Birds Going Light

An Article by Aydin Dikimli on birds going light

At our last meeting we talked about our experiences with our canaries which were going light during the last breeding season.

Prevention of diseases is the most important issue in bird keeping. Every newly purchased bird should be quarantaned for at least four weeks. Birds can carry infectious diseases but do not display signs of illness. The germs can be easily passed on to the existing stud. This could wipe out the entire stud. We still do not fully understand the reason why some birds go light and some do not. All chicks kept in the same flight, fed the same good food , given the same clean water should be expected to do well. However there are always one or two which go light and die. We also noticed that some of our show birds became listless and fluffed up or even died after a show. Was it the stress or contamited water? We do not know.

We do not believe in pumping our birds with chemicals. Natural remedies such as Cider-Vinegar, Orego-Stim, Megabactin or Megabactol are good in prevention of going light but do not work once the birds are ill. Coccidiosis is believed to be the main cause of going light. This tiny parasite is very common in birds. It lives in their bowels and usually does not cause them any harm. Coccidiae are found in droppings of birds. Birds get infected by eating food or drinking water which are contaminated with droppings containing this parasite.

Many continental breeders treat their canaries for coccidiosis before the breeding season and again when the chicks are about five to six weeks old. Medicines used are Intradine(Sulfadimidine), ESB3 and Baycox. They can be purchased only from a Vet in the UK or from abroad via the internet companies. All three medicines are highly toxic and should not be overdosed. The birds require a good diet with plenty of vitamins after their treatment. A good egg food mixture enriched with vitamins will do the job. Baycox is the least toxic of the anti-coccidiosis medicines with the best safety profile. 3 ml in one litre of water for two days is enough for prevention. Sick birds can be treated with the same regime given over four weeks.

We also recommend to send faecal samples of your sick birds to a veterinary lab. Ideally diagnosis is established before treatment but sometimes we cannot wait for the result and have to start treatment asap.

Apart from Coccidiosis there are a number of bacterial infections found in the intestinal tract of canaries causing going light. Again a faecal sample should be sent to the lab. We must know what we are treating. An antibiotic can successfully cure a sick bird only if the germs are sensitive to it. The veterinary lab will tell you what antibiotic is required .

We can recommend : Retford Poultry Partnership, Tel:, tel: 01777 703011, speak to Libby.

Last not least : ” HYGIENE is the BEST PREVENTION of DISEASES”


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