Warning Signs That Your Bird is Sick

Birds can always put a smile on our faces with their cute vocalizations and/or hilarious chatter. However, while your feathered friend may have learned to imitate your phone ring or the oven timer, she can’t really tell you if she is sick. Birds are very small and fragile, and can get sick quickly, so it’s important for bird owners to be able to spot warning signs early on. Here, a Farmers Branch, TX vet discusses signs of illness in birds.

Reduced Appetite

It’s often a red flag when an animal loses interest in dinner. If Polly’s food hasn’t been touched, she may be ill.

Respiratory Issues

Polly should breathe smoothly and quietly through her beak, unless of course she’s belting out her favorite song. Wheezing, gasping, coughing, frequent sneezing, and shortness of breath are all warning signs.

Unusual Posture/Behavior

Sick birds may stand in an awkward or hunched-over position. Polly may also tremble, flap her wings, wobble, walk in circles, or just sit on the bottom of her cage.

Changes In Droppings

When you clean Polly’s cage, pay attention to her waste. Changes in the size, color, amount, or texture of your bird’s droppings can be indicative of illness. Droppings that appear yellow, black, dark brown, or rust-colored are definitely red flags.

Changes in Appearance

Small changes in a bird’s appearance can have huge significance. Some of the things to watch for include bald spots; dirty, wet, or ruffled feathers; sunken eyes; an inflamed cere; redness or discharge from the eyes or ears; and swelling, scaling, or discoloration of the legs and feet. Polly’s beak may also look swollen, discolored, flaky, or asymmetrical.

Uncharacteristic Behavior

Changes in your feathered buddy’s behavior, vocalizations, posture, or mood can all be signs of illness. For example, if Polly usually loves to tease the dog by imitating the doorbell, and then suddenly won’t make any sounds at all, you could have a sick bird on your hands.


Spend time with Polly, and get to know her. This will not only let you bond with your winged pal, it also will make it easier for you to notice when something is off. Plus, it will help you bond with your pet!

If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet bird, please contact us, your Farmers Branch, TX vet clinic, immediately. We’re here to help!

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