How to Tell If a Bird Is In Shock? – Discover Facts

If you’ve ever happened across an injured, orphaned, or sick animal, it can be heart-wrenching. Sometimes a bird may escape predators but may be in shock. But the question is how to tell if a bird is in shock?

When a bird is in shock, in most cases it will be unresponsive or will be breathing slowly. Apart from that, it may also appear weak and fluffed up. Under such conditions, the best thing is to leave it alone in a quiet environment if there are no predators around.

However, there are some additional things that you need to know about birds in shock. In this article, I have mentioned some easy ways to know if a bird is in shock or stunned.

If you are interested to learn that then keep on reading

How to tell if a bird is in shock?

How to Tell If a Bird Is In Shock

The following information will guide you through these steps and more into how to tell if a bird is in shock.

General Look of a Bird in Shock

A bird in shock may seem weak and unresponsive. It may also appear cold to the touch, or it could be breathing slowly with its eyes closed (or even half-open).

In such cases, you must keep your distance from the bird to avoid further distress.

You will have to use your common sense to decide whether you can approach the bird or not.

Here are the characteristics you need to look out for:

  • Immobile on the ground
  • Does not escape (fly) when you approach it
  • Feathers are fluffed
  • Wounds with blood
  • Eyes with crust, swollen, bleeding, squint
  • Injured limbs (obviously legs dangling, wings hanging, or even asymmetrical)
  • If the bird does try to fly but struggles or can’t, that is a clear indication that the bird needs help.

How Long Do Birds Stay in Shock?

Well, there’s no specific time for a bird to get out of shock. However, it mainly depends upon the bird’s health conditions, age, and type of injury.

If a bird is in shock due to a minor injury or illness then generally it will recover within an hour or two.

In some cases, the bird might need up to 12 hours for full recovery from shock.

So make sure that you keep an eye on the bird.

How to Tell If a Bird is Unconscious?

an owl looking at you in shock

A bird that is unconscious may also appear like a bird in shock. So you need to be extra careful while determining whether it is unconscious or not.

Here are the things you can watch out for:

Check if the bird’s eyes are open or closed – if closed, rub your fingers on the side of the eyelids. Birds who are unconscious will not react to this action, but conscious birds will blink

Check to see if the bird’s eyes are darting around erratically – frightened birds generally dart their eyes back and forth quickly

See whether the bird shivers or shakes (like having a seizure). You can check this by looking at its eyes, legs, and neck

If yes, then put the bird in a box with soft tissues or paper towels (to provide warmth), cover it with a towel, and rush your bird to the nearest vet.

Do Stunned Birds Breathe?

Birds that are stunned or in shock generally breathe rapidly. However, they don’t breathe as fast as a bird who is panicking. So look closely and see if the chest is moving up and down quickly.

If the bird is breathing slowly then there’s a high chance that it will need help. Under such conditions, the best thing you can do is to take it to a VET near you. However, if that’s not possible then you can put the bird in a box and put it somewhere safe from kids and animals.

Make sure the location you choose for the bird is safe as well as warm. It is because birds need warm places to stay and it will make them feel comfortable. However, make sure to keep the place still bearable and don’t increase the temperature too much.

How Long Do Birds Stay Stunned?

Similar to how long do birds stay in shock, there’s no specific time for a bird to come out of being stunned. It all depends on the health condition and age of the bird.

Generally, an adult bird will take 2 hours at least for full recovery from being stunned whereas a young baby may take 4-6 hours or more because he/she is still learning things that could irritate it further resulting in stun.

So make sure that you keep an eye on your birdie till then! Now let me guide you through these simple steps on how to take care of a bird that is in shock :

Step 1: Check its breathing First

Check the bird’s breathing and if it is fast then put it in a box with soft/warm tissues or paper towels (to provide warmth) and cover it with a towel. If you do not want to pick up the bird, place the box near where you found the bird.

A sparrow is in shock

Step 2: Take it to Veterinary Clinic

Take your bird to a veterinary clinic as soon as possible for further examination and treatment. If there is no vet at hand, make sure that you keep an eye on your bird and be around in case of any emergency. You can also check this article about how to tell if a parrot is sick.

Step 3: Do not offer food or water

It’s natural that one would think of trying to give something to eat or drink to a bird who seems not well. But it is best to not offer any food or water at the moment as the bird’s system may go into shock again which could cause its death.

Step 4: Keep your bird warm

They are warm blooded animals, so it is essential that they are kept in an environment where their body heat can be regulated easily.

You can use a heat lamp to make the bird feel warm. But make sure it doesn’t go too close to the heat lamp. This makes it hard for the bird’s breathing and makes them suffocate.

Step 5: Keep the Bird Safe

If possible, cover the box so that the does not feel threatened by people and other animals. Birds are creatures of habit and anything new to them can be a potential danger.

So if possible cover the box and leave it alone for a few hours. It is important that you do not disturb your bird as much as you can at this point, as it might cause more harm to its system.

However, since every case is different, sometimes even small changes could happen very fast with birds, which means that your poor thing might have recovered from one state but may be into another shock state.

So it is best to take your little feathered friend to a vet immediately after the 2-3 hours are up!

What Causes a Bird to be in Shock?

A bird seems to be in shock

When a bird becomes exhausted or hurt, it may go into shock. There are several causes of shock which include physical injury, infection, parasites, and poisoning.

Birds that have been attacked by predators may receive cuts and scratches that may lead to infection. Some species of birds also carry parasites like ticks and mites.

Final Words

So how to tell if a bird is in shock? There are several things to tell, first of all, the breathing. If the bird’s breathing is very fast, it has probably gone into shock or ongoing stress which can sometimes lead to further problems.

So please do your best on keeping your bird safe and warm until you can get it checked by a vet. They will know what to do next!

Thanks for your time and I hope this information helped you! Feel free to share any thoughts and ideas with us in the comments below. 🙂

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