ceramic heat lamp. Various strengths are available:
I have 60 (in lamp) and 100 (in box) watt bulbs.Ceramic
heat lamps give off heat but no light, ideal for
keeping a sick bird warm. A regular light bulb can
be used in a pinch, however.
should you do if you recognize illness in one of your birds?
Well, the first thing is to isolate the bird. Don't take any
chances with the lives of the other birds. Do not catch his/her
mate/companion to keep the sick bird company. You might risk
infecting the mate and the mate can also interfere with the
the bird in a hospital cage. A hospital cage can be purchased
ready made, but these are unreasonably expensive. They can be
built yourself if you are handy. Here is an article
Salem's Java Finch Pages with detailed pictures about how
to build a hospital cage. This article is so well written and
well illustrated that I am going to have to get on my husband
to make me one (someday when he has no other projects to occupy
him - ha!). I do not have a specially designed hospital cage.
Instead, I use a small cage purchased from a pet store. I cover
half the cage in a towel to give the sick bird privacy and prevent
drafts, and I place a ceramic heat lamp (purchased from Hornbeck's
[now owned by Drs. Foster and Smith) over the uncovered
half of the cage for additional heat (be sure to use a heat
lamp designed for birds, small animals, or reptiles, to ensure
they do not emit toxic fumes, such as from Teflon). A regular
light bulb can be used instead, although the constant light
may interfere with the bird's ability to get rest). Finally,
I run a humidifier nearby to increase the humidity level. My
hospital cage may not be perfect, but it provides privacy, additional
warmth, and places to escape from the warmth when needed. It
is only meant to help sustain the bird until I can get it to
the vet or to provide a little extra heat while he is recuperating.
you really know what you are doing, SEEK HELP FROM AN AVIAN
VETERINARIAN. I cannot emphasize this point enough. A veterinarian
can perform several diagnostic tests that may identify the exact
cause of the problem. A veterinarian can also prescribe a treatment
geared toward the specific problem the bird is suffering from.
If you try to treat yourself, you may do more harm than good.
Using broad-spectrum antibiotics when not indicated also helps
create antibiotic-resistant organisms, making currently available
treatments less effective.
Although I heartily support making use of avian veterinarians
to treat illness, I must warn you that this approach does not
guarantee success. Finches are very fragile when ill, and by
the time symptoms appear, they may be too far gone. Sometimes
their systems cannot withstand the treatment. Sometimes the
veterinarian will be unable to diagnose conclusively. Even necropsies
(which allow for much more thorough testing) frequently return
inconclusive results. And sometimes, there is no treatment.
realize that seeing an avian vet is not an easy option for many
people. It can be financially prohibitive, especially if you
have a large flock of birds. And avian vets are hard to find.
The following links may assist you in finding an avian vet in
your area if you are in need:
am fortunate enough to be able to travel to the Niles
Animal Hospital and Bird Medical Center. Although it is
inconveniently far away, it worth the long drive. (Check out
their site for some bird-related articles).
know that many experienced finch-keepers are capable of diagnosing
and treating some ailments themselves. I believe that this comes
out of experience. They have either made enough visits to a
veterinarian to be able to identify the illnesses and the corresponding
treatment, or they have tackled it by trial and error (the error
being the tragic part). I do not recommend this route to anyone
new to finch-keeping, unless they have the guidance of an experienced
finch-keeper they trust.
you do wish to try to treat your bird and a veterinarian is
out of the question, some of the links listed here may provide
helpful information. Since I will only take my birds to a vet,
I don't have any experience with any recommended treatments
and cannot make any assessments as to their effectiveness:
word of caution about using an online forum to seek medical
advice: it is difficult-to-impossible to diagnose a sick bird
over the Internet. The same symptoms appear for many different
types of illnesses and therefore a treatment that worked for
one person's bird may be harmful to another with similar symptoms.
I've never seen any forum participants claim to be a veterinarian
(and if one did, you still have to be sceptical) and the advice
you receive is therefore usually from a given person's limited
experience and not from a sound medical perspective. Forums
are always an option, though, especially if you need advice
when your veterinarian is not available. And sound advice can
be obtained there, particularly if the problem is a common one
with a well-accepted avenue of treatment (such as egg-binding).
Forum is a good place to seek advice.
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