When your cockatiel starts drinking more water than usual, you might feel anxious about your pet’s health. But how much water is too much? And when should you be really worried? Let’s find out.
Why Is My Cockatiel Drinking So Much Water? If your Cockatiel is drinking more water, it could be due to a variety of reasons such as overheating, exertion, stress, etc. Most of the times, there is no need for you to worry. However, when increased thirst is accompanied by other symptoms that indicate illness, you should immediately consult an avian vet.
Cockatiels, just like other birds, don’t need as much water as mammals since they don’t have sweat glands and don’t perspire like mammals. Small as they are, cockatiels only need about one teaspoonful of water in a day.
If you notice that your bird is drinking more water than usual, be on the lookout for any other symptoms. Remember that birds are naturally good at hiding illness.
So, if you notice any signs of a disease, that means the illness is already at an advanced stage and prompt veterinary intervention is required. In this article, we will look at the different reasons behind increased thirst in cockatiels and discuss worrying symptoms that you can look out for.
Reasons for increased water intake
A cockatiel that looks happy and is chirpy and active might be completely healthy. A few of the reasons why there could be an increase in a healthy cockatiel’s water intake are given below.
- It’s not just humans who need more water during the hot summers. If there is a change in weather due to the onset of summer, or increased humidity, the cockatiel might require more water to keep itself hydrated.
- If birds exert too much, they get thirsty. So, if your pet has been flying around the house too much, it’s completely normal for it to go to the water dish more often. Same goes for when the bird goes through a rigorous training session where it flies from the perch to your hand and back in its cage a lot of times.
- Stress is another factor that can cause increased thirst. A change in its surroundings can be stressful for a cockatiel. Trying to tame the bird by forcefully grabbing at it can also induce stress in it. If you feel your bird is stressed, be patient with it and give it some time to acclimatize itself to its surroundings. Once the bird is more relaxed, its water intake would quickly return back to the normal range.
- Food changes can sometimes lead to birds drinking more water than usual. Again, this increased intake will usually last until they get used to the new food being offered to them.
- If you are feeding food that is high in salt to your pet, that could also trigger increased thirst. Do note that it is best to keep cockatiels away from salty food.
- Cockatiels that are feeding their young ones also tend to drink more water.
- If your cockatiel has been under veterinary treatment recently, that could also explain increased thirst. When you mix the medication with the bird’s water, it drinks less water due to the change in taste and smell. So when the medication course is completed and it again gets access to fresh water, it might be compensating for the decreased intake over the past few days.
- If your cockatiel’s cage is exposed to direct, harsh sunlight, it might tend to drink more water due to the heat. If you think this could be a reason for more water intake, move the cage to a place in the house where the sun isn’t too strong.
- Is your Cockatiel losing a lot of feathers? This could be another reason! Our article will show you why your Cockatiel is losing feathers!
- If you think your cockatiel is drinking more water due to any of the above reasons, you need not to worry. Increased water intake in itself does not indicate any serious health issue. However, when it is accompanied by other signs of illness, it could be a red flag.
When should you be worried?
It is usually true that sick birds drink more water. As a survival instinct in the wild, birds don’t show any signs of sickness until they can help it. Hence, it might be too late once you see visible signs of disease in a bird.
This is why you should proactively look for any accompanying signs of illness if it has suddenly started drinking more water for no apparent reason.
Changes in the bird’s droppings are usually a sign of some serious issue. For example, if along with increased thirst, you notice that the bird’s droppings are too wet or runny, it could be a sign of diarrhea.
In such cases, it’s best to take the cockatiel to an avian vet immediately. You should also have a look at our Cockatiel poop guide here! It will show you what’s wrong with your Cockatiel!
Diarrhea could signal a severe infection in the digestive system and hence treatment should not be delayed.
A cockatiel that drinks an excessive amount of water and also passes more urine than normal could be suffering from avian diabetes.
You need to look at the droppings closely to be able to distinguish between droppings that are runny due to diarrhea and those that just have more urine content.
If the bird does have diabetes, glucose will be present in the urine. A pathological analysis of the urine can help in the accurate diagnosis of the disease.
You should also be worried if your feathered companion is drinking more water and has other worrying symptoms. These symptoms can include wheezing, labored breathing, crust on the beak, or dull feathers.
Also, if the bird is spending a lot of time near the water dish and not perching, it could be a sign of some underlying problem. Is your Cockatiel sitting at the bottom of the cage? We show you what that means in this article!
If a cockatiel is sick and drinking too much water, don’t be under the impression that it is getting enough hydration. A sick bird could be losing water to diarrhea and getting dehydrated even though it is drinking more water. If you believe something isn’t right, it probably isn’t.
As a rule of thumb, if you observe that your pet’s increased water intake is accompanied by behavior that does not look normal to you, it is always a good idea to get it inspected by a vet.
Cockatiels and their water requirement
Cockatiels don’t sweat. However, they do lose water through respiration, excretion, and evaporation, and need to hydrate themselves to make up for the water loss. A bird’s body has about 75% water content.
Usually, it would need to drink water equivalent to about 5% of its body weight in order to maintain the water content. Thus, a pet cockatiel should be provided access to clean water all the time.
If you use a shallow dish or a bowl for giving water, it should be thoroughly cleaned daily and the water should be changed at least twice a day so that the birds don’t drink contaminated water.
Cockatiels drink water by dipping their beaks in the water and then tilting their heads back to swallow it. However, note that pet birds can also get a little of their water requirement fulfilled from eating wet foods such as fresh fruit.
Monitoring water intake after an illness
You don’t really need to obsessively check your bird’s water intake at all times. However, it is always good to monitor your cockatiel’s water intake after an illness.
It can provide an insight into whether the medications provided by the vet are really working and making the bird better.
A bird that is completely cured will go back to its usual, normal water intake. If your bird continues to drink more water, you should probably follow up with the avian vet.
Cockatiels are wonderful companions to have. These extroverted birds are easy to befriend. And they make sure you don’t ever have a dull moment by being chirpy all the time! And it’s fun to watch their antics in the cage.
Along with a good diet, adequate water intake is a major factor in your pet’s overall health and activeness. At the same time, drinking excess water can lead to problems such as kidney ailments.
When you are able to identify any irregular behavior early on, you usually succeed in making sure that the bird gets treatment in time.
A little vigilance and proactivity on your part can ensure that your pet cockatiel has a long and healthy life! Also, if your Cockatiel is NOT drinking water, you should have a look at our article on that here! This is a bigger problem.
Is my cockatiel healthy? A chirpy bird that feeds well is usually healthy. Other signs that indicate good health in a cockatiel are clear eyes, good energy levels to fly, and well-groomed feathers.
Why is my bird eating so much? Cockatiels feed often because they burn calories faster thanks to their high metabolism rates. But, if your cockatiel is sick, it might be eating more to keep itself warm.
Why is my cockatiel so skinny? Cockatiels are picky eaters and might become skinny if they don’t eat well. You might want to experiment with the food you give them until they find something they like. Sick birds can also start losing weight. It’s always better to visit a vet when in doubt.