14 dead finches overnight (devastated)

by Deb
(Qld Australia)

Dear Jeannie, has been a while since I last wrote but today has been horrific. This morning I found 12 dead finches both male and female and zebs and goulds. Since then 2 more have died. I am at a loss as to what happened. All was fine yesterday. As we live in Queensland Australia. We do not have frosts overnight nor really cold weather. My Aviary is 3m X 3m made out of zincalume but the roof has insulation. I found 2 male goulds in one nest box dead along with my brand new babies and 3 zebs in another box dead. The rest were on the floor. We have had a solid week of rain but the aviary is waterproof. I am devastated to say the least. I don't know what to do. There were no injuries to any of the birds. They seem to be the older finches from my original ones. I have still another 12 birds left but they are all young. I also have 3 fledglings only a week out of the nests who now don't have any parents. They are trying to be fed from the other finches. Should I try to feed these myself or let nature take it's course?

Please Jeannie, I need your help. I just don't know what to do.

Dear Deb,

I hope you can forgive my lateness in responding. I am back to normal now and hope never again to be unable to respond and to try to help with fellow Gouldian lovers.

Your day sounded horrible. I am so sad for your losses. The only thing that comes to my mind is contaminated food. You said that you had quite a few days of rain. Is there any possibility that the eggfood or sprouted or soaked seeds that you are feeding could have become mildewed. It's only a guess, but when I started with my birds, I did not know how dangerous it could be to soak or to sprout seed for my birds to eat without following the directions exactly. It does not sound like any disease mechanism that I am familiar with because it happened so fast, but I guess that is possible. I hope your juveniles survived and I hope they ate well for you. Yes, trying to feed them is what I would have done.

Whenever I had multiple losses, I would have a necropsy done on at least one bird's body for concern for the wellfare of the rest of my birds. I know it has been some time now since your awful day, but if you did not find out what the cause was and if this might be a problem again it could be worth the expense for your peace of mind and future knowledge. Since you are in Au., and while I don't know if she can give you any helpful ideas there is a Dr. Sarah Pryke at Macquarie University in Sydney, who has been doing some interesting research and working with the Save The Gouldian fund. Checking out their website might lead you to a local veterinarian really experienced with Gouldians.
Again, I apologize for my late response and hope that all is well for you now. Jeanie

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