Tag Archives: why

Sudden Finch Death ~ A Surprisingly Common Issue

A puffed/fluffed up juvenile Zebra Finch. This type of body language does not appear to indicate illness or injury. (Click for more info/credit)

We’ve all had that moment when we enter our bird rooms to find a sick Finch. Or even worse, that moment when you’ve been treating a sickie for days but when you go to check on them once more, they’ve taken a sudden turn for the worse or are on the bottom of the cage – already gone. Sudden death is so common that a large percentage of visitors arrive here looking for answers after such an event. This article will provide them with that information in the hopes of steering hobbyists in the right direction for the future.

While it’s a natural reaction for those of us hobbyists who haven’t experienced this (even after years of bird keeping) to be judgemental, the fact of the matter is that it is literally going to happen at least once in your flock if you keep more than just a few pairs. Issues are far less likely to arise if you have 3 pairs, but if you have 8-10 or more, the chances for variables like illness are much greater. Continue reading


Why do my birds keep getting sick with the common cold or other minor infections?

First of all, birds do not have what humans call a “cold”. For birds, it can be a Chlamydial organism, a Mycoplasma organism, or bacterial infection (many types of bacteria can cause respiratory disease).

Wild finches get Chlamydia psittaci which clogs up their sinuses and upper respiratory tract, making it difficult if not impossible to eat. There has also been Mycoplasma infections which do much the same thing.

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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.

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