If Budgerigars catch colds diarrhoea may be a symptom-an added difficulty for the breeder who tries to diagnose his birds illness. The diarrhoea may truly mimic the symptoms of enteritis even with an "ordinary" cold. A bird with a cold may also sit puffed up on the cage floor like a bird with enteritis--its feathers loose and dull. Two remedies can help Budgerigars---and other birds-----with colds. One is bismuth-bicarbonate, the second is heat. Bismuth-bicarbonate is available from any drugstore. It is a white powder that should be mixed with the seed and fed to the bird. Premix the medication into small groats or oatmeal if birds are used to these foods. Use one teaspoonful of bismuth-bicarbonate per cup of groats or oatmeal and sprinkle some of this premix over the seed. Don't start sick birds on new foods, however. You don't want to upset their system further with indigestion. Birds that hull their seed should be given extra powder, because part of the medication will stick to the hulls. In such cases, use two small teaspoonfull in a cup of seed. Heat can have wondrous results for birds with colds. Put the ailing bird in a hospital cage and place it in a dark, warm spot, about 61-76 degrees F. If necessary, cover the cage with a cloth. Birds can stand a considerable amount of heat, so don't be too afraid to get the patient too hot. Sprinkle some seed in the cage and put a dish of fresh water in it. Tonics can also help. Colds often are caused by drafts. Especially when you keep birds indoors, be careful to avoid drafts, for example when opening or closing doors and windows. Also avoid sudden temperature changes, as when you move a bird from a heated room to an outside aviary, or vice versa. Be especially aware of this after a bird recovers. If it recuperated in a warm cage, don't immediately put it back into an outside aviary. There is every chance of the bird suffering a relapse worse than the original cold. So accustom the recovered bird slowly to the temperature change. First move the hospital cage a distance from the heat source. Then put it into an unheated room before finally moving the recovered bird back outside.
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Hamilton & District Budgerigar Society Inc. 1996