If you are a caged bird and not feeling well, how do you convey your problems? What happens when you have a cold and your nose is clogged with crud and no one will give you a hankie and cold meds? You certainly don’t have digits to pick your nose with. Well, you might come close to death if your owner isn’t paying attention. I feel like a bad owner for not having been aware of my little guy’s circumstances. Spring and fall are notorious times for birdy head colds at our home. When sinus issues start, I typically see him shake his head, which I wasn’t seeing. However he was sitting on the cage floor with head tucked under his wing and not eating a stitch of food for several days. A very bad sign! Saturday morning he wasn’t even responding to sirens or any whistles. Not a good thing! I thought he was a gonner. However, I proceeded to scoop him up and make a trip into the bathroom where I swabbed out his nostrils (getting bit in the process- always an excellent sign of spunk), and plunked him back in the cage. Humidifier was set up and running right next to his home. In less than 2 hours he was feeling better, munching bread, broccoli and even some millet.
Quigley is the sole remaining cockatiel in our household. He’s about 24 years old at this point (23 years with me). Having been a rescue bird I don’t know the hatch date. He’s outlived his mate and the one son I kept. We like to grow them old at our house. I’m really not certain what the key to our success is. They only go to the vet when things get really bad. They don’t eat pellet food because I’ve never been able to switch them over. Yes, they just get seed and extra stuff. Toys can only consist of natural materials since we’ve experienced zinc poisoning in the past. Cage locations almost never change, nor do perch locations or food cups. With old birds comes bad eyesight and arthritis. They don’t like change at this stage of life. In an average household, these little guys live 7-12 years.
He’s perked up considerably since Saturday morning so we will keep up with the increased humidity, extra bread, and millet sprays. He was even chatting to me when I first checked him this morning. All good signs.