By Gina Cioli/BowTie Studio/Courtesy Nick Morris
When you bring a new pet bird into the home, following the quarantine program as assigned by your avian veterinarian. Quarantine can help save your current pet bird flock if the new bird has a disease or illness.
Quarantine is the isolation of a person or animal in order to prevent the spread of a contagious disease. In recent years, people were quarantined to prevent the spread of SARS, the avian flu and the swine flu. Quarantine has been used to decrease and nearly eradicate some dangerous diseases like typhoid fever, the plague, smallpox and tuberculosis. By keeping infected individuals from coming into contact with others, widespread outbreak can be prevented.
So what does any of this have to do with pet birds? Quarantine is very important when bringing a new pet bird into your home if you have other pet birds. Birds hide illnesses very well, which means that even if your new pet bird looks healthy, it might carry a disease that could infect the rest of your pet bird flock. By keeping your pet bird isolated, you can watch it for signs of illness and make sure that the bird really is as healthy as it looks before you introduce the bird to your other birds. Most avian veterinarians recommend a quarantine period of at least 30 days.
To quarantine a new pet bird, keep it isolated from your other pet birds by housing it in a different room, preferably one with a separate airspace. Most veterinarians recommend feeding and interacting with your established pet bird(s) first, then feeding and interacting with your new pet bird second. The less contact your pet birds have with the new pet bird during the quarantine period, the better, which means no sharing toys or food. It also means a lot of disinfecting and hand-washing before you touch your other pet birds, and changing your clothes and shoes after handling the new pet bird. Remember, your established pet bird(s) should not be exposed to anything that your new pet bird comes in contact with.
Before the quarantine process is finished, your avian veterinarian may provide vaccines or boosters for your new pet bird. Your pet bird should be given a clean bill of health from your avian veterinarian before the quarantine process ends.
In an ideal quarantine situation, absolutely nothing that touched your new bird would be allowed to touch any of your other birds, including air! This type of situation might seem a lot like a science fiction movie, with pet bird caretakers wearing special clothing and showering before coming into contact with any other birds, but quarantine is not something to take lightly. Your goal is to minimize the exposure until you’re sure your new pet bird is ready to become a healthy member of your pet bird flock. Consult with your avian veterinarian on a safe quarantine program for your new bird.
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