Seeking Advice for Sick Finch

Is your finch sick or not well? Find out why.
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Lenore
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Posts: 3
Joined: 30 Apr 2020, 06:19
Location: United States

Hello!

My zebra finch hen is sick and I'm not sure how to help her. It started 3 weeks ago when she was having trouble laying eggs. She did manage to lay a couple of eggs, so I thought she was going to recover but symptoms persist. She has extra wet droppings and a dirty, bald butt. Her eating, drinking, flying, cleaning activities are all normal but she is more agitated/uncomfortable and sleepy than usual. She laid an egg yesterday or the day before and I haven't noticed in the past few days if she's been struggling to lay, though this may still be an issue. The male that shares her cage is showing no symptoms. He's doing great.

I have oxytetracycline powder that I could add to their water if needed, plus probiotic powder for poultry that I could follow up with...but I'm not sure if this would help.

I would be so grateful for any advice!
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Rod_L
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Joined: 05 Mar 2018, 15:30
Location: Mandurah WA

Wet droppings and a dirty butt are common symptoms of a cold.

Keep the birds warm (30-35C) and dry but have plenty of water for them so they don't become dehydrated.
Make sure there are no cold draughts blowing over their cage, especially at night.

Make sure they have clean water, a good seed mix, cuttlebone, mineral grit and a vitamin supplement every day. They also need green feed every day, and preferably green grass seeds. Make sure any plant matter is free of chemicals like pesticides or herbicides.

If there's no improvement after a couple of days of warmth, maybe contact a bird vet and get them to check her poop for bacteria and parasites. Normally they come good after a few days in a warm environment.

If she does improve after a couple of days, keep her warm for at least 2 weeks after she is better, just to let her recover properly.

Make sure the birds get plenty of exercise to help their overall health and to help prevent egg binding. I doubt this has anything to do with egg binding but they need exercise every day.
death to all cats & ants
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Lenore
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Joined: 30 Apr 2020, 06:19
Location: United States

Thanks, Rod!

I really appreciate your advice.

I've not been using a vitamin supplement. Good idea. By green feed, do you mean something like lettuce? I do feed them some form of leafy green every day but green grass seeds are new to me! I'll look for some.

I do provide all of the other conditions you recommend and she's been sick now for a few weeks. I think I should have her poop checked by a vet as you suggested.

She does seem particularly agitated about her butt! She's continually and aggressively grooming that area and has plucked out all of the feathers. But she laid an egg yesterday. So I guess it couldn't be an issue of egg binding. Perhaps it's just itchy and sore to have such a dirty butt.

Thank you!
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finchbreeder
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Plant a little of your bird seed in pots every 3 or 4 days for a couple of weeks. This makes the best possible greens for finches when it seeds. Lettuce has a very high water content, and is not really worth using unless you have nothing else. And definately not suitable for a bird that already has loose droppings. It is even possible that she is getting too much greens. As some birds, like some kids, don't know when too much of a good thing is too much.
So while I don;t suggest not giving greens, cut back to no more than a teaspoon full per day for a week or 2 till she settles down.
LML
LML
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Rod_L
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Joined: 05 Mar 2018, 15:30
Location: Mandurah WA

As Finchbreeder said, growing your own green seeds is easy to do and the safest way to get them. The following link has information on growing your own green seed.
viewtopic.php?f=84&t=21732&p=188305#p188305

If you have a large property you might get grasses going to seed and you can collect these and give them to the birds.

If you see green grass seeds in the neighbourhood, be careful about using them because most councils and a lot of people spray them with herbicide, which will kill the birds if they eat contaminated seed.

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Other forms of green feed include dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and silverbeet. These are better than lettuce because they have less water and more nutrients. They are also meant to be good for people but I reckon they taste like grass :(

You can offer the birds bits of fruit too. Try apple, pears, plums, peaches, apricots, rockmelon, watermelon, etc. Some finches will try oranges or mandarins but most ignore it. Canaries will eat citrus.

If you feed fruit, only put a small bit in the cage and remove it each day. But don't offer much until you work out why she has a runny bum.

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You could remove all green feed for a couple of days and see if that helps with her mucky bum. If it doesn't then she has a health issue.
death to all cats & ants
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Lenore
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Joined: 30 Apr 2020, 06:19
Location: United States

Thanks for your advice, Finchbreeder and Rod. I had a potted plant next to their cage for a while and seeds would get into the soil and sprout. When I let the finches out for their daily exercise, they'd eat the sprouts. I will put a plant next to their cage again! And, I love the idea of growing more for them. I appreciate the link.
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