Post by Hezz on Aug 29, 2013 0:43:17 GMT
Quarantining your new bird …. Why?
For many people, the joy of bringing their new feathered friend home seems to mean that all common sense flies out the window. Naturally, if the new bird is the only bird, quarantine is not necessary, but for many this will be an addition to their flock, and they can’t wait to see them all together, interacting and becoming one of the family, and before we can say “meet the new member” all are in together, getting to know each other, and with a bit of luck will live happily ever after.
But wait!!!!! What if they don’t live happily ever after? What if the new member is unknowingly carrying a potentially fatal disease or even an infestation of a nasty parasite? What happens if the new member inadvertently causes the death of your resident feathered friends?
It won’t happen to me. Won’t It? How do you know? Chances are, it won’t, this time, phew, but it will happen sometime, to somebody, maybe someone you know, maybe to you. Before you integrate this new member in with your others, think about how you will feel if instead of a short time in quarantine, four to six weeks, you now have sick birds, possibly dead birds, massive vet bills, and very upset family members. Have you got the idea yet? Quarantine can save you a lot of heartbreak, money and guilt, but it is not something you can start after the deed has been done – it is then too late. It needs to happen from the moment you bring the newcomer home.
How? Four to six weeks in isolation, well away from the other birds, in separate rooms, with no interaction during this time. As far apart as possible. Everyone’s situation is different, but leaving them in the same room is rather useless, particularly if your residents have out of cage time – they are going to be straight over to check out the newcomer. But four weeks is soooo long ………. This is the ideal time to start your training and building bonds with Newbie, while there isn’t the distraction of other birds going about their daily busy birdy-ness.
So, back to the “Why?”. Quite often the new bird is going to be a baby, who has just left its parents and siblings, handed over to a complete stranger, often alone, and taken away to a new cage, new people, new birds. This is a very stressful time for most birds, but particularly so for the younger ones. Stress in birds compromises their health, allowing any latent organisms, bacterial, viral, or parasitic, to rear their ugly heads and begin to multiply. Throwing your new “friend” straight in with the others means the other birds are now in contact with the nasties that you aren’t even aware of …… yet!
Something we hear quite frequently: the breeder said it shouldn’t be necessary. It’s that “shouldn’t” that worries me. There are lots of things we shouldn’t have to do, but we do them because it is in our best interests to do so. And really, what does the breeder have to lose? Nothing! They are no longer his birds, and chances are, if they do die, you will be back to him/her for another lot! He’s on a winner. Of course not all breeders are like this, and if your previous birds have come from the same place, you probably would be fine, but why take the risk? I have heard too many stories of birds coming from breeders with all sorts of diseases, only to either infect the rest of the flock or becoming very ill soon after arrival at its new home.
“But Mr So-and-so doesn’t quarantine his new birds” …… Mr So-and-so probably has decades of budgie-keeping experience to guide him in knowing just which birds are in peak health, and which ones are not so good, who may be showing the first signs of something nasty, who is never going to develop into a fit bird.
For me, I don’t see myself as ever getting to the point where I wouldn’t quarantine; my first priority is to the birds already in my care. I owe it to them to look after their health and well-being to the very best of my ability. That means isolating a new member until I am reasonably sure this one is not going to compromise the flock I already have.