baby cockatiel can't stand up or keep head up

by Terri

my 5wk old baby cockatiel as thriving in the nesting box with his parents when one at I noticed him laying awkwardly on the bottom. I removed him and am Han feeding him. He seems perfectly happy and fine in every other way, just cannot stand up or keep his head up. what is wrong with him?

Comments for baby cockatiel can't stand up or keep head up

Click here to add your own comments

Apr 02, 2013
Baby needs avian vet help
by: Tracie

All I have to add is a request that you please use this Find an Avian Vet link to find an avian vet for your bird so it can be examined to determine what is wrong and what the potential treatment might be.

Apr 02, 2013
baby cockatiel can't stand up or keep head up
by: Linda

This is a tough question to answer, and there is no one answer that will work. First, food is of utmost importance. You have to be feeding him baby parrot handfeeding formula using a syringe, and at this age, he needs to be fed at least 4 times a day--morning, lunch time, dinner time and possibly one more before he sleeps. You can tell about this by observing his behavior. A hungry baby will cry and beg for food. When his crop is empty-flat is empty, then he needs to be fed. As he grows older, he will be able to eat more at a feeding and hold it longer. The crop is a pre-digestion point before food goes into stomach.

It sounds like your baby has not had enough food which will result in permanent physical disabilities. I suggest you have him thorughly examined by an AVIAN VET ONLY with weight taken, and checked for infections. All breeder birds have to be checked for infections before breeding because infections are highly contageous, and babies are born with what parents have. Since you seem to have only one baby from this nest, did the others die or was his egg the only one fertile?

When you have baby birds, you have to weigh them everyday from day one. If they are not gaining weight everyday, all the babies are sick. The father does not need to be in the box with the mother and baby because he may be one reason baby is not getting enough to eat. Always make sure male stays out of nestbox. Most males stand guard outside the box night and day making sure family is okay.They do not feed, so do not need to be in cage with mother and babies at all.

So, get him to an Avian Vet right away and begin the handfeeding right away. Healthy Cockatiel babies will usually take a 10cc syringe at each feeding. If this one is weak from malnutrition/illness, feed only what he can take. If you have no experience with handfeeding using a sryinge, you will have to find a breeder who can help teach you how to do it safely. It is very easy to choke a baby if you do not have experience with this. They have to swallow completely before another mouthful is given. Aspiration will kill a baby bird, and this comes from eating too fast or eating with head not supported properly. Get him to avian vet first and then get some high quality hanndfeeding formula either here or at a local pet shop.

The fact is, you may lose this baby, and you cannot give up on him without doing all you can to save him. For any future babies, make sure parents have a clean bill of health and that you know all you need to know about handfeeding first. After babies are born is not the time to begin learning about how to keep them alive. In a normal nest, there are three or four babies. The first ones to hatch are the bigger and stronger and will literally trample the smaller babies, so pulling smaller and supplementing feedings is mandatory as is weighing everyday with a gram scale.


Apr 02, 2013
by: Alex

Get your baby bird to an avain vet IMMEDIATELY. baby birds are extremely delicate and vulnerable and therefore can be killed a lot easier than an adult with something wrong.

Your bird sounds as if it is seriously ill and need urgent medical attention from an avian vet.

Please let us know how he gets on.

Click here to add your own comments