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Red mites are hard to see with the naked eye, often leaving a white sheet on the cage at night (red mites are nocturnal) and in the morning, you will see tiny red or brown spots which indicates your bird has mites. They are blood sucking and are found usually around the head and vent areas where it is easier to get a hold. After feeding on your, bird the mites often hide in the cracks in the cages, perches and even in the nest boxes. They can be fatal to chicks in the nest.
Feather mites affect birds in outdoor aviaries, and if left untreated can cause your bird’s demise. It can be contagious to other birds as well.
The behavior of your bird will be a sign that all is not right. Restfulness and constant preening, even feather destruction can become a signal that your bird friend needs help. Covering the cage at night with a white sheet then checking in the morning for tell-tale red or brown dots is a sign that mites are around. Under a microscope, these mites are clearly visible. Your veterinarian can give your bird an examination and will know where to look to discover this pest.
Usually, the thighs and undersides of the wing and around the vent are the most likely spots to find the red mites. If your bird has begun feather chewing or destruction, it is vital that you treat the bird before feather destruction becomes a habit. Once it has formed the habit it can be very hard to break and although not dangerous to the bird, it can be quite unsightly. A rapid response is necessary as soon as you detect your bird being restless or chomping on his feathers.
After consultation with the veterinarian, sprays, powders or other medication may be administered with his supervision. Safer sprays now are available such as ivermectin type medicine, insecticide treatment such as Nuvan, and water cleansers. These three items can be used to control mites. Some treatments can be administered orally or by injection. Ivermectin can be delivered to your bird via his drinking water. It is safe for breeding stock and during the moult. Nuvan can be sprayed onto the plumage then gently fluffing the feathers over a white tray or plastic sheet to catch the mites that fall off the feathers.
A natural product is available – it is called permethrin which is extracted from the daisy flower. It is a powder that is mixed in water and sprayed throughout the aviary or as a bird bath to help control the life cycle of the mites. Available also is a product called Avian Insect Liquidator- it is an all-purpose water based insecticide that is harmless to the birds but effective against insects. During and after treatment thoroughly clean the bird cages and nest boxes. Replacing them if possible is even better to prevent re-infection.
The key to management is to remain vigilant and keep your bird’s home sanitised by cleaning regularly. Providing a water dish or bath for your bird will help, most birds like to bathe daily and will do so without prompting. You may find your bird quite enjoys a light misting with water to assist them to remain clean. Treating areas such as their perches and nesting areas is vital to keep the red mites away.
Red mites have a life cycle of around seven days, so to properly treat this pest you need to treat your bird and the cage every second day for around eight days. Be aware that the treatment will have no effect on the eggs, it will only kill the adult and immature mites, so continue with the treatment to catch the hatching eggs.
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Red Whiskered Bulbul
Red whiskered bulbul
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My red whiskered bulbul right eye has 2 white dots. It seems it is affecting the right eye. That he kept looking at anyone approaching using the left eye. I can attached a video.
Oct. 4, 2017
Red Whiskered Bulbul's Owner
There are a few possible causes for white spots on the eye which may include eye infections (pox virus), respiratory infections, trauma among other causes. Birds are a specialised subject to themselves and it is always valuable to have a hands on examination by a Veterinarian to be sure what is going on. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
Oct. 4, 2017
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