Quarantine for Your Newest Bird - - - by Liz Davies (aka "Mom")


I was in my mid-twenties and my little flock had grown (from my  first two zebra finches) to include a canary and four other exotic finches.  I was very involved with my seven little friends – and found them fairly easy to care for.  So when a local pet store had a special “free cage with a parakeet” sale, it was pretty hard to resist.  I went to the store for bird seed and came back with a cute blue budgie and dreams of taming him.

Within a couple of days, the budgie stopped eating and then died.  By the end of the week, almost all of my birds were dead.  There was no such thing as an avian vet where I lived then, so I will never know what it was that killed them.  But I learned a very, very tough lesson about quarantine.

Please learn from my ignorance.

When adding birds to an existing flock, assume that the new bird has an as-yet-undetected disease.  Keep the new bird away from the others, wash your hands after handling them, and so on.  Have the new bird checked by an avian veterinarian and tested for disease.  Don’t allow close contact with your other birds until you have the test results back and you’ve had adequate time to observe the bird and ensure that communicable disease will not be an issue.

The recommended length of the quarantine recommended is different depending on who you talk to.  Some say that 30 days is adequate, others 90.  I believe that where the bird comes from is a factor to consider; I would be much more conservative with a bird bought at a pet store or bird fair than one I obtained direct from a breeder.  Perhaps the best advice here is to recommend a strict quarantine at the beginning and discuss this with your avian vet when you take your bird for its first exam.