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Problems During Extremely Hot Weather

 

Extreme Heat

During the Northern Hemisphere Summer months of 2016 we had numerous posts on our Exhibition Budgerigars Facebook group, and received many emails and messages, asking questions about PROBLEMS WITH BUDGIES DURING EXTREMELY HOT SUMMER MONTHS.

Many have lost birds and others report common illnesses. 

Although the weather here in Missouri during Summer gets quite hot and very humid (heat index often over 120 degress F) I have not experienced these problems so I contacted top breeders in countries around the globe where extreme temperatures are common to get their input and suggestions.

The responses from breeders in Australia, USA, England and South Africa were interesting. These long-term breeders all had similar comments.

Despite extremely high summer temperatures, and in most cases very high humidity, none were losing birds due to the conditions, in fact a common theme was that their birds were in tip-top health and showed no sign of digestive or other illness.

In the words of my learned veterinarian friend Doctor Mohamed Hegab in Egypt “If you are having problems with your birds and want to know the cause, first step is to look in the mirror.”

All our leading breeders offered suggestion on possible causes for the losses and illnesses in many aviaries during hot weather.

Take time to read through the following and check if any apply to you.

Where are your birds?

Inside:

If your birds are kept inside make sure there is good ventilation to provide fresh air and circulation. A fan may be used to keep the air circulating. An exhaust fan is recommended to remove the stale feather-dust laden air from the room.

Outside:

If your birds are kept in outside flights and cages make sure they are in a shaded area. Budgies, or any other birds, stay in the shade in the hottest hours of the day.

Constant direct exposure to direct sunlight subject the birds to maximum heat and will lead to dehydration and possible death.

Your outside flights should have a roof to provide maximum shade for the birds. The roof should be insulated if possible to defuse the amount of heat transferred to the birds below it. Make sure any perches are a good distance beneath the roof so the birds are away from the heat that radiates down from the hot roof.

Rest Your Birds:

Birds should be resting in the flight during the hot summer months. Never breed during this time, or do anything else that may stress the birds.

Mist/Spray Your Birds:

Lightly spray your birds 2-3 times each day. Allow plenty of time for them to dry thoroughly before they go to roost in the evening.

Do Not Administer Antibiotics as a precaution against “Summer Health Problems”:

Overuse of antibiotics, or medicines not prescribed by a veterinarian, are a major cause of illness and disease in many budgerigar studs. Antibiotics may kill off bad gut flora, but they also kill off the good, leaving your birds weak with no natural resistance to fight off illness or disease.

Use Natural Remedies:

Much better to add lemon juice, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, and probiotics to the drinking water on alternate weeks. This will keep the gut flora in balance and help build up natural resistance.

Feed Plain Seed Diets:

Most offered a plain seed diet during hot weather. A good mix of canary grass seed, a variety of millets and a few oats, and perhaps some tonic seed.

Vegetables and Fruit:

Provide fresh vegetables and fruit, but in limited quantities. Offer only enough that can be consumed within a couple of hours. Any remaining after two hours should be removed before it starts to spoil and could cause digestive problems.

Soaked Seed and Moist Softfoods:

Most did not feed these during the hotter months when there is a greater chance of mold growing that could cause health problems for the birds.

Drinking Water:

Clean fresh drinking water should be available at all times.

Change water daily.... and in very hot weather provide cooler water 2-3 times during the day.

Do not use open bowls or dishes for drinking water. Droppings from a bird in drinking water during hot weather and within minutes it will become bacteria soup and infect any other birds that drink from it.

Where possible use tube/bottle waterers for drinking water so birds cannot foul it.

Never place drinking water vessels directly under perches.

Frozen Water Bottles:

A great idea used by Australian Mark Hawke is to freeze bottles of water and place these in the flight. As the water thaws condensation forms on the outside of the bottles and the birds drink it.

In conclusion:

All those participating felt that heat and humidity alone was not the cause of budgies dying or the associated illnesses. More likely the breeders are missing something in their aviary management, or spoiled food, are the cause of the problems.

 

Templates in Time