It is easy to spot whether a lovebird is sick or not because they hardly behave like their usual selves even when they are mildly sick. Lovebirds, at their healthiest, are jovial, playful, well-behaved, and even loving.
However, when they are not in a healthy state, everything about them changes from their behavior to the way they look. These sensitive birds require a lot of care and attention in general, but when sick, their needs become even more pressing.
How to tell if a lovebird is sick or healthy?
When a lovebird is sick, it shows in two ways: their physical state of being and their attitude. This can be further understood with the help of the following table:
Sick lovebirds symptoms:
1. Physical changes
|Fatigue||When suffering from an illness, lovebirds tend to get fatigued easily. They’ll get tired from even the smallest flights.|
|Tired/dull eyes||It will be hard for a lovebird to keep its eyes open for a long time when it is sick. In fact, a sick lovebird’s eyes are almost always half-opened, giving them a tired or dull look.|
|Sitting for a long time||When it is sick, a lovebird would tend to sit on the ground of its aviary or the bottom of its cage, or even on a lower perch for an unusually long amount of time.|
|Difficulty in breathing||A lovebird that is sick with some respiratory issues would have very obvious difficulty in breathing. It would also tend to pant and sneeze a lot, and might even have some nasal discharge.|
|Puffy feathers for longer than usual||If its feathers are ruffled or puffy for a long period of time, chances are that the lovebird is down with some illness.|
|Picking their own feathers||Some sick lovebirds can even pick their own feathers.|
|Changes in their beak||If its beak looks unusually discolored and different in shape, symmetry, or size, the lovebird might be down with some serious illness.|
|Changes in their droppings||If its droppings have unusual discolorations (especially green or bright yellow), unusual changes in the texture, and unusual changes in the number of droppings in a day, it is best to get the lovebirds checked.|
|Abnormal bobbing of tail||When a lovebird bobs its tail especially when it is sitting or being inactive, it can point toward some form of illness.|
2. Behavioral changes
|Withdrawn or uninterested||If a lovebird stays uninterested in any activity for an abnormally long amount of time, chances are that it is going through some sort of an illness.|
|Stays lazy for a longer time||Lovebirds are active birds. If a lovebird is staying lazy or staying put in one place for a longer time than usual, it is probably sick or depressed.|
|Gets hyper or overly sensitive||It’s not just the lack of energy that can indicate the presence of an illness in a lovebird. If the lovebird is being more aggressive, hyper, or sensitive than usual, then it is time to check its health status.|
|Getting scared or anxious easily||While most lovebirds generally get scared easily, when they are sick, their anxiety can go up a notch and they can become increasingly restless.|
|Changes in appetite||A sudden loss of appetite and a sudden increase in appetite are both equally concerning for lovebirds and can indicate an underlying health condition.|
Lovebirds are good at hiding illnesses:
Lovebirds do not prefer to show any signs of illness. This is because they are aware that it makes them look like easy prey. They try to appear healthy even when they don’t feel so healthy in order to protect themselves from predators.
However, if they can’t help but show the symptoms mentioned above, it is important to get them checked by an avian veterinarian because they could be even more ill than they appear to be.
Why is my lovebird sleeping so much?
If your lovebird sleeps too much, that is, more than 16-17 hours a day, then it could be a symptom of an underlying illness.
Most lovebirds sleep for 12-13 hours a day on average. If a lovebird is found asleep after every few minutes, it is better to get it checked by an avian veterinarian.
Another symptom of an underlying disease or infection could be if a lovebird keeps its eyes half open throughout the day.
Why do lovebirds puff up?
Lovebirds usually puff up their feathers in order to keep themselves warm. However, if a lovebird is puffing up its feathers for the majority of the day, it could signal some sort of a disease or an infection.
When it is sick, a lovebird tends to sit all day long with its feathers puffed up. It is also common to see it bob its tail frequently during such times.
Is my lovebird depressed or in stress?
When a lovebird is depressed or in stress, it goes through several behavioral changes which eventually start affecting its physical health as well.
While these symptoms are more or less the same, they have severe effects in case the lovebird is depressed.
Some of these behavioral changes are listed as follows:
|Symptom||Depressed Lovebird||Stressed lovebird|
|Weight loss||When depressed, a lovebird can experience a loss of appetite for days which can make it lose weight and become weaker.||A stressed lovebird may also experience a loss of appetite. However, if the source of stress is taken away, the lovebird can go back to its usual consumption pattern.|
|Nutritional deficiencies||Depressed lovebirds can suffer from nutritional deficiencies due to a lack of consumption for a longer period of time.||Stressed lovebirds can also suffer from nutritional deficiencies, but they can recover from them quickly as well.|
|Feather picking||A depressed lovebird picks its feathers to such an extent that it can cause permanent damage to its feather follicles, and can even leave scars.||A lovebird in stress picks its feathers a lot. However, with treatment, it can regain the health and quality of its feathers.|
|Immune system||A depressed lovebird’s immune system can become so weak that it can easily catch any ongoing viral infection.||A stressed lovebird can regain its strength when the source of its stress is taken away.|
|Laying eggs||A depressed female lovebird can have severe issues while laying eggs. It can get so severe that it might need surgery to be able to lay eggs.||A stressed female lovebird can also face difficulties laying eggs. However, they can be treated with medication.|
Why is my lovebird breathing fast?
If your lovebird is breathing fast or breathing through its beak for a long time, it could be possible that it is suffering from a respiratory disease.
Respiratory diseases are quite common in lovebirds. Apart from breathing fast and breathing through its beak, the following symptoms also indicate the presence of a respiratory illness in a lovebird:
- Not being able to breathe properly while flying
- Bobbing its tail with every breath
What causes a lovebird to get sick?
There are various reasons why a lovebird can get sick. Some of them are mentioned below:
- Lack of proper nutrition in diet or malnutrition
- Lack of proper hygiene
- Genetic conditions
- Improperly treated injuries
- Infections from other birds
Common lovebird sickness and their treatments:
Some of the illnesses commonly found in lovebirds are mentioned below along with their treatments:
|Chlamydiosis||Chlamydiosis can cause respiratory issues in lovebirds along with liver issues and severe weakness.||Chlamydiosis is treated with the help of antibiotics. They are usually given doses of Doxycycline for 40-45 days. It can either be given orally or through injections.|
|Yeast Infections (Candidiasis)||Lovebirds can contract yeast infections (also known as Candidiasis) quite easily. These infections occur in their gastrointestinal tracts and are caused by the yeast called Candida.||Candidiasis is treated with an antifungal drug called Nystatin. It is given orally for a minimum of 5 days.|
|Skin infections||Skin infections in a lovebird usually occur inside its wings and can make a lovebird lose a chunk of its feathers. They can be caused by either bacteria or yeast.||Different skin infections require different treatments. This is because they can either be caused by bacteria or fungi. Most skin infections can be treated with antibiotics.|
|Epilepsy||It is not uncommon for lovebirds to suffer from epilepsy. It can make a lovebird lose consciousness all of a sudden and fall from its perch, or even go through severe spasms.||Different treatments for epilepsy in lovebirds include diet modification, adding supplements, and medicines including antibiotics, antitoxins, and antivirals.|
|Reproductive issues||Lovebirds are also susceptible to reproductive issues. Egg binding is the most common reproductive issue seen in lovebirds.||Reproductive issues can be treated with the help of either surgery or medications.|
Are there any immediate remedies for when my lovebird is sick and critical?
The following remedies can be helpful in case a lovebird requires immediate care:
- Give your lovebird water mixed with either honey or electrolytes.
- Use a heating pad under the cage or their perch or bed in order to provide warmth to the lovebird.
- Keep general antibiotics nearby (after consulting with the avian veterinarian) and feed them in case of need.
What do you feed a sick lovebird?
A sick lovebird’s diet requires extra care and attention. Following foods must be added to its diet:
- Leafy green vegetables
- Fruits and vegetables containing beta-carotene
- Crushed egg shells
- Sprouted seeds
How do I know if my lovebird is dying or is in deep pain?
When a lovebird is dying or in deep pain, all of its sickness symptoms become exaggerated.
- Their feathers are puffed up all the time.
- A dying lovebird suffers from severe weight loss and loss of feathers.
- Their skin is also severely discolored.
- They have frequent discharges around their eyes and nostrils (called cere). These areas can also appear to be swollen and inflamed.
- An extremely sick lovebird shakes and shivers most of the time.
- When a lovebird is dying or in deep pain, it stays still and becomes extremely inactive.
Can lovebirds spread diseases to humans?
It is extremely rare for a lovebird to spread diseases to its owner or humans around it, but it is not impossible. Their feathers can sometimes have germs that can cause mild infections in humans.
It is possible for humans to get skin infections and even severe illnesses from their lovebirds. That is why it is always recommended to get them checked from time to time.
Lovebirds are active birds. They like to play around a lot. Hence, it is very easy to spot any signs of illness in them, even when they try hard to conceal them.
Regular check-ups from an avian veterinarian are a must in order to help these birds live long, active, and healthy lives.