We develop loving bonds with our parrot companions. Unfortunately, like all living creatures, even long-lived parrots eventually succumb to illness and old age.
During its remaining hours, your parrot may feel scared and afraid. You can make a dying parrot comfortable by doing the following:
- Separate your sick parrot from other birds
- Avoid anxiety and stress triggers
- Keep the parrot in a calm state
- Ignore negative behaviors
- Wrap the parrot in a soft blanket
- Maintain a Comfortable room temperature
- Additional out-of-cage time
- Dim the lights in the room
- Keep your parrot occupied
- Assist with eating and drinking
It’s an emotional time when you realize that your parrot is not long for this world. Alas, you’ll need to temporarily put aside your grief, as your parrot needs your care and attention at this difficult time.
If you learn how to comfort a dying parrot, you’ll be able to provide the same tenderness and empathy in death that you have during its life.
How Do I Know If My Parrot is Dying?
Once parrots become seriously ill, they start sinking fast. Common signs of a dying parrot include:
- Not eating or drinking
- Wheezing and struggling for breath
- Constantly puffing the feathers
- Shedding feathers, exposing dry skin
- Swollen, discolored, or streaming eyes and ears
- Shivering as though struggling to stay warm
- Blood in the feces
- Lack of movement or verbalization
A vet may be able to save your parrot’s life, but it won’t always be possible. If not, you have our deepest sympathy, but your parrot is likely heading to a better place.
Remember that all living things, including our cherished pets, must eventually pass on. Focus on the good times that you spent with your parrot. It enjoyed a wonderful life, and now the time has come to rest.
How Can I Help A Dying Parrot?
Once your parrot becomes very ill, most medical treatments will only prolong the inevitable. If so, an important question arises – how do you comfort a dying pet parrot?
The days before your parrot passes away will be hard for you, but don’t go through the experience alone. Ask friends and family members that love your parrot as much as you to assist.
1/ Isolate The Sick Parrot
Parrots are flock animals that relish company. However, you need to be aware of contagious diseases, as other birds’ lives may be at risk. You’ll need to keep all birds separate from each other for their safety.
A dying parrot will also appreciate this solitude, as they must avoid stress. Being surrounded by other birds can be noisy, antagonistic, and exhausting for a sick bird.
Your parrot will be less friendly than when it was healthy. Staying alive is tiring for a parrot, and it’ll likely grow antisocial. Other birds that once provided joyful companionship will no longer do so.
Parrots prefer to pass away in a peaceful, secluded location. Naturally, you’ll want to contain your parrot in its cage during its final days.
Confinement will be safer, and it’s easier to provide comfort and support.
2/ Avoid Anxiety And Stress Triggers
While these clever birds live full and active lives, interacting with their surroundings, they can grow stressed. Parrots are aware of what is happening to them and around them.
There’s no scientific proof that parrots understand their mortality. However, they hide sickness from their owners, and such secrecy suggests that birds understand and fear the changes their bodies undergo.
Consider everyday stressors, like the following:
- Other pets, like predatory cats
- Bright colors
- Unexpected loud noises
- Being ignored
This step is often taken in conjunction with isolation. Even while your parrot is in quarantine, visit it regularly. Leaving the parrot alone without any company will increase its stress level.
Talk to your parrot during these visits as if nothing has changed. You’ll understandably be upset seeing your parrot in such a condition, but chatting with your bird will take its mind off its illness.
Don’t be surprised if your parrot responds less than usual. When unwell, parrots are less communicative. Just because the bird is not talking doesn’t mean it’s not listening.
Tell your parrot about your day and take the opportunity to thank it for years of wonderful company.
3/ Keep the Parrot in A Calm State
Keeping a parrot calm and avoiding stress isn’t the same thing. Stress is an immediate and visceral reaction to external circumstances, so maintaining calmness is related to how you interact.
Think about the environment your parrot is living in. As established, your parrot will want to be somewhere quieter, away from other birds of footfall. Think about where this location is, though. Will your parrot be subjected to external noise from outside a window?
Be mindful of how you talk to an unwell parrot. Always use a soft and soothing voice because raised voices are intimidating. An agitated parrot’s final days will be less pleasant.
Dying birds often vomit and get diarrhea, so never force the parrot to live surrounded by its waste. Parrots are dignified companions, so keep the cage clean in a non-disruptive way.
4/ Ignore Negative Behaviors
While a long-term parrot will have long adjusted to life in captivity, it may revert to instinct.
A dying parrot may act in ways you don’t expect or condone. Understandably, emotions will run high at this time. If your parrot does something you disprove, ignore the behavior.
Behaviors considered unwelcome could include feather plucking. If the parrot is already losing feathers, it may be upsetting to watch it remove more. Sick parrots find this calming, self-soothing through plucking.
As discussed, your parrot may also be more aggressive than usual. Pecking can be an act of self-defense and preservation. If a parrot is in pain, it may lash out. Avoid unnecessary handling at this time.
Naturally, you’ll want to spend time with your parrot. Do so by offering praise in a soft, gentle tone every time your parrot is calm.
5/ Wrap the Parrot in a Soft Blanket
Wrap dying parrots in a soft, cozy blanket. Initially, this blanket will provide a familiar sensation.
Dying parrots also lose strength in their feet. As a result, perching becomes difficult. A blanket gives your bird somewhere to place its feet, reducing the risk of falls.
Wrapping a parrot in a blanket will make petting more pleasurable. A parrot may instinctively spread its wings and fly when out of the cage. Very sick parrots struggle, even if instinct compels them to try.
Wrap a parrot and a blanket and hold them close to your body. It’ll feel considerably calmer knowing its cherished owner is on hand to offer support and protection.
The blanket will also increase your parrot’s body temperate. Warmth is essential, as dying birds shed feathers; the colder your parrot gets, the faster its demise will arise.
6/ Maintain a Comfortable Room Temperature
Birds approaching the end of their lives struggle to stay warm.
In addition to offering a blanket, keep the ambient room temperature below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. You can go as high as 85 degrees, and your parrot will remain comfortable.
It may be hard to heat a sizeable room to this level. A heat lamp may be a better solution, as long as this isn’t shining straight on your parrot. Use a lamp that doesn’t produce illumination.
Install a thermometer on the cage so that you can monitor the temperature.
While dying parrots relish warmth, getting your parrot too hot is just as dangerous. If your parrot is flapping its wings but making no attempt to fly, it’s overheating.
7/ Additional Out-of-Cage Time
While dying parrots are lethargic, have trouble perching, and rarely fly, they enjoy some freedom. Leaving a parrot locked in its cage 24/7 is a low-key end.
We mentioned that dying parrots revert to instinct, so let this happen, albeit safely.
Take your parrot, wrapped in a blanket, out of its cage. Hold it to your chest and walk around the house, or better yet, the backyard. Let your parrot see everything it has interacted with for several years again.
Don’t make the mistake of letting your parrot run free constantly. This is dangerous, as restricted flight ability will increase the risk of falls.
8/ Dim The Lights in The Room
Dying parrots need sleep more than at any other point. When parrots start to wind down, they’ll sleep more and move less. A dimly-lit room makes it easier for parrots to rest.
Get a dimmer switch for the room that houses your parrot. If this isn’t an option, avoid overhead lights. The more bright light shines in a parrot’s eyes, the more agitated it’ll feel.
In addition, consider covering the cage. Putting a blanket or towel over the cage will calm the bird and encourage dozing. Darkness coupled with strange noises could be frightening.
When your parrot isn’t getting darkness and rest, seize the opportunity to spend more time together.
9/ Keep Your Parrot Occupied
Your parrot should be distracted from its ailing physical condition. While dying parrots are usually less interested in play and interaction, do your utmost to keep its mind occupied.
Even healthy parrots grow bored of the same toys in their cage. Placing a favored treat, like unsalted peanut butter, inside a hollow toy may stimulate appetite.
10/ Assist with Eating And Drinking
Dying parrots lose their appetite, and birds won’t last longer than 1-4 days without eating.
Eschewing water for just 24 hours can be fatal. If your pet parrot doesn’t eat or drink of its own accord, you may decide to step in to prolong its life.
Hand-feeding your parrot is the best way to provide sustenance. Here’s how:
- Take your parrot’s favorite foods – pellets, fresh fruit, or vegetables – and grind them up.
- Place the parrot on a safe, stable surface.
- Hold the parrot still, which will be easier if you’ve already wrapped it in a blanket.
- Place the ground-up food into a syringe or a small plastic spoon.
- Gently tap the lower corner of the beak with the spoon or syringe.
- Wait for the parrot to open its mouth, repeating the step above until it does.
- When the parrot’s mouth is open, place the spoon or syringe to the right of its beak.
- Let the parrot take the food at its own pace. Never force-feed it.
You can repeat this process as often as required. Just offer your parrot the foods that it wants to eat. Many parrots love human foods that would ordinarily be verboten as they’re too fatty.
If your parrot starts to twitch and shake before dropping its head, it’ll likely vomit. In this instance, clean it up. Then, reassure your parrot to let it know that you’re not angry and will make everything better again.
The loss of a parrot is a painful experience that leaves you feeling sad and empty inside. Once your pet has passed away, you can begin the mourning process.
Until such a time, remain focused on comforting your dying parrot. That way, you’ll always know that you’ve done everything possible to make it feel comfortable in its final hours.