Yes, pet birds can get parasites. Among the more common and visible parasites are mites, lice, fleas and ticks. Poultry such as chickens are more prone to picking up these parasites as they typically come into close contact with wild birds, who permanently live with a number of parasites.
Scratching (which may be severe enough to cause feather loss and even sores, especially around the head and neck) is one of the most obvious symptoms of external parasites. Other signs include:
- Scruffy, broken feathers
- Drop in egg production
Severe infestations of blood-sucking lice or ticks can cause anaemia and even death from blood loss in young chicks. A careful examination of the skin will reveal these parasites quite easily.
Would you like to read more about how parasite-free birds are healthier? Get the March 2019 edition of Animaltalk magazine now for more information.