Parasitic Feather Mites in Birds

PetMD Editorial
June 27, 2008
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Feather Mites In Outdoor Birds

Feather Mites are a skin problem outside aviaries birds suffer from. And although this parasitic infestation seldom occurs in the pet birds staying inside, if left untreated, it can lead to the bird's death and be contagious to other birds.

Symptoms and Types

When a bird is infested with feather mites, it will be restless throughout the day -- even more so at night. Due to the blood loss, the bird will also suffer from anemia. And young birds infected with feather mites have a high fatality rate.

Causes

It is caused by the parasitic red mite, which is only present only in the outdoors. Once infested, the feather mites remain in the wooden nest boxes and can re-infect the bird.

Diagnosis

The best way to find out if your bird has parasitic feather mites, is to cover its cage with a white sheet at night (making sure the bottom of the cage is covered as well). Overnight, some feather mites will fall on the sheet at the bottom. These can then be collected and studied by the veterinarian for a diagnosis.

Treatment

When your veterinarian has identified the mites as feather mites, sprays, powders or other medication will be prescribed. Treatment can administered orally or by injection, apart from the sprays and powders.

During and after the treatment, thoroughly clean the bird cases and nest boxes. If possible, replace them with new ones. This will help in preventing re-infestation.