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Thread: Cockatiel breathing heavily

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    Cockatiel breathing heavily

    Hello. Lots of words ahead but please bare with me and help! I have a two year old male cockatiel named storm. About six months after buying him ( not from a petstore ) he started breathing a little funny. He would do it only in th late evenings for a few hours and then I need the morning he would be fine. This went off and on for a few months. One r moving him to a new room, it worsened. He was breathing heavier and his chest was heaving up and down. Fearing the worst after reading many horror stories of birds dying fast due to a respiratory infection, we brought him to the vet. The vet said he was in great health and gave us chlorahexidine to add to his water until he stopped breathing funny. The vet said that he could have developed an infection from bad seeds he could have eaten. Once we brought him home, we got rid of his old seed and started transitioning him off seed and on to a fresh food and pellet diet. After a month and a half, there was no sign of heavy breathing. I then let him eat seeds more regularely. A few weeks after that, he started breathing heavily again. He normally only does it at night, but he has done it a few times during the day but it goes away after a few hours. Recently I've restricted his seeds and bought him a high quality pellet mix which he refuses to eat. Other than the breathing that is on for a day and off for a day-3 days, and a slight clearness that has come out of a nostril twice now, he seems to be fine. His feathers are clear and kept well, he is chirpy and high energy, he eats fine ( other than those **** pellets ), his poop is green and white, and he hasn't changed behaviour. I have done so much research but never found anything similar to his case. Money is tight right now, and I think I will need to bring him to the vet and x ray to find out what's wrong rather than just getting a physical examination. Every once in a while he will stick on the side of the cage with his beak, but he has never sat on the floor or shown sickness. He does close one eye sometimes though. When I lessen his seeds or take them away totally, the heavy breathing seems to lessen. I've considered things such as bird Asmha, air sac mites, and allergys, but I've found no results. This really worries me because I love him so much and I have panick attacks when he breathes heavily because I fear he could die. I read that once a bird shows signs of an illness, he could be close to death but storm has had this condition for a long time and he still seems fine. I just want to know what you all think and if you could help at all. This really worries me but a vet visit is very expensive but I will do it if it's life or death. Thank you so much and feel free to ask questions I will answer to the best of my abilities!!!

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    Re: Cockatiel breathing heavily

    Also, when he breathes funny at night, it is always clear by morning. He is located in my room away from windows and vents He spends more time out of his cage then in his cage, he is very active, and he has his wings clipped. In my room I also have a hamster and a rat. I have no candles and our house is kept at 23 most of the time. I have two fish tanks in my room which leaves it somewhat humid.

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    Re: Cockatiel breathing heavily

    There could be some household chemicals or outside or inside smoke, or essential oils, etc., that he is allergic to as well. Also, there could be something in the pellets, even though he is eating them, that is causing this problem. I would be worried too.

    Perhaps you need to find another vet for a second opinion.

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    Re: Cockatiel breathing heavily

    Yes maybe that would be best. These are the second type of pellets he has had, and the breathing has happened with both. The chemical thing may be true. I will turn off any thing that smells on the floor that he is on. I will contact a few other vets to find another option. Any other ideas are also appreciated

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    Re: Cockatiel breathing heavily

    Pellets are man made foods and not natural seeds from mother nature. That is not to say pellets are not good, because there are some brands that bird owners use and the birds do well on them. When you go to the petshop, check to see if you can find a brand of pellets called...TOPS...Totally Organic pellets. These have all organic ingredients and no corn or soybeans in them.

    It also could be from dampness in your home. Do you have that problem? Damp or humid air causes birds and even some people to have breathing problems. If possible look for a good seed mix that has very few if any fillers in it, no peanuts, nuts, peas, soybeans, or corn. Many seed mixes, in my view, have too much of this stuff in it. A good quality seed mix, and fresh fruits, veggies, whole wheat bread, fresh leaf lettuce, etc., is a good diet, and if you can find a good pellet, mix 20% pellet to 80% seed. Then add the fresh foods to the diet. Also, go on line and Google.birdy bread, birdy mash, and Buddy chopped vegetable recipies. There are some really neat recipes. Also, visit a website called Cockatiel Cottage. That one has tons of great info about cockatiels.

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    Re: Cockatiel breathing heavily

    We also do not use Teflon or non stick pans for cooking when we have birds. Ceramic or stainless steel are the best to use.

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    Re: Cockatiel breathing heavily

    I will check those out! I totally agree about the seed thing, except that storm WILL NOT eat pellets if he can have the option of seeds. I have tried everything. Wet pellets, fresh pellets, pellets mixed with seeds etc. He will even go as far as removing all the pellets from his food and dropping them. Dampness has never been a problem as I try to keep all my pets in good clean homes with clean environments. I believe my mother uses non stick pans.. But storm is not located near our kitchen. He is above it in my room. Could they still effect him? I read that teflon can kill a bird very quickly. As I am typing this Storm is happily munching on carrot while talking to himself in my large mirror. If you looked at him, you would say he looked totally fine. He eats alot of veggies and I make sure all his vitamins are up. Also, his seed mixes are all homemade with different brands and such. His fatty foods are given to him in lower quantities such as sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. The two seed bases are a budgie seed mix and a wild bird seed mix. Then he eats pellets ( Well he normally cant be bothered with them actually ).. In the morning as I get ready for the day he eats whatever my Guinea pigs are having fresh food wise. Mainly consists of lettuce, cucumber, spinach, carrot, apple, strawberry, zucchini and sometimes a small bit of unsalted organic cracker that I will be eating.. Does that help information wise?

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    Re: Cockatiel breathing heavily

    I really appreciate all the help and advice thank you all so so so much!!!

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    Re: Cockatiel breathing heavily

    Wild bird seed is really dusty and maybe he is breathing in the dust and it is clogging his nostrils. Maybe try to just him the budgie seeds and see how he does on just them. I have a friend who has spray a little saline water on her birds nostrils because the dry air in her house clogs there nostrils. See if you can Google on saline mists for birds to see if you can find some to use.
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    Re: Cockatiel breathing heavily

    Okay I will try that. I will only give him budgie seed

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    Re: Cockatiel breathing heavily

    Thanks for the advice!

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    Re: Cockatiel breathing heavily

    Deanna gave great advice on feeding Storm budgie seed. That's what I give my cockatiels, based on advice from several experts.
    I personally am allergic to sunflower and peanut, which is why I switched to parakeet seed. I mix a 3 pound bag of parakeet seed with a jar of parakeet treat.

    I am very concerned about the bird being around the fish tank. That humidity is not good for Storm. I feel that might be a big problem.
    Also, from having been a manager for years at PetSmart, I did have to study about all the animals in 'PetSmart University'. And I learned that it's not good to have birds living near other animals.

    Remember that a bird's respiratory system is very different from ours. A bird has much smaller lungs than we do. Their respiratory system also includes air sacs in their body. AND, the biggest difference is that the bird's air goes to their BONES. When I brought a baby cockatiel to Dr. Larry Nemetz, a renowned avian vet, he discussed that with me. My cockatiel had underdeveloped skeletal system.

    ***Dr. Nemetz explained to me that when a bird gets a respiratory infection, he can also get a nasty bone infection which is very difficult to treat.***

    Little Shorty didn't have any respiratory infection at all, but because of Shorty's bone problem, Dr. Nemetz took x-rays and showed me where another cockatiel's bones had an infection - in the 'arm' bones!!!

    The humidity of your fish tank carries lots and lots of bacteria. You can smell it in the air, I bet. Humidity is awful for birds. If you can change that, I have a feeling the bird might improve.

    Also, wild bird seed mix is not good for our pets. I bought some wild bird seed mix for my birds and my friend who owns the bird store told me it was not a good idea to give to the birds in the house. The wild bird seed is a mix intended to supplement a bird's diet as a treat, not as a staple meal. So it's full of stuff that our pet birds only should have occasionally. Plus, it's got stuff in it that's meant for a variety of different species so everybody outdoors can have something they like. Not good for our indoor birds, so I've been advised.

    To sum it up: budgie mix is a great idea. I suggest avoiding the wild bird mix. If you can, get the bird away from other animals, especially the fish tank.
    And, bird respiratory problems are a lot more complicated than ours.

    Please keep us posted on Storm's condition. I hope he feels better!!
    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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    Re: Cockatiel breathing heavily

    That was alot of very valuable information! I can move storm to another room with no animals or fish tanks no problem. The interesting thing is, I've heard the total apposite about humidity! I've read that because exotic birds come from warm, humid, tropical environments! I've been told by Storms vet ( Who I thought was reliable but am not so sure now haha ) and a few other bird breeders and owners that humidity is something that should be incorporated into a birds day to day life. From what I've heard, environmental moisture stimulates a birds natural preening instincts and helps keep the plumage healthy, shiny, and clean! I've also read that it can help with respiratory issues. If a birds lungs get too dry from lack of humidity they could become more susceptible to infection.. Man, there is so much to learn and know about birds! I really wish I could just know what was wrong and right. Also, I've never been told that you can smell the tanks, but many people love the moisture that my room has consistently. The largest tank is a ten gallon that houses my betta. The other tank is a 2.5 gallon bio cube. The third fish tank has been emptied due to upgrades in my pet room ( not the same room as my room, where Storm is ). I will need to make a better bird seed mix it seems! I really love all the different opinions and all the knowledge you all have. Thank you so much!

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    Re: Cockatiel breathing heavily

    I had never thought of fish tank bacteria as all the fish tanks have established bacterial balances that provide a happy healthy eco system for all. I gave storm just budgie seed today, and he was very happy. Also, tonight he is totally normal and not breathing funny. Strange how these things work. 😁😁

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    Re: Cockatiel breathing heavily

    I'm glad Storm is breathing normal! Thank goodness!

    The fish tank bacteria is fine for fish. That's about it. But when that bacteria wafts into your air, it can mix with other bacteria and fungus to cause non-fish to have problems. If you can smell the odor of the fish tank in the room, you know that the bacteria is in the air. If the tank filtration system is doing it's job, you shouldn't be able to smell any odor in your air. That would be a good way of knowing if the tank might be causing problems.
    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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