Giving a bird health exam to your pet bird is important in assessing the overall health of your bird and can help catch potential problems before they start. Bird health examinations should be done at least 4 times a year.
Every bird health exam should start with a good look at your bird’s droppings in the cage. Normal bird droppings consist of three fractions:
- A formed fecal fraction, which will appear green if the bird is eating see; brown if eating pellets
- A white, creamy urate fraction
- A liquid urine portion
The consistency and color of the bird droppings can vary with the type of diet the bird is on, so learn what is normal for your particular bird.
Abnormal droppings are characterized by changes in frequency, volume, color, and consistency. Birds can have anywhere from 20 to 40 droppings per day.
A decrease in the frequency of elimination or in the volume of the fecal portion is a good indicator of a decrease in food consumption, which could be secondary to disease and stress.
Observe Your Bird
The next step in the bird’s health exam should be to simply observe your pet bird. How does it carry itself? Does it seem uncomfortable on the perch?
Is it shifting its weight back and forth? If so, it could have an underlying illness. If there are any signs of lameness, contact your vet immediately.
Musculoskeletal injuries and gout are two leading causes of lameness in birds. Internal tumors can cause paralysis in one or both legs, resulting in apparent lameness.
You pet birds weight should always be consistent. Obesity can be a problem in pet birds, and it is important to keep their weight under control.
The eyes should be bright, shiny, and sharp. Look for signs of irritation and/or swelling. Green discharges coming from the eyes is an indication of an infection.
The beak, nares, and care should be smooth and free of growths and discharges.
Respirations of a bird should be barely noticeable. Healthy birds breathe with their mouths closed.
Wings and Plumage
A droopy wing might be injured or held that way because of sheer weakness. The feathers of a healthy bird should appear crisp, sleek, and bright. They should lie smoothly against the body. Ruffled feathers could indicate cool environmental temperatures or worse, illness.
Feet and Legs
Next, in your birds’ health exam, check the feet and legs for signs of irritation. The feet should be smooth. Poor perch selection and maintenance are the most common causes of foot problems in pet birds.
If your bird’s health exam reveals any abnormalities, seek the advice of your veterinarian. Avoid further handling of your bird until you get it to your vet since unwarranted handling could kill a seriously ill bird. Again, make sure to give a bird health examination at home at least 4 times a year – it may be the difference in keeping your bird healthy!