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Thread: Has your bird ever choked before?

  1. #1
    Hatching marroqui's Avatar
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    Has your bird ever choked before?

    Hi all,

    Just a quick question, has this ever happened to you? Have you ever witnessed your bird choking on a seed or any food? And do they fix it themselves? Have you intervened?

    All is well here, but this morning apparently little Nala our lovebird was choking on a seed. I was not at home at the time, but my partner told me it happened. He said he saw her making a weird noise, and was breathing hard and making a noise sounding like a sneeze, almost as if she wanted to get something out and that she was scratching her head too. He was really worried and thought she might be sick but that there were no watery eyes or nose and she wasnt at the bottom of the cage, and was eating a lot previously. He managed to get her and check her and she seemed fine so he put her back but then she started again so he got her again and was wrapping her with a blanket when she spewed out a seed (apparently it was a piece of French millet seed). Since she did that she was fine, she didnt breathe like she did or scratch etc. and has been fine. He held her for a few hours and when he put her back she was preening herself for awhile, then she drank some water, then ate a little then was hopping around chirping again until bedtime. So we think she did accidentally choke on a millet seed. The hanging French millet seeds, which are bigger than the ones in the seed mixes. I didnt see any of this as I only got home when he was holding her. He said after awhile she was perching on his finger and relaxing too, and she's mostly untame so this was great to hear.

    A couple of months ago I was feeding some of the birds through their cage bars and when I was feeding Kovu she was too excited to keep getting seeds that she also almost choked on a safflower, she made a small wheezing sound but then she was fine and she had water and was fine thank goodness. It seems today was more worse with Nala. I was really scared when he called me to tell me she's making weird noises and breathing hard, I ran home as quickly as I could. I'm really careful when I feed them especially the ones who get too excited about it.

    From time to time some of the birds make a gesture with their beaks and head, almost as if they are yawning, but are not yawning, rather its like they are trying to get something out of there chest, but not regurgitating either. That concerns me sometimes too. I'm always worried about them.

    I was hoping to hear anyone's experiences and/or advice on this issue too.

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    Tailfeather boomer girl's Avatar
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    Re: Has your bird ever choked before?

    Boomer chocked once when he was hogging down a piece of Millet Spray. He was shaking his head frantically and making a strange noise trying to get it out of his throat. He kept doing it so badly we rushed him to the nearest emergency avian vet which was a hour a half away because it was of course a Sunday. He did it all the way there and thankfully stopped right before the avian vet came in. She told me it was very common for them to chock on Spray millet and recommends to only give them the little bulbs of millet instead of a chunk on it so they do not eat it so fast and also not eat as much. It was horrible and we honestly thought we were going to lose him before we got to the vets office.
    Fly Free Boomer, we will forever love you.

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    Mom of 3 fids Chick Tailfeathers Supporter!Tailfeathers Supporter! DesertDweller's Avatar
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    Re: Has your bird ever choked before?

    1. Regarding choking: I've never had an experience with birds choking, but evidently, it happens. The only thing I could possibly think of that might cause the birds to choke is if they are frantically scrambling to get to the food.
    You mentioned that 2 birds appeared to have choked at different times. So, it got me to wondering if they somehow compete for food.

    2. Regarding the yawning, usually nothing to worry about. From time to time a bird will simply adjust the crop. Very normal behavior. If they do it with a kind of stressed look on their face after yawning, or keep it up for longer than a few moments, personally I'd bring my bird to a vet.
    Whitefaced Pearl Cockatiel Smokey Bear: Hatched June 14, 2018
    Whitefaced Pied Cockatiel Wolfie Barry James (Wolfgang): Hatched approx: December 25, 2017
    Yellow Naped Amazon Benny Francis: Hatched March 24, 2018

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    Hatching marroqui's Avatar
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    Re: Has your bird ever choked before?

    Pat, thank you for the information, especially about the yawning gestures too! It is not for a few moments, so I think you are right, that they might just be adjusting their crops. It happens quite rarely not all the time too.

    With the choking, the two that I have seen it happen to are not housed together, so it wasnt competition for food thankfully. The first time was because Kovu, our friendly but bitey lovebird was too excited about receiving more food in her cage and she's all "me me me first" I was going around giving seeds through the cage bars to anyone that would accept it from my hand and when I gave it to her she took it too quickly and appeared to choke but she was fine a moment later without issues, but this second time a week ago with little Nala, apparently she was breathing hard and making gestures trying to get something out (my partner saw it as I wasnt home at the time) so he was quite panicked about it and after he picked her up for a second time and took her to perch with him in a blanket she brought up a piece of seed, so we believe she choked on that, I think it was French millet. Thankfully after she brought it up, she was fine afterwards and since then she is still fin and bouncing around being her usual self.

    Deanna, what you described about Boomer sounds exactly like what was happening to Nala, but she stopped once she brought up the seed so we didnt take her to the vet as she has been fine ever since. I can imagine you would have been so worried about poor little Boomer when that happened. I think with Nala it was also either millet spray or a hanging French millet, I'm feeling cautious now about giving it to the birds.

    It is scary to think that they can choke like us too though and I only hope that they are able to adjust themselves and bring up anything thats uncomfortable in their crop.

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