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  • 1.

    Quarantine and Hygiene

    • It is important that you treat all newly rescued birds with suspicion. Trauma often releases diseases

that, until the trauma, were present but did not trouble the bird.

  • You need to quarantine the bird and yourself. Obviously it will not be possible to quarantine yourself totally, so you ought to take other precautions. Make sure you have items such as rubber gloves and face masks in your kit - and use them!

    • Keep all instruments clean and in an enclosed container.

  • Properly dispose of old newspapers and cardboard from floors of cages, and use a bleach such as

White King, when cleaning re-useable towels and cloths.

  • 2.


    • Don't let the birds' beaks, wings, or feet damage you! Know your bird! What does the bird have, that can cause you damage? Is it the beak or the knife-like talons? Think of those species that stab at their food. Terns, cormorants, penguins, herons, etc! Don't forget that a heron can suddenly stretch out a distance of a full metre, and that a pelican has a vicious hook on the end of its bill. We all know that raptors initiate a kill with their talons, but don't forget that wattle birds can grip with very sharp toenails, and spur-wing plovers have exactly what their name implies.

These are just a few examples of what can damage the carer .

  • Watch your hands, fingers and eyes. Be aware of the methods of handling - gloves towels, restraints. Take the same precautions when you treat the bird, as you do when you first get it.

  • When you first get a bird which is presented to you in a box, never take the caller's word for the species. An owl could mean a tawny frog mouth that is relatively easy to handle or a boobook, they are notoriously ungrateful and will probably slash you badly!

  • Always cover any open cuts or sores on your hands before you handle wild birds. If the bird caused the

cut, stop and treat yourself before continuing with the bird.

3. Allergies

  • If you suffer from allergies, you may not be a suitable candidate to be handling and treating birds - factors such as feather dander, lice, mites, aviary dust, and bird droppings can cause skin irritations or asthma - like symptoms. How well do you react to anti-histamines?

and respiratory difficulties. sensible precautions. " B i r d B r e e d e r s ' L u n g " i s a w i d e l y r e c o g n i s e d d i s o r d e r a n d i t c a n r e s u l t i n c o u g h i n g , l o s s o f w e i g h t f e v e r Cleanliness in the aviaries, and damping down (to reduce dust), are

4. Ecto Parasites

  • Creatures to look out for are Hippoboscid (the flat fly), mites and ticks. They vary according to the type

of bird and the simplest treatment is probably a mini pest strip.

  • 5.

    Zoonoses (The range of infectious diseases that humans can catch from animals)

    • With zoonotic diseases, there is a legal obligation to report instances to medical authorities. Some will be notifiable, (administered by the state Government), and some will be quarantinable giving rise to a need to quarantine people and premises. The last is a Federal Government matter.


A bird can be a physical carrier without actually having the disease.

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