Recognizing Diseases in Caged Birds

Most disease in caged birds is directly or indirectly related to malnutrition and stress. Malnutrition most often stems from what the bird eats, rather than how much it eats. Most caged birds are offered enough food, but they do not receive enough of the proper foods and in the proper proportions. Stress results from any condition that compromises a bird’s state of well-being. Examples include poor husbandry, inadequate diet, rapid temperature changes, and trauma.

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Feeding Caged Birds

The exact nutritional requirements of caged birds are unknown, in spite of claims to the contrary by some product manufacturers, retailers and breeders. Far too much emphasis has been placed on seed and nut diets for caged birds. They represent a relatively nonperishable convenience for bird owners but are a deficient diet for pet birds, especially the larger hookbills.

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Feather Plucking and Picking in Caged Birds

One of the most frustrating conditions of caged birds is feather picking and feather disorders rank as some of the most difficult and challenging conditions to diagnose and treat. However, feather problems are usually detected early because they are easily noticed. Many bird owners find the act of feather plucking very disconcerting, but to stop the behavior the important thing is to understand what motivates the bird to do this.

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Bathing Caged Birds

Many exotic pet birds originally lived in tropical climates where rainfall is a daily, or otherwise frequent, occurrence. Rainwater provides drinking water and an opportunity for bathing, Birds typically take advantage of this moisture by "showering" during a rainstorm or bathing in puddles formed by the falling rainwater. This keeps their feathers .healthy, and restores and maintains a brilliant sheen to the plumage.

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