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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 28932
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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My female cockatiel whole upper body fills up with fluid

Customer Question

my female cockatiel whole upper body fills up with fluid which is blood as she leaks a little from the left eye on times and has had bloods drops I cage. she isn't like this all the time it comes up and goes down but at present she is more blown up then normal.. Delphine ***** *****.
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: I changed her feed and put her on budgie seed and she went back to normal for two weeks then got the fluid back, so put her back on cockatiel seed. what can I do for her to get rid of the fluid buildup.
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Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner, Delphine. I believe that you're misinterpreting what's going on with your cockatiel. It sounds as if she's fluffing rather than retaining fluid which is going to be evident in her abdomen rather than her upper body if that were occurring. Bleeding from her eyes might result from vitamin K deficiency but I'd be more comfortable knowing that an avian vet took a look at her eyes as well as the rest of her in order to define better what's going on.

Nutritional imbalances are a common cause of illness in our pet birds. What has her diet consisted of, please? Seeds should compose less than 20% of her 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. Until you can have her attended to, please add an avian vitamin such as Oasis brand to her water at half the dose on the label so as not to make her water distasteful. Also add a calcium supplement such as Calciboost or Calcivet to her water. I suspect that she's currently calcium and vitamins A, B12, D3, and K deficient.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am not surprised to hear it is a vitamin problem as she will not eat fruit or greens, only a little apple on times, I will try her on egg yolk and other things you have listed and maybe grate every thing, I will also sorce the vitamins and calcium and give it to her, I can proberly get it through a pet supplies place as I live in Longreach in west Queensland where supplies are limited and expensive .She is at present on TRILL cockateil seed and millet. Thank you very much for your advice. Delphine.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the additional information, Delphine. The TRILL sounds good until we realize that it's mostly seed and our birds end up picking out just the seeds they want. I can't set a follow-up in this venue so please return to our conversation - even after rating - with an update at your convenience.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I will give her the extras, like pancake ect. which she has never had with chopped or grated fruit and veg. I have given her egg yolk but as yet she hasn't touched it.and give it a couple of weeks to see how it goes. Thank you .Delphine.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Sounds good. You should see quite a difference when she eats better.