When your cockatiel is on your hand, you might sometimes notice how its feet are warm. If the temperature change was sudden or had no apparent cause, this can be worrying for every owner. The good news is that warm feet are rarely a health concern for cockatiels. But why does my cockatiel have warm feet?
Why Does My Cockatiel Have Warm Feet? Cockatiels have higher body temperatures than humans, so their feet sometimes may be warm to us. Also, cockatiels release excess warmth through the skin since they can not sweat. Therefore, a cockatiel’s feet may often become warm after exercising, but this extra heat is only temporary. But, if your cockatiel’s feet are genuinely warm, it can mean that your cockatiel is sick.
Cockatiels should not have additional symptoms when their warm feet are in a normal, healthy range. However, pay attention if your cockatiel appears lethargic, has trouble balancing, screams constantly, or puffs up its feathers for hours. This indicates that the warm feet are a symptom rather than a natural state.
You will learn to tell the difference by touching your cockatiel’s feet now and then to learn a baseline. Then, if you suspect the temperature has gone up suddenly, you can reach out to your vet.
7 Reasons Why Your Cockatiel Have Warm Feet
Cockatiels naturally have warm feet. This is, in most situations, normal and not cause for concern. So here are the reasons why your cockatiel has warm feet
1. Due to high body temperature
IF you were to touch the bare skin underneath your cockatiel’s feathers, you would notice that its skin is warm. That is because cockatiels have more body heat than humans.
The average adult human has a body temperature of between 97 and 99 degrees, while the cockatiel has an average body temperature of around 107 degrees.
It does not take long for the environment to cool a small object due to its overall surface volume. For cockatiels to keep themselves efficiently warm, their metabolism runs faster. Their body temperature rises as a direct effect of this.
2. Body temperature regulation
It is natural for a cockatiel’s feet to be warmer than the rest of its body because cockatiels use their feet to release the warmth they don’t need.
A cockatiel’s feathers serve as insulators that keep heat in. This allows them to retain the heat generated by their bodies, reducing the amount of effort their thermoregulation system has to make. First, however, there needs to be a way for heat to leave the body, or cockatiels are at risk of overheating.
We sweat to get rid of extra body heat and dogs pant or drool. However, cockatiels don’t produce saliva, and they don’t have sweat glands—instead, cockatiels cooldown by rapidly vibrating with the Thin floor of the mouth and upper throat.
This is known as a gular flutter. However, the amount of energy it would take to vibrate their upper throat constantly is tiring. To limit how much energy they exert, cockatiels use their feet to cool off.
Also, a cockatiel’s feet are uninsulated. As a result, the feet can cool off more quickly than the rest of the body. Cockatiels take advantage of this by increasing the blood circulation in their feet when they are hot. This causes body heat to concentrate, where fresh air can leech away any excessive warmth.
Over-activity could be a harmless reason for your cockatiel’s warm feet. However, since cockatiels are hyperactive birds, they like flying around the cage, climbing on perches, playing with toys, and shredding nearby objects. These activities enhance muscle action, which causes the heart to beat quicker and the body temperature to rise rapidly.
As a result, your cockatiel’s feet will be warmer than usual. It is no different than a human getting sweaty and warm after jogging. You can let your cockatiel cool down after playing.
There is no reason to worry if the cockatiel’s feet return to an average temperature. But, if its feet are still warm for an hour or more, it may be a sign of an underlying condition.
The cockatiel will release extra heat through its legs, but that may not be enough if it’s seriously overheating. For example, cockatiels can overheat in rooms that exceed 90 degrees or above. Also, they can get heatstroke by staying in direct sunlight for long periods without water, shade, or the option of leaving.
A cockatiel’s body will compensate for the high temperatures by directing the extra heat out through its legs. This will make its feet exceptionally warm. If the heat keeps mounting, however, and the internal temperature of the cockatiel keeps rising, then your cockatiel can still experience organ damage.
5. Weight gain and obesity
An obese cockatiel’s body temperature will be higher. That is because the extra fat isolates the inner organs in cockatiels. As a result, its body has to work harder to get its body to function properly around all the excess mass.
Due to the fat, when a cockatiel breathes in cold air, it cannot cool its insides as efficiently. All the heat is expelled almost exclusively through its feet. Therefore, the warmth of a fat cockatiel’s feet doesn’t spell immediate danger. However, it is still wise to take steps to reduce the cockatiel’s weight to avoid future complications.
6. Stressful situations
Warm feet may also be a sign of stress in cockatiels. This might be caused by:
- The presence of a stranger
- A new toy
- An unfamiliar pet
When cockatiel is frightened, their heart rate and body temperature rise. So, in addition to warm feet, a frightened cockatiel will also puff up its wings to try and seem intimidating. This will hopefully scare off the threat and keep the cockatiel safe. But, if that doesn’t work, the cockatiel might scream, go silent, or hide.
Also, if your cockatiel is stressed out, allow it to rest in a cool and quiet place away from disturbances. Other signs of stress are:
- Heavy breathing (panting)
- Feather picking
- A decrease in appetite
Cockatiels usually raise their body temperature in response to an infection. Like most animals’ immune systems, a cockatiel will be trying to burn out the intruding virus, parasite, or bacteria.
The cockatiel’s metabolism will speed up, get a fever, and show other signs of illness as its body tries to get rid of the problem. This process may work very effectively in the short term and can even save your cockatiel’s life against serious infections. However, if it goes on for too long, the fever can harm the cockatiel as much as the infection would.
But, if your cockatiel has a fever from an illness, its body temperature will rise everywhere, not just around its feet. Various diseases may cause warm feet, but the most common in cockatiels is a kidney infection. This infection may also be caused by metabolic disorders or a blockage in the digestive system.
How To Tell If A Cockatiel Feet Is Warm
A healthy cockatiel should be around 104-106 degrees. To a person through, this will always seem oddly warm. Unfortunately, that makes it hard to tell when your cockatiel’s feet are generally warm or dangerously warm.
Of course, there are ways to take a cockatiel’s temperature, but most owners won’t do this regularly. Unfortunately, that makes it easy to overlook a fever as a warning sign about your cockatiel’s health. Of course, you can also take your cockatiel to the vet if you are concerned, but it can feel like a waste of time if it seems only a little too warm.
The best way to tell if your cockatiel’s feet are too hot is by familiarizing yourself with your cockatiel’s feet when it is healthy. Letting its perch on your finger or touching its legs now and then while socializing with it will give you a baseline. You can tell when the cockatiel seems far warmer than usual from this baseline.
For the best results, wait until your cockatiel is relaxed and calm. If it has just finished fluttering, playing, or dancing, its body temperature will be naturally higher than average. Contact your vet immediately if your cockatiel is consistently too warm for hours or notices odd symptoms. Concerning signs include:
What Can You Do If Your Cockatiel’s Feet Are Too Warm?
If your cockatiel’s feet are too warm, please don’t panic. There are benign and worrisome reasons, but they can be fixed if you react quickly and calmly. Depending on the root cause of the warm feet, you should:
- Provide water for your cockatiel. If your cockatiel is overheating or worn out from exercise, water will help to regulate its temperature.
- Give your cockatiel time to calm down. For example, your cockatiel may be stressed or exhausted after a dance session.
- Reduce your room temperature. This could have your cockatiel returning to a normal temperature within 20 minutes.
- Remove all stressors. Move it to a quiet and safe place if your cockatiel is upset, sick, or overstimulated. This will help it calm down, bringing its body temperature down.
- Separate your cockatiel from other members. If you suspect the cockatiel is ill, you should avoid contacting the other cockatiels until the vet intervenes.
- Contact your vet. A professional can help you treat illnesses, heat strokes, or even obesity and recommend how you can keep your cockatiel cool in the future.
- Change your cockatiel’s diet. If it turns out that weight gain is the issue, a vet can recommend a diet to help your cockatiel return to normal.
If your cockatiel has warm feet, it is a healthy, normal cockatiel. But, if the feet get overly warm, you should look for symptoms and make sure your cockatiel is not actually running a fever.