Avian vet talks about effective disinfection, worming and seed sprouting. PART IV

April 7th, 2015 | by LubosTomiska
Avian vet talks about effective disinfection, worming and seed sprouting. PART IV

Some breeders give garlic to birds for worming. What is your opinion about this?

I don’t have any strict opinion about this. I think that garlic is not dangerous fo birds so we can add it to water or food. But apply it for worming? Maybe it can work as repellent for worms but to my mind it won’t kill them. You would have to give so much garlic to the bird that it can‘t survive then. Even recommended cure doesn’t work well always. So garlic is not an effective supplement for worming but it can have some positive impact on health of the bird.

When we talk about worming. How shall we get rid of worms?

Firstly, you need to find out what worms are in your bird.

And shall breeders worm their birds preventively?

I recommend regular worming in australian parrots including Inka Cockatoo, Galah Cockatoo, Neophema and other smaller species. Those I would worm three times a year. Life cycle of the roundworm is very short, it takes just 6-8 weeks to grow from the egg to a sexual mature adult. There is also another issue – when a bird eats a large amount of worm eggs at a time then larvae can plug the intestinal system. That’s why I don’t hesitate about worming of australian parrots.

We should apply the medicine not to water as you need to measure the dose well. If you put it to water then it’s enough when just one bird doesn’t drink much day, all other birds in the aviary will get rid of worms but this single individual will spread parasites the next day. Sometimes it can be very difficult to cure your birds entirely.

To my mind, we very often overestimate amount of parasites comming from the wild birds. I made my own experiment when I took samples of feces from different facilities. Then I had to also sacrifice some wild doves which were shot by an air gun so we could dissect them. My results are clear – roundworms have not been found in a single wild bird.


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Roundworm (c) Joel Mills. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.


Do you think that roundworms represent the most dangerous worms for parrots?

I remember a few patients with tapeworms as well. But this stop with the end of imports. However, sometimes we can still find them in the bird. They are very long-lived and can live for 8-10 years. But the most frequent worms we can face in aviculture are roundworms and capillarias, coccidias are very rare. I recommend to take a sample of mixed feces twice or three times a year and let them test. It’s cheap examination. If there are no eggs or worms in the sample then it’s useless to cure the birds.

How often shall we disinfect our aviaries? Some breeders clean their aviaries constantly, others do this twice a year. Somebody believes that strict hygiene is not good for birds because they have weak immune system then.

It’s necessary to distinguish disinfection and mechanical cleaning. We have to remove feces and other dirts regularly. We can do this every two weeks and birds will get used to it easily. In my facility we scrape dirts off and then use hoover without any problem. Birds don’t seem disturbed. Then disinfection time comes. We can use for example F10 which kills bacteria, viruses and moulds as well. However, several condition so the disifenction is effective, especially the time of exposure.

Another important thing is the surface which we disinfect. If you spray F10 on a perch then you did nothing for the health of your birds because the feces and other dirts of the wood prevent the disinfection to go through. On the other hand, when you disifenct a clean floor tile and let the disinfection work for 20 minutes then it’s an effective way. If parasites stay in feces or in wood then disifenction can’t reach them or can but in small dosage so the result is that bacteria will get resistent against this disease.


voliéry 5

Stainless feeder. (c) Jan Potucek


So then any disinfection can’t help?

When bacteria get resistent against your disinfection then it can be very difficult to get rid of it. On the other hand, don’t forget that bacteria can have positive effects on our health as well! Sometimes we need them so it’s not good to keep everything sterile. I recommend to use disinfection only if we have some disease in our facility otherwise hot water is enough.

I only recommend regular using of disinfection in sprouting of seeds.

And what product do you use for this?

I won’t say the commercial name but the name of the effective agent is chlorhexidine. It doesn’t kill bacteria and moulds, it just deactivates them so they can’t reproduce. You have to be really careful when sprouting or soaking seeds because bacteria or mould infections can spread easily then.

And then we deal with long-term issues or it’s more acute?

Mostly it’s acute because moulds start producing toxins. That’s much worse than infection because birds get poisoned and then we can’t provide any medicine.

What is best way to sprout seeds?

I can’t say that there is only one perfect procedure. There are so many methods which breeders use. Very important thing is to prevent bacterial proliferation in seeds. When seeds are still in water then it’s okay but immediately after you strain it can be a problem.


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Mixture of sprouted seeds. (c) Navaneeth Krishnan S. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.


So I take the sieve and …?

Yes, you have to adjust the size of the sieve to the amount of seeds. It’s necessary to remove the mucous biolfim from seeds because that’s the place where bacteria hide.

Is it better to soak or to sprout seeds?

As for nutrional value, it’s much better to sprout but soaked seeds are safer for the health of birds.

And shall I add disinfection to water for rinsing or for soaking?

I think the best way is to add the disinfection to water when seeds are soaking. There are also UV lamps which represent an effective way how to destroy all the pathogens.

One more question, what seeds are best to be sprouted? Sometimes I realize that in mixtures there is corn and mungo together because corn takes too long to sprout however mungo is sprouted immediately. Are there any groups of seeds which we shall sprout together?

If you want to sprout all seeds in the mixture then you have to find appropriate seeds which take similar time to be sprouted. However, I don’t think it’s necessary. Birds can eat soaked seeds also.


Title photo:  (c) Jan Potucek



  1. Pingback: Discussion about the diet for parrots with the avian vet. Shall we use seeds or pellets? PART V | Parrots Daily News

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