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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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Michael Costanzo from Collins, Ohio asks: I have a male Gouldian finch that someone gave me. He has inflamed feet that he stomps and picks at. I have tried to clean them with antibacterial soap for a week and they still have not improved. I am wondering if this a nutritional deficiency as the bird was badly neglected before I got him. If so what could I supplement him with? Thanks! Michael
Hello Michael, Firstly, to treat the feet provide a foot wash/bath daily using KD powder. I would put this bird onto my Winter Non-Breeding Health Programme. Use Turbobooster, E-Powder and F-Vite on seed daily for three weeks. Administer S76 to the drinking water for two days then go onto the programme schedule. KD once a week followed by Dufoplus/Ioford for two consecutive days, followed by fresh water for 2 days. Repeat S76 for 2 days each second and third week for three treatments. Expect response in 3 weeks. All my Best, Rob

Mary Morgan from AZ asks: Hello again Dr. Rob, After reading the post from Catherine, I realized I have been giving my birds Feather-up for some time. If the birds do have Polyomavirus, would the Feather-up cause quicker beak growth? Is this problem one that can be treated with antibiotics? You are correct when you mention carrier birds, The thirteen birds I am speaking about came from the same parents. Thank you
Hello Mary, Antibiotics (Doxycycline) may help the underlying Ornithosis and prevent other birds from beak problem. However it may be that the beak problem will be a permanent change. Excessive beak growth may occur if the vitamins are too rich in Vitamin D. All My Best, Rob

Mary Morgan from AZ asks: Hello Dr. Rob. This is my first post. I have been raising Gouldians for about 4 years now. Rarely will I have an illness. I will say their diet is good and consistent. But since I moved to AZ. my birds have developed crossed beaks and the sides of the beaks grow and hang over the bottom beak. I file and cut, but the problem keeps coming back. I would tell you everything they eat etc. but I wanted your first reaction to the problem. I would appreciate your help, since everyone I know doesn't know what the problem is, including the vet. Thank you again.
Hello Mary, The problem that you are describing is caused by the Polyomavirus. Polyomavirus may lie dormant for some time and then become apparent. It may have surfaced because of the stress of the move or an introduction of a carrier bird. Check if there is abnormally high infertility. If so then Ornithosis may be present, which is a common predisposing cause of Polyomavirus. See the question below from Catherine for more information concerning Polyomavirus. I hope this answers your question. All the Best, Rob

Jennifer Vanlandingham from Big Island Hawaii asks: Aloha Good Doctor, My name Is Jennifer and I have a sick White Zebra Finch. She lost some of her feathers about 4 months ago unabling her to fly around the aviary but remained healthy. Two weeks ago she has become lethergic, tail feathers have turned a taupe as well as some taupe colored area on her wings and back. All over her feathers have thinned out, and she is constantly pruning her feathers. Good appetite, normal stool, and was still chirpy. Two days ago we found her floating in the pool, 2in deep by 8in round glass dish, wings out stretched, one eye closed, shallow labored breathing. I feared she was dying. We removed her immediate and wrapped her in a towel and held her for about 3 hours until her breathing resumed normal and her eyes reopened, and her shivering stopped. We have her separated from the others, who all appear normal and healthy. She is doing fine but still looks a bit weathered, ruffled feather still tinted, good appetite, water intake, chirps, and hops around the cage. What is wrong??? We have no bird vets here and our doggies vet hasn't a clue?@#*? Any help would be high appreciated and grateful to hear!! Sincerely; Jennifer
Hello Jennifer, Your little Zebra finch sounds like a weakling bird from birth. White mutations are weaker than normal coloured birds. Her immune system may be retarded, exposing her most likely to the effects of otherwise harmless environmental moulds and bacteria. I would recommend KD in the water for three days, then add it to her water for two consecutive days each week. I would also put Turbobooster, E-powder and F-Vite on her seed for three weeks and then reassess her status. She may also be susceptible to cold spells because of her poor feather coverage. Amtyl may also be beneficial if a secondary Strep infection has occurred. Please get back to us after the 3 weeks, and let us know how she is doing. Good luck, Rob

Dottie Olander-Gray from Jacksonville, FL asks: Dr. Rob, Have a Gouldian hen that presents as follows: Gouldian hen appeared to be egg bound, but couldn't feel or see egg. Abdomen enlarged, applied olive oil & vitamin E oil to area. Now 6 days later, hen seems better but no egg. Second problem: skin on most areas of the body is peeling, especially under the wings. Examined hen closely, does not appear to be mites. Washed her with antibacterial soap, rinsed well, and dried her with low speed hair dryer. Hen is isolated with light on side of cage, on Survive, watching nutrition carefully. Droppings appear close to normal. Skin is peeling, a pale yellowish color, and small feathers come out with skin. (2 days since original question posted) Hen is now doing much better, but now no evidence of egg. No swelling, no discomfort. She originally was contracting as if to expel an egg. Skin is still "orange peel" looking under wings and will still peel off if disturbed..?
This problem sounds like a skin infection, RELATED TO THE ABDOMINAL PROBLEM, or it may be a toxin from food. Very strange. I would place this bird on KD powder in her water and give her KD powder baths. Rob

Linda Mitchell from Blackwood, NJ asks: I have a Gouldian finch and he has his head turned to the left, left eye to the floor and right to the ceiling of the cage. He was fine singing, eating and flying. Now he is at the bottom of the cage with his head turn down to the left. I haven't changed anything. I have put a heating pad on the side of the cage and covered the cage. I think it might be too late. He wants to fly but can't. I checked his wings and they look fine. He ate and drank at around three this morning. He just seems to be flopping around when he tries to fly.
The illness that you are describing is a vestibular disease or middle ear infection. Causes include virus, stroke, bacterial or often a fungal infection. It is a poorly understood problem. Unfortunately there is no real cure. Rob

Sarah McCann from Maine, USA asks: Dear Dr. Rob, I have two BB Gould hens that continue to make clicking sounds despite treatment from a vet of oral Ivermectin. After following the vet's script I waited over a month and then treated the birds with oral Moxidectin. When they were still clicking the vet then had me treat with Doxycycline for 14 days. They STILL clicked. The vet then told me he didn't know what was wrong. I have since tried treating with Medizole for 5 days. These two birds continued to click. I am now at the end of a five day treatment of Sulfamethoxazole and Trimethoprim. Yesterday I could hear one of the hens clicking by standing next to her cage but could not hear the other hen clicking even when held up to my ear. Today the hen that wasn't clicking is again clicking. I am at the end of my rope with this! I had a few other birds in the aviary that clicked but stopped after the Medizole treatment. These two BB Goulds are the only ones with any symptoms now. They eat fine and act just a bit listless and click. Actually the bird that had stopped clicking and started again is peeping and hopping around. I am confused and frustrated. Thank you in advance for any insight you might be able to give me. Sincerely, Sarah McCann
Clicking is usually a trachea or throat problem that starts with an airsac mite infestation, a Vitamin A deficiency or a mould infection, and may be complicated by bacterial and/or a Trichomonas infection. Certainly I would treat with S76 and a wormer as per my book. Remember the treatment would be daily for 5 days then once a week for 6 weeks. An antibiotic penicillin based or Baytril maybe better than the Metrodinazole. Another option would be KD water cleanser powder in the drinking water. Check the moisture level (humidity) in the aviary and fluctuating temperatures also. Definitely begin using a vitamin supplement. Please report back on any progress. All the Best, Rob

Barbara Smith from Palmdale California asks: I have a male Gouldian who puffed up a couple of weeks ago he keeps his head under his wing, he was taking care of three young birds so I waited about a week before I separated him from the main population I put a drop of Scatt on the back of his neck and put him in a small cage with a light over it the room that he is in remains at a constant 90 degrees. He looked better after a week and then he took a turn for the worse now he is on the bottom of the cage most the time and he is not eating very much. I have been giving him daily essentials 1 and Saniclens in his water for a week and he gets energize on his seed that is mixed with a little feast and eggfood he has ground cuttle bone F-vite and herbs in his cage he is breathing rapidly and he was shaking a little. What can I do or should stop doing to help him.
Your Gouldian cock needs WARMTH and NV Powder and E-Powder. This will put him on a high energy food diet. Then reassess in 1 week. Also check colour and consistency of his droppings. Thrush would be high on the list of possible secondary infections, so Mycostatin may be a prudent choice. A complete dropping analysis is the way to identify exact cause of his illness. It also sounds like there might be a serious breathing problem secondary to the fungal problem. Treat with Fungilin or KD and HEAT, HEAT, HEAT. All the Best, Rob

Ismael from Springfield, IL asks: I have a female Gouldian who recently fledged 3 young. I followed the instructions in your book Gouldian & Finch Health. She is supplied with minerals, turbo boost, S76, and a cuttle bone. Today I noticed that she seems to have lost some of her equilibrium. She has trouble grasping a perch, and her feeding bowl. She acts like she has weak legs. I fed all 5 members of the family an egg shell which was boiled and very clean. She is the only one displaying these symptoms. Thank you for your help.
Hello Ismael, Your Gouldian hen is exhibiting the signs of torticollis or "twirling syndrome". Unfortunately there is no cure for this disease. It is a stress related problem in an inherently weak bird. I would not use such a bird to breed from as it is believed to be a genetic weakness and her offspring may exhibit similar problems when breeding. I am sorry that I do not have better prospects for your bird and her offspring. Rob

Donna Ferrier from Rancho Santa Fe, CA asks: One of my Gouldians has developed gnarally looking feet, and now one seems to be giving him trouble. He is reluctant to stand on it. What can I do?
Hello Donna, This is called bumblefoot. Treat initially with S76 and follow with KD Powder in the drinking water. Bathing the foot in a KD water bath may also help. Keep us updated, Rob