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Comfort for Dying Old Cockatiel
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Comfort for Dying Old Cockatiel

Petey, my 22 year and 5-month old cockatiel is dying.  It started over two months ago when he go sick.  He looked like the wild birds I've seen with West Nile virus.  Just when we were certain it was the end, Petey rallied but hasn't been the same since.  He's had loose stools off and on and has lost a lot of weight.  I've used moulting and conditioning vitamins as a supplement for several years, but it's not making any difference now obviously.  He does eat his regular seed, but not as much, and has trouble with his old favorite sunflower seeds.  A spray of fresh millet gets the biggest reaction out of him these days.  

He sleeps most of the time, keeps his feathers puffed up like he's cold, and seems to need his wings for balance more often than not.  There's certainly a loss of coordination.   Petey never would use a Happy Hut, so I have a small towel on the bottom of one corner of his cage that he likes to snug with.  Better than nothing.  During the worst of his illness, he wanted nothing to do with us.  In the past few days, he wants nothing more than to sit under my chin and sleep.

I want to do right by my little companion, so any hints you can offer for comfort measures will be greatly appreciated.  Petey was the first companion "child" that my husband I had. Life will be so strange without him, but I'm grateful for all the years we've had with.  He's never had one single health problem in all this time, so it's difficult to see him like this.  All I can think of is to keep him as warm and comfortable as possible until he's gone.  :-(
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PS - Does anyone thing that the stress of going to a vet would do him any good?  It's not out of the question by any means, but right now I don't think a vet would be of much help.  Maybe I'm wrong?
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:-*(   Petey just died at 8:30 am.  When I got up this morning it was obvious that he had only minutes left.  At least he died in the hands of his family.  I can hardly believe he's gone after so many years.  

Nick, our quaker parrot has a cage only 3 feet away from Petey's.  He's very upset and keeps shrieking for his friend.  I wonder how long this will keep up?

You know, I thought I was prepared for this.  Obviously I'm not because I'm blubbering like a child.  It's hard for some people to imagine how a little bird can cause so much grief, but there it is.  Petey had such a great personality and was an integral part of our family from the beginning.  He even traveled with us and actually enjoyed it.  

Petey lived to see 4 dogs become part of his flock and outlived two of them.  When the first one died, he stopped singing all the beautiful songs he once sang.  Petey and Travis grew up together and were actually fast friends.  Petey used to follow Travis around the house, and the minute he sprawled out for a nap, Petey began to clean his whiskers and toe-pad hairs.  It really was cute to see Petey do the cockachicken stroll behind that dog.

Gotta go mop my face and blow my nose....
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Oh, I'm so sorry for your loss! I know how those little cockatiels can capture your heart--I just lost my little 'tiel 11 months ago. Her name was Petie as well...of course, she was a girl though.
But wow, 22½ years is a wonderfully long life! As my Petie was about to pass away, she was only about 12 years old, and I had no idea that she was in the average lifespan for a 'tiel. I rushed her to the vet because I thought she was sick, but the vet said she was just old and these would be her last few minutes, and that in all the years he'd been an avian vet (and he was an older vet), he hadn't seen a 'tiel live over the age of 15.
I was a mess. I was a week or two away from my due date to have my baby, and I was sobbing so much they brought me a box of tissues. He offered to euthanize her for me at no cost to make it faster, which I chose to do as she was struggling so much to breathe. She also passed away in my hands.
Anyway, I'm sorry for your loss. Petey sounded like a lovely and precious little guy! I can't imagine the sadness you feel right now. But please know that you gave him a more than wonderful life for him to have lived so long! I pray you find all the peace and comfort in the many years of memories you have of him.
God bless. ♥
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I am so sorry to hear about your bird.  It's 8 am here and I just got started on the computer. You did the right thing, watching over him and being with him at the last moment. 22 years is a long time to have a little friend in your home. Of course you're going to cry.

If he had been in severe pain (like a compound fracture), I would have recommended tucking him into a comfortable box with towel and transporting him to the vet. Being in a quiet, dark place reduces the stress a lot. I deal with wild birds and that's how we handle them. It really works.

As for Nick, did he get to see Petey up close for a few minutes? That sounds morbid but I raise a couple of orphaned chickadees and they managed to survive having avian pox. But one just never was quite right. He never grew feathers properly and seemed off. One morning I went out to feed them and one chickie was up in the nest box calling. I kept looking for its sibling and the bird kept looking down at the bottom of the cage. Sure enough, sibling was down in the branches and leaves but deceased. That surviving chickadee called and called for a couple days and then gradually recovered to the point I could release him. But I had made sure he got to see his sibling up close. He seemed to look carefully at him but still was upset for a couple days.

Don't take down Petey's cage yet. Let Nick see the empty cage so he might understand Petey is gone for good.

Who knows what birds think but we have to assume they understand more than we realize.

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Oh Jaybay, I'm so sorry you lost Petey.  What a great long healthy life he had.  He sounded very special.  It's true, some people have what I call "just a bird in a cage" and never have a close emotional true relationship with them.  I had my parakeet, Blondie, for 11yrs - she died in 1992.  She was my buddy and so cool and I still miss her after all this time.  My mother couldn't understand my grief until she herself had a trained bird who was a part of the family.  Like Petey, PJ died in my mothers hand after holding him for hrs the day he got ill and I still tear up just typing that and that happened 6yrs ago.

I just wanted you to know I understand.  It may take Nick a few weeks to get over his grief.  Blondie was partnered with my mothers bird of the time (not her trained one) and she sat fluffed up for several weeks and barely moved after seeing him die in front of her.  Give extra love (I know you will) and watch closely depression doesn't get out of control.  

Hugs to you, Jaybay...♥
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Thank you all so much for responding.  It's funny how those little fluff-balls can get under your skin, isn't it?  The living room seems really empty right now.  I never realized how many times in a day I looked at Petey's cage or just mindlessly chattered and whistled with him.  Obviously more than I realized because I keep catching myself doing it.

ireneo - great minds think alike.  After seing Petey so traumatized when Travis left the house for the last time, I made sure that Nick saw him.  I swear he understood.  He suddenly got very quiet and cocked his head and just stared at Petey.  He calmed down after the "viewing".  I don't think it's morbid at all - more along the lines of common sense.  These birds are smart (sometimes too much for their own good!) so I figured I'd give him the benefit of the doubt where death was concerned.  Glad to know I unwittingly did the right thing.  :-)
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I am so sorry for your loss.  I know exactly how you feel. My cockatiel named Buster died unexpectantly on 1/10/11, after having him for 23 years and 1 month. Buster had been around for so long that his death was a complete shock to me. I never really gave much thought about him dying because he has weathered a lot. My home feels so different without him, and I can't seem to stop crying. It really bothers me that I noticed that he was acting a little different like sneezing a little more than usual, and I didn't think too much about it, except for making sure that he was warm. I also saw him with his head down, and tucked to the side, but he has done this before, but this time it seemed that his head was more to the side than usual. It is really bothering me, that maybe I could have done something to prevent him from dying, like taking him to the vet. His death has affected me as if it was a person that died. I really miss him, and I truly understand how you feel.
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awww im so sorry for your loss. i currently have a cockatiel who is about 26 now how she is still alive i do not no. Sarky has a problem with her back as if its been broken in the past (ive only had her for 5-6 years) and about 2 times a day falls of her pearch as if she forgets to stand straight to the bottom with a thud we i have put towels underneath her for when this happens to take the weight of the landing. she plucks her feathers under her wings and has warn away some through roosing. Her beak over grows a lot so every 6 weeks or so we have to trim it for her. she still has a lot of character bullys my other 2 younger tiels and eats for a past time. she is thin although all she does is eat,sleep and squawk and doesnt even attempt to fly any more. and as yours was she is usually seen in the corner puffed up as if she was cold. i think if i take her to the vets the journey itself will be stressful. i worry every time i uncover them in the morning any one know what i can do to help her? shes not in any pain and still bright eyed and responsive
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As birds get older, they experience some of the same changes we do: they're not as strong, they have balance problems, they tend to lose muscle mass. You've made some adjustments for her like padding the bottom of the cage in case she falls. You may want to move her perch a little lower. It's probably getting more difficult for her to reach the perch.

She may get chilled more easily than before so keep her area warm. Watch her diet, provide food she enjoys and will eat.

We have an old Red Tailed Hawk at work (she's 20) and when she was younger, she lived outside in a large cage. But because of her age and arthritis, she now lives inside the building. She has a large platform to walk around on and low perches. All winter we keep a heat lamp on in her area so she can stay warm (it's in one corner so she can also move away from it if she wants). But she still has sass and spunk.

We do what we can for our feathered friends.
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yeh she eats like a horse which is good and will eat anything we give her, their favourite little treat is a nibble of cheese they go crazy for it haha not to often though so much salt in to. we have tried moving her perch down but she always climbs to the top anyway as she likes to be high up, she has no problems with climbing untill her beak gets to big then she gets stuck. still bullys the other 2 bless her, yeh we do what we can for them.
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It's comforting to read these comments tonight. I'm 21 & my 21 year old Cockatiel Charlie is dying :( my dad noticed that Charlie was huddled in the corner of his cage all fluffed up. When I went outside to look at him you could tell right away that my little old guy is very sick and weak. He hardly reacts like he used to, but he was trying to sing as he stayed sat in that same corner. Occasionally he walks around the bottom of the cage and he still struggles his way onto his perch to eat some food. I don't want him to be in pain anymore but it is going to be really sad not hearing him and seeing him every day anymore like I have been used to my whole life.
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I'm so sorry to hear little Charlie is slowing down and nearing the end. He's given you many wonderful times and memories. Spend time with him if you can. He knows you well and will feel safe with you. That's all the comfort he needs right now.
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My cockatiel is about 27 years old we have had him 15 years inherited when my Granny was moved to a nursing home (RIP) now today since noon Pretty Boy has gone into a state of paralysis at the bottom of his cage.  I talk to him and he comes back around and goes back to his perch.  This has happened twice in a 3 hour span.  Once he comes back to normal state he sings to me again.  He is eating and his stool is normal.  His cheeks are still a vibrant color.  We placed a cloth down to prevent him getting caught between the rungs of the grate but he got tangled so now we have paper down for him.  It is breaking my heart to see this.  He has been in our family for so many years and he always sings to me, dances for me, and lets me hold him but he won't do it for my husband. I am afraid to hold him now as he is quite fragile at his age.  I cannot imagine the silence that will fill our home without Pretty Boy.  Is there anything I can do?  I don't know if he is having strokes or what is causing this periodic state which just started.
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I found this site through a google search for how to deal with a dying cockatiel. My guy, Whitney, turned 27 on April 8, Easter Day this year. He has been with me since he was 2 months old. He has been slowly losing his mobility, falling off his perch, and his droppings are watery. An avian vet diagnosed him with advanced liver disease but did not give me the cause for his lameness.

His left foot apparently has no feeling although he is able to move his toes to grab onto the cage bars. I was shocked one day to observe him sitting on his perch with three toes facing forward and one toe facing back. Psittacines have two toes forward and two toes back! I wonder if he had a stroke that has affected his left side?

It was my belief that birds usually die suddenly and unexpectedly because they mask their illnesses. My sister recently lost a cockatiel and lamented that her bird had been "fine" the day before but was dead at the bottom of the cage the following morning. As for Whitney, I did not expect a long, drawn out debilitating illnesses. Whitney is still hanging in there. He's got a lot of spirit but it's so difficult to watch his daily struggles.

My heart goes out to all of you who have experienced the decline and loss of a special feathered friend.
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I think anyone who is in tune with their bird will notice some subtle differences when their bird is sick. It may not be obvious like vomiting or laying on the bottom of the cage but the bird may not be as vocal or not eating as much. We tend to just think they're having a bad day. But then we're surprised when we walk in and find them gone.

In the work I've done, I have seen some birds take days to fail. We keep trying to turn things around with fluids and meds but sometimes it just isn't enough.

As for Whitney, provide lower perches for him if he needs them and pad the bottom a bit in case he falls or needs to sit there at times. The harder surface can cause foot lesions if he spends too much time there. I'm sorry he's not doing well. Did the vet give any suggestions on dietary changes to ease the strain on the liver? Or maybe it's just a matter of time. So sad.
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I appreciate the information and suggestions, ireneo. I use layers of paper towels on the bottom of Whitney's cage now. Would you suggest using a towel or something else?

For Whitney's liver, the vet suggested Roudybush Formula AL ("Avian Liver") pellets, which I have added to his diet. I haven't switched him over completely for fear that he'll lose too much weight if he doesn't eat it. I mix the AL Formula with his Roudybush Maintenance Formula so as to switch him over gradually. I recently bought a digital bird scale with perch to monitor his weight.

His vet prescribed Calorad Supplement and Lactulose Syrup—a drop of each twice daily—to help his liver. Although I have administered medication in the past for short-term conditions, those experiences were stressful for both of us since Whitney doesn't like to be handled (except on his own terms). This time is no different except the duration is indefinite and I cannot look forward to an end date.

When Whitney sees me with the towel, he immediately scrambles to get away, tripping over his feet and extending his wings to make it difficult for me to grab him. After I get a hold of him and administer the drops, I put him back in his cage where he sits for hours looking dazed. Naturally, I feel guilty for putting him through this trauma, especially when he isn't feeling well to begin with.

A friend who had worked in the medical field suggested that I was ending Whitney's life even faster by increasing his heart beat twice daily. I took his advice and stopped the medications. (I hope that was the right decision.) Both medications take a while to build up in the system so I don't know if I would have seen an improvement in Whiteny's condition over time.

I am open to other ideas regarding how to administer medications without the trauma of catching him.
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The continued daily stress of handling is not good for him. And considering he is a companion bird, it's not doing your relationship with him any good. I worked for a short time at an Avian vet's office and the owner was never allowed to hold the bird during procedures, not even for nail clipping. The parrots have great memories and will not appreciate connecting "mom" or "dad" with something uncomfortable or scary.

Is there any way to put the meds on a treat for him and offer the treat? I'm doing that now with my cat who has cancer and poor kidney function. I sneak her meds into a kitty treat. Makes us both happy.

We do use towels at the wildlife care center for the birds but we have to be careful to watch for any loose strands of thread. If a towel has a tiny hole or shaggy edge, we toss it in the trash. I like towels that have no nap to them. Dish drying towels are like that, not terry but plain cotton. I use those for the small birds like juncos and finches, etc.

I use a kitchen digital scale for weighing small animals. It goes as low as 1 gram and that's worked out well, even for baby deer mice that only weight 2 grams when I get them.

Good idea to mix in the new diet gradually.

That's about all I can think of right now. The end of life care is difficult for them and for us.
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Hi two off my birds died yesterday within half hour I lost a red necked Amazon which only had for 7 mths & a canary which I adopted (melody) I had her for 6yrs. My Rock pebbler (Roxi) is fine but I'm worried incase something happens her. The vet did a postmortem & said lungs were purple so obviously wasn't getting enough air, he was convinced could b carbon monoxide poisoning I bought a monitor & alarm hasn't went off, I'm so upset & torn can anyone help? Lynne
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I have a 13 yr old cockatiel and I think we're getting close to the end. He weighs 81 grams. But, he has a hard time maintaining heat and most of the time is not as active. I wish someone could give me some signs to watch for to know when I'm getting close cause it's going to seriously have a devasting affect on me!!!
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It sounds as though his entire system is slowly shutting down. He's underweight by about 30 g and he's having trouble thermoregulating. If his end is near, all you can do is provide comfort. Somehow add some heat nearby so he doesn't feel so chilled. Give him easy to digest food that he likes. He may drink more water or hardly drink at all if his kidneys are failing. Both are signs of kidney failure. He may become too weak to perch so provide a cozy spot for him to snuggle and feel safe. Reduce any stressors near him like noise and sudden movements.

Knowing when the exact moment will come is difficult to predict. The best you can do is make his last days comfortable. This is the hardest part of having a little animal "baby" at home. Our cat has been fighting cancer for the past year and the waiting is so hard.
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We have a cockatiel who is about 10 years old. He has been very healthy and active. My husband accidentally shut his head in a door 2 weeks ago. I thought he would die, I cried and cried. He slept for 3 days, and I mean SLEPT. He woke up and is slowly coming around. However, I don't think he can see out of his left eye. I f you are on his left side, he doesn't really know you are there, unless you say something to him. He is also having trouble seeing in dim light. I notice he has trouble landing on things if the light is dim. Does anyone have experience with birds that are blind in one eye? will he adjust? I was going to take him to the vet, but his vet is about 1 hour away, and he is slowly getting better and I don't want to stress him out. He is such a good boy, and such a personality. Never thought I would get this attached!
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Yes, he will adjust. It's not like a hawk that needs excellent vision to capture food. The injury to the head may have caused some hyphema - blood pooling inside the eye. That may explain why he's having some trouble seeing in dim light. Generally that clears up in time. If there is damage to the retina (detached) then he'll never regain sight in the one eye.

I know the vet is far away but it still wouldn't hurt to have him checked, see what's going on in the eyes and check for any skull fractures.
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I lost my little friend two days ago and my family and I are devastated. If anyone has any advice email me. ***@****
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I lost my little friend two days ago and my family and I are devastated. If anyone has any advice email me. ***@****
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Jenily047 at gmail *******
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I'm so sorry to hear that. I know how much you're hurting. Our cat just lost her year long battle with cancer and died on Friday (my husband's birthday of all things). Pets may take up little space in the home but they take up a huge space in our hearts and lives. When they die, it feels like a big gap in our daily life. Every where you look, a memory pops up. I don't think there's any easy way to get past this. It hurts. I can't even eat a bowl of cereal without thinking of her because she always sat there staring at me, waiting to lick the last bits of milk out of the bowl.  Just enjoy the memories. I know the hurt will ease up in time.
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I lost my 26 year old cockatiel two weeks ago. He was with me more than half my life, I fully understand your devastation. Email me at ***@**** if you want to talk.
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My cockatiel will be 11 this month. She has been super healthy and always dances and chirps when i play my Pinochio snowglobe by her. As of yesterday I noticed she was on the bottom of her cage kind of puffed up and didn't look so good. Right away I made sure there was nothing wrong. She had food and water but changed it anyway. As soon as I did she ate and drank and seemed fine again. Found that was odd though. So late last night went to go check on her again and she was the same way. Took her out and she barely had the strength to stay on my finger. Literally fell off and landed on my bed. I sobbed so hard and knew something was seriously wrong. Played her fav song and no reaction. Layed with her on my chest for a couple hrs just petting her head and "Hat" or so my baby sister called it when i got her. Named her Hatty because of that. The one thing that doesn't make sense is she still even with how weak she is goes to bite my boyfriends finger so that makes her seem like she's OK. I put her back into her cage and was afraid to wake up and find her gone. She's to the point where she falls face down and holds herself up with her beak. Not good. Woke up this morning and she was still here and actually was sitting on her food dish. Thank god. I left to get ready for work and come back to find her on the top perch! Left for work weary of wat may happen while gone. Set her up with a lamp right next to her cage. Came home from work and was on the floor again. But later on was yet again on her top perch. So confused as to wat is going on. She seems almost normal then gets weak again. She did have a couple strokes last yr so might think that's wat happened again? Please give me some advice. She at this moment has a soft shirt on the bottom of her cage and her cage is covered. I don't want to lose her. Been apart of my life for nearly half of it. Just want her healthy again :(
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I'm sorry to read what happened. I saved our lil grey man from outside and he's dying now. We call  him screech. he's all puffy and at the bottom of the cage. I think he's waiting to go now. I'm very upset bout our little man n how he touched our lives. We use to have a girl cockatiel, when I saved him he was not happy , that was until he noticed our ognib. Bird love at first sight. He is such an old man now and knew it was near to him being like this. We don't know his age ofcorse but, the vet said he was ancient , that was 2 years ago now. I love him and I just hope he passes without pain and is reunited with ognib once again. He doesn't respond to us at the moment. The saddest thing is he seemed to be getting better but got back tonight to find him this way. Fluffed up and I suppose waiting. My heart is in pieces over this but like you all say atleast we got to share our lives with a small bird with a big heart that touched us all. We're all lucky in that respect I guess.
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My lil grey man passed away 2:35 in the morning. I won't forget the happyness he did for me and my family. I'm just glad I was with him when he went. I love you screech you were my pride and joy. Thankyou for the memories. X
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This is heart breaking. I'm so sorry your little man is gone. It sounds like you've given him some wonderful years and a little senior love as well. It's so hard to watch your loved one fade away. We recently went through this with our cat who had cancer. We only had her 4 years (she was an older cat) but the memories are priceless. Right now it hurts to remember but it will get easier. Again, so sorry.
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Well my girl seemed to start to get better but then started laying eggs and made a turn for the worse. I was with her for 3 days straight knowing this time it was the end. I sadly had to work on the third day and was miserable working worried sick about her. I had an early shift thankfully and when I got home she was now shaking her head every few mins and tail. It wasn't looking good. I kept her by me for a few hrs and just felt the need to lay with her on my chest. I started to sing "go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep my pretty Hatty..." while I was my hand was on her and before I even finished that lyric I realized I didn't feel her heartbeat anymore, just mine. I started sobbing so hard in disbelief I had lost my baby of 11 yrs. Its been since Sept 29th 2 months ago today and I still miss her like crazy. I don't feel the same since I've lost her. Currently she is buried at my walkway to my home. Perfect place for her since she always greeted me when I came home. I love you hatty and you will always have a place in my heart.
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It may have been a couple months ago but the way you wrote of her final moments brought tears to my eyes. I'm so glad she got to be with you in those final moments, held close to your heart and feeling warm and safe.
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I just read your story about your beloved cockatiel ,and am sorry for your loss I know its been awhile since his passing but if you are like me there always seems to be a void that only your pet could fill, I had to leave home and relocate unable to bring my cockatiel with me and must tell you that I think of him daily and often , my intentions are to go back one day and retrieve him and bring him to my home ,which is a promise I made him ,silly I know but when I saw him last I promised him by saying one day I will return for you .
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I am at this same point.  My Jake has been with me half my life as well,  He is 22 and I got him at 23.  Now I am 45.  He is now huddled, closed eyes, dying and it hurts so much I can't stop crying.  Tomorrow, after work, I have made the decision to euthanize him because I can't bear to see him in this state.
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This is so difficult for you. We went through the whole decision process a few months ago with our cat. Do we or don't we take her in? Just thinking about it made me cry like a baby.

I'm sorry you're facing this. Perhaps he will go to sleep on his own. I can assure you that the euthanasia process is peaceful. A small shot and they just relax. In my job with wildlife I've had to do that many times.

Hang onto the memories.
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Believe me she went the right way. It just felt so right. She knows I loved her. I'm sorry your now going thro this yourself. But once he's at peace you will be too. He'll be in my prayers.
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I lost my little boy SPIKEY this morning,my heart  felt like it was ripped open ,he was my soulmate  and  the love of my life that kept me sane through thick and thin,good and bad times over the past seven years.He was three when I took care of him for a family friend.I knew it was his time for him  to go because he had been ill for weeks but nothing prepared me for this.I feel he died of a broken heart because I left him for five months whilst I selfishly tried to sort out my life.I know the pain won't away.Please offer your comments and suggestions to make me feel different.
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This is always hard. On the one hand he's been sick so you knew his time was coming near. On the other hand, it's never the "right" time to lose him. Even when we knows it's coming, it shocks us and hurts when it happens.

This loss is going to hurt you for awhile. That's normal. And we always question ourselves: what did I miss, what could I have done differently? But the truth of the matter is even if you were there every minute of the day, if he was older or sick, he would have passed away anyway. It wasn't you. The biggest regret you'll have is wishing you'd spent more time with him. But it sounds like you did spend time with him these past 7 years to grow so close to him.

Hold on to those memories. Years from now you'll still think of him and wish he was here but it won't hurt so much.

Life does get in the way. I have many regrets about my Dad and the time I lost with him before he died. But that's another story. All I can do is think about the days and moments we did have together. We could have had more but mostly, he knew I loved him and that's what counts.
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Many thanks for your kind words and I know time is a healer.You see the saddest thing is I am alone now and was was getting Spikey's room ready for him to move into in my new home After having left him for  five months I do feel guilty.I will cherish the beautiful and joyous moments he gave me .I know it's not wise to have him replaced so quickly but I plan to get a new cockatiel in a few weeks,what do you suggest?
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It's a personal choice. If you're ready for a new friend, then do it. After our last cat died from cancer, my husband and I swore we weren't going to get another cat for a few years. Watching her go through surgeries and such her last year was painful. But within a month I caught my husband looking at cats online. LOL After a couple weeks of browsing the shelters online, we now have a lovely new cat at home. Yes, we still miss Pepper but having Charlie around is a hoot. She makes us laugh often.

Take a look at the birds, see if one grabs your heart. Then you'll know it's time.
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Many  thanks for your warm comments and yes I feel I am ready to care for a new bird as I feel it would help my sad lost.I know It won't be a replacement as I will always cherish the fond memories of my little SPIKEY.Any new pet will be allowed to grow independently and in time will develop their own personality.

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Hiya just to let you know I buried little SPIKEY and it was the saddest day of my life. i was anxious at work all day and teary eyed with a heavy heart waiting to burst. but I kept strong for my beloved pet and it was a very dignified to say the least.Before i laid him to rest I showed him around my new home and his new room (or what would have been.)and said a little pray and told him we all loved him  for giving us so much joy in our lives and that  we missed him sorely.I the told him I would be getting another little friend and not to be jealous as this was not a replacement for him as my love for him will be in my heart and mind until eternity.I held my head up high and finally buried him,in peace at last.But when I got home the heavy pain in my heart  finally let rip with floods of tears  pouring out .I am now really trying to remain strong for my SPIKEY as I know he would be hurt too.Rest in PEACE SPIKEY!!
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I'm so sorry. It's hard to say goodbye. Is he buried nearby then or some place you thought would be a beautiful resting place? I'm glad you were able to let the tears flow. Our pets seem to understand our sadness; it's OK. The best thing you can do is remember him. Take care.
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Yes  he was buried nearby . I have come to terms he died of old age and letting him go  naturally would have put a stop to his pain.And I have also stopped blaming myself or looking for excuses.Like humans when we are  old our imune system can be very weak and open to illness and infection.He died in my arms and far lesser pain then if he had been rushed  to the VETS as the stress would have been too much for both of us.Any surgery,medicine or magical tonic, would have prolonged his pain even further and it would have been cruel and selfish.I have come to terms that SPIKEY would want me to move on and be happy.Any so many thanks for your support and happy year!
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Man i know your pain. My cockateil died last niht at 11:30 pm in my arms... It was hard due to i was going in to say goodnight (it was 10:00) and he was breathing hard, also im only 12 so its hard to see that happen. But im happy me and my mom and dad got to say goodbye. He died in my arms.
Ha was only 13
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So your cockatiel was with you all your life. That's difficult to lose something that's been there the whole time. I'm glad you're old enough now to understand that nothing lives forever but emotionally, it's still a big hole in your life and your heart. It's good that you got to be there at the end. He wasn't alone and you got to hold him.
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Hi, I am new to the forum.  My little one, Boy, sleeps most of the time. This has been going on for a year or so.   He sits on his perch near the food dish and uses the dish as a pillow most of the time. I have had him since I was 5. I just turned 37.   When I got him, he was 1.   I don't have any idea what I am going to do when he is gone.
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You didn't mention what type of bird he is but it sounds as if you've done a good job caring for him. He's getting up in age (unless he's a large parrot).

Has he been checked by the vet recently? It would be good to make sure his kidney function is still good. As our little friends get older, they do slow down. All we can do is be vigilant in their health care and spend time with them.

There are no easy answers for how to go on without them. All we have are memories, pictures and time to carry us through.
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So sorry about Petey even tho it's been a few years... I am sitting here crying because my 17 1/2 yr old cockatiel is dying right now, so it seems... got on here to see if there was anything I could do.  I know some animals want to be left alone.If she lives til tomorrow, I will take her to the vet.  I have 2 the same age, and the amazing thing is the one that has always been so unhealthy because of inbreeding perhaps, is still doing ok.  I have 4 cockatiels and a cockatoo.  Her beak had overgrown recently and i had it trimmed back, but it grew some more, so I don't know if she might have a liver disease.  I think the hardest thing is watching them suffer and especially with it be late nite.  Taking her anywhere would be too traumatizing.  She has lost weight down to the lowest I think she's been and not eating tonight.  She was an ok weight 2 days ago.  Anyway, just venting and sorry for anyone else out there who have lost a pet.

Barbie's Mom
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An update:  she lived through the night.  Took her to the vet this morning and she has heart failure and a heart murmur.  He said she may live 1 day or 6 months.... hard to tell but he trimmed her beak up and gave her some medicine to help with the heart and lungs which had some fluid.  She did well riding on her daddy's shoulder to the vets office, who by the way has recently had heart problems and major open heart surgery!
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Well, I'm glad you got some answers but sorry it wasn't good news. The medication, probably a diuretic, will help keep the fluid drained out of her lungs so she can breath easier and be less of a burden on her heart. If it doesn't seem to be helping, be sure to ask the doctor about dosing. Although in a small bird adjusting it would be minimal change.

Heart failure is tricky. It can be managed to a point and extend life. My Dad had CHF, was so bad he was even put on hospice care with less than 6 months to live. With hospice they monitored his medications carefully (he was kind of naughty about taking his meds), kept track of his health each week and he improved. He was eventually taken off of hospice care because he was so stable. Unfortunately he died a year later from cancer. But as I said, with heart failure, you just never know.

Enjoy every moment with her. With the medication she will probably perk up and feel better so her remaining time will be more comfortable.
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Sorry to hear about Petey and everyone else's heartache and losses. One of my cockatiels is 14 and has being having seizures lately.it's heartbreaking  to see him have seizures when he was always such a happy bird. He spent a few days in vet hospital and was sent home a week ago and is currently on antibiotics, vet checked him again the other day and gave more antibiotics.Blood tests were done all was good his cholesterol was just a bit higher then usual. They didn't check his calcium level (I'm not sure why they didn't check this).The vet is not sure what is wrong,said he could  possibly epilepsy or old age. After reading the forum here I think he is still quite young. I'm convinced that he might be suffering a vitamin deficiency because  he loves eating seed more then anything else.He has his good and bad days he is a tough little guy. He is still eating though not as much as usual.I really hope he gets better.I'm trying everything i bought vitamin pellets, cuttle bone, vitamin replacement for his water etc.Any suggestions for what else I could do to help him?The vet said to bring him back if he gets worse.thanks
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All posts brought tears to my eyes. I've lost a bird before and went through terrible mourning.
I currently have a cockatiel that will be 13 this summer. I've had him since he was first weaned. I'm dreading the day I realize he's going downhill.

Until then, I'm enjoying him the best I can.

I'm so sorry to all of you that went through that heart-breaking loss.

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I noticed my cockatiel on the bottom of cage this morning, cant tell you how scared I was!!!!!  Shelby has been with me since he was a baby, he will be 20 on May 5th!!!!!  I offered him a bath, not having that I proceeded to clean his cage.  He needed my help getting up to his perch. :(   He took a drink of water & is now right back in the same spot!  All this in just one night???????  He perked up when I offered him a small piece of cheese.  He ate it but I don't think he has eaten anything else all day!!!  No Aviary vets available today, I must wait till 10 am tomorrow, I hope he makes it through the night. Keeping him as comfortable as I possibly can.
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I'm sorry. I'm glad you're going to take him in as soon as possible. For now keep him hydrated even if that means adding so juicy kind of treat. And keep him warm. When sick it's best to keep animals a bit warm so they don't waste precious energy trying to stay warm on their own. And like us, when sick, they feel a bit chilled and will fluff.

Check his droppings. Try to collect some just before you go to the vet or have a small sealed container and save some tonight. Want to keep them moist if possible. That way the vet can check for parasite eggs and bacteria.

Hope you get some diagnosis tomorrow. Good luck.
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I have three cockatiels - two brothers will be 26 in June, and my Kelly will be 28 in July.  I never expected them to live this long, as years ago the avian vet said that an 11 year old was elderly.  My Kelly had a couple of strokes, is very placid and gentle and loves to be picked up and cuddled.  I can't  believe she is still her after five years when she had the strokes.  I am sure she is blind is one eye, and she is hunched over with her head leaning to one side but she is eating great and moves around slowly in her cage never wanting to come out anymore.  The other two brothers are okay and more mobile but Opus has gone blind and doesn't want to leave his cage.  I will not bring them to a vet because it will kill them from the stress.  Anyone have cockatiels this old?  I know one day I will find them gone in the cage but am grateful for their long life (have given them Harrison's bird food all their lives).  MaryAnn
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I'm so glad to have found this thread, started way back in Dec 2010 by Jaybay. Thank you! While it is heartbreaking to read of the losses of all these treasured old cockatiels starting with Petey, it is also comforting to read the words of support and all of the helpful suggestions on dealing with an aging or dying pet bird.

I too have an elderly cockatiel, just a little older than your boys, marypar. Elzy is 26 and a half and I've had her since she was a baby. I got her from a co-worker who raised birds and she has been a joy to me ever since. She has outlived 3 dogs and 2 cats and 1 other cockatiel (that she hatched and raised) but she is having some difficulty in her old age adjusting to my new, very active dog, I think. My dog and cat play pretty rough and I think it stresses Elzy when they rough-house near her cage. Not sure if that is contributing to her decline but I don't know if there is a solution to that - I don't want to close her off in a room by herself.

She got "sick" a couple of months ago and lost a lot of weight, threw up, wouldn't eat/drink, etc. and I think it was due to a combination of the new dog, unusually cold winter, and a change in seed or a bad batch of seed. I took her to the vet and he gave her fluids, a couple of shots (Vitamins and antibiotic), some meds, and suggested some high calorie, nutritious treats to give her. He could not find any obvious indications of cancer, heart, liver, or kidney problems. I bought new (packaged) seed, not bulk like she had always eaten (along with Exact pellets and people food, mostly carrots, cereal, and cornbread). I bought an infrared heat lamp to put near her cage to keep her warm, and gave her water from a syringe to make sure she was getting enough fluids. She made an immediate turn around and in two months had gained weight (from 64g to 79g, her normal weight being about 85g) and was chirping and eating and acting pretty normal again.

Then, I went out of town for 5 days and when I came back, she had "relapsed", even though the petsitter had told me she was doing fine. Grrr. It didn't look like she had eaten at all, she had lost weight back down to 73g, and she wasn't using her wings at all, not stretching them out for exercise or to preen them.

Now, she doesn't want to eat on her own, although she will chow down on some millet spray with encouragement, but that's all. She's definitely not as mobile as she was since she's not using her wings for balance, so I've put new food and water dishes up where she perches, high in her cage, and took the advice of some of you in this thread and put a soft cushy towel in the bottom in case she falls. I covered it with paper towels so I can still monitor her stool and so she doesn't get stuck in the towel if she does happen to end up down there. So far, she hasn't fallen. I wonder, too, if she isn't having vision problems. Some of you have mentioned your birds going blind and I suspect Elzy is losing her vision as well. She still chirps and whistles and isn't shaky and puffed up like when she was sick. Other than being very thin, she seems to be hanging in there and not suffering at all.

My question would be: is there any kind of bird "formula" that is nutritious and high calorie that I could give her through a syringe to supplement what little bit she is eating on her own? She takes water from the syringe very well and doesn't appear stressed. I don't have to force it on her as she seems to want/like it. If there isn't a formula I could purchase, could I make one using water and some cereal, veggies, & cornbread in a blender, like a smoothie? Just wondering what my options are here as far as getting her to eat and gain weight.

I know her time is limited but I want to make her as comfortable as possible in her remaining days/weeks/months. She is the second oldest cockatiel my vet has seen, the oldest being 31 (wow). My heart goes out to all of you who have lost your birds (and ireneo for losing your cat) and miss them so dearly. When that day comes for Elzy, I will take comfort in knowing I'm not alone in my grieving - thank you.

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Hi ElzysMom
I just saw your post and just wanted you to know you are not alone with your aging tiel.  As you see from my post, my three tiels are very old but still doing surprisingly well.  I hope when their times come, they die  peacefully without suffering.  

I wanted to mention that I purchased from Fosters and Smith Pet Catalogue these large grilled platforms that my birds can walk on but be raised from the bottom of the cage so  they don't fall a long distance if they lose their balance.  I place two or three (they have different sizes) along the inside of the cage and they can walk on a platform and still feel elevated but safe.  

I really don't know about what to feed Elzy to have her gain weight other than hard  boiled eggs or chicken, beans and other people food.  My birds eat people cereal like puffed rice, puffed millet, puffed corn, organic cornflakes, cheerios, rice cakes  all topped with avicakes, harrison bird food powder and twice a week greens flakes.  They love rice and any kind of plain pasta.  My birds never ate birdseed,  only pellets once in a while on their cereal.  They managed to live a long life this way and they never went to a vet - they would die of fear and probably a heart attack.  



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I just found this site and am so grateful to read the stories and be able to connect with others who can relate, advise, and encourage. My cockatiel, Babe, is 21 years old and has osteoarthritis. She is having a hard time walking and keeping her balance. The vet prescribed Metacam for her, but did say it could cause kidney failure. Does anyone have experience or ideas on giving Metacam to cockatiels? Does anyone have suggestions for additional ways I can help my birdie be comfortable and reduce her joint swelling and pain? Thank you so much!
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Regarding my message on June 7 to Elyzsmom, my 28 yr old cockateil who has had some strokes over five years ago, blind in one eye, and loses her balance, I purchased the sun deck platforms from fosters smith and put them in the midde of the cage so she can walk elevated and not fall off her perch.  They are great, in and outside the cage, and very inexpensive.  If the link doesn't work, the website is foster smith and search under bird accessories.  

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=5059+11295+8367&pcatid=8367
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I'm so sorry to hear about Petey. I have owned birds for over 35 yrs.  Birds will hide that they aren't feeling well. so when you start to notice that your bird is not eating and starting to sleep more and their feathers are puffed up and they start having loose droppings they need to see a vet yesterday.. keep him or her warm by putting a heat lamp on top of the cage.  To keep him or her warm on the way to the vet try putting hand warmers on the bottom of the box or carrier then cover with a towel. make sure that the towel does not become hot,  if it does add another towel, it should be warm to the touch. cover the box or carrier with a blanket and go.
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I read every single post.  This is heartbreaking. I too lost my beloved Baby Boy four days ago. He was 27 1/2 and died in my arms. He was injured two weeks ago, or had an attack of some sort and I had been nursing him 24/7 to help. He was improving steadily then took an abrupt downward turn and stopped eating. He was not the kind of bird who would accept handling so I didn't like having to feed him by eyedropper but he was losing weight fast and was always a 'shrimp' even in his youth. As hard as I tried (yes, and cried) he just declined to barely standing on a soft washcloth. Overnight I saw some motion in his dimmed cage and found him on his back, unable to right himself. For the next couple of hours I cupped my hand over his back to keep him upright and warm. I also wanted him to sense my love for him and that he was safe from harm. He played with my religious medal's chain (something he always enjoyed as a sort of pacifier) until he'd tired of it. For the remaining hour of his life I just lovingly stroked my little Boy's crest. I am so heartbroken. I cannot let any thought of him run through my mind without falling apart. He was my constant companion through decades of disability that have pretty much confined me to home. I knew it would be bad when he died but I didn't know it would be this devastating - not that I could have prepare for this anyway.
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Baby Boy was a cockatiel, too - I think I left out that detail in my post a couple of minutes ago.
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Wow. I'm so happy I discovered this forum, and so happy it's stayed active all this time.  Those of us with 'tiels in their twilight years really need a place like this.

My guy is closing in on 25.  He's had an arrhythmia for more than three years, and two weeks ago, he went into respiratory distress after flying 10 feet.  I had to rush to get him some diuretics, and, knock on wood, I now seem to be getting him stable and comfortable.   But it's tough not knowing now whether he's got weeks or months.  And it's hard to have to make those "just in case" plans.

My love to everyone who's loved and lost their birds, and to those of us still caring for them.  
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I found this poem on a cockatiel forum and added the credits.
Maybe it will help someone here as it did me.

"I'll lend you, for a little while, a bird of mine, He said. For you to love while he lives, and mourn when he is dead. It may be six or seven years, or maybe twenty-three, But will you, till I call him back, take care of him for me? He'll bring his charms to gladden you, and shall his stay be brief, You'll have his lovely memories as solace for your grief. I cannot promise he will stay, as all from earth return, But there are lessons taught down there I want this bird to learn.

I've looked the whole world over in my search for teachers true, And from the throngs that crowd life's lanes, I have selected you. Now will you give him all your love - not think this labor vain, Nor hate me when I come to call, to take him back again. I fancied that I heard them say, 'Dear Lord, thy will be done.' For all the joy this bird shall bring, the risk of grief we'll run. We'll shower him with tenderness and love him while we may, And for the happiness we've known, forever grateful stay.

And should the angels call for him much sooner than we planned, We'll brave the bitter grief that comes, and try to understand."

Adaptation of the work of Edgar Guest, newspaperman and poet (1881 - 1959)
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Hello
I can understand. My bird Baby I think has had a stroke and my husband wanted to put her  down. Instead I put her   in a deep container with soft towels and water bottles for warmth.She knows I am trying to help her even though most people would laugh at me. I am getting her to eat and drink a little but she is very disorientated.She was born 6 years ago on 2nd november which is my husbands birthday.I am not sleeping and crying but I think she is suffering and I wonder if I am being selfish. she looks at me with her beautiful eyes as if she wants help. By the way she is a beautiful king parrot.I prayed to god to help her I hope he finds it in his heart to help. I will look after her regardless of other peoples comments I want her to be comfortable until she gets better or dies I know most vets would put her down so she is better off at home.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hello
I can understand. My bird Baby I think has had a stroke and my husband wanted to put her  down. Instead I put her   in a deep container with soft towels and water bottles for warmth.She knows I am trying to help her even though most people would laugh at me. I am getting her to eat and drink a little but she is very disorientated.She was born 6 years ago on 2nd november which is my husbands birthday.I am not sleeping and crying but I think she is suffering and I wonder if I am being selfish. she looks at me with her beautiful eyes as if she wants help. By the way she is a beautiful king parrot.I prayed to god to help her I hope he finds it in his heart to help. I will look after her regardless of other peoples comments I want her to be comfortable until she gets better or dies I know most vets would put her down so she is better off at home.
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I sent you a private message regarding your bird.  I hope you will get him/her to an avian vet asap. 6 years old is young for a King Parrot. Don't just assume it's got an untreatable problem.
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ireneo
Portland, OR