Cockatoo screaming on road trips

by Terri
(Kearny NJ)

I live in NJ & plan on driving to Florida in the next few days with my 12 year old cockatoo. However, when I go on any car trips with him, he screams bloody murder and vomits the entire time. I tried to cover the cage but he still screams real loud & it affects my driving. How am I going to drive to Florida for a 2 day trip?? Is there anything I can give him to calm him down?

Comments for Cockatoo screaming on road trips

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Jan 22, 2011
Bird screams on road trips
by: The Avian Vet

There is nothing over-the-counter that you can use. A veterinarian my be willing to prescribe a sedative if you can take your bird in for an exam.

Dr B

Jan 20, 2011
Cockatoo screaming on road trips
by: Linda

No there is not anything I know of that is safe for birds to calm them down. In fact, it sounds as if there is more going on here than you are aware of. Your bird may be sick, and this is why he is screaming and vomiting when in the car. An inner ear infection could cause this kind of behavior. My advice is to have your bird throroughly checked out by an Avian Vet BEFORE any more road trips.

The other suggestion is to find someone to take care of him for you while you are away on any of these trips. The bird would be happier if he can stay in his own cage in his own home than being on the road. Road trips can be dangerous for birds in that they cannot drink strange water and climate changes are very hard on them in the winter going from a colder place to a warmer one and then back again in a day or two.If he is not sick now, he may be by the time he gets back. Please do not force him to go on this trip and do not give him ANY over the counter meds even those from a pet store. Pet store personnel do not know what they are talking about, and your bird could die from one of their medicines. Only give your bird that which is prescribed by a licensed and trained Avian Vet.Even then, ask the right questions because meds like antidepressants and such do not help birds and can and do kill them. Always think ahead even when in an Avian Vet's office because some are better than others like any other place in medical services.

First, take your bird to Avian Vet and have him checked out for infections, using a throat swab for bacterial infections and an ear exam to see if there is inflammation in the ear. Have some basic bloodwork done to find out how his organs are functioning as well. We recommend yearly visits to Avian Vet to make sure all is well with parrots because they hide minor injuries and illnesses until they get very bad, so yearly trips will take care of this for the long run.

As for this two day trip you are planning, plan on leaving the bird either at home with a sitter or at an Avian Vet's bird boarding area. Do not force him to go in the car when he may be sick.

The reason I'm stressing all this is because I've made a couple of cross country trips moving with my birds, and they loved being in the car. They were extremely tired at the end of these moves and then so were we. All the parrots I've ever had, and it is a lot of parrots, have all enjoyed riding in the car, so yours has some kind of problem that very well could be physically based.

Thanks for writing and let us know what the Avian Vet has to say about your bird because your information can help someone else in a similar situation.


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