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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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Deb Ruhl from AZ asks: Dr.Rob, I have a male gouldian, it started yesterday, sat on perch with eyes closed, acts kinda drunk when flys, been on bottom of cage some too,can you help.thanks
Hello Deb, The symptoms that you are describing could be caused by a number of illnesses. I would suggest that you have him seen by an experienced avian vet, as soon as possible. Rob

Herb Kunz from Hot Springs Village, AR asks: I just bought a male canary Approximately 1 year old from a private party. They said it was a beautiful singer. I noticed it's feathers were puffy. A few hours after getting it home it tried to sing but only croaked a little. Besides it's puffy appearance and hoarseness, he seems to have labored breathing and is wobbly on the perch and has a difficult time steadying itself for sleeping so he sleeps on his cage bottom.He doesn't bathe or preen. In spite of all this it has an enormous appetite. It constantly eats.
Hello Herb, The first thing that I would do for your new canary is treat him for air-sac mites with S76. I would put him on NV Powder in his drinking water for 2-3 days, while applying a drop of S76 to the skin on the back of his neck each of the 3 days. The 2nd and 3rd week, add the S76 to the drinking water on the same day of the week as the last 2 days of the on skin application. There may be more disease processes involved, but air sac mites are the most probably. Please report back his progress after the 3 weeks of S76 treatment. All the Best, Rob

Judith Crain from Illinois asks: Hi there, Dr. Rob! I have a rather puzzling problem. I have a five month old Gouldian male (raised by his parents) who seems healthy. However, I have noticed for the past few months that every now and then his feet vibrate rapidly on and off for a few minutes and then stop. He always looks down at them as if asking "why are my feet doing this?" He gets a very good varied diet and supplements. None of his siblings have this problem. I have searched the net for this particular problem and not having any luck. What could be the problem with my little guy? Thanks so much, and kind regards.
Hello Judith, We get a toe tapping syndrome in Eclectus parrots that may be similar to what you are seeing in your Gouldian juvenile. It relates to a calcium problem. You could try Hical or similar product (Calcium Plus or Calciboost) in the drinking water and see if this helps. Rob

Syn Wong from California asks: Dear Dr. Rob, I have a male canary that is very active, alert, and healthy. However, he has made noises like sloshing wet shoes when breathing and opens his beak to clear something from his throat. During the daytime, his breathing is mostly normal followed by a few times trying to clear his throat by opening his beak and making a slushy noise. During the evening, his breathing is frequently labored. He does not expel any liquid from his mouth or nostrils. I thought maybe he had airsac mites. So I ordered S76 and treated him for 2 consecutive days in the morning for 3 weeks in a row. That didn't help. In fact he has gotten worse where the noise is more pronounced and he has stopped singing. His singing stopped when he started molting a week ago. He did try to sing a few days ago and his voice was raspy and he hasn’t tried to sing since. He is still very active and alert. Right now I have a heat blanket at the top of his cage and a warm humidifier running at night. The temperature around here has been in the 80s during the day and night time of low 70’s. His droppings is normal, he behaves normal jumping from branch to branch, staying more active than his companion (his hen) who is housed with him. She breathes normal and seems to be healthy, thus his symptoms does not appear contagious. What do you think is wrong with him? What do recommend I do? Thanks for your advice. Syn
Hello Syn, The problem with your canary could be Trichomonasis, as this disease would exhibit as you have described. I would treat him with Ronidazole and check for soft foods contamination. All the Best, Rob

Sujan Chatterjee from Calcutta, India asks: Hello Dr. Rob, My black-headed Female has started to breathe very heavily and at times with her mouth open. She also has her chest puffed up and she is sleeping with her head tucked over her back. Any advice on this will be most helpful. thanks & regards Sujan Chatterjee from Calcutta India
Hello Sujan, The behavior you are describing is what we call the "sick bird" look. The open mouth breathing is suggestive of an air-sac mite infestation. My recommendation would be to treat with S76 for the possible mites, and then reassess her condition. All the Best, Rob

Ira & Rita Goldstein from New Rochelle, NY asks: We just lost a female canary that we had for almost a year. She laid one egg in June that never hatched. She seemed fine after that but around the middle of July we noticed that she was losing feathers around her neck. Brought her to the people we bought her from, (they sell only birds and have a very good reputation for quality and knowledge) they found an infection on the skin on her neck. They put a salve on and gave me a powder to add to the water for her to drink. She seemed to do better, she ate, drank and bathed, but feathers never regrew. We again brought her to the bird dealer in September because she started staying at the bottom of the cage. Her skin had cleared up and they couldn't give us a reason for her listlessness. Several days later she died. We kept her in a cage with three other canaries and they seem to be fine. Any ideas of what could have happened. Thank you, Ira & Rita
Hello Ira and Rita, Her immune system may have been depressed from the initial skin infection which caused her to be more susceptible to problems such as a bowel infection, heavy metal poisoning or other diseases. I am sorry that you lost her. Rob

Daryl Gagliano from Colorado Springs, CO asks: I am very new to finches- for the past year I've been working with them, and have a mix of gouldians, zebras, cordon blues, societies, canaries, orange cheek waxbills, etc. I have an 'indoor aviary' of sorts, where an entire room is basically set up as one big cage with perches around the perimeter of the room and actual cages within the room that remain open so the birds can fly in and out. I will open the windows for a fresh air, and maintain a heater so the room temp is approx. 80 degrees. My question is, is it possible for my birds to contract air sac mites? Is this an illness that I should routinely do some preventative care on? I just ordered your Health Program, and am looking forward to learning more about how to care for these beautiful babes! Thanks! DG
Hello Daryl, If any of your birds are currently carrying any form of the air-sac mites (nymphs or adults) then yes, your other birds can become infected. I recommend treating for air-sac mites for 2 consecutive days every 3 months during the cooler months of the year and for 2 days every month during the warmer times of the year. However if you are keeping your aviary room at 80 degrees years round, then I would recommend the warmer season treatments of every month. All the Best, Rob

Mike from Illinois asks: Hello Dr. Rob, I'm hoping you can help me out. About 2 years ago I began raising gouldian finches. I have 5 each males and females, none of which are related. The first year, eleven babies were successfully raised with no deaths (although less than half of the fertile eggs hatched while the majority died in the shell). However, something worse has happened this year. This past summer, only two of ten babies lived. The eight died about 35 - 40 days after hatching. Currently, I have three separate nests with gouldians babies and they are experiencing the same problems as those that died. Here are the symptoms - the babies don't leave the nest until around day 28 - 30. When they do, none stand on a perch, but instead go to the floor of the cage and most seem to have a difficult time moving or standing on their right leg. Additional background information - The birds affected now are all from different parents from the ones that died this past summer. The nests are in three separate cages in three separate areas. Also, all are being fostered by three pair of society finches. I provide seed, millet, Lafaber's premium diet food and Quiko egg food daily. The past three or four days I have also been mixing bee pollen and breeder's blend in the egg food. I have seen a slight improvement in a few babies since I started this (two of the nine babies sit on a perch for short periods of time). I also started mixing Amtyl in their water the past three days. For safe measure, I also applied Scatt to the societies a few months ago. Cages are cleaned regularly, temperature around 72 degrees, 6 - 8 hours of direct/indirect sunlight. Sorry for the rambling, I want to provide as much information as possible. Any suggestions what the problem could be and how I can cure the current babies and prevent this from happening with future babies? The most puzzling part is the common symptom of right leg problems. Thank you in advance for your help. If anyone else has any suggestions or experienced the same thing, please feel free to email me at Mike
Hello Mike, The problems you are describing sound to me like Ornithosis. You can do a 3 day trial treatment with my Doxycycline/Megamix cocktail to see if Ornithosis is the problem. Contact Laraine for further details. The problem may also be a kidney infection causing the leg problem or a fungal infection. You really need a pathology study by an avian vet. All the Best, Rob

Coral from Oregon asks: Hello again Dr. Rob, I realize you haven't responded to my first question, but I thought perhaps an update would be useful information in case you did. I took my budgie who was passing undigested seeds off of your supplements just in case he was reacting to something in them, and now I'm using the Morning Bird supplements. I wanted to add, however, that your regime made a visible improvement in all my birds in every other regard, and I was reluctant to take him off of it. I should also add that he has had a sensitive system since I got him a year ago, so I did not mean to insinuate that your supplements were harmful at all, as I believe their quality is actually some of the best I've ever encountered. When I first acquired him a year ago, he had a sneezing problem even though all his tests came out negative, and it was later concluded that he probably had allergies since the sneezing cleared up on its own by moving him to a different part of the house. As of now he's still passing undigested seed, but with *much* less frequency and severity as before. I do not know if he has a liver toxicity issue that will crop up regardless of any supplement I use, or if it's something completely unrelated to supplementation, since all the tests I described in my first question that my vet did came out negative. I'm quite perplexed, as all the diseases I researched online that list passing undigested seed in the droppings as a symptom (like PDD and Megabacteria) usually are accompanied by other very severe symptoms, of which he has none. During the first month or two that he exhibited this troubling symptom, he only had a few days where he had poor posture, less vocalization, cold feet and he even vomited once....but that was when he was passing seeds almost every other day. I've had a lot of experience treating sick birds over the past decade, and his symptoms were relatively mild and they rectified themselves quickly, and he has rarely had any other symptoms of that nature since (and I monitor him very closely). His weight has been consistent (41g) as I've been weighing him over the past few months, his energy and vocalization has remained relatively unchanged since the initial period. In fact, I'd say he's one of my more energetic and vibrant birds. Any insight or advice you might have would be invaluable, since I cannot imagine it's good for him to be passing seeds at all, and everything up to now has only given me vague inclinations as to the cause. Oh and by the way, his diet consists of a seed mixture (hulled millet, hulled buckwheat, flax seed, rolled oats, and sunflower seeds...all organic), organic romaine lettuce, & organic kamut and buckwheat sprouts, as well as the herb salad offered on this site. I add to the seed the supplementation already mentioned. (Sorry such a long post!) Thanks again.
Hello Coral, I am sorry for the delay in responding to your inquiry about your Budgie. I agree with you that your fella may have an allergy related to something in the TurboBooster, ePowder or F-Vite. I would suggest that your Budgerigar has a proventriculus problem. I see many Budgerigars with the symptoms you described and nearly every case is Megabacteria induced permanent damage to the proventriculus. This in turn predisposes to allergies that may be otherwise mild in a healthy bird. I suggest that perhaps you could start again with just the TurboBooster, then add each of the other products, one at a time, to see what your bird is allergic to. Then we can at least get an idea of where to go next. Keep in touch. All the Best, Rob

Claudia from Orange Park, FL asks: Hi, I have a young SF Yellow Gould male that has shown signs of discomfort in his right ankle. At first there was no swelling present and after about 2 weeks his ankle swelled up. I have him in a hospital cage and was hand-feeding him since he had gotten extremely thin. I put him on Amtyl and Guardian Angel and he seemed to perk up a bit and his swelling was slightly reduced. After 7 days on Amtyl I took him off and he is really not any better. In fact he is laying on the bottom of the cage most of the day as he can't seem to bare any weight on the bad foot. He nibbles on food here and there. I still feed him with Survive. His ankle doesn't look broken and took 2 weeks to swell up. Could it be Gout? Any other ideas on what to do? Thank you, Claudia
Hello Claudia, I'm afraid that it would be impossible for me to diagnose the problem without actually seeing him and possibly labratory testing. My suggestion would be to have him seen by an avian vet. All the Best, Rob