Baby cockatiel behavior

by Aleksa
(New York)

We have a five day old cockatiel that had to be hand fed from 2 days old because the parents were no longer taking care of it. So far it has done well with formula - it eats regularly and has gotten stronger since the incident with its parents.

A vet told us to do our best to keep its head up after eating to prevent aspiration. Regardless of how much we pad it up, it insists on being pretty much upside down. It curls up and sleeps on it's head, tail in the air. Is this something that happens often, or should we worry. Thank you for any advice.

Comments for Baby cockatiel behavior

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Jan 17, 2014
Bird sleeping on head
by: The Avian Vet

This is abnormal. It could indicate a central nervous system disease such as hydrocephalus; it could also indicate aspiration because the hypoxia (lack of oxygen) to the brain causes this posture, wry neck, and there are pother possibilities. Depending on the cause of this posture, padding and forcing him to sit up may not be the best treatment.

A better alternative may be to put him in a sling. I am not advising your to do anything except have him see by an avian specialist immediately. IF this is hydrocephalus, it is not treatable and the baby is suffering. If it is wry neck it is possible to correct it with slinging; if it is aspiration related, prognosis is fair to poor, and needs to be treated with anti-inflammatory medication and antibiotics.

Dr B

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