Stress in the bird

Whatever the reason – illness, uncomfortable food, questionable hygiene, etc. – it’s important to be aware of the situation. – Whatever the reason – illness, inconvenient food, poor hygiene, etc. – the bird undergoes and perceives very noticeably any change in its habits and this has one of the harmful effects on its organism, which is expressed by a great deal of stress. ¾ of time. This stress has various sources as we will see and causes reactions that can lead the bird to death if we do not react.

The first thing to do is to observe your bird in order to detect the slightest sign of poor health: if you buy a bird in a pet store, the salesman will be able to advise you on the precautions to take for this or that species of bird. But if you have any doubts, do not hesitate to contact a veterinarian who will take all the necessary measures to ensure the good health of the bird.

Birds that are healthy and active have a natural resistance that protects them from disease, but a factor like stress can turn everything upside down: If the bird tends to eat less, drink less, lose its feathers, prick itself with its beak, if it becomes apathetic, if it doesn’t react when asked, if its breathing becomes jerky, if it is noticed that its droppings have changed color or if the bird simply has diarrhea then the bird is under a lot of stress which can result from illness.
In case of stress, the appearance of the bird changes immediately: its plumage is duller, its wings remain hanging, the feathers may swell or ruffle for no reason. A bird is an animal that needs calm, rest, a healthy lifestyle and to be free of parasites, in particular, to eat fresh food that is adapted to its needs.
Stress, in the bird, can come from any physical or psychological factor, it will then be less resistant to possible diseases, its immune defenses will seriously diminish and make it vulnerable.

Different sources of stress to understand

Stress related to the acquisition of the bird :

the change of environment, the transport are sources of stress for the bird, especially for the youngest because it corresponds to their weaning period. The separation with its parents can already be difficult, the food can change too, which requires the bird to undergo profound changes that will stress them.
Then, the bird is often placed in a new cage and it must “start from scratch”, that is to say that it must find its bearings to know where to feed, where to drink and finally to delimit its own space if it is in the presence of other birds. This is why to avoid stress, it is important to think about the cage, its dimensions, its location in the habitat (quiet place at room temperature, away from drafts and direct sunlight), its shape, to keep it clean in all circumstances (sand or litter over 2 centimeters) because the cage is above all the refuge for the bird, this is where it rests, regains strength, eats, etc.. When introducing the bird into its cage, it is important to avoid any sudden movements, not to have bright colors in the surroundings and even less to make noises that could frighten the bird and stress it. Even if the idea of placing the cage near a window can be considered, care must be taken to ensure that the sight of possible predators (or at least perceived predators) such as cats, dogs, other birds does not stress it further.

. Hygiene-related stress :

A bird must be kept and supervised in a clean and dry closed space because humidity encourages the appearance of bacteria, worms, parasites. Also, if the bird’s droppings accumulate, especially near its watering and feeding trough, germs can develop and expose the bird to the emanation of harmful gases. There is nothing like this to increase a stress already naturally present in such a small animal.

. Stress related to its diet :

A bird needs a varied, balanced diet, i.e. one that is sufficiently rich in proteins, otherwise its body will create deficiencies and it will not feel well. It is essential to try to offer the bird a diet close to that of the wild bird.

. stress linked to parasites :

A parasite, by definition, is an organism that lives to the detriment of another and draws all its energy from it and this will promote the deterioration of the general state of the animal, in this case the bird. Such a small organism as that of a bird is easily subject to possible parasites and it is necessary to protect oneself from them as soon as possible: among the most widespread parasites are the euphemas that develop a worm infection. It is the overcrowding in a cage especially that will increase the risk of stress by catching parasites. For any control, it is preferable to consult a veterinarian who will do a check-up to evaluate the health conditions of the bird and its possible stress.

. stress related to the habitat :

It is important to know that a small bird needs less space than an adult but that overcrowding can be a source of stress. Birds are very attached to their territory (place in the cage, access to food, access to possible perches, nesting area) and great attention should be paid to the introduction of other individuals in the cage.

. stress and other behaviors :

the bird likes its routine and likes to have the same environment on a daily basis. The bird recognizes other species and humans, so sometimes boredom and loneliness can affect it and put it into a “second state” and stress afterwards. The more we interact with the bird, the more we offer it regular comfort and the more it will gain confidence in itself and in humans, this will also reduce its stress related to captivity. You must learn to have the “right gestures” towards your bird to make it feel confident, such as cleaning its beak for example, scratching its head or the base of its beak, presenting it with a hand with an open palm so that it can present its head: all this interaction will promote its self-confidence and the stress will decrease by itself.

For all these reasons and many others, it is necessary to take care of your bird, to watch its health: in nature, the bird does not visually present symptoms when it is sick because it then takes the risk that a predator will chase it. It reproduces the same thing when it is caged and that is why it is necessary to remain vigilant.

Other more vague symptoms may suggest that the bird is suffering from minimal stress or that it is already sick: anorexia, lethargy, ruffled plumage, difficulty walking, difficulty breathing.

How to limit this stress?

We have just seen the main sources of stress in a bird and how to prevent it, but there may be other ways to limit this stress.

Here are some of them:
. building or at least offering birds a place to take refuge, away from cold, drafts, humidity, etc.
. never leave an empty trough and water bowl: foods rich in lipids, carbohydrates, fat, proteins are welcome.
. limit the duration of transport: the shorter the transport time, the less the risk of developing stress and therefore illness.
. to prevent certain diseases, it is possible to offer the bird sunflower or peanut seeds baked in the oven.

Whatever happens, in case of doubt or proven facts, if the bird is under a certain amount of stress, it could lead to the development of diseases and eventually kill it. It is therefore essential to take the bird to a veterinarian, who will examine it carefully, vaccinate it if necessary, give it a health check-up, and advise it on what medication to prescribe to its bird, be it drops, sprays, or food supplements.