Health Issues

Regardless of which species of bird you own, there is the possibility that it may get sick. Birds will try to hide signs of illness, so it is good to have a regular checklist on your bird.

Weight can be a very good indicator of something going on. Any continuous weight loss should send you to a vet. Watching the feces, and knowing what your birds normal feces look like will also help you be aware of a situation arising. Anytime you notice a continual difference in behavior, activity and/or vocal level, eating habits, change of fecal matter (not being ascribed to foods eaten), or discharge from any opening (eyes,nose or mouth), there is a strong possibility of an illness.

When using weight as a health guideline, make sure you are weighing at the same time each day, preferably in the morning, after the morning fecal discharge. With an adult bird, once a week weighing is generally enough, unless you notice a change. Then you may want to monitor more closely and weigh more often. Consider any 10% weight loss as something to be taken seriously on an adult bird.

To monitor droppings, you first have to know what components are in droppings, and then what is normal for your bird and also what it may have eaten recently. An excess of watery foods (fruit) will lead to more water in the droppings. Some berries and fruits and even some pellets, can make the feces change colors.

Bird droppings have three components: 2 types of urine and feces.

The one type of urine is a crystal urine and is called urates. This is the white material in the droppings. The other type of urine is non-crystal and is simply clear water. By watching color and changes in both the urine and urates you can learn some important things.

Green or Yellow Urates-could indicate liver disease or anorexia>
Brown Urates-could indicate heavy metal poisoning
Red Urine or Urates-could indicate internal bleeding
Increased Urates-could indicate dehydration
Increased Urine-while this could indicate disease it is more likely an indication of eating food higher in water or drinking more water.

**-From American Cockatiel Society Vet's Corner

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