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Date Posted:19:02:56 06/29/03 Sun In reply to:
's message, "preventing infection in parrots" on 23:21:18 06/28/03 Sat
>having recently lost a newly aquired parrot to an
>unspecified infection I have the following question
>before purchasing another bird.
>is there anything i can add to a parrots drinking
>water regularly to prevent infections occuring? as i
>beleive prevention is better than cure.
>if there is then what is it and how often should it be
>applied to water?
There are three main things to do to avoid your experience.
Firstly buy from a reputable breeder or shop. Find a reputable breeder by talking to friends, by inspecting their aviaries, and by talking to them. They should be open and honest about their birds, obviously have clean and adequate aviaries, be feeding a good diet, and be knowledgable about the species you are buying. A shop should have similar criteria. Clean of course, able to answer any questions you have, and again giving their birds more than just seed - at the least fresh fruit and vegetables daily. A shop should also give a written health guarantee with their birds, especially pet birds, of at least a week and preferably 2 weeks. A breeder should also be confident enough to give a health guarantee.
The second thing to do is to make sure the transition to a new home is as stress free as possible. Don't bring a young pet bird home and immediately let all the kids fight over who is going to handle it; don't bring it home the same day as a noisy party is going to be held in the house; don't let the dog or cat jump up at the cage.
For an aviary bird let it out early in the day in the aviary so it has all day to get used to the new environment and existing aviary inhabitants. Watch it through the day to make sure it is handling the change OK.
Thirdly, make sure it is getting a good diet, not just some seed but plenty of fresh food, and pellets if possible. Be sure to find out what it was used to eating from the supplier, and make any change to a new diet gradually.
Most birds get sick through stress, and by minimising the stress of moving to a new home as much as possible you will have a far greater chance of avoiding disease.
There is little that can be added to the water as a prophylactic treatment. Antibiotics are definately out since they will encourage resistant strains of bacteria to develop. Adding one of the sulphur based medications (Sulphur Remedy, Sulphadim, Sulpha-D, all the same drug) that pet shops sell may be useful for a few days, but these medications are not especially effective.
I like to add a Vetafarm product, Spark, to the water while a new bird is settling in. It is an electrolyte/glucose powder which will give the bird some extra energy and minerals during the settling in period, since many birds will not eat much for the first day or two.
FInally you didn't say whether it was a pet bird or an aviary bird. In either case it is worthwhile to get an autopsy done on a new bird which dies, especially for an aviary bird. You need to know if it was an infectious disease or just stress, since the first has implications for your other birds, and if it was a pre-existing problem then you have grounds for a refund from the seller. There have been several Small Claims Court cases where the rights of the purchaser have been upheld in situations such as this.