How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. Pat Your Own Question
Dr. Pat
Dr. Pat, Bird Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 3596
Experience:  25+ years working primarily or exclusively with birds
Type Your Bird Veterinary Question Here...
Dr. Pat is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Happy holidays - my female quaker is all puffed up all the

Customer Question

Hi dr Pat
Happy holidays - my female quaker is all puffed up all the time and acting strange and is making funny noises when she tries to go to the bathroom . I am very worried about her . She is eating and drinking fine though .
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 1 year ago.

Has she had eggs or reproductive activity recently?

Can you tell me more about the bird?​

How long has this been going on?

Any accidents or trauma?

Interactions with other birds/pets/children/guests?

What is the usual diet? has it changed recently?

Has the bird gotten into anything?

What do the poops look like?

These signs are of a very sick bird, and not specific to any one disease. And that means it is not fair to you or the bird to guess, there are so many possibilities.You are going to need local help on this, and a scientific and solid diagnosis to find safe and effective treatment.

The challenge is to find out exactly what is going on, since treatment will depend on careful and accurate diagnosis.

Without a diagnosis, I cannot recommend any particular course of treatment, except good nursing care at home.

If you feel comfortable with it, examine the bird thoroughly, using gentle restraint via washcloth or hand towel: do not restrict the chest or hold around the body. Check the eyes, nostrils, mouth and beak if possible, having a good look in there for mucus, redness, masses or anything else unusual. Palpate the tummy for pain, fluid, lumps or anything else (eggs, if female or unknown). Check all the joints for swelling, pain, and mobility. The feathers should be parted to view the skin, muscles and skeleton below; this can be done using a q-tip with isopropyl alcohol or KY gel. Look for bruising, lacerations, injured feathers.

Your job is to keep the bird warm, safe, quiet, and confined; and to provide adequate hydration and calories.

Move the bird to a box or carrier with soft towels in the bottom, no perch, and food and water in low bowls that can be reached easily. Put the whole thing on a heating pad on low or medium. Check it frequently, no overheating allowed! Keep the unit partially covered, warm and quiet. White paper towels or white cloth towels will show the true color of the droppings. Small animal/reptile boxes are great for this purpose.
The bird, bowls and unit must be kept very clean.

Here are some helpful links:

Do not try to force food or water. Pedialyte or electrolyte replacer can help but many birds do not like them; when in doubt, plain warm water is best. They can hydrate from oral fluids almost as quickly as IV if the GI is functioning properly. You can offer warm cooked rice, pancakes, cornbread, grapes, melon, greens in addition to normal food.

Pet/feed store medications and home remedies are harmful, ineffective, immuno-suppressive, and make them much worse and may interfere with the veterinarian's diagnosis and treatment. Do not use them. Homeopathy and natureopathic techniques do not work in avians and can actually be very dangerous.

I know it is expensive, but you may not have many home options, because the first thing you need a vet for is to find out what is going on. Treatment is only as good as the diagnosis. If you call around, you may find a vet to work within your means.

I really must stress that you need a bird-experienced person, and not just a vet who advertises that they care for birds.

You need to take your bird to see an avian-experienced veterinarian ASAP for complete examination, diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Check click on "find a vet"

for members of AAV in your area or call your regular vet and see who they recommend; ask if they really have worked with birds a lot.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Dear dr Pat
This has been a few days . She is eating an drinking . She has been in a cage with another female bird since they were babies . No accidents or trauma - there is no way she could have gotten Into anything . It did get cold here recently as we are in canada but the heat is on . It kind if looks like there is a little egg on her bottom but don't they have to have a male partner ?? I will take her to the vet tomorrow . It seems like she is trying to force something out . The poop is a creamy yellow kind of colour but as I said she is eating and drinking a lot . She is just puffed up and trying to force something out of her that looks like a little egg and she makes a squeaky sound every time she tries. Thank you so much dr pat . I am so worried about her .
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I just got a damp cloth and her poop area seems red and swollen .
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Dr pat
I just answered above but didn't hear back yet ??
Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 1 year ago.

She may be trying to lay an egg. They do not need a male to produce eggs. It is an emergency, and she should be placed in a warm box as described above. That will help. And make certain she has plenty of fresh water and food.

If there is a shelled egg, you will be able to feel it in her abdomen. Warmth, calories and hydration are the main emergency measures you can do at home.

The vet will likely give her calcium injections, fluids, and may assist delivery of an egg, if that is the problem.

There are other possibilities but an egg would be the first thought.

Photoperiod, diet and reproductive stimulation need to be altered to perevent reproductive issues in the future. She should have 12-14 hours of dark, uninterrupted, quiet sleep at night; a good diet with no seeds; and no nesting or sexual stimuli.

​great tips for egg-laying:​

Birds should be on a high-quality, preferably prescription, pelleted diet: I prefer High-potency Harrison's


In addition, they should be offered dark leafy greens, cooked sweet potatoes, yams, squash, pumpkin; entire (tops and bottoms) fresh carrots and so forth. No seeds (and that means a mix, or millet, or sprays, etc. etc.) and only healthy, low-fat high fiber people food. A dietary change should be closely monitored and supervised by your avian vet.

Daily Maintenance

Birds should get 12-14 hours dark, quiet, uninterrupted sleep at night. Any less and they can suffer from sleep deprivation and associated illnesses. They should be covered or their cage placed in a dark room that is not used after they go to bed.

The cage material should be cleaned everyday, and twice a day if the bird is really messy. Paper towels, newspaper, bath towels are ok. Never use corn cob, sawdust, wood chips, or walnut shell.
Food and water dishes should be cleaned and changed daily. Keep one set cleaned while the other is in use.

Fresh, perishable food should be placed in separate food bowls. Remove fresh food from the cage after a couple of hours to avoid spoilage.

Change cage papers daily, and clean the grate and tray weekly.

Clean food debris or droppings from toys and perches as needed (which can be as often as once a day).

Grit is not necessary for birds, and will cause digestive problems and death. The best sources of minerals (and vitamins) are leafy greens. Never give grit, gravel sandpaper or cement perches. A bird will eat those to excess when it is not feeling well or if there is a nutritional deficiency. They do not need it at all (an old myth from the poultry days, even poultry do not need it). It can cause an impaction and lead to serious or fatal consequences.

Useful links:

AAV Guidelines

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I don't know if it's an egg or maybe constipation. . I will take her to bird vet tomorrow . I will put the blankets on top and let her rest . Thank you so much !
Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 1 year ago.

Let me know what they find. Hopefully an egg will pass today.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank u -will do .