Pox outbreak- Wild Bird feeder hygeine advice needed.. - Pigeon-Talk
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Bella_F Bella_F is offline
Posted 17th August 2010, 01:11 AM
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Pox outbreak- Wild Bird feeder hygeine advice needed..


I am wondering if anyone can offer me some advice regarding seeing some evidence of a pox outbreak amongst the birds that visit my backyard feeder? I live in AUstralia, so its the last fortnight of winter here. The climate is sub-tropical (winter temps of 25 degrees celcius). The spring and summer will be very hot and humid.

As far as I can tell, this hasn't spread yet, and I am very concerned about doing my best to stop it from infecting more birds via my own feeding activities. I'm just not sure what the best thing would be to do?

He is a picture of the diseased bird that I noticed this week:



I even have a name for him, since I've known him from the day he first left the nest in February. He's called `little face'. He is a the youngest of flock about 20 crows that visit here, and belongs to the dominant pair of crows (who own my yard), so he is here all the time basically. He's otherwise healthy and his feathers are very good for his age.

Is there anything I can put int he water, or should put in the feed to help limit the spread of disease to the other birds? At the moment they get wild bird seed, soaked dog kibble (since I noticed the pox this week), and fresh water daily. I understand that pox in wild birds is incurable, and highly contagious. If it becomes internal, the death from it is slow and very painful

I'd be grateful for any advice!
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doveone52 doveone52 is offline
Posted 17th August 2010, 05:02 AM
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Location: Chester, Va
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How awful! Those things on his feet look painful. Someone with more knowledge of crows should come along with a treatment plan. I hope he gets better and it doesn't spread to your birds.
Bella_F Bella_F is offline
Posted 17th August 2010, 02:24 PM
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Because he is wild, I cannot treat him; I can really only offer him & the other birds healthy food, safety, and water. Hopefully it will be enough to help him fight off infection, and prevent too much spread of disease. I sure wish I could dab those huge open wounds with iodine though! Poor little guy
 
garacari garacari is offline
Posted 17th August 2010, 03:10 PM
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Unfortunately, the short-term answer is to remove the feeder. Pox will spread very quickly at feeders. Remove them, make sure they are soaked in a bleach solution before they are used again.

Feeders are wonderful (I have a many) - but sometimes they can "kill with kindness."

I'm sorry for that little guy. But crows are tough birds and he'll probably pull through just fine!
Bella_F Bella_F is offline
Posted 17th August 2010, 03:22 PM
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Hi, I don't feed mine in a `feeder' as such; I spread the food out in different areas of my back yard lawn so the birds don't fight and so the smaller species of birds can eat too. So unfortunately I cannot bleach the grass. Do you think this is a bad practice?
garacari garacari is offline
Posted 17th August 2010, 03:57 PM
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Not in a normal situation. But since you've already seen the pox, I'd hold off for awhile. It's particulary contagious and birds in close contact are at risk.

I know how you feel. I had to shut down my hummingbird feeder for a week when I spotted a bird with pox. But better that than lots of sick birds!
Bella_F Bella_F is offline
Posted 17th August 2010, 05:52 PM
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Oh Hummingbirds! That must be awesome having them come around. What type do you get where you live? We don't get them here in Australia & I've always longed to see one some day!

Did closing down the feeder for a week seem to put an end to the pox outbreak?
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Jay3 Jay3 is offline
Posted 17th August 2010, 07:42 PM
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Unfortunately, without supportive care, the birds that do get the pox could very well die. So you hate to stop feeding them, but in feeding them, the pox can more easily spread. I'm so sorry this has happened. Please let us know how things go with the birds. Good luck.
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Bella_F Bella_F is offline
Posted 19th August 2010, 03:30 PM
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Hi Jay,

Thanks a lot for your support! I hope everything has been going well for you this summer; I know you care a lot about birds and always do your best for them.

Any idea how far along these pox lesions might be? I read that the external version of pox will spontaneously begin to heal after 4 weeks....these look like they might be getting towards the end of their cycle?
garacari garacari is offline
Posted 19th August 2010, 04:27 PM
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I live in Southern California. We get all sorts of hummingbirds: Anna's, Allen's, black chinned and rufous!
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Jay3 Jay3 is offline
Posted 19th August 2010, 05:11 PM
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Has he gotten any more lesions? After a month they should hopefully start to dry and fall off. Have you noticed any more birds with the disease? A mosquito, after feeding on a pox infected bird, can carry the disease and infect other birds for a month. I understand why you feed on the ground, and in different places, as it does spread them around the yard more. I use feeders, but still scatter feed on the ground for some of the ground feeders that prefer it that way. And I do have different feeding areas in the yard as you do. But if you could put out dishes or maybe trays in different areas, you could then bleach them to disinfect them every now and then. Also, any baths or water sources that they drink from should be bleached to kill the virus. But I'm sure you already know that. I hope his lesions will dry soon and begin to heal. Then to, the virus will live in the lesions that fall off for a long time. Please keep us updated as to his progress. And good luck. I know how upsetting this is for you.
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Jay3 Jay3 is offline
Posted 19th August 2010, 05:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garacari View Post
I live in Southern California. We get all sorts of hummingbirds: Anna's, Allen's, black chinned and rufous!
Well that must be wonderful.We're in New England, and only get the ruby throat. But they are pretty, and a lot of fun to watch. Such amazing little birds. We have a butterfly and hummingbird garden, and love to sit there at the end of the day and watch them chasing each other around. So cute.
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altgirl35 altgirl35 is offline
Posted 22nd August 2010, 02:12 PM
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i wouldn't stop feeding them either, he needs all the help he can get.
pox is somewhat species specific and could pass to other corvids.
i would try my best to trap the baby that way you can give him supportive care until the virus runs it's course and he will be out of the population while contagious.
if you did manage to capture him he may die from the stress of handling so it's a tough situation, but you may save all the others
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Jay3 Jay3 is offline
Posted 22nd August 2010, 02:31 PM
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I had meant that maybe the dishes should be used to feed, rather than on the ground, as you can clean them. I meant later on when the feeding is resumed. Not so sure they should keep feeding now, until this is cleared up. Sorry I wasn't clear in what I meant. I realize that the sick bird needs supportive care, but bringing so many birds together may not be such a great idea right now. Catching him if possible and helping him to get through this may be the best option for now.
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doveone52 doveone52 is offline
Posted 23rd August 2010, 06:56 AM
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I have hummers and goldfinches, too. Love those little guys! The gold finches dart and play all day on the feeders.
 

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