Lethargic Cockatiel

My family and I are taking care of a cockatiel for a couple months. We realized he was sneezing but not much we could do about it but keep him warm. He was fine until a few days ago, when he began to act really lethargic. He wouldn't whistle or chirp or anything. Only today we found some green substance on his head and on his beak. It's green, and strings on top of his head where it smears on his cheek. Is this fluid from his nose?

My parents believe it could just be feces that he rubbed into his head. Though I have a hard time believing that right now. He has many of the symptoms of an ill bird - such as fluffing of feathers, sleeping, shivering time to time. My dad thinks it's because he's molting. I'm not so sure. I know the answer is take him to the vet. But anyone know what we're dealing with? Please help, and thank you.

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June 30, 20080 found this helpful
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While it's good of you to be caring for this bird for someone, you need to contact the owner if possible and get the bird to a vet ASAP! His symptoms sound much more serious than just molting, and when birds are ill they can quickly worsen and die in a matter of days. When you contact the vet, try to think if when you had him out of the cage he was able to chew on anything that might be toxic, such as houseplants, chocolate, tobacco, etc. Also, be careful to change his drinking water several times a day and keep his cage clean, too. It might also be possible that he's really missing his owner and he's not being handled or talked to the way he's used to. Parrots and cockatiels are very sensitive to being suddenly in a different environment. You're doing the right thing by keeping him warm and quiet, but please call his owner right away and don't hesitate taking him to the vet soon. Hope everything works out :-)

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June 30, 20080 found this helpful
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You need an AVIAN (bird) vet RIGHT AWAY! As a rule, birds don't show signs of illness if at all possible. In the wild, it would mean certain death. It may even be to late for this little guy judging by your description. PLEASE call a vet. The bird may have injested something toxic. Do you use air fresheners at all? Chocolate is also toxic. You can check on Birds n' Ways for listings of toxins. Are there any plants in the room. A lot of plants are toxic as well. In any event, this bird NEEDS medical attention like yesterday. Diane: Lazicki's Bird House & Rescue. www.LaziBirds.com

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June 30, 20080 found this helpful
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The Cockatiel could have caught a draft and has a chill or a cold. You are right about him needing to be kept warm. Birds have a way a camoflaging their illnesses, and many times don't show signs of it until it is too late. Judging from your description, it does sound like he is getting worse. I would suggest you take him to an avian vet, a vet that has some expertise with parrots/birds, as soon as possible. Did the owner happen to give you the name of the vet they use? Hopefully, that would make things easier for you.

I have owned large parrots for over 20 years and also breed and own cockatiels. Please don't hesitate getting this bird to a vet, or the owner's may not have their friend when they get back from their trip.

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July 1, 20080 found this helpful
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The advice about the vet is certainly a first choice, if it's possible and contacting the owner as well.

IF you are unable to get a vet that treats small birds (or until you can get there)

Ensure the cage is NOT in a drafty location. What's a draft to them might be almost nothing to you. Check, maybe with a candle. For now it would also be best in a quiter part of the house.

Make positive the tray is not only clean of droppings once/twice a day but sanitize it to the best possible.

Put some mild warmth under the cage; a heating pad set on LOW and cover the cage with a towel or something similar.

There are some helpful additives for the water that should be available at your pet shop.

Do NOT use any teflon coated cookware!

Change the water several times per day, clean (as in sanitize) the watering implement at least once per day.

Change the feed (is it seed or pellets?) once a day- throw out what isn't eaten.

If the bird improves a bit, see if you can put him into something else for a few hours, even a large box and sanitize the cage, perches, and tray. Ensure it's all very dry before he goes back in.

Some of the suggestions are a bit overkill and not something you would have to do ALL the time but because he appears not well you've got to go all out.

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June 30, 20080 found this helpful

Please call the vet about this or, at least, call a reputable pet shop or animal shelter. From what I understand, sick birds can 'go downhill' very quickly!

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June 30, 20080 found this helpful

I would take him to a vet immediately. If you wait he may die. Small animals can get deathly ill quickly. I am sure the owners would agree. Have you talked to them? They may have a better idea of what is wrong.

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June 30, 20080 found this helpful

It sounds like your visiting cockatiel has an upper respiratory infection. You need to get the bird to a vet as quickly as possible. I have ten cockatiels and they have never gotten feces on their beaks unless the were a day or two old and couldn't move very well.

You really need to have a vet look at the bird. The sooner the better.

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June 30, 20080 found this helpful

gidget10 is right! Not all vets treat birds. Immediately look in the yellow pages for a vet that does, and call, letting them know it is an emergency. Your parents mean well, but birds are not mammals, and need special treatment of which most people aren't aware. My neighbor has a parrot, and they keep a little heater by his cage, and don't bring him outside if the temp is below a certain level, because exotic birds are so vulnerable to sickness. The cockatiel sounds like it is desperately ill.

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June 30, 20080 found this helpful

I know you don't want to hear take him to the vet, but "you really need to take him to the vet". Birds try to hide thier illnesses as a natural defense and If he is exhibitting all the signs you say he is very ill. I hate to say this but it would be a really bad thing if you had to tell whoever you were watching this bird for that he died. At the very least talk to the birds owner. Let them make the decision on thier own pet. Good Luck

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June 30, 20080 found this helpful

TAKE HIM TO A VET! Birds get very sick, very fast, and die easily! Take him to a vet!

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July 1, 20080 found this helpful

I will tell you up front that I know nothing about birds but my motherinlaw received a bird from an elderly woman. The bird was not chirping, was pulling his feathers out and acting very strange. When she brought it home, she placed him in a sunny location with lots of human activity (family room) where he seemed to perk up very quickly. We think the elderly woman kept her house too warm and the bird was trying to cope with the heat. Within a week or so, he was chirping and he stopped pulling out his feathers. He even learned how to "talk" back to the TV! They named him Pepsi since he would whistle the Pepsi cola commercial! But to be on the safe side I would agree with the others and take him to a bird vet to be certain!

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July 1, 20080 found this helpful

TAKE HIM TO THE VET! Birds do not show symptoms of illness until they are close to death - if they were in the wild, predators always kill the sick or slowest ones - it's a survival mechanism that all birds have.

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July 2, 20080 found this helpful

Thank you all for the feedback. We do all that we can to keep the cockatiel happy and healthy, and I'm really glad to say he's doing so much better. We placed him in a different spot in the house for a while, kept him company, which seemed to do most of the trick. He began eating again, and drinking. he's doing much much better. chirping, whistling, kissing xD. I read all of your guys' comments, and understand fully that we would have had to take him to the vet soon. but he didn't get any worse, with no need to call his owner (thank goodness). I was afraid of an upper respiratory tract, and am keeping an eye on him to make sure he doesn't revert back to what he used to be doing.

Though, I'm still wondering why he would rub feces on his head? Does anyone know? I was wondering if it could be diarrhea, though his diet hasn't changed at all. and no, I don't believe the owner gave us the name of the vet. :[ and no, we don't give him chocolate, or let him near any toxins, or even out of the cage- though he has tried before to get out lol. and, yes, Mr Watson is quite old. Maybe that gives some reason to the feces thing?

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July 5, 20080 found this helpful

It depends on how old it is my Cockatiel live to 23 on his 23rd year he had the weird goo on his head. Plus when you move them around they get really mad. We got somebody to watch ours and it pulled all his feathers out. bath him and take him/her to the vet

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