Bird Booklet

Recognizing A Sick Bird


An important thing to realize is that even the tamest and most loving of pet will excel at hiding or masking any sign on illness often until too ill to pretend. Therefore, it is our job as care takers of these wonderful creatures to be very in tune to the slightest of changes in our pets.  Often times an owner will often just feel that something is not the same about their pet but may not be able to pinpoint any one thing.  Please may attention to your instincts and have the bird examined by your veterinarian if you feel something is awry.


So we’ve established that birds attempt to hide illness but they will still give subtle clues to the attentive owner.  Most commonly a bird this is not feeling well is just less active and will spend more time on a perch sitting quietly fluffed up.  If the bird is also weak you may notice that the bird is not resting with one leg tucked up to the body or you may notice the bird wobble or rock with resperations. An extremely weak bird will no longer perch but rather will sit on the bottom of the cage.


Another early sign of illness is a change in the character or production of feces.  Bird dropping are composed of

  • 1) urine is the watery ring
  • 2) urates are the white matter
  • 3) feces are the green matter.

Any changes in any of these components can signify disease.


You may notice an increase or decrease in the amount or type of food ingested.  For seed eaters it is important to pay close attention to the seeds. Occasionally a sick bird will appear to be eating but when the seeds are examined closely no shelled or cracked seeks are found.  Also, pay attention to drinking as either increased or decreased water consumption may indicate a problem.


I highly recommend handling your birds on a daily basis not only for their enrichment but also to detect signs of disease early. Often the only way to determine that is bird is becoming thin is to feel it,  the feathers hide too much!  Additionally, when petting a bird you make notices massed, abnormal or missing feathers, abnormal breathing or diarrhea staining on vent, and even a weakened grasp to feet. So the take away message here is to pay attention to your instincts and to react quickly to prevent disaster.

3 thoughts on “Bird Booklet

  1. Jeannie silva"

    I love your site!! When I was in there the other day we were speaking about the 2 new additions to our Noah arc the finches. I got the part about broccoli tops but am still unclear on the herbs. I understand that I would need to rotate the plants just not clear on what type :(

    1. admin Post author

      Hi Jeannie,
      Glad the info helped out with your new finches :) Below are some links that I hope will help as well. Basically, any greens we can eat are safe for your birds. The dark green leafy veggies are the best. Any site that sells plants or seeds for human consumption should be safe – just ensure plants are not sprayed with anything. I often use and have a 4×4 ft raised garden bed that I’ve planted their french garden in and pull those for bird goodies. I also sprout their seeds in the easy sprouter and that works well and is great nutrition for the birds. To ensure a plant you’d like to place in the aviary isn’t toxic check these links – and For a safe plant list check this link – And this link shows what we’ve done with our outdoor aviary build – Lastly here is a nice article on a planted finch aviary –
      The important thing to remember is don’t place any plants in the cage that have a pesticide on them or in the soil and if using in an indoor cage you will need to rotate the plants out because the little finches will eat them like crazy which is great nutrition. So basically you’d plan a rotation schedule just as you would a grazing pasture for horses. Hope that helps and welcome to the bird crazy bug :) Jill

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