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Budgie parakeets > Talking birds > Sick parrot
It is a mistaken idea to suppose that the birds in their wild or natural state are not subject to diseases, as it is known that they are affected in various ways, but when in their native haunts they have a faculty of searching out medicinal plants and substances with which they can cure themselves.
Just as a cat or dog will sometimes eat grass or the leaves of certain weeds, and cats will take especial delight in eating and rolling in a bed of catnip.
When kept in captivity there is no opportunity for a bird to find its own cure, and consequently diseases are more fatal to them. When caged, the possibility of their systems being deranged is also greatly increased by the ignorance or carelessness of their keepers in not supplying them with suitable food for their daily requirements.
If you love your bird and want it to do well and live comfortably, you should study its nature not only from books, but from the bird directly. It is much easier to prevent diseases by taking proper care of it than it is to cure it, whoever watches his bird carefully, will be able to tell very quickly when his pet gets out of order.
The healthy bird is fond of exercise and constantly on the move viewing his surroundings with bright eyes, while the sick bird perches quietly with his plumage ruffled and his eyelids drawn down as if half asleep, sometimes refusing food altogether and at other times attacking it with unusual greediness.
Parrots are subject to comparatively few diseases, but these quite frequently prove fatal should they not have early attention. The state of a parrot's health is usually indicated by the excretions which in a strong, healthy bird consists of two parts: one being rather thick and dark green and the other a thin, white substance.
Should the excrement be entirely composed of the green or of a hard brown substance or all slimy white, or be watery, the bird is out of condition and requires treatment or change of food.
Most of the diseases of cage birds are causec by their taking cold, by insects, water, improper food, lack of cleanliness and an absence of gravel in the cage. These maladies are greatly increased by giving the so-called delicacies from the table such as meat, butter, sugar, pastry, candy, etc.
If properly fed and supplied with gravel and kept clean, warm and out of drafts, there is every chance of your bird living a long life and proving highly satisfactory.
We think that it is a good plan to treat birds in the homeopathic manner, treating symptoms instead of diseases, where you can satisfactorily diagnose the case, and in many cities homeopathic physicians prescribe regularly for parrots and other birds. Cayenne pepper mixed with the soft food, and whole pepper pods put in the cage have quite a strong, tonic effect, and are beneficial for all varieties of parrots.
Warmth alone is often sufficient to cure the ordinary sicknesses and for most diseases where heat is necessary, and it usually is with parrots, a hot water bag will be found quite satisfactory. Frequently wrapping the bird up well with flannel and placing it on a hot water bag will be sufficient to cure ordinary complaints without administering medicine.
The steam or vapor bath is nicely arranged in the following manner: Remove the cage bottom and set the cage with the bird inside on a cane bottom chair. Under this chair set a pan of boiling hot water and cover the entire chair, cage and all with a quilt. The steam coming up thoroughly permeates the bird's feathers and he feels as good after his vapor bath as a human being frequently does after a Turkish bath. It is well, however, to peep at the bird occasionally and see that he is not overcome by the vapor.
Sometimes we have had a sick parrot which was apparently almost dead, but by wrapping it in a piece of flannel and laying it in a warm (not hot) oven with the door left ajar for ventilation, soon brightened up, began to move and stood on its feet. By keeping it unusually warm for two or three hours and then returning it to its cage which was kept in a warm location, it would mount its perch at once and seem to be in fairly healthy condition again, and the following day would perhaps show no indication of its previous trouble.