Lovebird is cocking his head

by Jeff
(Grand Rapids, MI)




I have a lovebird (Agapornis Roseicollis) that has just lately been turning his head sideways an unusual amount of the time.

He is around twelve years old and that makes him elderly if I have my facts straight. He is still eating voraciously and is very active, but I am concerned about this recent change in behavior.

He has been holding his head in a sideways position and seems to have a tendency to stop to orient himself as if his balance is not quite on.

This may be old age or it may be something else, but I am not able to find any information on this symptom. Any ideas? Any information I could use to help him out would be great.

Comments for Lovebird is cocking his head

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Mar 08, 2017
Lovebird Friend
by: Janet

I have a 20 year old lovebird that came down with a severe case of head tilt/twist about 9 months ago. I took him to a bird specialist who provided anitinflamatory medication and a recommended diet consisting of Harrison's high potency fine organic pellets, cooked sweet potatoes, greens, raw vegetables, fruits, etc. His balance got better and he gained some weight, but still had the head tilt. The vet then gave him a course of antibiotics with only minor positive results. Meanwhile, we are going on two plus months of this weak, unbalanced condition. My housemate said that she had cured her parrot of a serious illness years ago with colloidal silver and suggested we give it a try. We put 10% solution of it as his only source of drinking water constantly (even tho it says 2 weeks of treatment then go off). About a month later his head tilt was completely gone and his old cheerful disposition returned. He has been fine ever since. We still give him the colloidal silver in his daily water and he appears to prefer it to plain water (although he does drink plain water when he bathes under the faucet). He also developed a taste for the pellets and eats them regularly along with his favorites sunflower seeds, millet, greens and herbs. Notte that he also has been going through phases during healing of craving rosemary, basil, spinach and the dirt they were planted in.

Jan 20, 2015
Baxter and Jekyll
by: Anonymous

Wow, that's kinda neat that Baxter passed away on your shoulder. It shows the bond you shared. I took Jekyll to the vet, and got medicine. I gave him five doses/days of Celexa and will be putting a glucose treatment in his water for 60 days. She said it should make him feel better, but he may not get over the head tilt.

Jan 20, 2015
A last note on Baxter
by: Jeff

I did some backtracking through rescue channels and he was actually 15 and had a pretty rough life before I got hold of him. He passed on not too long after my post, very quietly while cuddled up on my shoulder late one evening while I was studying. He was a great little guy and had a pushy, butler kind of way about him. I can still hear him yakking at me from a perch to this day, and often wind up doing the last few touches around the house knowing that if I didn't, Baxter would voice his disapproval. He had a wonderful life, I miss him, but he lives on in my memory.

Jan 09, 2015
My lovebird has started doing the same thing.
by: Anonymous

I think Jekyll is about 17. Her mate Hekyll died several years ago from liver or kidney failure - I can't remember. The avian vet is very expensive, and I don't think there is much that can be done if organs are failing. She told me to bring Heckyll back in about six weeks later and he didn't make it two weeks, or something like that. How did your lovebird make out?

Jul 25, 2011
additional info
by: Jeff

He seems to be doing it a little over half the time. I feed him Lafeber's Nutriberry pellets (cockatiel mix), so hopefully not liver failure. Head trauma seems unlikely - he leads a pretty safe existence and I keep a close eye on him, but that does not rule out his whacking his head while I was not looking of course. That sort of leaves the other options (stroke, heavy metal (also unlikely), infection; so it looks like we're heading for the vet.

Jul 22, 2011
Lovebird cocking head
by: The Avian Vet

Is he holding his head sideways all of the time or occasionally?

This is a sign of a few things. With his age it could be a stroke. If he is eating a seed diet, it could be liver failure. It could be head trauma. There are other possibilities including heavy metal poisoning and infection. I recommend that you Find an Avian Vet to examine him.

Dr B
Switching Birds To Pellets article

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