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Dear Parrots magazine,

Changing hoses

For those keepers and breeders of parrots that house their birds in outside aviaries, beware of the dangers of the garden hose, if you use it to wash down the aviary floors.  I learnt the hard way.

I keep a colony of 12 cockatiels and a few months ago three of the adult birds and six youngsters suddenly began to look very unwell and fluffed up.  I called out my avian vet, who caught up the birds and took away samples for testing.  A week later, I was told they all had the same bacterial respiratory disease.  Sadly I lost four of the youngsters, but the others were saved by putting them on antibiotics.

I was particularly upset, when the source of the deadly bacteria was traced back to my garden hose.  I was told the inside of a hose can become a breeding ground for bacteria and can build up to dangerous levels particularly in warm and humid conditions.  To prevent this happening, I was advised to change the hose, for a new one, twice a year.  It was also pointed out to me that the same applies to mister bottles, which should be dismantled and thoroughly washed regularly, even sterilised, along with all the birds’ water dishes.

Peter Simons, Devon



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