Help for egg-bound cockatiel?
March 11, 2009 9:02 PM   Subscribe

Pet Bird filter: My friend's cockatiel is egg-bound (meaning that the egg is not passing) and she has no local or close access to a bird vet. What to do?

She has tried many things, and is very familiar with birds. Any suggestions for pain relief, helping this pass smoothly, or safely getting more calcium into the bird's system would all be appreciated. If you suggest that a vet needs to be seen (realizing that this is a difficult proposition), can you please explain the importance of this or provide help to make the decision, or provide interim or alternate strategies.

My friend is heart broken, and we live in rural Canada and it's -25 C.
Any advice would be appreciated.

posted by kch to Pets & Animals (10 answers total)
I don't know at all - but there are a lot of really helpful and knowledgeable people on the cockatiels and parrot_lovers livejournal communities - post there and you'll get good advice

I really hope the poor thing gets better. I love birds
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 9:15 PM on March 11, 2009

Some info here. Good luck.
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:19 PM on March 11, 2009

I was going to link the same thing as turgid dahlia. Basically, really the only option is the vet or the bird is very likely to die. Your friend needs to do her best to get to one asap, even if it's very difficult.
posted by Nattie at 10:32 PM on March 11, 2009

If the bird is straining/panting, it's an emergency and needs to go to a vet ASAP. If the bird is merely late on an egg by up to a day, my vet suggested putting mine in a dim, quiet, warm location to help her relax. I did, and she was able to get the egg out a few hours later.
posted by TungstenChef at 11:57 PM on March 11, 2009

I just worked on a book that discussed this problem in chickens. It suggested lubing up your finger and rubbing it up and around the vent. "Carefully massage the abdomen in the direction of the vent to attempt to coax the egg out. As a measure of last resort, you may need to puncture the egg while it is still inside, carefully removing it in small pieces. This carries the risk of injury, and should only be done if nothing else seems to get the egg to move. Clean the vent afterwards with hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle to prevent possible infection."

I don't know if this would work with cockatiels (maybe it's too small to get your finger up there?), but thought I'd throw it out there just in case.
posted by libraryhead at 9:08 AM on March 12, 2009

Having read turgid dahlia's link, the lube idea might work, but don't try to break the egg inside, or likely worse injury will result.
posted by libraryhead at 9:12 AM on March 12, 2009

UPDATE: My friend did take the bird to the vet the next morning.
"She's had an xray and beak swab: there are what look like 2 eggs (though quite soft) and she has an infection of some type (which commonly happens with this), so she was given a needle to stimulate uterine contractions and some antibiotics... It sounds like all that I've been doing, and all the advice people are giving, are right on, so I'm thankful for that (though, I do think that the trip to the city was very traumatic for her, and I thought she was dying the entire drive back, which was very stressful, to say the least). I've been making her kale and rice milk smoothies (laced with calcium powder). No egg yet, which is not good, but she seems perky this morning, which is hopeful. But that egg has got to pass... "

Thanks for all of your advice, support and links!
posted by kch at 10:58 AM on March 13, 2009

Ongoing UPDATE: Contrary to much of what is posted to the web, the bird has not yet passed the egg, nor has she passed away. She is still working on it, is not totally happy, but not suffering either. Dim light, heat and humidity have helped, and she is being followed by a bird vet, who I believe has prescribed antibiotics for an infection. I understand that sometimes it is critical, but apparently this isn't one of those situations.
posted by kch at 7:35 PM on March 19, 2009

posted by Deathalicious at 11:07 AM on April 27, 2009

Apparently, contrary to most net advice, being egg-bound is not always resolved quickly (or badly). Bird is no longer sick, and seems happy even though egg has not passed. She continues to be followed by the vet. So, crisis seems to have been averted. Thanks all for the feedback, as many of the sources provided info which made the bird (and my friend) feel far more comforted.
posted by kch at 10:46 PM on April 30, 2009

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