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Written by Donna Mason
REVISED: 9-9-97

Candida can lead to slow crop and is usually a secondary infection. A bird with candida (a yeast infection) will have a stringy, sticky white substance inside the beak which can be easily removed with a Q-tip. There is a certain amount of yeast in the body normally. However, when the balance between the natural flora and fauna becomes skewed, the yeast will reproduce very quickly. If left unchecked, candida can become very serious by infecting the respiratory system.

Improper hygiene can exaserbate the growth of candida. All handfeeding supplies must be properly disinfected after every use, and the brooder needs to be cleaned every day! Depending on the number of baby birds in the brooder, it may have to be cleaned several times a day. I have found Dentagene, Wavicide, and Vanodine all work very well as disinfectants on the handfeeding utensils and the brooder.

There are several medicines available from your veternarian to treat candida. One of the most widely used is Nystatin. It must come in contact with the infected area in order to work. The treatment lasts usually 5-10 days, depending on the severity. Your veternarian will be able to make that determination for you.

One home remedy that has worked very well for us was given to us by a very dear friend. Mix a 1" ribbon of Mycelex-7 (yes, the feminine product) to a gallon of water. Since the Mycelex-7 is difficult to mix, you may want to use a blender or mixer. Use this as the bird's only water source for 3 days. This mixture is only effective for 12 hours; therefore, it must be made fresh twice a day. After 3 days the yeast infection should be gone.

Another treatment, available through Wanda Barras from Cage'n Bird at (318)394-6683, is Gentian Violet. If the candida is located in the crop, inside the beak, etc., a cotton swab is used to apply the Gentian Violet. The Gentian Violet must come in contact with the infected area in order to be effective. In unfeathered birds, the infected crop areas will show up as mottled once the Gentian Violet is applied.. The healthy tissue will be purple. This will be very easy to see. In feathered birds,of course, this is more difficult. Usually the Gentian Violet corrects the problem with 2-3 applications. We have used this in the past and have had great success.


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RESOURSES
  • Wanda Barra, Cage'n Bird, St. Martinville, LA
  • A Guide to Cockatiels and Their Mutations.... By Peggy Cross and Diane Andersen.
  • You and Your Pet Bird by David Alderton
  • The New Cockatiel Handbook... By Matthew Vriends, PHD
  • Diseases of Cage & Aviary Birds By Walter J. Rosskopf (editor) and Richard W. Woerpel (editor)
  • Dr. Tom Tester, DMV, Hayden Lake, Id
  • Avitec Exotic Birds