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Do you have a question that you have not found an answer for throughout this website or in my FAQ? Use this link to send your question directly to me. Be as specific as possible about the symptom or behavior in question...

Dr. Rob is a world renowned avian veterinarian in Sydney, Australia. He was the veterinary consultant for the Northern Territory Nature and Conservation Commission for a scientific study of the disease status in the wild population of the endangered Gouldian Finches as it related to a "Recovery Plan".



Tailai O’Brien is a Parrot Behavior Consultant who has worked along side Dr. Marshall and has developed special regimes for successful bird training and behavioral development. Fill out her Questionnaire so that she may help you with your parrot’s bad behavior.

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Lisa Mallory from Jacksonville, FL USA asks: Dear Dr. Rob, Thank you for all of your helpful information, and for taking the time to help fellow bird enthusiasts. I have a female Gouldian that I obtained about 2 months ago. When I got her she appeared healthy, began calling to my male and was quite interested in him. After 2 weeks I placed them together and it seemed they bonded immediately. He displays courtship behavior and she in turn will squat on the perch and move her tail to the side welcoming his advances. She laid 2 eggs then the day after the second egg she became fluffed up, had droopy eyes and slept all day. I have your book, but had just gotten it shortly before this happened and still need to read it over again because of the volume of information in it. I took stool specimens to my vet who said he didn't find anything. I made a "guess" as to what to treat my finch with and decided rather than take the chance of loosing her I would try anything. I had doxycycline capsules prescribed for myself and not having any idea how to dose my bird, I just opened the capsule and tapped out a tiny amount of powder, mixed it with enough water to dilute, and administered it to my bird via syringe. By the next morning she looked great. I continued they doxycycline for 10 days, but not knowing the correct dose, I worried about overdosing and stopped. She was fine for 2 weeks, then began laying eggs again. The exact same thing happened again, although this time I seemed to notice that she is opening her beak, extending her beak and extending her neck as if to try and swallow something she can't get down. I know there is something wrong with her, but i just don't know what to do to help her. I am using your products and all my other birds appear quite vigorous and healthy. any advice will be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Lisa Mallory
Hello Lisa, Your hen is exhibiting nutritional stress of laying eggs and an inherent low grade Ornithosis problem. Treatment must include TurboBooster, E-Powder and F-Vite during a Doxycycline/Megamix treatment, as described in my book. Do a 30 day course of treatment. Rob

Karen Schafer from Southport. FL asks: Dr. Rob, my Cordon Bleu finches threw their chicks out of the nest about 6 days after hatching. The chicks were very small. Why did they do this? I thought it was because of their diet. I fed them seed along with nestling food, insect food, and greens. Should I only feed nestling food?
Hello Karen, It sounds like it could be an energy deficiency in the parents. I would add Turbobooster, E-powder and F-Vite to their diet. Also check for a wet nest which would indicate an underlying bacterial or fungal problem. All the Best, Rob

Michael Costanzo from Collins, Ohio asks: I have lots of Society finches and Gouldians. They have been idle from breeding for about 2 years due to an illness I had. Now I can't get them interested in breeding. I didn't breed them because I could only maintain them and that was it. Now I am better and hope I can get them breeding. Thanks!
Hello Michael, Best of luck with your breeding. The birds should be eager with proper nutrition and health. Rob

Sandrine Kerbrat from France asks: Dear Dr. Marshall, I apologise in advance for my bad english, and hope you'll be able to understand my problem and possibly solve it. I currently have 2 parakeets and 17 finches, living indoor in separate flights, but in the same room. Among my 17 finches, I have had a pair of Owl Finches for almost 3 years now. More or less 2 months after their arrival in my place the female started laying eggs, and since then she never stopped. Not one single week without an egg... However, this pair is not incubating the eggs. I tried to separate them, but, she continued laying eggs, I tried to remove the nest, again, she continued... Temperature in the birds room is now around 20-22°C, and humidity rate varies between 55% to 65%. When I came back from a week vacation (during the week off a friend of mine was feeding and watering my birds every other day), I noticed that the owl female is fluffed, I was not too concerned as it was not the first time. I thought she's laying an egg again !! The following day, I found an egg, but a very small one, and since then she's still fluffed. It's now over 6 weeks. She have all the common signs of a sick bird, looking for heat, fluffed, sleepy, dull eyes, abnormal droppings and the cloacal area is dirty with the feather all matted. After a few days, she became very weak and was loosing her balance every now and again, I managed to solve the balance problem in a few days by using extra Calcium (Calciboost). I really first thought, it was exhaustion due to egg laying. I gave her Guardian Angel + Calciboost, but not improvement after 2 weeks (a part that she was not loosing her balance anymore) Some days she looked better, almost normal for 1 or 2 days and then relapse (several time like that). I started thinking the problem could be a protozoa, so I treated her for 7 days with Ronivet-S (dose rate x4), but again no improvement but she seems now more constant, she's not doing well for a couple of days and then relapsing. She's not as sleepy, but she's still in very poor condition. At the beginning, she was eating well (I may even say maybe too much) but now she don't eat a lot of seeds (the minimum I would say), and wait for me to give her anything but not seeds !! So I give her either pellets, commercial egg food, frozen insects (of course I defrost the insects before feeding to my birds), and fonio paddy seeds, and she eat all that very eagerly. She's still drinking a lot with great gulps (from the beginning of the illness). I'm now giving her probotics (Bio plus) in her drinking water, but again so far no results. As most of my birds started their molt and it's even completed for some of them, I start thinking maybe she going through a hard and stressfull molt. I'm pretty sure she have started her molt now, as last week-end, she had a patch on her cheek, but I keep thinking there is something else. She's really in poor condition, looks depressed, fluffed and her shape is not plumb at all, however she's flying confidently, is eating and drinking, I find she's scratching quite a lot, but that may be due to the matted feather. It's not easy to describe the droppings, as I have the feeling everytime I try to look, it's different!! For sure, the droppings are now always huge but for the rest, I'm not too sure. Sometimes it's with increased water, like if it is only clear water and it goes like a gush! Sometimes with light brown feces. Sometimes it's like everything is mixed and it's viscous and murky (greenish??). Once I found non digested little seeds (fonio paddy) in the droppings (unless it is regurgitation??, I don't know as I saw that on the paper at the bottom of the cage !) Her cage mate is doing well, and the birds located in cages next to her are OK as well. Do you have by chance any idea? Could it be yeast? What should I do ? Why are my birds molting now when it should be at the end of the summer? Thank you very much for your consideration
This is called egg embolli. It occurs often with fungal infections associated with egg laying. She may have a mineral deficiency as well associated with a fungal infection. PLACE HER ON KD WATER CLEANSER FOR 2 WEEKS and TurboBooster, E-Powder and F-Vite mixed into her seed or food. She may never fully recover but most will on this programme. Rob

Pip Wilson from Sandy Beach, Australia asks: Dear Dr Rob, I am a new caregiver of two Gouldians. The hen (Lizzie, named for John Gould's wife) seems to have a discoloured beak; it was much like that when I brought her home two weeks ago. Do you think she might be ill? Yesterday she started coughing as well. Thanks a lot.
Hello Pip, The darkened beak on your Gouldian hen is an indication that she is in breeding condition. All the Best for the upcoming breeding season. Rob

Orbie from NC asks: Hello Dr Rob. I recently purchased my very first finches. 2 zebras and they certainly couldn't mate fast enough. At the moment they are rearing 3 - 4 day old chicks. I've had the birds almost 2 months. The male bird got real fluffed looking and lethargic during the mom's incubating the eggs week and I put a flexible heat lamp shining down in the top of the cage and he sat under it at his own liking and got better. I built them a large flight cage and moved the cage they were in inside of it so as not to disturb the nest then just opened the smaller cages door so they can come and go from it into the flight cage at will. The birds are very active, very vocal, seem great, eat and drink great and are feeding the chicks. I give them millet sprays, boiled egg, finch seed mix, fruit mix, grains and greens mix and recently started adding in some nestling food among their many dishes. (I have lots of fake greenery and the different foods in different containers all around the mini aviary to make daddy's job of foraging for food more interesting for him.) Well daddy is bald down his back all the way to his vent suddenly over last couple of days and today I noticed mom plucking at him. They are both fluffing and preening and scratching an awful lot, although they don't act sick or tired at all. And all day today one of them, not sure which, has had some odd droppings. The dropping looks normal, white, shaped..but the liquid around it is drying bright green? Could it be all one issue or could it be mites and possibly too many greens or maybe the nestling food? Also, the daddy is a very pro-active kind of guy, he is continually trying to get leaves off the fake vines, reed material off the nest hut and anything else he can find to nest. He at one point buried the eggs after they were laid and I had to carefully uncover them and take away his string supply. Thought perhaps his need to build nests could be a possible culprit in the missing feathers. I tried giving him just a few strands of nesting string to play with, he has a preening toy. But since mom is scratching and fluffing too I'm not sure that's it. Any help is GREATLY appreciated.
Hello Orbie, Some Zebra Finches have built consecutive nests, one on top of another. So removing the nesting material supply was good. I would suggest an S76 bath to insure that there aren't any external mites causing the excessive scratching, followed a few days later by a KD water bath. The missing feathers could be an attempt by both birds to "feather" the nest for the chicks. Watch closely that they don't attempt to cover the chicks and build another nest. The green water ring could be caused by an additive in the nestling food. As long as neither parent is fluffed or frumped indicating a sick bird, I would suspect the additive. Best of Luck, Rob

Vera Keil from Manhattan, MT asks: I have a cockatiel that I am hand-feeding. Her crop will not completely empty. I can only feed her 3cc's every 3 hours. I have had her to the vet and they do not know what her problem is. They did a crop culture and it said everything was normal. She is so skinny I am afraid I will lose her. We are giving her 3 different kinds of medicine from the vet but she is not improving. She plays but is always hungry. We have been battling this for about a month. Thank you for any help. Vera
Hello Vera, This is called crop stasis. There are several possible causes. The food or environment may be incorrect; fluctuating temperature could be causing the problem; or the cause could be an incorrect consistency in the hand-feeding mixture. I need to have exact details explained on feeding methods. One other possibility might be an obstructed gizzard. My initial treatment suggestion would be Nystatin. All the Best, Rob

Kristen E. Martin from Alabama asks: Hello, I have a canary hen who eats her eggs soon after laying them. I give her calcium in the form of Calciboost. Is there a way to discourage her from this? I hope to breed her someday.
Hello Kristen, Your canary may have a protein deficiency or not be in good breeding condition. I recommend that you put her onto my Breeding Programme of supplementation. Egg eating is not just a calcium deficiency problem. All the Best, Rob

Carol Snoevenbos from Duluth, MN asks: I have a pair of Lady Gouldians that my husband bought me for my birthday... I do not know anything about the birds except they are beautiful.... Well they laid eggs (5) the eggs hatched, and both parents are taking turns feeding all five babies and sitting on them to keep them warm. The babies are 5 days old now, and they have these strange growths on their necks!! Are my babies OK? Or are they sick?? Thank You, A concerned new mom.
Hello Carol, The "growths" that you are seeing on the necks of your 5 day old babies are called 'the crop'. The crop is the storage place where the food a bird eats is stored until its digestive system can process it. All birds have crops, but once the feathers grow out, you will no longer be able to see them. Your babies are perfectly okay. Best of Luck with the new members to your family. Rob

Carlene from Seattle asks: Dr. Rob - I have a pair of Gouldians (3yrs old) that just birthed their first chick and then promptly threw it out of the next. Should I take the rest of the clutch out which haven't hatched yet and raise them myself?
Hello Carlene, I would wait and see what happens because sometimes Gouldians will pitch only one baby, and other times all of them as they hatch. I believe that you should watch them closely and hand-feed if necessary to save the babies. More importantly you should assess the nutritional programme, are the parents secure in their nesting cavity, and are they in breeding condition? All three things will insure better parenting. Best of Luck, Rob