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year 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. It's important to note that once a parakeet acts ill they're quite ill and in need of the attention of an avian-oriented vet (please see here: This is a protective mechanism because ill birds are attacked by other birds in the wild. Violet's symptoms of somnolence, fluffing, and diarrhea and are all important symptoms but they're not pathognomonic (specifically indicative) of any one disorder.

An avian-oriented vet will first treat symptomatically and supportively by providing supplemental fluids and electrolytes by needle and tube feeding a "recovery" food. Blood tests and cultures of Violet's choana - the slit between her oral cavity and nose - and cloaca (vent) may be taken.

Until Violet can be attended to, please heat up her environment to 85F by means of a 100W bulb shined into her partially covered cage (not at night when she needs to rest) or by taping a heating pad set on its lowest setting to the sides of her cage. Remove her perches and put her food and water on the bottom of the cage along with her. Add a water soluble avian vitamin such as Oasis brand to her water at half of the recommended dose so as not to make her water distasteful. Add a calcium supplement such as Calcivet or Calciboost to her water. These supplements are available in pet/feed stores. Avoid over the counter antibiotics designed to be placed in her water. They won't be effective if only because an ill bird won't drink enough to medicate itself properly.

Nutritional imbalances are a common cause of illness in our pet birds. What has Violet's diet consisted of, please?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Over the counter generic food
No supplements
Why do I put her in the bottom of the cage? Conserve energy?
She is never in the bottom of her cage. I thought it might frighten her
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Over the counter generic food
No supplements
Do I put her in the bottom of the cage to conserve energy
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Weak birds often fall from their perches harming themselves doing so. Parakeets who have been ingesting primary seed diets will be calcium and vitamin A, B12, D3, and K deficient; hence, the need to supplement them as I mentioned. Eating hard boiled egg yolk, the tops of fresh greens, dairy products such as yogurt or cheese, and even tiny pieces of meat can round out Violet's diet.

Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you Dr Salkin. I am trying to use all your suggestions. I am not sure what food other than seeds I use but if my time is up with youI will check with a pet store
Thank you.Sue
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Sue, please continue our conversation here if you wish. I posted some "people foods" for Violet above your last post. You can also take a look here: