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sudden deaths, aviary birds

Discussion in 'Bird Health and Nutrition' started by thelynone, Oct 1, 2013.


  1. thelynone

    thelynone PetForums Newbie

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    Hi all,

    Had distressing news on returning from our holiday recently, a friend was looking after our aviary birds, mainly zebra finches, and while we were away 18 zebra finches died, 6 on one day and then 12 the next. Poor woman was not to blame, she's looked after them before without any problems and I know it was nothing she did or didn't do. All but one of them died in the inside enclosure, one of them in a nest box the others on the floor, she said the 12 were all huddled together as if cold. We hadn't put a heater in as we don't normally need to till it gets colder but now wonder whether it was the cold, she did say the temp dropped quite suddenly from one day to the next but I wouldn't think it was that cold and they've been through many winters. So was it a virus I'm wondering. Since that our young male canary has become poorly, he was all puffed up last week so we brought him indoors in a cage and today he died too! Poor little thing, we only got him a couple of months ago from a pet shop.

    That has left 7 birds in the aviary and they all seem well, fingers crossed! They are 5 zebra's, one green singer and one java sparrow. Please can anyone throw any light on this? We are really upset, the aviary is so sad now.
     
    #1 thelynone, Oct 1, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2013
  2. poohdog

    poohdog PetForums VIP

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    18 dead in two days? That's either some form of poisoning or a hell of a virus.You really need an autopsy on one of the birds.
    It's not the cold...unless you're in Alaska...I would start by getting new seed and scouring everything in sight....pots,perches, the lot!

    Where are you?

    Is it an aviary and shelter?

    Have you any sign of rodents?
     
  3. Phoenix24

    Phoenix24 PetForums Senior

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    Did the lady who looked after them notice anything else? Any other symptoms? Did you examine the dead birds for any clues?

    For the deaths to be so sudden I too would suspect something on the lines of accidental poisoning, or an environmental contamination of some sort... could anyone else have gained access to the aviary (for example, a disgruntled neighbour who didn't like your birds, or bored and nasty teenagers - or adults - breaking in for a bit of fun) that might have done something? All it would take is some antifreeze in the water.

    As for disease, most would not kill so quickly without giving any fair warning something was wrong. It's possible that a sudden change in weather conditions may have 'upset' the birds, giving them a chill (did it rain heavily?) that knocked their immune systems down for long enough for something to take hold.

    Can rodents access the aviary? Can anything unwanted get in? At this time of year there are diseases knocking about in the wild bird population that could infect your birds somehow. The key ones for finches right now are pox and trichomoniasis - but neither kill literally overnight. And there would be lesions on the beak. Trich is spread through contaminated water too, from an infected bird's saliva. Pigeons are the usual host/source. Where do you source the water from?

    Sorry for the long post, just some thoughts to try and help you figure out what happened. Definitely a good idea to get a vet to do a necropsy on at least one of them. Keep an eye out for clinical symptoms in the remaining birds. In particular look for behavioural changes, anything in the droppings, wheezing, lesions on the beak/in the mouth.

    And check your food and water sources for contamination.
     
  4. AlexArt

    AlexArt PetForums Senior

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    I'd get a necropsy done too with those kind of numbers. I'd scrub everything too and disinfect the lot, and watch the other birds like a hawk - make sure you don't get anymore birds in until you have an answer, But it is a very high mortality rate - have any of your neighbours been using any herbicides that may have blown into their water or food - it wouldn't take very much at all to kill little birds.
    You also say you got a canary from a pet shop - maybe he brought a bug with him which he's passed on and the first sign of stress it tipped them over the edge? Very strange - I hope you get to the bottom of it and find out the cause.
     
  5. poohdog

    poohdog PetForums VIP

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    And it would be nice to have an answer after two days...
     
  6. thewarren70

    thewarren70 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi, I am curious, what area are you in ? My dad has just called me and has lost 27 of his buddies overnight :( he fed them and changed their water as usual yesterday pm and has just picked them all up :( he only has 1 left which he is bringing indoors in a cage.
    He doesn't have any near neighbours who could get to the aviary and it borders a primary school. He is the only one who deals with them and has special pots etc so there wouldn't have been any cross contamination.:confused:
     
  7. poohdog

    poohdog PetForums VIP

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    More to the point...where are you?

    The original poster never came back...nice of 'em.
     
  8. thewarren70

    thewarren70 PetForums Newbie

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    Oh, sorry, east London / essex borders. Dad's decided to destroy his aviary now. He has one bird left which he is leaving for a day or so before bringing inside with his cage birds, just in case it has a virus or something :-(
     
  9. poohdog

    poohdog PetForums VIP

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    Got some indoors then? What a disaster..my sympathies. :(
     
  10. Phoenix24

    Phoenix24 PetForums Senior

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    Did he try to get some sort of post mortem done on them?

    Disease could get in in other ways, and there's a number of diseases 'emerging' and/or spreading (particularly from the continent) such as trichomoniasis in finches, and pox in the tit family, and other nasties, which are more prominent at this time of year due to migration, bird movements, and just plain old weather taking a down turn.

    I hope you find out what it was, its such a shame to have to destroy the aviary (there are some pretty superb disinfectants out there on the market though).
     
  11. Prowl

    Prowl Guest

    It could have been night fright

    It is possible that the person looking after them carried a disease into the aviary that was ariborn very possible if she was looking after other birds at the time in which case no ones foult really.

    If it was rodents I would expect to see signs such as damage to the aviary.

    Parsdsites you would also see signs.

    My only other answer for you would be that it could be the food may have got contaminated either while the lady was looking after your birds or was all ready carrying something.

    Winter would not kill your zebra finches they are made of steal and hardy out all English winters.

    If anything had attacked them again their would be signs such as damage to their bodies and to the aviary. But again Zebs are fairly bullet proof it would have to be something fairly predetry to cause 18 deaths and again you would see signs. Definately worth an autopsy to put your mind at ease.
     
  12. thelynone

    thelynone PetForums Newbie

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    Sorry, been away again, left hubby at home this time and he doesn't look at my emails!
    It's still a mystery, the neighbours did keep the dead birds and then couldn't find the bag! When they did after a week he said it wasn't a nice sight so disposed of them for me. In reply to your questions; No absolutely not anyone getting in or disgruntled neighbours. I have seen a mouse in there on occasions but nothing else in the rodent family. We have seen a sparrow hawk recently, throwing itself at the wire so wondered whether it could have shocked them.It was after seeing the hawk when we returned that he became poorly, as he was young I do think he could have died of shock. Before we went away the only thing I did differently was to shake some Eradicate powder around the perches and floor but I have done that before with no ill effect.

    I am in Bognor Regis, West Sussex. The dozen birds found were all huddled in a group. The aviary has outside flight and joined to a shed, always cleaned and looked after. The remaining birds are fine thank goodness, i won't be getting any more. Thanks for reply.
     
  13. thelynone

    thelynone PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you for your reply, yes wish we could have had an autopsy done but by the time we returned and then the neighbour couldn't find the bag he'd put them in, they were very decomposed. They did say there were no signs of injury. We can only put it down to being stressed by a sparrow hawk, also have foxes in the garden at night.
     
  14. thelynone

    thelynone PetForums Newbie

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    Sorry to hear about your dads birds too. It's very upsetting. Our aviary seems very sad now, the birds that are left seem well though, it is a mystery. Think it could be fright, a sparrow hawk has been seen flying at the wire and also get foxes around at night. We are in Bognor, West Sussex, where's your dad?
     
  15. Prowl

    Prowl Guest

    Unless the birds were all ready ill I can't imagine animals hurtling at the wire would kill them just like that.

    Zebra finches are pretty tough birds unless they have come BYB's/poor stock they stand everything. Mine servived cats trying to get at the wire and freazing cold winters even babies are amazingly hardy birds. Do you have chicken mesh or aviary mesh?

    Chicken mesh tends to bend as it is not as good quality or secure as aviary mesh.

    You should not have mice if your aviary is kept clean even one mouse is bad news. Be sure that all seed is dailly cleaned off the floor and feeders are brought in at night the last thing you want is to do is invite vermin.
     
    loret likes this.
  16. loret

    loret PetForums Newbie

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    hi i dont know you peeps bup how are you all? i need advise my dad have some goulian finshes zebras and dimond duves and comen quail each and every day we find 1 dead bird what can it be we had 7 quail babys and 2 of them was chewd on by someting we do think of rodents but now big birds die but no injuries so can someone help me with some awnswers please

    kind regaurds loret
     
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