I just noticed Moon's bum is looking a little gross at the moment.
Could he be sick?? He is acting normally, eating, drinking, playing and being his sweet social self. The only potentially stressful thing I can think of that happened to him is that he was out of the cage for a while unsupervised yesterday, and I found him on the floor after work. I'm pretty sure he could have flown back up to the cage by himself despite his clipped wings (he's done it before), but maybe not. When I put him back he dove into the food dish.
As far as I can tell, his droppings look normal. I can't think of anything harmful he could have ingested -- and he's such a picky eater he wouldn't put most things in his beak anyway. He did recently start eating pellets, which are new to him...could that cause diarrhea? Unfortunately I noticed this just as I was getting ready for work, where I'll be the rest of the day. So I can't bring him to the vet right away. I called and made an appointment for Monday morning at 8 am, and they said if he seems better I can leave a message tomorrow to cancel. I'm very low on cash right now, and would rather not put him through the stress of a visit if not necessary. Of course I will if it comes down to it, though. I'm going to clean off his vent tonight and see if it stays clean tomorrow.
That sounds like a good plan, if he's still acting okay and his droppings look normal. It's possible that this may be a minor upset, but it also could be a sign of illness, so watch him carefully. Maybe on your way home from work, you could pick up some probiotics for him. That might help get his digestive system back on track.
I get out of work at 9 pm when everything is closed, unfortunately. Would I get the probiotics at a pet shop or a regular supermarket? Winco might be open, and PetSmart closes at 9 so it's possible I could leave work a little early and go there.
I wish I still had my CareCredit account (it had a $5,000 limit). Unfortunately I filed for bankruptcy a couple of months ago, so yeah, not an option. :\ If Moon is truly sick, though, I'll gladly live off ramen noodles and oatmeal for a week to pay for his appointment. I had a small vet savings but it was all spent on taking care of my rescue budgie with the broken leg.
Bird-specific probiotics would be purchased at a pet store. Benebac is a good brand that's usually available at chain stores. You'd want the kind that's for birds, not the cat/dog one.
There's some debate about whether human probiotics work equally well in birds as bird-specific ones, but I'd say human ones are probably better than nothing if that's all you can get for now. You can buy human acidophilus, or even some unflavored organic yogurt, if Moon will eat it.
Honestly, he seems fine! I was worried sick about him all day, especially since I couldn't get off work early to go get the probiotics. But when I got home he was looking completely normal. It seems like he cleaned his butt up a little by himself, and the "gift" he deposited on my hand wasn't runny at all. I think he must have just gotten an upset stomach from trying a new food (pellets). Or maybe he didn't eat or drink enough yesterday, if he was indeed stranded on the floor.
I'll keep an eye on him (and his poops) all tomorrow, but as of right now I'm leaning toward canceling the vet appointment. Thank you for all the help.
It's possible that he ate some kind of weird crud while he was stranded on the floor and it upset his digestion. Cockatiels are ground feeders in the wild so eating dirt off the floor comes naturally to them.
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It's possible...unfortunately it's impossible for me to vacuum underneath my bed, even though I try to keep the floor relatively clean.
The weird thing is, this bird will usually not eat ANYTHING out of his comfort zone (he even turns his beak up at the crackers, birdie egg biscuits, etc that Juju goes nuts for). If it isn't small and resembling a millet seed, it scares him.