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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 29711
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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My parrot has started to fall of s perch when she is asleep

Customer Question

My parrot has started to fall of his perch when she is asleep and more often than not doesn't wake until she hits the floor usually on her head.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Veterinarian will know how to help your parrot. What is the parrot's name and age?
Customer: Whiskey is more than 30. That's how many years she has been in our family. She had two previous owners that we know off,before my mother took her on. We have inherited her from my mother. She is a timer. ( I think I have misspelt that) (a small African grey)
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Whiskey?
Customer: We thought she was a mail until she started to nest a few years ago. Otherwise she is in good health very talkative and interactive with all the family including the other animals.
JA: I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

You have me very worried. It's important to note that once an African Grey (Timneh) 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 sick birds are attacked by other birds in the wild. Whiskey's symptom of falling and not waking until hitting the cage bottom indicates a profoundly weak bird and perhaps one with altered mentation (mental status) and is an important symptom but it's not pathognomonic (specifically indicative) of any one particular disorder.

An avian-oriented vet might first treat symptomatically and supportively by providing supplemental fluids and electrolytes by needle and tube feeding a "recovery" food. Blood tests and cultures of Whiskey's choana - the slit between her oral cavity and nose - and cloaca (vent) may be taken. Whole body X-rays can be helpful as well.

Until Whiskey 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 Whiskey's 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.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I automatically assumed that the vet that was given my question would be a specialist avian vet. Had I realised this was not the case I would of spoke to my own vet. Witch here in England is cheaper then your rates. Thank you for your advice. But you hav t told me anymore. Then we all ready knew. Disappointed with the lack of service given.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I understand.