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Videos of Egg Binding Progression & Treatment~

Egg binding. We all hate those words. They are very often deadly, and always painful for your bird to experience. It’s also pretty scary to see your female Finch sitting there, on the bottom of the cage, eyes shut in pain, dying slowly.

Fortunately thanks to the Dr. Marshall program, we don’t have many cases of egg binding while using the products in combination with each other (Ioford & Dufo Plus). However every rare once in a while it still happens. No matter what you do you need to be ready for it, especially if you’re a breeder. What do you do?

The first step is identifying whether or not your hen is actually egg bound. If she is, she will be fluffed up in pain, seemingly very fat and pregnant, possibly with a wet or swollen (or both) vent area, unable to move, staying on the bottom of the cage. It is possible to catch it very early when your hen begins to slow down her movements and starts seeming a little tired or a little pained. Since all birds hide their symptoms, most often than not you will notice an egg bound hen when she’s hours away from death displaying all symptoms at once and seeming frozen in pain.

Last night, one of my hens started showing severe signs of egg binding. One minute I was in the bird room feeding the babies, watching her and the rest of the flock bounce around their cages. When I came in for their next feeding, she was on the floor of her cage. Her eyes were not yet closed but I could tell something was wrong. She had seemed a bit sluggish before but was that pregnancy or egg binding?

In this video you can see my female BC “Lilac” is showing symptoms of being in severe pain due to egg binding. Step 1 is identifying the symptoms & treating immediately. Shortly after this video she was given a few drops of Calcium Plus through a syringe. (The lights have gone off for the night as it was about 7:30 when this video was taken.)

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New Article ~ Incubators & Hand-feeding

When to Hand-raise & When to Leave Them Be

As the Lafeber’s formula label reads, “Hand-feeding pet birds requires love, patience, and proper nutrition.” The way to successfully raise Finches by hand is to devote as much time as possible to the endeavor to both increasing your survival rate through multiple feedings and to socializing and hand-training your babies. This ensures their health and development as well as their ability to bond well with you and other human beings in the future.

First, I must say it to the point where it’s ingrained in every reader’s mind ~ you should never remove baby Finches or any other baby animal from their parents’ care. Period. It’s not only traumatic for the baby (especially after the imprinting process has begun) but it is just as traumatic for the parents. Pairs who regularly have their babies removed, picked up by human hands, or peeked at will often times stop laying altogether or start to toss/abandon their young. If your goal is to provide your birds with the best care possible, then it is vital to allow them to complete the parenting process as they are naturally inclined to (this includes the weaning process). The only time I will remove eggs or babies is if they have been abandoned or neglected, and that is the only time I would recommend “stepping in” to save the lives of the offspring. That is the responsibility of every breeder. Continue reading

Why won’t my female finch stop laying eggs?

This is a multi-factoral problem. There are cues in the cage, cage furnishings, light cycle, nutrition, and other birds present that keep the hen “in season”. A seed diet may exacerbate this as it is high in fat. Hopefully this bird is on a pelleted diet with greens available.

Does the bird have a natural light cycle (meaning short days in the winter) that we could manipulate back to the short day, long night cycle: i.e. 8 light, 16 dark. Sometimes removing the nest housing and nesting materials helps – some hens though just lay in their food dish. Try for sparsity of toys/no mirror or reflective surfaces may help.

If this doesn’t work, your veterinarian can administer an injection of a synthetic hormone which stops sex hormone production and brings the hen out of lay. This is often the best way to go, and it gives the hen the much needed rest. I take it from the question that there is no male. Two females housed in the same cage may both trigger each other for laying. It is a complex problem.

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

Do I have to clean the feces inside my bird’s cage? If so, how?

Yes its necessary to keep the cage clean and remove feces/urates (white part of the dropping) preferably on a daily basis. Line the bottom of your cage with newspaper or paper towels. These can be rolled up and disposed of daily. Remove the grill in the bottom of your cage if it is present or just put the cage papers on top of it.

Perches can be washed and dried as needed. I use the back of a table knife to scrape droppings off of perches. You can use a dilute vinegar and water solution (1 tablespoon white vinegar to 1 cup water) for a cleaner to wipe down soiled cage bars. Water dish should be cleaned daily. Anywhere there are droppings you need to removed them preferably daily.

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

I just found an abandoned wild baby bird in our yard and gave it to my pet bird to foster. They seem to be doing great. Is this ok?

If the pet bird is feeding the baby wild bird, then leave it be at this time since you are unlikely to reunite the wild bird with its mother. There are some viruses and bacteria that wild birds may carry that could infect your bird.

At this time, I would let things continue since it seems to be working. However, if the baby wild bird becomes much larger than your (I am assuming finch) then it could become too much for your bird to do. Watch your bird closely for signs of fatigue and weight loss.

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

New Article ~ To Breed or Not To Breed?

A LOT of people have asked the same question: Can/Should I breed my Finches? I have always had mixed emotions about answering this question from others myself. My first reaction is to shout an excited yes to everyone that asks and welcome them with open arms into the world of breeding. However, I have seen the damage one person can do when hoarding or neglecting Finches and I have learned to be more cautious of people trying to become breeders or supplement their inbred stock. I usually leave the question of whether or not to breed to be answered by the asker, letting people decide for themselves while trying to educate them on just how much responsibility breeding entails when I can.

aviary_photo8QUALITY Breeders Welcomed
There are far too few quality Finch breeders presently and there is always room to welcome another or for someone to become well-known for their superior care. This is especially true with every year that passes as long-time breeders retire from keeping Finches. Yet it is not a responsibility to be taken lightly as so many find out.

The difference between quality and craigslist is the difference between a healthy decade of companionship or having dead pets within a year (in some cases). Adopters easily recognize this which is why major pet store chains have phased out a lot of their Finch sections and hobbyist owners with decades of experience are still going strong. Often times even the chain pet stores will blindly buy from craigslist breeders and their inbred or sick stock because they are cheaper than quality stock from certified breeders. I hear all of the time how pet store Finches have died suddenly and this only emphasizes the need for more quality breeders.

CL_ss“Every Finch Must Go, To Good Home”
Often times people adopt Finches and become so excited with keeping them that they decide to venture into breeding. They always find out just how difficult it can be soon enough and sadly many will then sell or give away all of their Finches altogether. It’s not always fun and easy! Breeding takes years of commitment, knowledge and lots of space, not to mention money for cages and food that need to be bought in advance. All of which need to be gained well before the first egg hatches.

Any breeder must also be able to hand-raise any (and sometimes all!) of the clutches that your birds will lay around the clock for weeks on end until they are weaned. Babies are sometimes abandoned, pushed out of the nest, etc. all of the time (sometimes without any visible reason) and should never be left to die.

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