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Anna, Bird Expert, Biologist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 11456
Experience:  Have owned and/or raised parakeets, finches, cockatiels, and poultry over a period of thirty years.
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My finch suddenly died. The only changes in his world were

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My finch suddenly died. The only changes in his world were we have been taking his cage outdoors on the weekends thinking it was good to get fresh air. However the temperature difference would be as much as 20 degrees warmer. We live in an air conditioned home in the summer in the Midwest. Also, in about the last two months this finch grew very long tail feathers and proved to be a male. These are my first two finches (the other finch in cage is a typical zebra finch) and I only feed them fresh water daily, cuttlebone is available in cage, Millet spray always fresh in cage, and finch specific bird seeds. We noticed no signs up "puffed" feathers or breathing, singing changes. Our sweet bird was fine (or appeared so) at bedtime last night and this morning was lying on bottom of cage. Any suggestions for us?

I'm sorry for the loss of your finch. There are a number of conditions that can cause sudden death without symptoms. Some researchers actually did a study to determine the causes of such deaths, which are not uncommon in large finch colonies. The most common finding was that the birds were infected with bacteria. You can view the study results here: NNN-NNNNbr />
Often, the bacteria that caused the deaths were ordinary ones that are present in all birds, but when stressed, the finches' immune systems couldn't control the bacteria's growth rate, and the result was enough bacteria to cause death. Other possible causes of sudden death are heart conditions and shock.

Your other birds aren't likely to have actually "caught" something from this one, but if they were all exposed to the same stress, and the finch died of of a bacterial infection, it is possible that they could develop the same illness for the reasons that he did. All you can do is watch them very carefully for signs you wouldn't normally notice - perhaps having feathers fluffed more than normal, breathing that is a bit heavy, a little less energy than usual, loose droppings, or eating less than normal. If you see any such signs, you would want to see an avian vet as soon as possible.

It's not a good idea to take your birds outdoors when there is such a great difference in temperature between indoors and outdoors. While the fresh air is good for them, the huge change in temperature and humidity is not. It would be better to wait for those nice fall days when you can have the windows open in your home. Then you'll know your birds won't be subjected to great changes. If you have more questions about this, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope all your birds will remain in good health.

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