Psittacosis – The Facts

This article on psittacosis was written by a friend and customer of ours to show the potentially devastating consequences of buying second hand aviaries or cages. Psittacosis is an avian disease that can be passed on to humans from carrier birds, especially parrots.

We thank the writer of this article for the permission to publish it on this site.

I’m writing this in anger, disappointment and frustration, AND HOPEFULLY, to help a few, fellow bird breeders, that honestly care about what they are selling. Hoping that you’ll publish this in a future magazine.

Psittacosis is a “very real ” disease, that can happen to any one of us, and did, to my partner, from 2nd hand aviaries we purchased, and re- erected, at our premises.

We cleaned them, by gurney, for 2 hrs, and they sat vacant for about a week, then we proceeded to put our breeding pairs in,ready to go down for the season (JUNE), then my partner became sick. Many blood tests later, the Dr. discovered he had Psittacosis.

We found an article in a recent ‘ BURKES BACKYARD ” magazine on the topic, we’d never heard of before. Apparently 160 people, a year become infected by this disease and that’s just the ones who seek medical help, and are diagnosed . There must be quite a few of you out there, that have had flu – like symptoms, and never worrried too much. ( My partner was very sick for 3 weeks , before he sought medical help) I seriously suggest, for those of you who don’t understand the implications of it, on yourself, or your birds, to Google it, not to scare yourself, but to get a better understanding of it.

Some of you will recognise who we are by now , and that’s because we have been “open and honest”.

Not long after my partner became sick, we noticed one of our newly purchased birds was off- colour,…. long story short, he to had psittacosis, and has cost us approx $700, much heart-ache, cleaning, treatment ( for ALL our birds ), and a VERY HUGE learning curve. I quess a lot of you would say, “why bother “, just “write it off “. We have a passion for our birds and are only in our 2nd year of aviary breeding, (we’ve had house birds for many years ) It’s not about the $,s, it’s about enjoying the species, and keeping the Australian Natives alive and well.

At our expense and time, we have been able to keep our bird alive, he dropped to 78 grams ( supposed to weigh 120g ), he presently weighs in at 105 gms, so is on the road to recovery and seems more feisty now than ever. If he doesn’t breed this year when we put him back in the aviary with his partner, we’ll soak up that too, but at the end of the day , we are the winners , for learning about the disease, being aware of the signs, and finding out ‘who really cares!!’, when it comes to avian culture.

To my way of thinking , we’ve done the right thing by our birds, and possibly have better immunity, than alot of other breeders, so if this article helps, just one new bird keeper along the way, then that’s all we can ask for.


Footnote: Would be great if you could publish this article, so that someone else out there doesn’t have to go through what we have. Would be good if we could get a clearance from the vet involved, so as eventually we are not penalised for being honest. Thanks for reading.

(Psittacosis is also know by the terms ornithosis, parrot fever or chlamydiosis)


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