The main factor when keeping a stud of birds is their general health and over the years as I have built up this family they appear to have developed a very strong immune system which has become very helpful to me with their daily management and losing birds through ill health is not something I encounter very often. However it does happen on occasions because some ailments such as heart attacks and strokes can’t be prevented because they just happen without warning. When a bird becomes ill about (90%) of troubles are usually down to digestive or respiratory problems.These can be kept to a minimum by just good housekeeping. By keeping as young a stud of birds possible along with clean cages, clean water, a good diet and plenty of fresh air is all that is all that is required here.
If I do encounter a sick bird it is not treated with any chemical medication. I work with the rules of nature where only the strongest survive. This was the golden rule when I was involved with racing pigeons. An unfit bird has to recover naturally or not at all. I believe they have to recover naturally to be of any further use in the birdroom. A sick bird will usually recover or die within seven days of falling ill. If no recovery is apparent after ten days it should be humanely culled. I knew of one racing pigeon fancier who use to enter his loft in the dark and listen to the birds and any that were wheezing badly were culled instantly. It was not until the next day that he identified which birds they were. Top prize winners were sometimes his victims but he always stated his full stud could not be put at risk for the sake of one bird. He also stated you had to be ruthless to be safe.
However, like every fancier, i do encounter unhealthy birds on occasions but try to recover them naturally with their own immune system.
I check the health of every bird every day and if I see one that appears unfit the first thing that i do is to check its droppings to see if the ailment is internal or external. Loose droppings is the usual indicator of digestive problems but this is not always the case as constipation could be a cause. Regardless of the problem I give the bird a slight spray with an anti mite treatment that is suitable for spraying directly onto the birds. This is just in case external parasites are distressing the bird. I then give it a dish of plain (Niger) seed. A true sign of a bird which has an internal digestive problem is that it will gorge at the Niger seed and foresake all other available feed. It is allowed access to the Niger seed at all times and after about seven days signs of recovery are usually noticed. If the ailment is not of a severe nature this method will recover the bird. The Niger seed is not withdrawn until the bird is seen to be fully recovered. If the ailment is severe the bird will probably be of little use even if it recovers after a chemical medication.This method works for me and i have always been a big believer in using the Niger seed to keep the digestive system in good working order. In any event, an ailing birds symptoms have to be identified at an early stage whichever course of treatment you decide, so always be watchful with your birds.
External problems are usually caused by accidents to legs, feet, wings etc but If a bird appears stressed and there are no signs of injury then external parasites could be the problem.
I have never encountered any problems or seen any mite of any kind in my birdroom but i am sure there will be some somewhere because it is impossible to keep them out. They can enter by coming in on the wind, or by being on the clothes of visitors from other birdrooms, or on your pet dog, or in your seed. Every time we enter our birdrooms we could be carrying mite in without knowing it. It is impossible to keep them out so keeping them restricted is the challenge. Some are harmful, some are not, but all of them can be irritable to the birds.
As a precaution my cages are cleaned down with antibacterial wipes then sprayed with an anti mite solution every week. I use two different types of anti mite and a lavender based disinfectant, rotating them each week. This is simply to stop any parasites from building up a resistance to any single product. The birds are given a light spray once monthly with a suitable solution.
The three products that i use are :-
Duramitex. (Now called (HARKA-MITEX). For spraying onto cages only.
DYNA-MITE Liquid. This can be used directly onto all animals and birds.
Dettol Lavender Disinfectant.
Respiratory problems should be very rare if a suitable dust free floor dressing is used.