Feed on

When we were looking for baby birds, I selected one breeder because she bred white-faced cockatiels.  We visited the breeder’s home and the baby was not cuddly and was a little small but he was beautiful!  I became concerned, though, after looking at the condition of all the cages.  They were filthy.  The breeder had a variety of birds and none of the cages had been cleaned in at least a week and probably more like two.  The only good thing that I could say was that there was a variety of food accumulating on the cage bottoms including pellets.


I was worried about the filth and the small size of the cockatiel, but I thought that perhaps I was being too particular.  So I asked the breeder to test the cockatiel and I visited a different breeder.  The second breeder, Jennifer, had a very clean setup.


Then the baby from the first breeder came back positive with Chlamydia.  Chlamydia is highly contagious in birds (it’s not an STD like in people, Chlamydia simply refers to the bacteria, which is also known as psittacosis).  Even when you treat a bird for Chlamydia, the bird can become reinfected.  The first breeder said that she would treat the bird with some antibiotics that she had for treating crop infections in baby birds.  But Chlamydia is frequently transmitted in fecal matter and considering the dirty state of the house, there is no way that the bird would be safe.


I was already somewhat attached to the baby and I started thinking about all how if I didn’t take him he might wind up in a pet store.  But then I thought about how if something happened to Audrey, who is 21 years old and probably has a weaker immune system than a young bird, I would never forgive myself.  So I asked the second breeder to test the bird and he tested negative for a whole panel of diseases.  And that is how our family came together.

So when you decide to add a new bird to your family, please consider having the bird tested first.  Yes, the tests are as expensive as the cost of the smaller birds, but it’s worth protecting your flock.

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