Gouldian Finch Quarantine Protocol

I have so many questions about quarantine practices, I decided to make a post to refer you to. Quarantine is necessary at 2  times: when a bird is ill/injured or suspected to be ill, and when a new one comes into your aviary.

Bringing a new bird into the aviary is what we are going to discuss today. Whether you have 2 or 200 Gouldian finches, it’s simply not worth it to expose them to illness. You could end up losing the entire aviary! So when bringing one in it is necessary to quarantine.

Quarantine to Prevent Illness in the Flock

In a perfect world, we would put the bird on a different air system than our current birds. However, that’s often impossible for various reasons. I keep my Gouldians in a bird room in my home (no more guest room! :D). I do live in Florida, so at some times of the year I could house new finches outdoors in the pool’s screen cage. I have a nifty countertop there that’s about 8 feet long and sheltered on 3 sides and is under roof. So if the temperatures are between 60-80, which truthfully only happens in March and maybe April, they can stay there. Otherwise it is too hot or too cold.

So usually mine are quarantined in a separate room of the house. I have never had problems with this. One must understand that there are risks involved – illness could potentially spread inside the home. But hand washing and using clean dishes goes a long way. So does keeping food bins separate to avoid cross-contamination.

In other words, don’t feel guilty if you must quarantine within the same air system. Just be smart about it.

That’s the why and the initial how of the matter, but there is one more issue:

WHAT are we trying to accomplish by quarantining the bird?

We’re trying to prevent bringing disease into our flock, and we are also trying to eradicate any disease or parasites the new bird(s) may have. To that end, I’ve developed a quarantine protocol that is 60 days long. 90 days would be even better. My quarantine procedure will remove external and internal parasites and give the owner plenty of time to observe the bird(s) and get them to the vet if needed.  Continue reading Gouldian Finch Quarantine Protocol

Finchly’s Quarantine Protocol

Here is my quarantine protocol for Lady Gouldian finches. It may be different from yours; it’s simply the one I’ve come up with that suits my aviary best.

If you haven’t read page one you can go here to view it.

For quarantine you will need these items. They are linked for your convenience; some are affiliate links and I will receive some pennies from  your purchase, which goes to my local bird rescue center:

Medpet 4-in-1 OR Baycox

Avian Insect Liquidator, I’ll refer to that as AIL

Ronex 12% – if you have it already in 6% form just double up

SCATT

Hopefully you’ve read this and purchased the medications before acquiring your birds!

The Quarantine Procedure

You will notice that there are no medications given on days 1 and 2. That’s because you want to let your finches settle in before applying potentially harsh chemicals. So spend those 2 days letting them become familiar with the new environment. Covering the cage on 3 sides can help, if it’s a busy room or busy household.

Also observe carefully. Do you see signs of illness? Runny eyes? Wet shoulders? Wet vent? All of these are concerns, and reasons you may need a visit with your veterinarian.

Assuming there are no problems, proceed from Day 3 as follows. In another post I’ll discuss what each treatment does and how often in should be repeated.

Day 3 Scatt on back of neck
Day 7 Begin 1-week Ronex in water
Day 14 End Ronex
Day 18, 19 Treat with Baycox or Medpet 4in1
Day 22 Scatt on back of neck
Day 22,23 Administer worm-away in water
Day 25,26 Treat with Baycox or Medpet 4in1
Day 29,30 Administer worm-away in water
Days 32,33/39,40/46,47/53,54

Day 46

Treat with Baycox or Medpet 4in1

Spray all with AIL

Day before moving to new quarters Dip in Avian Insect Liquidator bath

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quarantine – why it’s important

How to do it

What’s it for?

When you purchase a new finch (or any bird for that matter) you may be tempted to place it directly into the cage or aviary with your other finches. However, that’s rather dangerous; the new bird could have mites, parasites, or disease, just to name a few. Even if it didn’t arrive ill, it can become ill from the stress of moving. If that occurs, all the finches you already own may be susceptible. That’s why we quarantine.

Quarantine should last a minimum of 30 days; many people tell me they quarantine as long as 90 days. The average, you may have guessed, is 60 days. That’s plenty of time to observe the bird, watching for illness and signs of parasites, and treat him/her. Even if you are in a hurry to breed the bird, quarantine will save you time in the long run. Here’s why.

Suppose you’ve just purchased a red-headed male Gouldian finch and you’re eager to breed him with your hen, who is already showing a black beak. You put him in the cage, and in less than 2 weeks you have a full nest of eggs. The babies hatch, and by the end of the third day they seem weak. You observe your parent birds and they seem fine but they’re scratching a lot. A visit to the vet reveals that they have mites, most likely brought in by the new male. Now your entire cage (or your flock) has been subjected to mites. You buy a new bottle of Avian Insect Liquidator concentrate ($17+) or Scalex http://amzn.to/2EXSuyE $8.25 on Amazon and treat them. You have to treat again in two weeks to kill off the breeding cycle of the mites.

In the meantime you lose the 5 hatchlings – easy to do with mite infestations. Now you’ve lost a couple months and you’re out the cost of the meds, plus you’ve spent a lot of time and energy cleaning and spraying for mites. Quarantine would have been a better option.

Here’s my quarantine procedure.

When a finch first arrives, I put it in a cage away from the others and do nothing for two days. I’m observing, letting it settle in, making sure it eats and drinks.

On the third day, I place a drop of Scatt on the back of the neck. It’s important to part the feathers and get this product onto the skin (much like we did dogs with flea treatment, if you’ve ever done that). SCATT goes into the bloodstream and kills off airsac mites. It remains active for up to 21 days. The air sac mite’s life cycle is 14-21 days, so I’ll retreat on the 22nd day. That way I can eradicate any that escaped the first treatment.

Notes:

SCATT also will treat Scaly mites (scaley face mites).

Birds affected with these mites may also have a secondary lung infection.

SCATT is a strong/harsh medication and is  not the best choice for old, very young, or injured/stressed birds. S76 is an alternative.