how to treat a sick bird at home

If you own a bird, you know that they provide their owners with hours of entertainment and companionship, but what happens if they are feeling sick? Our Dallas vets talk about what it looks like when your bird is sick and how to recognize if they might need veterinary care.


  • Hayley Heartfield Bird Specialist Hayley Heartfield is a bird specialist and the owner of About Birds, a pet bird shop located in Montgomery County, Texas. Question Is my bird sick or tired? Hayley specializes in pet bird care, behavior, training, and breeding. Hayley studied Animal Science at Texas A&M. In addition to carrying a wide variety of bird species, About Birds also provides boarding, grooming, and bird care supplies. Expert Response from Hayley Heartfield, a Bird Specialist: See a veterinarian to be sure. Since birds are prey animals and don’t always alert you to illness, it’s crucial to visit your veterinarian if you notice any possible symptoms.
  • Question How long does a sick bird take to die? wikiHow Staff Editor Staff Response This response was authored by a member of our knowledgeable research team, who also verified its thoroughness and accuracy. wikiHow Staff Editor Staff Response It is contingent upon the nature and severity of the bird’s ailment. Your bird may not be able to eat or drink for one to three days due to its illness.
  • Question How can you tell when a bird is dying? wikiHow Staff Editor Staff Response This response was prepared by a member of our knowledgeable research team, who also verified its thoroughness and accuracy. wikiHow Staff Editor Staff Response: When a bird is dying, it may tremble, breathe quickly, or stop moving even when startled. The bird may cease preening and show signs of disheveling and dirt on its feathers. Additionally, the bird may become unsteady or allow its head to sag to one side. You might also notice symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea.

TipsSubmit a TipAll tip submissions are carefully reviewed before being published

Co-authored by:

Unless your pet bird has a fever, in which case you shouldn’t raise the temperature, you should use a heat lamp or heating pad to keep its cage at about 90 degrees Fahrenheit when caring for it at home. Additionally, you can try moving your bird’s cage into diffused sunlight rather than direct sunlight by opening some curtains. This will help your bird absorb more vitamin D. If your bird suffers from a respiratory condition, place a humidifier next to its cage and keep it running day and night to facilitate better breathing. Additionally, guarantee that your bird always has access to clean water. Scroll down to find out how to get rid of any potential disease sources in your bird’s cage!

Is my bird dying?

Unfortunately, birds can begin to sink quickly if they become seriously ill. Common signs of a bird who is dying include:

  • Not eating or drinking
  • Wheezing and struggling for breath
  • Constantly puffing the feathers
  • Shedding feathers, exposing dry skin
  • Swollen, discolored, or streaming eyes and ears
  • Shivering, as though struggling to stay warm
  • Blood in the feces
  • Lack of movement or verbalization
  • If you notice any of these signs, contact your vet for advice. Your vet will do everything they can to try to save your birds life.


What home remedy is good for a sick bird?

Keep your sick bird warm with a thermostatically controlled bird cage warmer or heated perch. Make frequent observations of your bird throughout the day to ensure that it is eating and staying hydrated. If you notice that your bird is getting sicker, get it to the vet as soon as possible.

What should I feed a sick bird?

Foods to offer: seed, millet, pellets, some fresh fruit, or easily digestible human foods such as mashed ripe bananas, applesauce, strained or soft vegetables such as peas or vegetables, infant rice cereal or baby food, oatmeal, or ground up pellets mixed with fruit juice.

What to do if you see a sick bird?

If you find a sick or injured bird, contact a wildlife rehabilitator or local veterinarian to see if they are able to care for it. Make sure you call first as some clinics don’t have the facilities to isolate sick birds, and can’t take the risk of spreading a communicable disease among their other birds.