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Keeping Pet Birds from Getting Lice

 Submitted by Michael Adams on January 12, 2010

Lice rarely infest birds and if they do occur, the problem is restricted to birds and there is no possibility of other pets or humans getting affected. Birds that live in the wild have their own ways of keeping themselves free from lice. Pet birds may require extra care and attention to ensure that they are able to successfully get rid of lice.

There may be other problems as well that can affect the feathers of a bird such as feather disease and psittacine beak. These are viral diseases and must not be confused with lice or fleas. All species of birds are not vulnerable to lice.

Some birds never suffer from lice infestations, while other birds are very susceptible to these external parasites. Knowing this differentiation before buying a bird, will help you make the right decision in selection. It will also prepare you to properly deal with a lice infestation, if one arises.

A good way to help your pet bird keep its feather’s lice-free, is to place a dish of sand in the cage of the bird. The bird can then dust its feathers with the sand to get rid of lice. This may make the cage and the room in which the cage is kept messy, but it will help to get rid of the lice. All birds, including caged ones, love to bathe and splash about in water. Place a dish of water in your bird’s cage. This must be different from the bird’s drinking water. The bird can take a bath in the water. This will also encourage preening of the feathers which allows for proper distribution of natural oils which serve to protect against lice. You can also spray the bird using a squirt water bottle. This will also encourage them to preen. A last resort for getting rid of lice is the use of commercial lice sprays. Care must be taken so that the chemicals do not enter the bird’s eyes or airways. To prevent this from occurring, you may cover the head of the bird while spraying. The bird’s cage must be kept clean at all times by regularly clearing up droppings from the cage floor. This will prevent infestation by insects. This will also ensure that the bird does not step on the droppings and encourage bacterial growth.

Feather problems experienced by birds may not always be due to lice. Excessive preening of the feathers, viral or bacterial infections, nutritional disorders and metabolic diseases may also have an effect on the bird’s feathers. If the cause of the problem is not easily detectable, consulting a veterinarian is advisable. 
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