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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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Ismael from Springfield, IL asks: Dr Rob: I have a blue Gouldian who was in very good health. However, now he is ill. He still eats, but then perches and fluffs his feathers and sticks his head under his wing. He can still fly, but with difficulty. "Blue" seems disoriented. He will sit perched and twist his head, looking upside down, and side to side. He seems to have lost his energy. He will not fly around his cage much, and does not take any more baths. He doesn't sing any more. The odd thing he does now is just sitting and twisting his head as if he is disoriented. Blue is acting as if he has lost his sight or hearing. My second question is that I have a younger female. She will be 1 year old in June. She has never bred. Can she lay eggs without a male? She was very ill, we separated her, and observed her eating a great deal of charcoal. The next day we found the remnants of an egg, shell fragments and yolk. My third question is, we have a male Gouldian who hatched and raised successfully, but the last two seasons, he threw the babies out of the nest. What can we do to stop this behavior? I have been breeding Gouldians for over seven years, but each pair brings new and different challanges. I am hand feeding one of the discarded babies. He is five days old. Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Hello Ismael, I will try to answer your questions in the order you asked them. It definitely sound like your blue-back Gouldian is suffering from the "twirling syndrome". Unfortunately there is no cure for this syndrome. It usually starts during times of stress, but once it starts there is nothing to do but keep the bird as happy and healthy as possible. Yes, many times hens will lay eggs even though they do not have a mate. Your hen was egg-bound during the time she was ill. You are very lucky that she was eventually able to pass the egg without assistance. You need to beef up her diet, especially the vitamin and calcium components. The behavior of pitching their babies is not unusual in Gouldians or most finches for that matter if they do not have a sufficient diet that provides the proper energy for breeding. While no one knows exactly why it happens, my suggestion would be to get the birds onto my Health Programmes. This will provide them energy and nutrition sufficient to breed successfully and raise their own babies. All the Best, Rob.

Linda Hughes from Rhome, Texas asks: I have two questions for you. I am stumped. One of my breeder hen canaries is open mouth breathing. I Scatted her about one month ago and I use your S76 every quarter. I medicated her with Worm Out Gel two weeks ago, but she is still breathing this way. She is young or else she probably would have already died. What could this be? Also I have several bald headed gouldians in my natural flight. We caught every bird in the flight (100) about one month ago and Scatted them. I have sprayed the Avian Liquid Liquidator a couple of months ago and they also get the S76 in their water quarterly. Got any ideas? Linda Hughes
Hello Linda, Your Canary hen could be anxious being alone. Also check her abdomen for swelling of any kind. Bald headed Goulds will also respond to Ioford. The baldness may be a delayed moult due to time of birth or a slight nutritional imbalance. I would suggest waiting until after the annual moult before passing an opinion as to the cause, but start Ioford and the Health Programme now, if you haven't already. All the Best, Rob

Evi Floridi from Greece asks: Hello, Dr Rob, its been 3 weeks, my canarie has an infection in her eye. She can't open it and it’s big and very infected. Around the eye there is a red and yellow color. I give to her an antibiotic in the water and a cream with cortizone, but without an important result. I appreciate your help
Hello Evi, This is a serious inspissated sinus infection that needs veterinary attention but may not resolve. I am very sorry. I wish you All the Best, Rob

Tracy Tuttle from New York asks: Hope you can advise. I have a wonderful canary and have bred finches successfully for years. My canary has recently developed bumblefoot. Per vet's instructions, I am giving him 2 cc's of a sulfa antibiotic orally twice daily. I have excellent cage hygiene and am flummoxed as to how he contracted this. We have removed his leg band, and I will change out all his perches to varying width branches tomorrow. Any suggestions on how I might further help my little guy. I am most willing to do whatever it takes. Thank you for your time and attention.
Hello Tracy, Bumblefoot responds better to penicillin antibiotics. Additionally wrap your perches to soften it with VETWRAP PRODUCT. Your vet should have this bandage. Bumblefoot is also a process of nutritional deficiency and inactivity, hard perches, obesity, etc. THE PET BIRD CANARY PROGRAMME in my Canary Health book would help with recovery and prevent the problem recurring. IT MAY TAKE UP TO 3 MONTHS TO GET BETTER. Good luck, Rob

Ismael from Springfield, IL asks: Doc, wonder if you can help! I have a male Forbes that has been acting really odd. The last two weeks, eats well, lots of room to fly, sleeps well, but about 3 weeks ago I happened to notice he sits on the perch with spread legs. It looks cute but I don't think it's normal. He has a hard time to keep his balance. Every time he flies from branch to branch, he looks to me like he is hurt on one of his legs, but I don't see any signs. It's hard to know, he looks ok. He takes his time to fly. I've been working on these birds for sometime but not many people are into breeding Forbes, so not many out there to ask questions. He looks fine but I know he is not ok! The female is very active but not him, because he was very active, but not anymore. Diet is very healthy, the males are known to be over weight sometimes, but that’s not the case. Somebody told me he could be a crossbreed, from a blue head parrot to a Forbes. Well I hope I get some help because I don't want to see my bird sick. Once again thanks for all your help.
Hello Ismael, A spread leg stance may be an abdominal tumor or pain or weakness from an underlying illness. You will need to examine this area first. Also think of possibly a thrush infection. All the Best, Rob

Sue from Australia asks: I have a pair of Gouldian Finches. This evening the cat managed to grasp the male's wing with his paw. The wing is at an angle and was bleeding slightly. I have taped his wing to his body and placed him in a small box with soft tissues. I would like to know his chances of surviving. I am not worried if he won't fly again, we will still care for him regardless, breeding is not a primary goal, but will he still be able to perch and live normally? Will the shock of it kill him? How long will it take to heal? They are both beautiful, I love their beautiful whistle. I maintain them daily with clean water and food. They had got to the stage of landing on my hand. They have become a part of the family in their little spot, every member stops constantly to whistle back to them. I pray he survives. Hope you can answer my questions.. Thanks in advance. Sue.
Hello Susan, This bird needs an antibiotic injection to protect against infection. Keep him nice and warm for three days. If he makes it through this difficult period, a full recovery is most likely. Turbobooster, e-Powder and F-Vite on the seed will also help to accelerate recovery. All the best! Rob

Kristine from New Hampshire asks: Hi Dr. Rob, I just acquired a pair of gouldian finches today and I just got them home and all set up and every thing seems to be going well. Although I did notice that the male gouldian has small marble sized scab looking thing where his tail feathers connect with his body? he doesn't appear to be sick. What is this and how do I make him better? Thank you!
Hello Kristine, What you have described may be a preen gland abscess. Rob

Rocco Cicirello from Staten Island, New York asks: Hello Dr. Rob, I have a male red factor canary. He's on Zupreem pellet diet. A few weeks ago I tried Kaytee fruit blend pellets, [big mistake] Also, I put canthaxithin in his drinking water, because he's molting. Then a short time later I noticed sticky saliva coming from his mouth, and he was trying to regurgitate. A vet friend said it could be a fungus, or bacteria infection, caused by the sugar on the Kaytee or the bacteria from the water. For the past week I put him on probiotics in the water and his egg food. He seems to be getting better. What's your opinion? thank you.
Hello Rocco, It could be a Thrush problem or an irritant that has caused the salivation. Thrush can be diagnosed via a fecal examination under a microscope. Nystatin in the drinking water would be the drug of choice if this is the case. All the Best, Rob

Rocco Cicirello from Staten Island, New York asks: ROCCO CICIRELLO from STATEN ISLAND NEW YORK asks: Thanks again Dr. Rob for the quick response. You may think I'm a pain, but here's another question. This morning just a little sticky saliva came from his mouth. Being I can't see the vet till Monday, I was observing the bird all day, and no saliva was coming out, just in the morning. He's molting, but he was very active, and eating well. If he has Thrush won't the saliva continue all day, and he'll be lethargic. You also mentioned it could be an irritant from the high sugar content in the Kaytee fruit blend pellets, or the canthaxithin in his drinking water. What do you think? Thank you again
Hello Rocco, Your bird's situation appears to be more complicated than I originally thought. I suggest that you see your avian vet as soon as possible and have him test the saliva for possible causes. All the Best, Rob

Colette from Michigan asks: Hi Dr. Rob - Have read many questions asked of you but haven't seen my problem. I purchased two female canaries and didn't notice till I got home with them that their feet were a little swollen and scaley. What can I use to heal them or make them normal? Thanks for you help. CW
Hello Colette, Your 2 canaries may have one of few problems canaries get. 1. Tassle foot, treat with S76 2. Bumblefoot, look for ulcers on ball of feet and check perches. Often incorrect shaped perches or perches with sandpapaer on them will cause Bubblefoot. Treat with new perches. Soften perch with bandage known as vetwrap. KD foot baths. Especially helpful will be good vitamin supplements, eg. See my Moulting Health Programme in Canary Health Book. 3. Fine fibres can be caught around their feet. Check the cage for this type of matter, eg. incorrect nesting material. 4. Bacterial infection may be secondary to any of the above. These infections will look like ulcerated red areas on a swollen foot/feet. Treat with KD foot baths and MONITOR THEIR RESPONSE. My approach would be: 1. S76 treatment in drinking water and bath water for 2 consecutive days. THEN 2. KD baths daily for two weeks, then once a week 3. Vitamins, etc 4. Disinfect cage with KD weekly Goodluck, Rob