Author Archives for tauridvm

Why do my hatchlings keep dying before they have a chance to grow up?

There are a lot of reasons for this but most commonly nutrition of the hen and what the chicks are being fed may not be adequate for growth.

If these are parent-hatched and reared chicks it is critical that the diet of the chicks is something more than plain poor quality seed. Infection of the egg can also be a cause of chicks failing to grow or live. Continue reading

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What does it mean if my Finch is puffed up?

This means the bird is cold and is likely ill unless your house is below 65-68 degrees Fahrenheit or has just recently been over air conditioned.

Birds do not shiver if they’re cold, they instead fluff up their feathers to keep body heat trapped in air layers between the feathers. Think down comforter or jackets for yourself and what great insulators fluffed feathers are even for us mammals.  Continue reading

Why is my bird so sleepy during his molt?

Growing new feathers takes a lot of energy, protein and calcium. During this time, the bird’s heat regulation may also be affected as the new feathers come in – they are covered in a sheath that the bird has to remove for the feather to fluff and provide insulation.

Energy to grow the feathers detracts from energy for other activities. During molt, be sure that food and water is offered where the bird is spending the most time so that he does not have to expend a lot of energy to get the food/water. Continue reading

I found an injured wild bird outside, how can I take care of it?

Place it in a paper towel lined small box with air holes, and call your local wildlife center. They will be able to direct you further. Do not handle the bird other than the initial lifting and placement.

Additional response from Liz @ the Sarvey Wildlife Center in Arlington, Wa.:

After you have covered the bird, picked it up and placed it in a small box with air holes lined with paper towels, place it in a warm and quiet room. As soon as you are able to, bring the bird to us at Sarvey Wildlife (or your local wildlife center). If it is a long trip to do so, try giving the bird some Pedialyte with a little water to sustain them.  Continue reading

What do I do if my Gouldian Finch is fluffed up and not moving very much in her cage? She laid one egg yesterday.

It sounds like she may be eggbound, and in that case needs to be seen by an avian veterinarian.

Prior to getting her to the doctor, apply heating to the cage – can be a heating pad leaned up against the outside of the cage, draped with a towel to warm her.

(For additional tricks to help a hen through egg binding, read this post.)

Answered by Cathy Johnson-Delaney, DVM, Dipl. ABVP-Avian Practice, Dipl. ABVP-Exotic Companion Mammals. 

Do you know why my bird would drop dead after no signs of being sick?

Birds hide their symptoms so in actuality there may have been some underlying illness.

Birds also have heart attacks and stroke – they have a lot of heart disease, and that may be what happened.

Without a necropsy (autopsy) there is no way to know what caused the death. Continue reading

I cut my bird’s nails too short and they bled quite a bit but it’s stopped now. Should I take them to the Emergency Vet?

If the bird is sitting fluffed from the blood loss, and is painful (toes), first thing to do is get some heat to the caging. This can be done using a heating pad up against the outside of the cage near where the bird is sitting. Drape the cage with a towel to help keep the bird warm.

Any Emergency Veterinarian service needs to be one that has experience with birds. Most do not. You would have to call. If during office hours, your regular avian veterinarian should be consulted. Continue reading

My finch injured its leg and now it looks broken. What should I do?

Depending on where it is broken will determine if splinting will work. You need to take your bird to an avian veterinarian to determine the fracture site and splint or internally fix (femur) the fracture.

(Read more about how to create a temporary splint for your pet bird’s broken leg here using a popsicle stick, cotton swab, cardboard strip and gauze.) Continue reading

How often should I clean the bottom of my bird’s cage? What should I use to line it?

Change the cage papers daily. You can use newspaper, paper towels, brown paper from paper bags, newsprint or even wax paper.

By doing daily changes, you can evaluate the droppings both in quantity and quality. They should be the same every day. If not, your bird may be having a medical problem and should be checked by your avian veterinarian. Continue reading

My bird started sleeping during the day and his breathing is labored. His droppings are yellow and watery. He also has crust around his eyes. Can you help?

Get him to an avian veterinarian immediately. He is very ill. He may have a bacterial or Chlamydial infection, which is affecting his respiratory system. The droppings sound like severe stress droppings or those seen with a gastrointestinal or kidney infection. First aid is to supply heat to his environment (have an area of the cage up 80-85 degrees F) known as a hot zone. Then get him to your avian veterinarian. Continue reading

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