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Ask S. August Abbott, CAS Your Own Question
S. August Abbott, CAS
S. August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 10768
Experience:  Work w/Avian Vet; published bird care nutrition& behavior articles; consults, research
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He has been very quiet since Tuesday, he is normally very

Customer Question

He has been very quiet since Tuesday, he is normally very vocal and chatty. His feathers on his head and chest look quite rough and he seems very sleep and not his active normal self
JA: I'll do all I can to help. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Expert will know how to help the bird. What is the bird's name and age?
Customer: His name is ***** ***** he is 6 years old
JA: Is there anything else the Vet should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: That is all thankyou
Submitted: 13 days ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  Virtual-mod replied 13 days ago.

I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.

I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.

Thank you!
Expert:  S. August Abbott, CAS replied 12 days ago.

I'm August Abbott Cert.Avian Specialist; owner
Please note that we experts are not employees of Just Answer, but sort of ‘contractors’ here.  As such, we are not aware of when you posted your question and if there has been a delay, I’m truly sorry.  This is the first I’ve seen this. 
I am not set up to make or take phone calls; if you receive such offers, please ignore.  They are site generated and not from me.

Expert:  S. August Abbott, CAS replied 12 days ago.

By the time a bird is noticeably ill, chances are that the problem has been brewing for some time.  Birds are among the most masterful at hiding illness, weakness or injury because just one mistake in the wild and their life could be over.
You aren’t the only they can confuse:   A bird may show their weakness, illness and lack of energy one moment, even for a few hours or days - and then “suddenly” seem to be fine.  This is their getting a second wind.  Finding the strength to ‘mask’ the illness or problem.   And since this masking can continue for a while, the underlying issue is only getting worse.  The next time you see the bird acting ‘off’, it might be really, really bad.
If your bird is acting ‘off’, no matter what – no matter when, they need to be seen by their vet.  Infections and disease are far more successfully and inexpensively treated when tackled early.  Unlike mammals, avians don’t fare well with a “watch and wait” protocol.
Just in case you’re wondering, Pet Store antibiotics like Ornacycline or Tetracycline  lines are not useful and potentially dangerous.   Added to a bird’s water, they can make the bird go off drinking, resulting in severe or life threatening dehydration.

These are obsolete  antibiotics for bacteria that have likely evolved beyond responding to them.     Also, you need to know whether the problem  is gram positive or negative bacteria,  or if a bacteria at all.   These products  are a complete waste of time and money, frequently being linked to causing even worse problems or loss of life.   All they care about is sales and profit.

So between dehydration and medicating for a non-specified bacteria (remember, this could be a viral infection or other disease and no antibiotic will work on those) - there’s nothing at all good about the pet store products.   Don’t take a chance with your pet’s life

Fluffing up (looking bigger) and sitting in one spot, less (or sometimes more) vocalizations, any loss of balance, lethargy, increased sleeping during the day – all important indicators of illness that must not be ignored or delayed.

For the bird’s safety, if it’s not able to perch well or maintain balance, lowering the perch or even removing it is suggested.
Putting a heat source into the cage may be necessary since a sick or distressed bird may lose body heat.  I prefer a non electric source and use rice socks.
Use a thick, clean sock and fill it ¾ with plain, raw white rice. Knot the end and microwave it for about 1 ½ minutes.  Shake it afterwards to distribute the heat and be sure it’s not too hot.

You can layer a thick towel on one side of the cage, secure with clothespins out of the reach of the bird’s beak – then clip a heating pad over the towel and set on low.   Check often to be sure it’s not overheating and that the bird isn’t gnawing through.  A side attachment like this will allow the bird to move closer or away as needed.

If it becomes bottom-bound or is especially weak, you may need an emergency brooder
For a makeshift brooder,  use a small box lined with soft clothes like tee shirts.
Use a thick, clean sock and fill it ¾ with plain, raw white rice. Knot the end and microwave it for about 1 ½ minutes.  Shake it afterwards to distribute the heat and be sure it's not too hot.  Tuck this in just under the cloths.
A heating pad under the box is also helpful, set on low.   This is one of the few times I’d ever use both heat sources if necessary to maintain incubation temp (90-105 degrees).
If ever using an electric source for heating anything in anyway, please be vigilant and constantly double checking carefully.
Gently drape a light cover over this box to further help hold heat in and keep light low.
In the transport - use the rice sock option to provide heat while getting to the vet

Though specialized avian vets are ideal, any vet who sees a majority of birds or at least 1/3 of their practice consisting of birds is a good choice.
Ask any vet in town who they'd recommend for bird care.   Ask any good breeder in town who they use (if they don't use anyone, they are not a good breeder, stay away from them).

THANK YOU for being your birds champion!