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Your Cockatiels Health Ask questions about your cockatiels health here.

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  #1  
Old 03-12-2017, 01:57 PM
cathodoer cathodoer is offline
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Unhappy He screams and screams and screams!!!

First I'd like to say I bought my cockatiel being told he was male but I think there's a chance he may be female. He's a pearl so unless I do a DNA test or he (she) lays an egg I have no idea. I only say this because he's been much more difficult to tame/handle than my previous birds who are all male except for one and he hasn't learned how to talk, mimic, or whistle/sing yet. He also never lost his pearl feathers after all his moults but I've heard there's times where males won't lose them like females, although rarely. He's around 1 1/2 to 2 years old. Just mentioning that in case gender has something to do with this, I wouldn't know.

I've no idea what to do, recently he has taken to just screaming all **** day long and I have no idea why. If he's in his cage, he'll scream. If I let him out, he'll scream. Sometimes he'll sit behind me on my computer chair like he always does and scream into my ear. I give him attention, he screams. I talk to him, he screams, I ignore him.. he screams! He's not hand tame and he hates hands more than anything so it's not like I can give him physical attention through scritches, although I think he'd like that. So he screams. Screams!!!

I don't know if it's just "time of the year" behaviour or female behaviour or if he wants attention or he's lonely or just doing it for no **** reason or what, but no matter what I do he screams. The only thing that gets him to stop is if I cover his cage but it's not like I can cover him all day, that wouldn't be right. He has food and fresh water. There's nothing spooking or scaring him, he'll just sit there calmly with his relaxed crest and.. scream. Or maybe it's not screaming, but it's very loud and very high pitched, like make your ears ring if he's close enough. I can hear his screams plain as day from downstairs. I have to keep my headphones on lately to drown out the noise.

I've had him since November 2015 and since day one he's been a major problem bird. Anyone got any clues? :/ Sorry if this is the wrong forum, no idea where else to put this.
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Old 03-12-2017, 04:53 PM
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When was the last time you had him to the vet for a physical exam, gram stains, parasite screening, and blood work? Constant screaming is a huge health red flag.


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  #3  
Old 03-12-2017, 05:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverSage View Post
When was the last time you had him to the vet for a physical exam, gram stains, parasite screening, and blood work? Constant screaming is a huge health red flag.


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I was going to say the exact same thing, in my personal experience as well as experience at the rescue I volunteer at and with several other posts on this forum and other forums, every time someone says their bird, regardless of species, is screaming constantly no matter what they are doing or where they are at, like anytime and anyplace the bird is they just sit calmly and scream, there has been a health problem discovered. Usually the owner (once myself with a breeder cockatiel that was actually pretty tame) has tried everything they could think of and nothing has helped. It usually just starts out of nowhere and just won't stop unless the bird is sleeping. So finally the bird has been taken to an experienced avian vet and after a complete physical exam, fecal smears on a fresh stool sample, nasal/throat/crop cultures, and possibly blood work, the bird was found to be sick. In my experience she had a gastrointestinal infection (lots of bad bacteria and basically no good bacteria), she was put on antibiotics (Flagyl in my bird's case) and also given probiotics and Metacam for pain and inflammation, and she stopped screaming that afternoon after I gave her the first dose of everything, so I took that to mean that she was screaming because she was in constant pain or discomfort and the Metacam made her feel better directly after taking it. After 2-3 days on the antibiotics she stopped the screaming completely.

She hasn't hurt herself lately has she? No accidents, flying into anything and smacking her head or a wing, bad landing, etc.? I would assume that he/she is screaming because they are in pain or sick until you are told otherwise. It's a major redflag for needing an immediate vet trip.

I would find a certified or at least a qualified avian vet if you don't already have one, and call them tomorrow morning and see if they can get him/her in ASAP. Tomorrow if possible, because as good as they are at hiding illness and pain, it's likely that he/she has been sick for quite awhile already and needs treatment. Put fresh paper towels in the bottom of his cage the morning of the appointment so that you can collect a fresh fecal sample to take in with you for the vet to test...Btw, do his/her droppings look normal? Any different behavior besides the screaming, like being lethargic, sleeping more than usual and not playing with toys, fluffed up a lot, not eating a lot, any sneezing, coughing, liquid from nose or mouth, etc.? I'd watch for other symptoms in addition to the screaming from now until your avian vet appointment so you can tell the doctor everything.

In the meantime I'd keep him separate from any other birds you have, and keep him warmer than normal as well, like at least 80-85 degrees. You can use a heating pad under or attached to the side of his cage, if on the side he can get close to it on a perch if he wants to and can get away if he gets too hot. Lots of clean water and just try to get him in to the vet quickly!

Good luck, and please ask us any other questions you may have, and keep us updated!

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  #4  
Old 03-12-2017, 07:24 PM
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Males that are both pearl and pied can take years to lose their markings. If your bird is NOT pied, it's fairly safe to assume that "he" is actually a she!

Is it possible that one of your neighbors recently got a cockatiel and your bird can hear it and is calling to it? Or is responding to a wild bird that sounds similar to a cockatiel?

Food bribery can be a very useful way to help change a bird's attitude toward hands. I have an article about it here: http://www.littlefeatheredbuddies.co...g-bribery.html
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Old 03-12-2017, 08:30 PM
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Oh wow, I had no idea that screaming could be a sign of illness. I thought he may just be being a pain in the backside for no reason.. Unfortunately there are no avian vets where I live (in the countryside in the middle of nowhere, in fact I'm so in the middle of nowhere I had to get him delivered when I bought him) so taking him to a specialist is unfortunately not an option at all, I'm honestly not even sure if I'd be able to afford taking him to a regular vet. Money is REALLY tight right now but I guess I'll have to consider it.. No idea how I'd get him there though, I don't have a travel cage for his size or anything. Not to mention the hating hands thing.

I've noticed he sometimes gets too excited when he flies and he's had a couple of little falls recently, nothing major, I think he just doesn't fly enough and exhausted himself before he could find somewhere to land and he kind of fell on the floor. Not sure if he hurt himself or not honestly, but he seemed alright. Flew off the ground just fine, but maybe he has hurt himself.. I'm don't know.

I have some Avipro probiotic powder that I could put in his water if that would help him at all maybe. I use it for my budgies when they get ill and it helps them a lot. His droppings look normal from what I can see, nothing out of the ordinary. The only difference I've noticed dropping's wise is he's recently taken to not wanting to poop in his cage and when I let him out in the morning he'll drop a HUGE one, like absolutely giant, and super messy. After that he'll poop normally through the day. His behaviour is the same as usual other than the screaming, in fact he's been playing with his toys a lot more recently. He isn't fluffed up, eating any less, or sneezing, coughing, or having anything come out his nose. His feathers look healthy (he's always preening) and his eyes are bright like always. He's totally normal otherwise which is why I didn't even consider he could be ill.

I don't have any heating pads unfortunately.. It's about 74 degrees F in here I think (usually around 23 degrees C, a tad hotter during the day because my room faces the sun) but if I make it any hotter in here I think I'll get close to suffocating, it's freezing outside where I live so I made sure my windows and whatnot are sealed tight so it would be very much a sauna in here if it gets any hotter. This is already the warmest room in the house.

Thanks to both of you for the replies, I appreciate it.
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Old 03-12-2017, 08:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tielfan View Post
Males that are both pearl and pied can take years to lose their markings. If your bird is NOT pied, it's fairly safe to assume that "he" is actually a she!

Is it possible that one of your neighbors recently got a cockatiel and your bird can hear it and is calling to it? Or is responding to a wild bird that sounds similar to a cockatiel?

Food bribery can be a very useful way to help change a bird's attitude toward hands. I have an article about it here: http://www.littlefeatheredbuddies.co...g-bribery.html
He is definitely a pearl, in that case I might just have to play the waiting game to see what happens. I read they lose their markings after their first moult so I just assumed they would have changed already!

I'm pretty sure my neighbours don't have a cockatiel but they do have budgies, I can hear them through the walls, but I have budgies and zebra finches too so I don't think it could be that.

Thank you for the link, I have actually tried food bribery but the 'tameness' only lasts as long as he's doing it. As soon as the food is gone he's back to hissing and running/flying away. I tried it for so long and even attempted it again recently but he took absolutely no interest. As soon as he realises he has to step up or touch my hands to get the food he's gone, 'no thanks'. I've tried using a stick of sorts for him to step up on away from my hands while I give him treats too but no go there either. He's stubborn.
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Old 03-12-2017, 08:53 PM
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Quote:
The only difference I've noticed dropping's wise is he's recently taken to not wanting to poop in his cage and when I let him out in the morning he'll drop a HUGE one, like absolutely giant, and super messy. After that he'll poop normally through the day.
This is breeding behavior, and if this bird is female you might find an egg in the not too distant future. Cockatiel parents don't poop in the nest, and will hold it in for hours until they get a chance to go out and cut loose. Both males and females do this, and it's very common for a hormonal cockatiel to see its cage as its nest area. I don't know whether this has anything to do with all the screaming, but it might. Your bird might be trying to call in a mate.

There are hormone reduction techniques that work on most tiels. Try this out and see if it solves the screaming problem: http://talkcockatiels.com/showthread.php?t=32330
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Old 03-12-2017, 09:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tielfan View Post
This is breeding behavior, and if this bird is female you might find an egg in the not too distant future. Cockatiel parents don't poop in the nest, and will hold it in for hours until they get a chance to go out and cut loose. Both males and females do this, and it's very common for a hormonal cockatiel to see its cage as its nest area. I don't know whether this has anything to do with all the screaming, but it might. Your bird might be trying to call in a mate.

There are hormone reduction techniques that work on most tiels. Try this out and see if it solves the screaming problem: http://talkcockatiels.com/showthread.php?t=32330
I had a feeling it might be, I'm glad to hear it's natural behaviour rather than him being sick, as much as the giant poops are a pain to clean. I sure hope there'll be no eggs, I'm always on edge about birds getting eggbound.

Thank you so much for the link, I'll see if taking control over how many hours of daylight/lamp light he has makes a difference. He gets about 8-9 hours of darkness right now so that could be contributing to this if all of this is related to breeding behaviour. I'll have to buy something light proof for his cage though, my room is so bright during the day and my lamps are on until I sleep. Thanks again, it's appreciated a lot right now.

Last edited by cathodoer; 03-12-2017 at 09:18 PM..
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Old 03-13-2017, 01:18 PM
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This sounds gross (because it is), but first thing in the morning when I'm letting a nesting bird out of the cage and I know there's going to be a massive poop, I'll often put my hand underneath her in case she lets loose before I can get her to an area that's easy to clean. Washing my hand is a lot easier than trying to get those huge bombs off the carpet.
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Old 03-13-2017, 02:18 PM
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Dropping a huge, messy dropping first thing in the morning is not breeding behavior, all birds do this with their first dropping in the morning because they typically hold it in all night. You should see the all-nighters my Quaker parrot drops! If ALL DROPPINGS a bird has throughout the day are huge then that is a sign that they are actually holding an egg inside and going to lay it soon. I'm not at all saying it isn't possible that he is actually a she and that she is actually hormonal, **** even if it is a male it could also be hormonal behavior, which is typically what you assume AFTER you rule out a physical illness or injury. I just don't want you to confuse "hormonal/breeding behavior" with "female egg-laying" or "female egg-bound" behavior, which is what the huge, messy droppings indicate, but again if it's only its first morning dropping that is large and messy then that is completely normal for all birds and is not a sign that she is carrying an egg.

I really think that you need to consider what you will do about your bird's medical care, not just in this instance but for now on. Hopefully this is just he/she going through a bad hormonal season and it can be remedied by putting he/she on a strict "Solar Schedule", which will typically knock them out of breeding mode in a week or two. But what if your bird is sick? Probiotics are not going to help your bird much, they help restore the "good bacteria" to there gastrointestinal tract that can be deteriorated by either a yeast or other fungal infection, or by antibiotics taken for "bad bacteria". Chances are that if your bird is sick, he/she has either a bacterial infection or a yeast/fungal infection, these infections will only be cured by having a fecal smear and a nose/throat/crop culture done, diagnosing and identifying the bacteria and/or fungus, and the bird taking a complete round of either the CORRECT antibiotic or antifungal that will treat the specific bacteria or fungus that shows up in the culture. It could also be a parasite, if it is the fecal smear will show either the parasite, it's eggs, or both. In that case your bird will need an antiparasitic medication. Now if your bird did injure itself (did the screaming start before or after it had the accident?) and that's what is causing it to scream, that mean the poor thing is in pain and at least needs some Metacam for pain and swelling, and it would be good to know that nothing is seriously wrong. I obviously can't make you take your bird to an avian vet, but it's very frustrating and sad when we hear that a person cannot afford to provide medical care to their bird. In this situation you need to go online and apply for CareCredit, all vets take it and they will approve most people even if they have credit issues. Some vets also have their own payment plans and will work with you on the payment because they want you to get your bird help when he needs it. So you need to do what you need to do in order to get him to a vet.

You can try the "Solar Schedule" and see if this stops the screaming, but it will take at least a week of him being on it, probably two weeks, to be able to tell if that's what it is. Not at all trying to be pessimistic or negative, but your bird might be very, very sick by then, or worse...

Forgetting this particular situation and just speaking in a general sense, have you ever thought about what you will do when your bird becomes sick or get injured? I say "will" because most birds just like dogs, cats, humans, etc. get sick or injured at some point in their lives. And the person that owns the bird and brought the bird into their life is the one that is completely responsible for their bird's life. It's your job to make sure your bird has adequate food and clean, fresh water every day, adequate shelter, toys and other entertainment as well as human interaction and out of cage time every day, and yes, adequate and appropriate medical treatment when he needs it. If he's not sick right now, which he might be and he might not be, he will be at some point, and it is your responsibility to get him to an appropriate vet. I'm very fortunate in that I have a world class certified avian vet 10 minutes from me as well as a 24 hour emergency animal hospital with an avian vet on-call. However, most people have to drive a good distance one-way to take their bird to a certified or qualified avian vet, and they do it because it very often is the difference between their bird getting a correct diagnosis and proper treatment, or having a general vet look at their bird, usually do no tests at all but rather just guess at what's wrong or make no specific diagnosis at all, and then typically put the bird on a broad-spectrum antibiotic and maybe also an antifungal and hope that it works. Often the bird dies fairly soon after this general vet trip, I unfortunately see it on here all the time, just two days ago a member lost their male cockatiel of 5 years on the same day he took it to a vet. Pet birds die suddenly quite often, and I'm sure you're familiar with the fact that they are all very, very good at instinctively hiding illnesses and injuries due to fear of appearing weak to predators. By the time most birds show any outward signs or symptoms of illness or injury they have actually been sick for a long time. Often times, as was the case with the member that just lost his 5 year old cockatiel, they suddenly appear sick one day and they die the next. And that member was a fantastic, responsible bird owner that immediately after noticing his cockatiel wasn't eating and was fluffed up one morning got online, found the closest avian vet to him, called and made an appointment for later that day, drove a long distance one way to the avian vet, and his bird was diagnosed with a bacterial infection in his gastrointestinal tract that had been going on for so long that his bird was full of bad bacteria and had no good bacteria left at all. He gave his bird his first dose of medication after driving him home, and was trying to give him the second dose in the evening when his bird died in his arms. I don't want to see this happen to anyone, and I don't want any bird to suffer in pain because their owner is not prepared or willing to get them medical care.

I'm not trying to preach to you and I'm not trying to be harsh, but there are so many bird owners that have no idea what to do when their pet bird gets sick or is injured that it's just very frustrating. I'd rather do everything I can get to people thinking hard about what they will do when this happens to their bird, because it will if it hasn't already, than to have everybody like me. If I can save the life of one bird or keep one bird from needlessly suffering then I'm happy and it was worth me being a little harsh and not sugar-coating my words.

If I were you, I would get online and find either the certified or qualified avian vet that is closest to you and make an appointment ASAP. If it means you have to drive for hours then that's what it means. Verify that they accept CareCredit, most all vets do, then get back online, go to the CareCredit website, and apply. It's easy. If you refuse to do this then at the very least find the closest certified or qualified avian vet to you and write down their name, address, and phone number, because if your bird isn't sick now or if he gets through whatever is wrong with him, you'll have the information for the future. And you should take your bird to a certified or qualified avian vet yearly for a wellness checkup anyway and have baseline blood work done for him. You should also get him sexed so you'll know if there is a risk of egg-binding in the future. CareCredit can be used for wellness exams too.

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