New cockatiel not eating, gasping, puffed up

by Kent
(Vancouver, BC)

I have just adopted a normal male cockatiel from a previous owner who was not giving him much attention. We have had him for two weeks now, he seemed in pretty good spirits despite going through a molt and being a little light on plumage under his wings.

We have been supplementing the seed the original owner had gave us with apples, pumpkin seeds, green leaf lettuce, oranges, 100% wholewheat bread, wholewheat rice krispies (they are new :)...

We have also been using a mist bottle in the afternoon for daily showers.

The past two days we have noticed he has been very quiet, not eating, some gasps... we have taken him out of his cage quite often which is something he has not had in atleast 4 years but seemed quite happy to be out, last two days he hasn't been coming out although we leave the door open for him. We took him to the pet store for wing clipping yesterday and she was concerned about the plumage and that he was a little light weight and suggested iodine supplements which I have put in his water.

Any other suggestions, I am a student and want to provide a good home for him but unable to afford veterinary care.

Thank you so much for helping Gypsy, we only want the best for him.

Comments for New cockatiel not eating, gasping, puffed up

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Nov 08, 2009
Cockatiel not eating
by: Anonymous

I agree most pet shops give incorrect information out daily. But they are not all the same! I have a pet shop and i put a lot of time and effort into helping my customers and their pets. And the majority do not appreciate the extra i give. People should not get an animal if they cannot afford the veterinary fees, this is something i hear on a daily basis and drives me insane! the things i hear and the animals that are brought into me sometimes half dead and they stand their gormlessly and say "I dont know what to do" COMMON SENCE - VET! Then complain about the fees - these vets spend a long time at uni studying to get to being a vet and in the process run up thousands of pounds in living ad fees for this so their not going to do it for nothing are they. so if your going to get a pet put an emergency vet fund aside and add to it monthly or take out insurance. And lets not tar everyone with the same brush.

Oct 30, 2009
New cockatiel
by: Linda

Yes, I agree with Tracie--you are most likely killing him with all the junk you are feeding him. Do not put the iodine in his water, and do not take anymore advice from pet store employees. It is a responsibility and an obligation for pet store employees, us and any other person you talk with about a sick bird, to advise you to take your bird to an Avian Vet. Your bird sounds like he may have pneumonia and will die without proper diagnosis and treatment from an Avian Vet. Oh well, he was free, so no matter, right?

I don't mean to be short with you, but we hear this stuff all the time. People get birds, dogs, cats, and whatever else and then don't want to or cannot take them to the vet when they are sick. Kind of like having human kids and letting them die because we just don't want to ask for help.

As Tracie says, sometimes they will take payments from you providing you actually make them and don't leave them swinging for the money.

Your bird is dying, and there is nothing anyone can do to help it except you. Talk with an Avian vet in your area and see what can be done. Make the appointment first and show up with your bird. Let the vet diagnose illness and prescribe meds for him and THEN talk about how to pay for the visit, exam and meds. Don't let this bird die because you won't even try to help it. Your bird is a living, sentient being who deserves better than he had before you, and when you agreed to take him on, you also agreed to take care of him in every way possible.

Stop feeding all the junk and get bird onto the Harrisons pellets. Birds don't need fruit and veggies to be more than 10% of their entire diet. Do some study by getting a book or two or just looking for info on the internet.

Thanks for writing and let us know what the Avian vet has to say about your bird.


Oct 30, 2009
Sick Cockatiel not eating
by: Tracie

Dr Burkett can not help you with this because your bird needs immediate attention. Only by an exam in person can an avian vet determine what is wrong what treatment to give the bird.

I have serious concerns about your adding iodine to your bird's water. I killed my bird thanks to a pet store employee giving me a supplement for my first bird.

Also, it is likely because of the seed diet that your bird gets that it is so sick. It is sweet that you are trying hard to get healthy human food in him, but he really needs healthy pellets, like Harrison's, for 80% of his diet to insure he is getting the proper nutrition.

If the bird was fine before you added the supplements, then the supplements are killing him and fast. No matter what, the bird needs to see an avian vet quick according to how you described his behavior.

Most vets will take payments if you ask. If you need to find an avian vet, you don't want to take a bird to a regular vet, then you can look on our Find an Avian Vet page.

Also, if you need help switching your bird to pellets, you can read Dr B's Switching Birds to Pellets article.

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