But, how do you monitor the bird's response to the diet and how the environment is affecting your bird as it grows, matures, becomes hormonally active, and eventually ages where its needs are continually changing?
Answer: The annual health examination.
Birds are "non-domestic" species and therefore instinctively try to mask symptoms when they are ill to avoid signs of weakness to "predators". Nutritional imbalances or deficiencies can take years to manifest themselves to the point an average owner will realize there is a problem. These situations are often quite serious translating to lengthy, more difficult, and expensive treatment protocols. Preventation in all forms of medicine has shown to be more cost effective than treatment of disease conditions.
1. The weight of the bird in grams. Is it correct for the age and species of bird?
2. A thorough physical examination including an examination of the nares, ears, oral cavity and vent area.
3. A Complete Blood Count (CBC).
4. Gram stains or aerobic cultures of the oral cavity and fecal droppings.
5. Discussion of various means of viral protection by available vaccines.
6. Dependent on the bird's age and species, discuss other tests as warranted such as blood serum chemistry panels or radiographs (performed as a baseline in a young adult bird, then as indicated).
7. Discuss behavioral/hormonal changes to expect at each stage of the bird's life.
By keeping in touch with the "inside" of the bird as well as the "outside" of the bird, we can prevent debilitating situations or detect them in their early stage which minimizes treatment protocols and allows your pet bird to live a longer as well as a healthier, painfree life.