Struggling with feeding my injured cockatiel. Please help I don't want her to starve


New member
Feb 19, 2024
Thor - Male cockatiel age 9
Loki - My guardian angel <3
Two days ago my bird broke her wing and chipped the tip of her beak off. I took her to the vet, the wing got wrapped and they prescribed her meloxicam for the pain and a cream to prevent infection in her broken beak. Physically, she should be fine. The issues are I can barely get her to eat and she's quite lethargic. She's drinking water from the faucet, but no food is of interest to her. I feel bad but I feed her apple baby food by syringe to ensure she's eating at least a little. She sleeps most of the time, but when she's not she is nibbling my fingers, flapping her wings, and trying to walk (she can't really stand and is off-balanced from the wing wrap). I'm at a huge loss for what to do. She is very stubborn and won't accept much help without a fight.

How much of this could be meloxicam side effects? How much of this could be stress-induced? How can I help relieve stress? How much should I let her sleep? I've consulted my vet and they say I just have to do my best and play the waiting game, but it's killing me. Is there any additional advice you can give me or do I truly just have to wait it out?

I'm also afraid to leave her alone to go to my college classes. Will she be okay on her own anywhere from 1-4 hours?

- Very distressed college bird mom

Update: Unfortunately, my lovely girl passed away a few days after I made this post. She had internal damages that we caught too late to be treated. My boy and I are doing alright at the moment. Thank you guys for the advice. I've included a picture because she was so gorgeous that I can't help but share <3


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Staff member
Super Moderator
Aug 29, 2018
Queensland, Australia
Fang ({ab}normal grey cockatiel), Valentino (budgie), Jem (cinnamon cockatiel), Lovejoy(varied lorikeet), Peach (princess parrot)
Welcome to the forums - but I'm so sorry you're dealing with this very stressful situation! Was the vet who treated your baby a specialist avian one? I know they can be a bit hard to find sometimes but I would hope that they'd have scheduled a follow up appointment to check on progress. If she's finding it difficult to eat you could try to get some baby bird rearing formula and feed that instead, it's easy to digest and is a pretty complete nutrition, lots of folks do use it with sick birds to keep them going, and I'd think it might be very useful for you if your girl has injured her beak too.

I am not a vet, and nobody else here is either, but many others might have some more advice to weigh in with for you in terms of how much of the symptoms you're seeing are related to medication etc. In the meantime if it was me I'd be trying to get my hands on some hand-rearing formula to keep her energy levels up. Oh and just in case your vet is not an avian specialist, the link below may help you to find one ...

I wish you and your baby the best of luck!! 🙏


Supporting Member
Parrot of the Month 🏆
Jan 9, 2023
Quaker, 2 budgies
I’m so sorry this happened! It has to be so upsetting. It sounds like you are doing all the right things, although I know how miserable it is to watch our beloved feathered friends suffer. A lot of what’s happening could be a response to the pain and stress of the injury itself. Her chipped beak may make eating painful or it might just feel different than she’s used to. Offer her literally any ( safe!) foods that she might like. Whatever her favorites are: veggies, pasta, seeds, fruit. If she’s drinking water would she be willing to drink/ eat pellets soaked and mashed with water or juice? Rest is definitely important for her right now, so let her sleep a lot. As long as she’s not doing things that might cause her to hurt herself, she should be okay by herself for a little bit. Hang in there; I’m praying your bird feels better soon. ❤️


Well-known member
May 16, 2022
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Charlie (M) - 23 yrs - Peach Front Conure
Redshift (M)-22yrs - normal Cockatiel
Moon (M) - 2 ys - wf pied cockatiel
Chara (F)- 1 yr - wf pied cockatiel
I second the hand rearing formula. It's got a load of protein and carbs that should help your fidlet heal/feel better. Feeding them 2-3 times a day, like in the morning, when you get home and before bed should help.

**Hugs** So sorry you're going through this! Give snuggles to your baby for the rest of us :)


Staff member
Super Moderator
Parrot of the Month 🏆
Nov 22, 2015
Isle of Long, NY
Yellow Shoulder Amazon, Salty
Third vote for feeding baby parrot formula. Much better than a single fruit or other stuff. It has all the nutrients she needs to stay alive and recover.

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