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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28936
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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We are considering adopting a rescue bird in the Westfield,

Customer Question

We are considering adopting a rescue bird in the Westfield, MA area. What are signs of a healthy bird
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

A healthy bird will be alert and active, have bright and shiny eyes, clean feathers, clean nares (nostrils) and cere, be hungry and outgoing. Its diet should be varied - seeds should have composed less than 20% of its diet. Ideally, a balanced pelleted diet such as can be found here: or here: should be fed as well as hard boiled egg yolk, pancakes and cornbread, the tops of fresh greens, dairy products such as yogurt and cheese, fresh fruits such as apples, pears, melon, kiwi, and berries, vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, beets, asparagus, cabbage, sweet potato, and squash, and even tiny pieces of meat. A poor diet is the most common cause of problems in pet birds!

Look at its living conditions - in addition to seeing what has been offerred as its diet, look at its droppings - the three parts of the droppings should be readily distinguished one from the other - the feces, urine, and urates.

You don't want to see a fluffed bird, a red/inflamed cere, cloudy eyes, open mouthed breathing, dirty feathers, tail bobbing, or no interest in food. You don't want to see a bird separated from the rest of the flock self-sequestered away because it's ill. Remember, once a bird appears ill it is already quite ill. This is a protective mechanism because sick birds are attacked in the wild.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
what breed of bird is good for a beginner? do you know of any avian rescue facilities in Western MA?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Parakeets and cockatiels are wonderful "starter" birds - easy keepers (if fed appropriately) and social. I'm sorry, no, I'm on the west coast. You'll need to go online to sites such as this: I googled the key words "avian, rescue". Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. Michael Salkin