Ask Lafeber


November 19, 2018

What happened

My bird sitter kept my two green cheek conures for two time periods this summer, both about 10 days. They have always liked her. At the end of the second vacation (the day they were to be returned she called and told me that one of them was dead. They had been together their whole 4 years. A necroscopy showed the dead bird had stopped eating but the vet could not say why he stopped eating. His lungs were fine. I am concerned that these 2 vacations, which were close together just upset/depressed the bird that died.
Feel very guilty. Other bird has never shown any sign of grief. What do you think happened? Not sure we should get a second bird. Thank you so much.


Hi Pamela,

I am so sorry to hear about your loss. If the vet did not send off any tissue samples to a lab, there is no way to know exactly what happened. In most cases when a bird stops eating it is due to illness – bacterial infections are the most common. It’s possible the one bird was scared at the other home and didn’t eat for this reason, although this is not as likely since he had done fine there before. Sometimes when you have two birds together, they can behave like a mated pair even if  they are both the same sex. One bird will be more dominant. Possibly the one bird prevented the other one from getting to the food because of jealousy. Again, just a guess. I don’t think it is very likely the bird stopped eating because of being boarded because he was OK the other times. I feel like the most likely scenario was illness, which could have been detected through lab testing.

Again, sorry about your loss,


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