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A Preventative Program For A Healthier Stud

by Terry A. Tuxford  

At a recent presentation I expressed the view that, unfortunately in my experiences, when one of our Budgerigars are noticeably unwell, then the chances of the bird showing a 100% recovery and being useful in a future breeding program is somewhat less than 50%. Sad though this is, it is undoubtedly true and you can bet that the sick bird that you have noticed is one of the better examples that you own.

There are two reasons why most sick birds are lost. Firstly, when a bird looks ill, it really is ill and very often the approaching symptoms are undetectable. Secondly, diagnosis of the problem from which our bird is suffering is based on guesswork (experience that could be wrong) and hence the treatment is based on opinion also. In addition, many of the medicines that we provide are water soluble and sick birds don't tend to drink. Few fanciers inject medicine directly into the crop where it will do the most good.

Prevention is the key to health management in any aviary. The routine of the health program should take place twice per year and the areas covered should be:

  1. Trichomoniasis
  2. Fungal Disease
  3. Internal Parasites
  4. External Parasites

It should be noted that on no account should antibiotics be fed on a routine basis. All this will do is kill the friendly bacteria that are in the flora of our bird's gut and leave them potentially open to infection that can now invade. Also, the routine administering of antibiotics may result in creating harmful organisms that are immune to the antibiotic.

Finally, it should be remembered that medication of any kind is liable to upset the delicate balance of the natural bacterial flora within the bird's gut. To counteract this, the provision of a soluble probiotic for our birds would be a sensible action to take.

Many fanciers believe that treatment of sick birds is futile and consider them as a potential risk to the entire flock and so the bird is immediately dispatched to the "great aviary in the sky". Others attempt treatment, only to be frustrated by the fact that the bird dies anyway. Whatever your views or practices are regarding your actions in association with illness in the aviary, the introduction of a preventative program would seem to me to be a sensible addition to our management system.


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