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Patricia, Parrot Consultant
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 1759
Experience:  Published author, free lance bird behaviorist, adviser to the parrots at Sarasota Jungle Gardens.
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My cockatiel is all puffed up and he is shivering and he is ...

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My cockatiel is all puffed up and he is shivering and he is acting like he is sleepy. I warmed his room up but he is still acting the same way.
Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Patricia replied 10 years ago.
Hello. You really have a very sick little bird on your hands. One of the problems we have with our parrots is their very strong instinct to mask all symptoms of illness or injury, from us. In the wild, they are prey and to show weakness is to get kicked out of the safety of the flock. By the time we see any symptoms, it's because they are too sick and too weak to keep up the pretense. A couple of the first things we will be able to notice is a change in behavior, (less playing, less or no talking, etc.), any change in the appearance of the droppings that lasts more than 24 hours and cannot be accounted for by diet. For example, a lot of fruits or veggies one day can make more runny droppings but it should not last more than a day, then go back to normal. Other symptoms are sitting with feathers fluffed, giving up the perches and staying on the cage floor, and sleeping an inordinate amount of time. As you can see, he has been sick for some time now. Keeping him warm was a good call on your part but he may not be warm enough yet. Make sure he does not get chilled and is not in any kind of draft. The closer we can keep an ill bird to 80-85F, the better. If you have a heating pad, you can put it under only the back half of the cage, on low. Get it under the cage, not in it. He must not be able to contact the pad or the cord. Cover the top and three sides of the cage. The reason you only put it under the back half is that too hot can be just as bad as too chilled. He must be able to move away from the heat if he gets too warm. Watch him closely. Open beaked breathing and/or holding his wings out from his side are both indications he is too arm. Keep alert for any of these other symptoms. Try to keep him eating and drinking fresh plain water. You can also see if he will take any Pedialyte. If he will, that will help keep him hydrated and will help with his electrolytes until he gets to the vet. Make the Pedialyte an additional bowl. Not instead of his water. Keep him as quiet and stress free as possible until you can get in to your avian vet. Just in case you don't have one, I'll give you links to help locate one. Another thing you may be aware of, but for just in case, I'm going to give you some links to information about the many dangerous and toxic things we may have in our houses that can be deadly to parrots. Most things we don't give a thought to because they are harmless to us and to our other pets. But with parrots, some things can kill them, almost within minutes; other things are cumulative and take longer but are just as fatal. Just to mention a few, any aerosol product, burning candles, strong cleaning products, an over heated piece of non stick cookware, using the cleaning cycle of a self cleaning oven, cigarette smoke, any kind of air freshener; the list goes on and on. Also many houseplants are toxic. If you aren't sure whether you have any dangerous items in your home, it would be good to print out these lists and keep them handy. I'm also going to include information about proper diet. If your bird has been eating mostly, or only seeds, that alone could be the problem. At his age, he could be suffering from liver damage from a diet way too high in fat. (Seeds, and especially sunflower seeds.) If you can use these lists to do your own detective work and pin down any diet deficiencies and/or or any possible toxic exposures, it will be very helpful to the vet, making for a much quicker diagnosis, and a faster start of proper treatment. But for right now, you need to get him to the vet asap. Please don't delay or you are going to lose the little guy. Let me know if I can help any further. Patricia

Click here: Find your local Avian Veterinarian

Click here: Avian Veterinarians Recommended by Bird Breeders and Owners

Click here: Avian Vet List

Click here: BirdsnWays - Avian Veterinarians - Vets - Vet Services for Pet Parrots & Exotic Birds

This one looks like an advertisement for Harrison pellets but they are only sold by vets so it's another good list to check. Click here: Harrison's Bird Foods is a family of certified organic pet bird diets that were formulated to make your bird as he

Click here: BirdsnWays - Articles & FAQs on pet birds, pet parrots & exotic bird species - Cockatiels

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Click here: Alerts Dangers and Toxins for Pet Birds Parrots

Click here: Bird; Birds: Safe, Toxic Trees, Woods. Safe Tree Wood. Poisonous. Parrots.

Click here: Toxic and Safe Plants/Trees for Birds - Household Poisons

Click here: Birdsnways - Safe Plants & Trees for pet birds, pet parrots &exotic birds

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Toronto Humane Society :: Common Poisonous Plants

Click here: Bird Proofing Your Home: Household Hazards for Birds

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