Author: Katrina Coleman
"Aspergillosis: Is Your Bird At Risk?"
BirdTalk Magazine May 2008
Prevention is Key - Here are a few simple but critical preventative measures to include in your daily routine.
Change your bird's drinking water twice a day and anytime it has been contaminated in any way (e.g. bathed in it, dunked food in it), or accustom your bird to drinking from a water bottle.
Offer fresh food everyday.
Remove fresh produce after 4 hours.
Fresh air and exercise are very important, a lack of them can compromise the immune system.
Wash and disinfect cages, toys and perches weekly.
Provide good ventilation.
Provide clean bowls (stainless steel is preferable).
Prove extra nutrition to your breeder birds.
Make sure nesting material are clean and dry.
Eliminate poor ventilation, poor sanitation, dusty conditions and close confinement.
Place an air filter in the room.
Where to Look - A list of possible contaminates include:
peanuts (when offering peanuts, make sure they are de-shelled. The shell is a perfect place for aspergillosis to grow and can be risky.)
sunflower seeds, if their growing season was really wet or the seeds weren't harvested on time (in essence avoid sunflower seeds since there is no way to detect their history)
corn-cob bedding and other organic matter
wood bark (mulch)
the air during spring planting and fall harvesting on farms
construction sites where soil is being moved
damp nesting materials
potting soil and peat moss; don't transplant or plant when your birds are around
wet shavings or other litter
moldy parrot seed
a warm, humid environment, which can spread up the deterioration of nutrients in a parrot's food and increase the possibility of spores becoming rampant
Some Symptoms to be on the look out for include:
weight loss (especially if the bird appears to be eating well)
flaky or de-laminating beak
unstructured or frayed feathers
black-edged feathers on the outside of the wings
change in the pitch of voice
loss of voice
extreme change in behavior
Here are a few stressors you should be concerned about:
Spending much of the day in restricted isolation
prolonged antibiotic therapy
being a breeder bird (laying eggs and caring for the young)
aspiration as a baby
You can read more about Aspergillosis in these online articles:
Other tips to ensure your bird is living in a healthy environment:
Change the bottom liner every morning or night. Bacterial growth is very high there and it can effect your budgie's health.
Do a quick wipe down on the cage bars daily.
Wipe down droppings or produce on the cage as soon as
Be sure to completely clean and disinfect the cage and washable toys at least once a week.
Rotate toys around every 3-4 days.
Offer different types of veggies and fruits on different days.