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Treating a Sick African Grey Parrot


Staff member
African Grey Parrots that are well cared for rarely turned out to be sick. You can do your bit by ensuring your bird’s cage is clean and decent, his diet is healthy with lots of variety and there are plenty of toys and above all has lots of opportunity for time with you. Sickness among birds tends occur when there is over crowding and among the very young and the very old much I guess as you would expect.

Parrots are very good at hiding signs of illness, but there are signs you can look for. Watch your bird’s behavior for things out of the ordinary and his droppings can alert you to problems. There are also other signs that can mean your bird is not well.


• Decrease in normal noise level.
• Decrease in normal activity level.
• Change in the droppings NOT related to diet.
• Decrease in the total number or volume of droppings.
• Change in bird's appearance and/or posture - i.e. sitting lower on perch, wings drooping, sitting on cage bottom, etc..
• Bird fluffed and shivering when the room is not cold. (Note: this can also be a sign of stress).
• A sudden change in appetite and/or water consumption (either decrease or excessive increase); sudden disinterest in some foodstuff normally loved.
• A change in respiratory effort; i.e. increased motion of the tail associated with respiratory effort.
• Decreased exercise tolerance.
• Abrupt personality change - i.e. normally unfriendly bird suddenly wants to be cuddled.
• Nasal discharge.
• Frequent sneezing.
• Matted, soiled feathers around the nostrils, on the head or around the vent area.
• Lumps, masses or swellings anywhere on the body.
• Inability to perch.
• Bleeding.

In the event that whenever your bird’s health gives you cause for concern go straight to your vet. It is much better to be safe than sorry they will know the best way of treating a sick African Grey on a case by case basis.

Nutritional Support

Nutritional support is an essential part of the recovery process. Sick parrots often eat poorly, if at all. Lack of food increases weakness and decreases the ability of the immune system to respond to disease. Basic supportive care means getting food into the bird by whatever means possible. Food should be kept within easy reach of the ill bird at all times. If the bird is unable to perch, place the food on the cage floor. Offer all of the bird’s favorite foods.

In some cases, it may be necessary to hand-feed the ill bird, which may involve feeding the bird from a syringe or a spoon. Do not force-feed the bird as this could lead to aspiration and pneumonia or death.

Tube feeding may be the only method with which an ill adult bird can be fed. This force-feeding method is used to keep the bird alive until the bird is able to eat on its own. Never attempt to tube feed a bird without proper training from your veterinarian. If the tube is incorrectly placed, it is easy to aspirate a bird or to puncture the crop with a metal feeding needle.

Supportive care is an essential part of dealing with any parrot illness process. Delay treatment of illness that is life threatened should be seen to as quickly as possible after they are observed.

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Stay safe!