Your parrot should stay physically and mentally healthy provided it has a good diet, plenty of time each day out of the cage to fly and enjoy good exercise, and a stimulating environment with a good relationship with its carers. However, you should be prepared for the possibility of illness long before it occurs by making sure that a good  specialist bird vet is available. It is important to use a vet who has considerable experience of treating birds, rather than an ordinary vet whose skills may not include avian medicine. It is also recommended that your bird should be examined at least once a year for a general health check-up.

Most bird vets are members of the Association of Avian Vets and various websites list their contact details. Bird vets are also listed in Parrots magazine each month.

Good bird vets will have some or all of the following facilities:
• Anaesthesia by isofluorane gas (this is very safe anaesthetic for birds)
• Ability to do imping (restoring flight by repairing a bird's wings following any wing-clipping)
• Ability to do Complete Blood Count and biochemistry tests.
Availability of an endoscope for internal examinations and diagnosis
Ability to take tissue samples (biopsies) for testing and analysis
• Staff who know how to handle parrots correctly, using a towel (not gloves) to minimise stress.
• 24 hour hospitalisation facilities for birds.

Assessing the health of your bird

Healthy birds are active for most, but not all, of the daytime. They have bright, wide open eyes and no discharge from the nostrils. Breathing is silent. Healthy birds are alert and well aware of things going on around them. The body feathers should be relaxed and slightly smoothed down; neither puffed up nor held down with an excessive tightness. The bird should be eating normally and passing droppings normally, without undue straining. The area around the vent should not be soiled by the bird's droppings. When resting or sleeping, a healthy bird  usually stands on one foot for much of the time. If your bird does not show these normal healthy signs, something may be wrong. Remember, sick birds will always try to hide signs of illness, so by the time a bird appears unwell, it is usually very ill indeed. Make sure to act without any delay in getting your bird treated if you ever think he may be unwell.

A Timneh grey in excellent condition. A clear, alert round eye, no discharge from nostrils, no frayed or damaged feathers.


A healthy bird will spend quite a bit of time
preening and keeping its feathers in good condition.


There are now some good specialist bird vets
whose knowledge of parrots is far better than
vets who just concentrate on dogs and cats.

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