My Hen is Egg Bound! Now What?

Hen feeding baby finch

My Hen is Egg Bound! Now What?

I just typed this out for the billionth time on a forum, so I thought I’d just put it here. The bird in question was a canary, but canaries egg bound and finches can be treated exactly the same way. Here you go.

Pair of Canaries
Pair of Canaries

You’ve just found an egg bound hen. In other words, you found her sitting on the cage floor, maybe with her wings spread, or some other position that makes you know something is wrong. Let’s go ahead and assume it’s an egg. You might see the shape of one on her belly but you may not see it. Probe gently and maybe you can feel it. (I can’t feel them; other people can)

You need to work as fast as possible. Canaries and finches don’t live long remaining egg bound. Bigger birds can, but canaries and finches can die in a few hours.

Note: Vet is always best.

But here’s what to do if it’s late or Sunday or something.

Put her into a small cage (hospital cage, you do have one right? Everyone needs to have one). She needs 2 things: heat and humidity ASAP. Sometimes I take the hospital cage into the smallest bathroom and run hot water in the shower until it’s nice and steamy, leaving her in there at least an hour.

Let her have food and water as normal, except put some electrolytes into the water. I like to use Guardian Angel, (not affiliate link) it has vitamins to help them. You can also use Thrive, below. (affiliate link)

You can beak dose calcium. If you don’t have powdered that is made to mix into the water, go to Tractor Supply and get the calcium gluconate for cows. It will look like this:

You have to draw it up with a needle/syringe. Be sure to dilute it in water., so you draw it up with a needle, squirt into a tiny bowl of water, then draw that up into a different syringe (one without a needle) or a pipette.

She probably won’t open her beak for you but if you dribble a TINY bit on the side slowly, you will see her swallowing it down. Dose her every hour. Slowly, slowly. You don’t want her to aspirate.

There are many who will tell you to expel the egg. DO NOT DO THIS. It will kill your hen, it is painful for her and completely unnecessary.

And maybe stupid.

Because if it breaks inside her, you’ve just killed your hen.

A few products for good health are listed below. They won’t fix and egg bound hen, but utlizing them might help avoid the problem next time.

Products may contain affiliate links; by purchasing them, I may receive compensation which goes to a non-profit parrot rescue organization. Thanks for your help.

                               
                               

                 

Treating Mite Infestations

Photo of red mite
Old sketch of some mites

Most people in the U.S. are keeping finches, canaries, and parrots in their home, so when they discover the birds are covered in mites they’re pretty upset    majorly freaked out. They call on the phone, screaming.

When you first find mites, isolate the bird from its flock and visit an avian veterinarian immediately. He/she can take skin scrapings or feathers to examine under a microscope in order to identify the type of mite you are dealing with. He /she can also determine how heavy the infestation is.

After this exam, the vet will probably advise you to medicate the entire flock, as well as spraying the cage, bedding, etc. with miticide. Some of the most common miticides are Avian Insect Liquidator, Moxydectin, and Ivermectin. The two medications I have used to kill mites that are on the bird are SCATT and S76. The difference in them is the application; SCATT is placed on the skin, and S76 is put into the water.

What’s important is that you follow the directions exactly, and that you treat the environment as well as the birds. In the future, any birds brought in need to be isolated from the flock and treated with a structured quarantine protocol to keep from infecting the entire flock with parasites, protozoa, or worse.

A few more products for good health are listed below.

Products may contain affiliate links; by purchasing them, I may receive compensation which goes to a non-profit parrot rescue organization. Thanks for your help.

                               
                               

                 

For more information, see Treating your Gouldian Finch for Parasites and Types of Mites Found on Finches, Canaries, and Parrots

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

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More About Quarantine

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, but 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.

Why Quarantine is Important

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, so 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 three 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.

How to Do It

Here’s my quarantine procedure. There are probably a million others; just do what is best for you and your aviary.

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.

Links are below this article for all products mentioned…...

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 as well as external 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.