Asian Bird Flu and Keeping Pet Bird.

   

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Bird flu (avian influenza) and keeping birds

 

Well, I guest you have read about the bird flu fact (bird flu symtoms) and some guidelines to prevent it. Based on the information (actually the information is the general information which target general public) it is ask us to stay away from birds. However, for bird keeper and bird breeder like me and many of you who keep pet bird, I don’t think we can do that. For me my birds is like some of my family members, (I know that I keep them in cage which is different with my other family members J but my life use to have birds around and I think I will feel something missing if I didn’t have them around.

 

Since Malaysia is one of the countries which have neighbour countries that have bird flu, we should take extra precautions for the bird flu diseases. As far as I know at the time I write this, Malaysia still free from this diseases. There are one isolated case which is happen some time ago which involve fighting cock (which is believed to be from some neighbour country) however, it has been settle and with stricker rules from the Veterinary department, there are no more cases including malaysia. I also observed that most of the case will link to chicken or fighting cock or some poultry. It is less likely that bird flu disease can go to pet bird.

 

In malaysia cases, here is some reason why I believed that keeping pet bird is still safe.

1.  Most pet bird will not get in touch with other bird.

                In many places and in Malaysia especially, I think pet bird is keep in the house and less likely that the bird will have any contact with outside birds. Bird flu virus is a virus which they need some host to bring them from one place to another place or to another host. With great care, it is very less likely that the virus can get in touch with our pet bird. However, if you keep your bird outside and there are some other bird that come to your cage or aviary, you will need to do some extra step to prevent this from keep happening. Other than birds flu virus, wild bird can become host for many other disease which some of the disease can harm you also.

 

2. Pet bird is kept in clean environment.

                Most of the bird owner will keep their bird in clean and healthy environment. This actually will create less possibilities for diseases. During this time, I think pet bird owner should clean the cage more often and don’t let bird facet accumulated below the cage. Cleaner cage and food utensils will prevent to birds from many diseases and will help the bird to stay healthy.

 

3. Pet bird normally is not allowed to go outside the house

                Most of the pet bird will not allowed their bird out from their house especially during this diseases. This will cut lots of chanel which the virus may come from. Remember that bird flu diseases is from a virus, only the virus can course the disease. If you don’t let your bird have the virus, your bird will be safe.

 

4.  Strict import exsport regulation implied by government.

                I know that we as a bird keeper cannot rely only to this factor. However, this regulation is also can give us some peace of mind that the new bird stock will not come to our country easily. As I note earlier, only the virus can course bird flu diseases. This regulation can be one other formula that prevent our bird to get the virus.

 

Well, I already listed some of the reason why I believed pet bird keeper still safe from the bird flu diseases. However, we should bear in mind that things may change and actually the biggest fear of bird flu is if it change to be an epidemic disease which transfer from a human to another human. Many people also fear that if the bird flu virus have develop and can transfer from human to human  (as now the virus need to be in avian species then get to human) the 1918 pandemic will repeat – which kill millions of people around the world. Lets hope that this will not happen.

 

I also would like to share some useful tip which you can use to prevent your bird from getting bird flu virus and also some other diseases.

1.  Do not add any new stock during this period.

Adding the new stock to your current stock will increase the probality of any new virus or bacteria to you current stock. Keep in mind that some bird will never show any sign of sickness even they have the virus inside their body. Some species of bird will tolerate well with some virus or bacteria and they become only host. The virus or backteria will live inside their body and can transfer to other bird that the host come into contact with.

 

2. Buy only from reputable breeder or seller.

                I think you have heard many time about this from me…sorry about that, I just can’t help it…hehe.. a reputable breeder or seller will have healthy stock and this will make us have a peace of mind for the bird. A reputable breeder will keep their bird healthy in a good environment. Their stock is lively and not just crampt into some small cage with hundreds of indicidual inside. However, the price is definitely higher compared to some other shop or seller.

 

3.  Do not allowed other unwanted visitor to contact with our pet bird.

This is very important. Some of the animals can bring unwanted diseases that can transfer to our bird and later from our bird to us. Therefore, if we can cut down the unnecessary ‘relationship’, our bird will be safe and they will not transfer any virus to us later on.

 

4.  Always wash your hand after contact with the bird facet.

                Since we need to clean our bird cage very frequent, it is normal for us to contact with the bird facet or the dust. My advice is wash your hand, clean your body (take bath) and change your shirt if necessary after clean the cage. Clean and healthy behaviour can prevent lots of diseases.

 

5. Make sure your bird cage always clean.

                If we always clean our bird cage, our bird will become healthy and it will give good impact to our health also. Based on Malaysia Bird Forum, Adfoo, one of the moderator advice that you can use vinegar to clean the cage. Vinegar will able to kill gems and bacteria which may live at the bird cage.

 

Okay, I think that is for now. I will try to give some more later. By the way, if you want to know more about the news about bird flu in Malaysia or want to discuss more about the diseases about bird, you can always come to Malaysia Bird Forum. Register as a member (FREE) and post your opinion or question over the suitable topic. The members and especially moderators are very friendly and have good deals of knowledge about keeping birds.

 

 



Cockatiel Books and Video Tapes from Avian Publications

The Complete Pet Bird Owner's Handbook (Revised Edition) by Dr. Gary A. Gallerstein

Avian Medicine: Principles and Application (Abridged Edition) by Dr. Branson Ritchie, Dr. Greg Harrison, Linda Harrison & Dr. Donald W. Zantop

 

 

 

Updated:
5 December 2005


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