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 August Abbott, CAS Your Own Question
August Abbott, CAS
August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 7626
Experience:  Cert. Avian Specialist; Int. Assoc.Animal Behavior Consult; Pet Ind. Joint Advisory Council; author
Type Your Bird Question Here...
August Abbott, CAS is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

my bird is acting like she is in pain, like she hurt her wing,

Customer Question

my bird is acting like she is in pain, like she hurt her wing, its a cockatiel
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  August Abbott, CAS replied 8 years ago.
What might have happened? Is she fully flighted? Was she out ?

How old is she?

Any other birds around?

Do you see anything - any sores, bleeding, swellings?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I have 3 cockitiles all in the sam large cage they are all about 9 months. No bleeding no sores, cant tell if swollen, she just started this this morning
Expert:  August Abbott, CAS replied 8 years ago.

Do you have a separate cage you can put this one in?

Have you noticed any fluffing, holding wings out and slightly down from the body or going to the bottom of the cage to rest?

Still eating ok?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
She's in a seperate cage now, she is fluffing, yes holding right wing out slighly but more of flare out, Like the pain comes and goes. She has mostly rest on my sons shoulder. He has been with her all day. He did not notice whether she ate today. Right now she is quite. She is in her cage alone and covered, no peeps
Expert:  August Abbott, CAS replied 8 years ago.

What you can do while securing a vet to see your companion is supportive care.

Most birds will need a heat source to maintain body heat while you’re getting their medical treatment lined up or while you’re on your way to see the vet with them.

If perching is a problem, lower the perch to just a couple inches above the floor of the cage so falling doesn’t injure them. You might also want to remove the perch completely and layer newspapers on the bottom or put a tee shirt there. We use T-shirts because bath towels tend to have looped surfaces that can entangle little toenails.

Putting a heat source into the cage may be necessary since a sick or distressed bird tends to lose body heat. I prefer a non electric source and use rice socks.

Use a thick, clean sock and fill it ¾ with plain, raw white rice. Knot the end and microwave it for about 1 ½ minutes. Shake it afterwards to distribute the heat and be sure it’s not too hot.

Heating pad options include layering a thick towel on one side of the cage, secure with clothespins out of the reach of the bird’s beak – then clip a heating pad over the towel and set on low. Check often to be sure it’s not overheating and that the bird isn’t gnawing through. A side attachment like this will allow the bird to move closer or away as needed.

If the bird is bottom-bound, install a heating pad under about ½ of the base, again, set on low. Always check it. They have a tendency to turn off or overheat and to be honest, I rarely use them.

The rice sock option is far safer.

Cover the cage with a dark blanket or doubled over dark sheet, leaving just enough open space to be able to peek in and monitor. The bird needs to be kept calm and resting.

Gently drape a light cover over this box to further help hold heat in and keep light low.

If your bird will drink and eat on their own, excellent. If not, have an eyedropper ready to administer a few drops of plain water, or better yet, children’s Pedialyte every 20-30 minutes. Put the dropper gently inside the beak and let the drops fall into the bottom beak under the tongue rather than trying to get into the back of the throat. We don’t want to chance the bird inhaling the fluid and developing pneumonia.

Another feeding option is to offer ½ spoon of all natural, organic baby food (squash, yams, sweet potatoes, mixed vegetables) which many birds take readily; also try some pabulum or baby rice cereal and a few licks of natural (no artificial anything) yogurt.

These are just temporary supportive measures to keep your bird alive while you get professional, hands on care. These measures will not cure your bird.

Don’t mistake what looks like recovery to be a real recovery. It is very common for a bird to regain enough strength to start hiding their illness again, but what’s happening is that it’s progressing and by the time you see symptoms again, it will be much worse or too late.

I must commend you on catching this early - and doing the right things by removing her. It's also fortunate that you noticed this before the weekend. There's nothing worse than needing emergency care in the middle of the night on a weekend or holiday.

Find an avian vet near you and

Another very productive search site is

These days, with birds growing fast in popularity as in home companions, many DVM’s are quite experienced and able to see and treat many birds. If you have a pet store that sells birds or know of any bird breeders – ask them who they use for their bird care

Good luck!


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
answer did not hellp
Expert:  August Abbott, CAS replied 8 years ago.
What else can I help with?