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

Pet Bird Beak Health and Trimming

February 8, 2011 by  
Filed under Features

The practice of beak trimming is somewhat controversial, and in making up your mind as to whether or not to trim your bird’s beak, it may be helpful to look at why a bird’s beak may need to be trimmed. The beak of a bird is made up of the jaw bone, which is covered by a sheath of keratin known as rhamphotheca. Keratin is the substance that our fingernails are made up of, and just as our fingernails continue to grow, a bird’s beak continues to grow throughout its lifetime. In the wild, this growth is worn down through the bird foraging for food, eating a hard diet, using its beak to climb, grooming activities and rubbing its beak on abrasive surfaces.

To ensure a healthy beak, provide your pet bird with a range of toys to chew, preferably something with different textures, such as a rope with pieces of wood, mineral blocks, pieces of leather and tough fabric attached to it. Most pet stores have these types of toys for sale, or you could make your own. Providing a cuttlefish is always a good idea. While some may advocate the use of sandpaper perch covers, others are against them as they may be too rough for the bird’s feet and cause problems. Rather see if you can find a cement perch, which is made specifically to ensure beak and nail health. Be sure to house your bird in a sturdy cage appropriate to its size, as biting through flimsy bars of a cage can cause damage to your bird’s beak. However, despite taking all these measures, at times a bird may develop problems with its beak overgrowing, and when this happens, it is imperative to go to an avian vet for an assessment and treatment, as there are some medical problems which can cause beak overgrowth.

Bearing in mind that the beak is used for climbing and playing, as well as for eating and obtaining nutrients for overall health, if a bird is developing beak problems, the quicker it is dealt with, the better. It is a good idea to check your bird’s beak on a daily basis, taking note of any cracks, discoloration, flaking or overgrowth. If your bird’s beak appears to be growing unevenly it could be an indication of an imbalance of nutrients in its diet, or even an underlying problem such as a liver disease. Even if the overgrowth has no medical cause, trimming a bird’s beak is best left to an expert to ensure a minimum of discomfort to your bird.

Should you be concerned about any aspect of your pet bird’s health, including beak overgrowth and abnormalities, nothing can substitute for the care and advice provided by a qualified avian veterinarian.

Injured Birds

February 9, 2009 by  
Filed under

What can be done for an injured bird – whether domestic or wild?

Should your pet bird be injured it is vital to get it to a Veterinarian as soon as possible. In the interim it may be necessary to practice first-aid on your bird. The following are suggestions for dealing with various injuries, but remember even if first-aid is administered the bird must be taken to a Veterinarian.

In the case of bleeding, the source of the bleeding must be determined. Styptic powder, corn flour or baking soda can be used to stop the bleeding. A mixture of alum and cold water can also be applied. Place a gauze pad over the wound and apply firm pressure. If the bird has injured its leg or foot use antibiotic ointment and loosely bandage.

For broken wing bones, cut the toe out of a sock and place the injured bird inside with its head through the hole. Ensure the bird can breathe comfortably and there are holes for its feet.

When a bird is injured by a cat the greatest concern is that of infection. Clean the wounds with hydrogen peroxide. The injured bird will require an ampicillin shot.

If the injured bird is in shock (not moving, breathing is shallow and quick, eyes slightly closed) place it in a warm environment with low light.

If you find an injured wild bird it is better not to treat it as this is illegal in some countries. The best thing to do is to contact your nearest rehabilitation centre. If a bird has collided with a window it is likely just stunned. Cover it with a box with holes for a while and then remove, it will more than likely recover and fly off.

Do not handle a wild bird too much as this will add to the trauma of the situation. It is best not to handle an injured bird of prey as they are likely to hurt you, rather promptly contact the authorities trained to handle them correctly. The best way to capture a wild bird is to throw a towel or light blanket over it. Carefully pick it up making sure its wings are lying against its body (remember, this method cannot be used on an injured bird of prey). Other methods of capture, such as grabbing the beak and holding the injured bird under the arm, are not recommended unless you have been trained to do so.

It is advisable to keep the number of your Veterinarian and a local rehabilitation centre on hand in case a situation with an injured bird arises.

Internal Parasites – Prevention is Better than Cure

September 15, 2008 by  
Filed under Features

Pet birds that were healthy when bought from a reputable breeder and are kept caged or indoors, are likely to remain healthy if provided with an appropriate diet and suitable housing that is cleaned regularly. It is a good idea though, for bird owners to be aware of various ailments that birds are susceptible to, as the earlier a problem is spotted, the more successfully it can be dealt with. As is the case with mammals and reptiles, birds can be adversely affected by parasites, both internal and external. While the adverse effects of external parasites may be visibly evident, internal parasites can do quite a bit of harm before it becomes apparent that the bird is unwell.

Read more

Emergency Bird Care: Burns and Scalds

August 27, 2008 by  
Filed under Features

It’s not every day that one hears about birds getting burn injuries and we may be at a loss to imagine how it might happen. The fact is that when things such as this happen, they usually happen pretty fast and immediate action is necessary to prevent serious injuries or death. With that in mind, it is definitely worthwhile learning a bit about the treatment of burns on birds.

Read more

Bird Owner’s Guide to Avian Tumors

August 26, 2008 by  
Filed under Features

Most bird lovers do not know much about avian tumors so the presence of a lump or bump beneath your bird’s skin might get you into a panic. However, just because there is an abnormality, the problem is not necessary a tumor. There are a range of things which can cause bumps beneath your bird’s skin.

Read more

The Benefits of Sunlight for your Bird

July 28, 2008 by  
Filed under Features

Sufficient exposure to natural sunlight and sufficient sleep in a dark environment, are both vital to the physical and emotional health of your pet bird. If other more obvious causes have been ruled out by an avian veterinarian, an ill-tempered or sickly bird may very well be suffering from a lack of sunlight and/or a lack of sleep.

Read more

CPR Saves Bird Lives

July 22, 2008 by  
Filed under Features

Understanding the principles of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), and being able to put these effectively into practice, could result in saving a life. CPR is used extensively for humans, and has a good success rate on domestic animals such as cats and dogs, but few bird owners are aware that CPR can be performed on their pet birds with very positive results.

Read more

Avian Haven Saves Lives

July 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Features

Avian Haven, situated in Freedom, Maine, is a wild bird rehabilitation center has cared for more than twenty thousand birds during the twenty years since it was founded by Diane Winn and Marc Payne. These compassionate bird-lovers care for injured or orphaned birds of all species, which are generally brought to them by members of the public, veterinarians, Maine wildlife biologists, game wardens and animal control officers, as well as other rehabilitation centers.

Read more

The Art of Hand Rearing Baby Birds

March 24, 2008 by  
Filed under Features

For many bird owners, hand rearing a baby bird is a rewarding and very time consuming undertaking. It takes patience, dedication and discipline, but owners will reap the rewards of hand rearing as the baby birds form a close bond and loving relationship with their owners. In breeding programs, birds are often taken from their parents to encourage increased production, or in some instances the chicks are orphaned by their parents and need human assistance to ensure their survival.

Read more

Next Page »