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Keeping Your Birds Healthy

The health of your birds is critical to your success as a breeder and ultimately as an exhibitor.

Your budgies must be healthy to reach tip-top breeding condition and produce to their full potential in the breeding cage, and also on the show bench.

I am always amazed when I visit aviaries and observe fluffed up birds sitting listless in the flight or breeding cage. These birds are obviously not well and the owner usually seems oblivious to the problem.

The challenge with budgies is that they conceal the onset of illnesses and often do not show visual signs until the illness or infection is well advanced.. and the bird's immunity is dangerously low.

In my experience birds that have had a major illness rarely bounce back to full strength. You may keep them alive, but they are never the same. In nature these birds would succumb to the disease or fall prey to preditors.

What can you do to keep your birds healthy?

- A good feeding program is essential.. with a variety of seeds, vegetables, fruit, minerals, suppliments and good clean water.

- Spend time with your birds... not just a few minutes feeding, watering, checking nests, and cleaning.... but quality time where you sit quietly and observe your birds, so you get to know them. Slight changes in behaviour or vigor may be the first sign of an illness.

- Isolate ill birds. Put them in a separate cage... apply warmth when appropriate... and supply plain seed and water. Often they will bounce back in a day or two when separated and not require any treatment.... If you leave them in the flight they may pass on infections to your other birds.

- Quarantine All New Birds - no matter who they came from for at least 30 days. This minimizes stress as the new birds adjust to the new environment, new feeding regime, and also the bacterial flora that exists in your aviary.

- Use "Natural Remedies" like plants and herbs with medicinal properties rather than medicines that have been formulated in a laboratory whenever possible. Over medication of budgerigars results in reducing both bad and desireable bacteria in the gut and lowers their natural ability to build immunity and resist infection and disease.

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