Bowmanville Veterinary Clinic

2826 HWY 2
Bowmanville, ON L1C 3K5


Recognizing a Sick Bird  

 How can I tell if my bird is sick?


In the wild, a bird will endeavour to uphold a strong appearance when sick.  This is called "survival of the fittest".  By the time a bird actually shows an owner that it is unwell, it has likely been sick for some time.  It is because of this that bird owners must learn to recognize the subtle signs a bird presents when unhealthy before it is too late.  Any deviation from normal should be taken as a sign of ill health.


      The following is a list of signs that should alert you that your bird is sick.


Any change in regular behaviour or personality Unusually tame behaviour
Irritability, agitation
Poor general appearance (feathers "ratty") 
Eye discharge 
Cloudy eyes  
Swelling around eyes
Nasal discharge
Blocked nostrils
Sneezing (excessive)
Wheezing or "wet" breathing
Cere (the skin around the nostrils) 
Laboured breathing or open mouth breathing
Tail "bobbing" with each breath
Change in voice or no voice
Anorexia (not eating or reduced eating)
Changes in amount of drinking
Weight gain
Weight loss
Fluffed feathers
Drooping wings
Listlessness, inactivity, depression
Sleeping more
Lumps, bumps, swellings or bulges on the body
Lameness or swollen joints

Redness or visible irritation
Not perching, sitting on bottom of cage
Wet droppings
Change in the colour of the droppings
Staining of the feathers around the vent (anus)
Decreased droppings
Wet feathers around face and head
Vomiting or excessive regurgitation
Sore feet
Balance problems
Flaky or crusty skin
Excessive scratching
Changes in the texture of the beak
Overgrown beak or nails
Feather changes, colour, chewed,plucked or damaged wing
Prolonged molt
Abnormality of beak growth
Protrusions from the vent (prolapse)


Do not try to play doctor.  If you notice any of the signs above, or are concerned about anything with your bird, please give us a call.