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Giving Medicine to a Pet Bird

Category Birds
Medicating pets is often a challenge; birds can be even more difficult without the proper methodology. This is a page about giving medicine to a pet bird.


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This is just a funny account of having to administer medicine to my Moluccan Cockatoo.

I knew when I picked him up at the vet, that I would have to give him his medicine twice daily. It was explained to me in great detail how important it was that he receive ALL of his medication. I understand; I can do this. I knew that it would be hard for several reasons:

But, being the brave (or stupid) person that I am, I know that I can accomplish this task. I actually knew that it would not be easy, but finally bit the bullet, quit putting it off, and took the plunge. Here is the account of it, I just needed to get it off my chest.

First of all, I had to chase him down with a towel. Now, Tinker is a very smart bird and he has learned that when someone is after him trying to hide a towel behind their back, that they are probably up to no good as far as a bird is concerned. He kept taking cover in the tiny little 4 inch gap up under his cage, making it necessary for me to keep going from side to side to try to run him out.

I finally got him cornered, threw the towel over him, grabbed him, and wrapped him up. That sounds like the hard part doesn't it? It wasn't.

So now I've got a bird who is flailing, yelling, and trying his best to use that before-mentioned very large beaky-boo to every advantage that there was to try to break free. God help me.


Well, I grabbed the bottom of his beak like the vet showed me and held it shut from snapping (I was actually kind of proud of myself for being so brave. It actually wasn't too hard to do, once the vet showed me exactly HOW to do it.)

Then came the fun part: trying to ease the syringe full of medicine into the soft little part at the base of his beak. Well, I missed the first time, or I didn't have quite the control of the beak that I thought that I had, because he bit the entire tip of the syringe off before I could even try to administer the medicine. I'd already come this far, though, and I knew that it had to be done, so I kept trying to get the medicine down his ungrateful throat. Every time I got the syringe into the right spot and tried to squirt a little of the medicine in, the stupid syringe kept sticking and squirting way too much in. Well, you're supposed to hold the bird at a 45 degree angle and only squirt a little at a time, so you won't choke the bird on too much at one time and wait for the bird to swallow what has been squirted in, before squirting in any more. This is kind of hard to do when the stupid syringe wouldn't cooperate.


At the end of this experience, I had tasted both kinds of medicine, due to it flying all around the room when Tinker refused to swallow; had possible nerve damage on my hand where he bit in the fleshy part between the forefinger and thumb, and totally lost the trust that I have tried so hard to gain with Tinker. But, it had to be done and he will not appreciate why I had to do it, but he will be healthy again; and I will work hard to rebuild the trust (until I have to administer the medicine again, God help me.)

By one.of.a.kind

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When baby parrots are born, most of them are fed with a syringe by the breeder to make the babies bond to the human touch. It is recommended that you continue to feed your adult parrot in this manner occasionally. Someday you might have to give him liquid medicine in a syringe and if he is used to being fed in this manner, then it will be a lot easier to medicate him. It is NOT FUN to try to give a Moluccan Cockatoo medicine.


I make up a solution of baby food: carrots, sweet potatoes, green beans, peas, chicken, bananas, broccoli, plain yogurt, and sometimes another fruit. I mix all this together, and freeze in daily portion sizes. When I thaw it out to feed to him every night, I add a little dry parrot formula to the mix to thicken it up a bit. I feed Tinker every night in this manner, instead of occasionally, due to his habit of tossing his food out of his bowl every time I put some in, which makes me wonder if he is getting enough to eat. I limit sweets in this diet, due to the presence of yeast in the birds system. Yeast can be a problem if the bird is fed too much sugar, as sugar feeds yeast.

It can be a problem to feed the bird too often with a syringe; they like it because it reminds them of when they were a baby and they will get spoiled and want you to do it all the time and some can even refuse to eat any other way. But it is important to feed them in this manner occasionally, to keep them used to being syringe-fed.


The bird in the picture is Hootie, an Umbrella Cockatoo. He is "displaying", because this is the day that we brought him home, and he was so scared, and unsure of what to expect. Hootie is only about 4 years old, and has been rehomed several times in this short time period. I don't know why, because once I won him over, he is one of the sweetest and most loving birds in this house!

By one.of.a.kind from AL

Syringe Feed Parrots Regularly

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Pets BirdsJanuary 18, 2017
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