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Cross-posted from The Linnie Forum Articles, originally by: Julea

I get asked the question; "But is quarantine really necessary?" almost daily and the answer is ABSOLUTELY!

Ouarantine is essential for the health of your birds. I'm amazed however at the high number of people who do not quarantine or don't have a clue to what quarantine is. Those who do not practice quarantine are playing Russian Roulette with their birds health and lives. It is no longer a matter of IF my birds get sick , but WHEN.

People will get away with lax quarantine procedures or skipping the practice altogether for years but eventually, it will catch up with them. Because their birds do not show signs of illness immediately, the person feels his birds are healthy. Then when a disease suddenly runs through his flock killing most of his birds he shakes his head and says; "I can't imagine what could have happened."

Another misconception is that one only needs to quarantine Avairy birds. Pet birds must also be quarantined wheather inside or outside.

The ideal quarantine situation is to keep your new bird(s) in a different building from your existing flock because many diseases are airborn and can travel from room to room through heater vents and air ducts. However this is not feasible for most bird owners so the best we can do is house our new bird(s) in a separate cage, in a separate room with absolutely NO contact with your existing flock for a period of 30~45 days. This is the amount of time it takes for illness to show up in the new bird.

Birds are very good at hiding illness as they don't want to appear to be a weak link to their other flock members or to predators. It is a survival instinct. In the wild birds are food for many animals if it appears ill it will attract many predators and flock members may pick on a sick bird or chase him from the flock, so he will attempt to act normal for as long as he can. Just because you don't see signs of illness in your new bird or even in your existing flock right away doesn't mean they are not ill. Usually by the time you can visually detect signs of illness in your bird he is already very sick.

It is every bird owners responsibility to keep his birds safe...it is every bird owners responsibility to quarantine for your birds health and well being. I often hear the excuse of not having an extra cage or the money to purchase one. To that excuse I would advise the person to wait until they do before getting another bird. I also shake my head and wonder if they can't afford a cage for quarantine purposes how do they expect to pay the hefty vet bills when their birds become ill due to their irresponsible practices.

Here are some quarantine Do's and Don'ts

DO:

1. Place your new birds in a separate cage and a separate room from your exiting flock

2. Complete quarantine... 30-45 days at least, 60~90 days at most ( a couple of days or weeks just doesn't cut it and is not a good quarantine period)

3. Wash your hands before and after handling any of your birds or their things.

DON'T :

1. Break quarantine for any reason and do not cut it short. The minute you allow ANY contact between your new bird(s) and your existing flock you have broken quarantine and have placed ALL of your birds at risk! So wait on pictures with the whole flock et.. until quarantine is complete. None of this , "well I just let them visit for a few minutes then put them back in their own cages."

2. Keep your new bird(s) in the same room with your existing flock and do not put their cages side by side. This is NOT quarantine.

3. use your bathroom for a quarantine room unless you absolutely have no other choice. Bathrooms are breeding grounds for bacteria plus they are high traffic areas.

4. Get another bird before you have the necessary quarantine set up. Don't get another bird then make excuses for why you can't quarantine.

5. Choose to not quarantine out of inconvience impatience, or laziness. This can kill your birds!


Be responsible bird owners...keep your birds safe...QUARANTINE!
Thank you!
 

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I would just like to add a personal experience on this topic. My vet recommended a friend for my budgie Sugar, who seemed very depressed. So I bought another budgie and thanks to info I read on a forum (actually it was TalkBudgies) I knew to quarantine. After a few days I could tell the bird was sick. I took her to the vet and she had a bacteria that is spread through her feces. Sadly this little one did not make it but thank goodness her feces never came in contact with my sweet little Sugar.
 

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I have an odd situation, considering the comment about another building being ideal. I got a pair of budgies from someone who had them for years and there were no other animals. Essentially a quarantine, you would think.

I quarantined anyway, considering one of the birds seemed a little off, it was definitely impetus. After 5 weeks this one died (it had been treated and I had taken it to the vet the day after I got it.) I felt impelled to get an autopsy even though the vet did not suggest it and there seemed to be a good explanation for the death. It turns out that it may have had PDD! I am waiting for the results and the second bird is staying in quarantine until those results come back and if the result is positive it will be tested and possibly one of the other birds I already had. I may have it tested anyway, just for peace of mind.
 

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YES! There is no question. It is essential to keep a new bird separate from the flock until there is no doubt that it is free from any illness. I am very reluctant to bring any new bird into my flock now because I don't want my birds to catch anything. I am more than willing to quarantine to be sure.
 
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