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What To Do If Your Cockatoo Gets Attacked- Emergency First Aid

Updated on July 8, 2012
A rescue attacked by dobermans.
A rescue attacked by dobermans.


This is just for the first few moments of you finding your injured bird. You NEED to get your pet to the vet. The steps I am explaining here are just to keep your bird alive and comfortable until you an get it to the vet. Do not think that by using these steps you can fix your bird by yourself. Take it to the vet immediately. I cannot stress this enough.

Finding Your Bird

First off, do not panic. You need a clear head in order to get your pet to safety.

Check to be sure that whatever hurt your pet is not still by it. Scare the malicious animal away and find some cloth to cover your bird. If you can't find a towel, which may be the best choice, take off your shirt and use that. Cover your bird gently and pick it up loosely with its wings held tight against its body. This is so that your bird cannot panic and hurt itself worse, so it will not fly away or bite you, and so that your bird stays calm.

Check Your Pet Over

It is important that you check for serious and obvious injury. As you can see in the picture above, my cockatoo came to my rescue with a cracked open rib cage. You have to try to stop the bleeding immediately so that your bird does not go into shock and die.

If you see any loose flaps of skin or feathers, do not pull them out.

Another thing that is important for you to do is secure the bird's wings. Either keep it wrapped up like an infant in the blanket, or use some gauze wrap.

Call around for an emergency vet, if you do not already have the number on hand. Please remember that your bird is not a cat or dog and some vets do not care for injured birds. Call ahead and make sure. You don't have the precious time to be told to go somewhere else.

En Route

Talk sweetly to your pet. Your bird needs to stay calm and soothed. Your pet probably has an attachment to you and it is crucial that you use this bond to make it trust you when you say that it is going to be alright. You don't want your bird to panic; their systems are not built for so much stress or fear.

Once you get to the office, stay calm. Explain what happened as clearly as you can and let them take care of your bird. It will be helpful to tell them exactly where the wounds that you may have seen are. In the above picture, the vet had to remove all of his chest feathers to assess the wound. He had a smaller wound on his back that the old owners knew about. Because the feathers grew on his back so thickly and because birds do not bleed like mammals do, they almost missed the wound. Share all the information that you can. It may save your pet's life.

Make sure you follow up with any check-ups and medication that may be needed. Be gentle with your bird when you get home. Don't feel that it is back to perfect health and can sit on your shoulder all day. This is not the case.

An Ounce Of Prevention

Please know that your bird is more fragile than it may look. Also note that a lot of dogs were bred for the particular purpose of hunting and killing birds and that cats are prone to do the same. Though your dog or cat has never shown a bit of aggression to your bird, never rule out an attack as an impossibility. Never leave your bird alone with a natural predator.

If your bird is an outdoor bird, make sure that animals cannot get in. Even if your bird's wings are clipped, don't let the cage have an open top. Hawks and curious cats will find their way in easily.

"But I only looked away for a minute" is a phrase I wish I never had to hear again. If your pet is out of its cage, keep an eye on it at all times. If you need to leave the room for a minute, bring your pet with you or put it back safely in its cage.

You should have an emergency number for a vet office that can handle your exotic bird on hand at all times. Keep a number on the fridge, or on your phone. Even in your wallet. Whatever you do, you need to be prepared.

Be prepared and be safe and hopefully you will never need these tips.


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