Sick Cockatiel? Cockatiel Illness & Disease Info

If your cockatiel is sick, it can be very scary because you might not know what, exactly, is wrong. You might wonder whether itís an illness, a disease, or if your feathered friend is just depressed. Luckily, youíve found this page, so youíre about to get clued-up on many of the common health problems that cockatiels face Ė and more importantly, what you can do about them.

Signs and Symptoms of Illness

First things first, before you can solve the problem, you have to know what it is. So, how do you tell if your cockatiel is actually sick? Well, in giving some attention to your bird everyday, youíve probably become quite familiar with what is normal for you little buddy, and paying that attention is your best defense, because youíll be able to notice when something isnít right.

Here are the signs of illness that you should look out for:

  • Weight: Is your cockatiel eating and drinking as much as usual. Birds donít store extra fat Ė unless they have a bad diet Ė so any weight loss can be serious, and thatís before you find out whatís causing the weight loss.
  • Breathing: Is your cockatiel breathing normally? The breathing should look easy and comfortable, and straining for breath is obviously a bad sign. You might even see your birdís tail feathers bobbing up and down as it strains for breath.
  • Over Sleeping and Resting: Cockatiels donít sleep all day unless theyíre sick Ė think about it, you donít want to be stuck in bed all day if youíre raring to go, and feeling great, do you? The same goes for sitting around all day, if your cockatiel is just sat there looking depressed, something is wrong.
  • Fluffed up feathers: Are your cockatielís feathers fluffed up all the time, like itís trying to keep warm? Itís just like you curling up under a duvet when youíre feeling under the weather.
  • Gunky Eyes or Nostrils: The eyes and nostrils should always be clean and clear. If your cockatiel has discharge coming from either, thatís not good.
  • Quiet: Has your little guy stopped talking and singing to you? When such a sociable animal canít be bothered to interact with its family, you know somethingís wrong.
  • Runny/Bloody Poop or Dirty Bottom: A stomach upset isnít hard to spot. If your birdís droppings are runny, or their vent is smeared with poop, youíve got a problem. If your cockatielís droppings are discolored black or red, it means thereís blood in there Ė this could be anything from internal injury to tumors.
  • Strange Lumps: Speaking of tumors, strange lumps on your birdís body are a great cause for concern, and need immediate attention.
  • Disorientation: Your cockatiel appears drunk, confused, or unbalanced.
  • Bleeding: Shocking news, bleeding is bad. If your cockatiel has picked up a cut or scrape, it needs cleaning up. But if your cockatiel has managed to injure a blood feather, they could bleed to death without immediate treatment.
  • Lame Wing and Legs: Iíve left the most obvious one until last. If your cockatiel has a leg or wing hanging down uselessly, theyíve managed to injure themselves.

Itís important to check your cockatiel each day for signs of illness, injury or disease. You see, birds are very good at hiding it when theyíre sick, because the weak member of the flock is most likely to get singled out by predators. That means that by the time your cockatiel looks sick, itís probably feeling very bad.

Preventing Illness

Obviously, itís far better to prevent illness than to treat it Ė this is especially true with birds, where so many illnesses get serious very quickly.

Your best defense against illness and disease is good hygiene, good diet, regular exercise, and daily social interaction. Basically, everything your cockatiel needs to stay happy Ė the bare essentials of being a responsible cockatiel owner.

Good care wonít prevent your cockatiel from ever getting sick or injured, but it will cut down the chances dramatically.

What to Do if Your Cockatiel is Sick

You canít go wrong with a trip to the veterinarian. In fact, your first stop should be an avian vetís office for every illness or injury Ė except maybe a broken wing or leg, which you can treat at home if you feel comfortable doing so. Apart from having expert knowledge, your vet has access to all the medical gizmos needed to make a proper diagnosis, and provide treatment.

Iíll put some articles below on specific cockatiel illnesses, in case youíre curious to learn some more about them. Theyíll include tips for treatment you should provide at home Ė giving vitamins for certain conditions, splinting wings/legs etc.

Whateverís wrong with your little friend, I hope you find the answer and get it sorted. Good luck.

Further Reading

  • Cockatiel Vomiting
    Is your cockatiel throwing up? Vomiting can be a serious symptom, find out what action you need to take.
  • Cockatiel Bleeding
    If your cockatiel is bleeding, you need to know how to treat the wound, and how to judge whether it's serious or not.
  • Cockatiel Diarrhea
    Does your cockatiel have diarrhea? Runny droppings can be caused by a number of things. Discover what they are and what you should do about it.
  • Giardia in Cockatiels
    Giardia is a parasite that could live in your cockatiel's small intestine, causing problems like runny droppings, feather plucking and weight loss. Find out how to fight it.
  • Cockatiels and Pacheco's Disease
    This nasty strain of herpes can quickly kill your cockatiel. Discover what the symptoms are, so your birds have the best chance of early treatment, and survival. And find out how to prevent your cockatiel getting Pacheco's in the first place.
  • Cockatiels and Avian Polyoma Virus (APV)
    This horrible virus kills many baby cockatiels each year, and can spread very quickly. Find out how Avian Polyoma Virus works, and how you can protect your cockatiels from it.
  • Cockatiels and Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD)
    This disease can cause your cockatiel's feather to become deformed, then fall out, it's beak to break, and it's immune system to get weakened. Find out what you need to know about here.
  • Cockatiel Feather Plucking
    Your cockatiel must have a powerful reason to start plucking it's own feathers out. Get some help figuring out what's causing this bizarre behavior, and how you can stop it.
  • Cockatiel Egg Binding
    Sometimes an egg can get stuck, while your cockatiel is trying to lay it. This can be a serious problem that needs swift treatment. Find out how to spot this condition, and what you need to do about it.
  • Cockatiel Eye Problems
    Have you notice a problem with your cockatiel's eyes? Or, perhaps you're just curious about what might develop, and how you should treat it. Let me give you the answers you're looking for.
  • Cockatiels and PDD (Proventricular Dilation Disease)
    If your cockatiel is losing weight, has poor coordination, or appears weak, they might have PDD. Find out what you need to know about this deadly disease.
  • Gout in Cockatiels
    All sorts of things can cause kidney damage, and lead to your cockatiel getting gout. Discover what you need to know to prevent, and treat, this deadly and painful condition.
  • Cockatiel Broken Leg
    How do you know if a leg's borken? And what's the best way to treat it? If your cockatiel injures themself, it's a good idea to know how to take care of them. Find out here.