Game Birds Losing Feathers

September 13, 2011 by  
Filed under Features

Winter is setting in, and you absolutely do not know what to do. Your quail and pheasants have lost feathers and you don’t want them to get chilled. What do you do?

A common problem in blue scale quail is fright. Similar to when a lizard drops its tail, it is a clever defense mechanism. When a predator grabs the bird, a bunch of feathers drop out, leaving a live quail and an annoyed predator. When someone picks up the blue scales the same happens. A good way to prevent this from happening is to only handle these birds for check-ups or emergencies. If you have extremely tame quail and this only happens rarely, it is okay to handle them.

Pheasants do not have large problems with picking. When it does happen, it is usually with ring-neck pheasants. These slightly aggressive birds will pick or attack other birds. This behavior is known for starting when they are still chicks and becoming more full-fledged (no pun intended) in juveniles and adults. They will even pick at pheasants of their own species. A good way to keep them from hurting flock members is keeping them separate from other pheasants (and other birds in general). If you have a flock of them, give them plenty of space, as well as something else to pick at, such as shoestrings or jingle balls made for cats or parrots.

If you keep your quail and pheasants with chickens, hang shoestrings from the wire or put toys or something inside to provide entertainment. On rare occasions chickens will severely maim their own species or other birds and have been known to engage in cannibalism. This is known to happen due to extreme boredom.

Mites are a very common problem. Remember to keep coops or cages clean at all times and put out dust baths occasionally for your birds.

Even if your birds do not pick it is a good idea to take them to the avian vet yearly. Make sure your birds stay healthy no matter what.

Mites and Chickens

August 30, 2011 by  
Filed under Features

Most people do not realize chickens can contract mites. However, this is actually a pretty common problem with our outdoor bird friends. It is generally noticed with feathers falling out, itching, and even bald patches, accompanied by nervousness and staring off into space. Later comes nerve damage; a white, scaly crest; and death.

This is hard to treat after your birds get it. If one of your chickens has contracted mites isolate it from the others. Rub Frontline or Advantix for small kittens on the neck, in the ‘wingpits’, a bit by the vent, and just a tiny drop on the back. Do not overdose. Only do this once. Then you can spray commercial, made-for birds’ mite spray on and around the bird for about a week. Quarintine the chicken for about forty days. Spray it every Monday and Friday when quarantined. If mites persist take your bird to avian vet as soon as possible.

Clean the structure of the other birds with lots of disinfectant to prevent them from getting mites. Hang a mite protector on the wire. Spray the other birds with the remainder of the commercial mite remover. Make sure they have plenty of dust to bathe in; this generally removes lice. Clean yourself well too, because if you have indoor parrots you do not want to give the lice to them. Sometimes outdoor birds can spread the mites, while if you race pigeons they may come back with them. Remember, if not treated quickly this ailment can be fatal in rare cases. If you can afford it the best thing to do is take your whole flock to the vet for treatment. It is actually as common for a chicken to get mites as a pigeon despite the belief that pigeons are always infested with the pesky bugs. Due to the fact this must be treated quickly always be on the lookout for mites in your flock. Even if your flock doesn’t have mites, have these items on hand :

2 bottles of commercial mitespray
1 mite protecter that you can hang on chicken wire
1 bag of commercial chicken dust for dust baths
1 carrier so you can transport birds to the vet

As long as you keep the cages/coops clean you should not have problems.

Article contributed by: Eliza Kuklinski.

The views and advice expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Birds.com