Ask Lafeber


July 3, 2019

Fluffy cockatiel

We think our tile is a girl. has not talked or sings, just whistling when we get home. I freak myself out watching videos of sick birds and then I am watching like a hawk so to speak. Is it bad that my tiel will sit on the chair and get fluffy and fall asleep? I can’t tell if she is tail bobbing or what. We have found her at the bottom of the cage but it seems like nesting behavior too. When at the bottom of the cage, she sees us and starts to climb up or pace to let her out. I just want to make sure that I am not over reacting to a normal behavior.


Hi Cynthia,

This is all normal behavior, especially if this is still a young bird. A younger bird will spend more time on the cage floor. As long as she is eating and drinking well and is active, she is fine. If she was sick, she would be fluffed up all the time, even when she would normally be active. A sick bird tends to rock back and forth while fluffed and may have issues with balance. Yes, they will try to hide this behavior if they see you watching, but they can’t snap back to being perfectly normal. You would still notice something off about her since you are aware of her normal behavior. She would also likely be cross and not want to be handled. Now this last behavior can also happen when she is molting. But a combination of sitting fluffed up for long periods, not eating normally, a change in droppings and general change in behavior means she is probably sick. If you keep her cage clean and feed her a good diet, she is not likely to get sick.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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