If you are thinking of hosting a Mandarin diamond or you already have one, in addition to its basic care you should also know some of the most common conditions that this exotic bird can suffer. The Taeniopygia guttata It is a very small bird and very appreciated for its appearance and its simple care but, to give you the best quality of life in our home, you have to recognize some symptoms and health problems that will indicate when you should go to the veterinarian.
Therefore, in this article of Animal Expert we will explain the most common diseases of mandarin diamond or Timor's zebra diamond, so that you can detect when it is possible that your little pet is having a problem.
One of the most common health problems in these little birds is the constipation. Among the signs that will alert us that our partner is suffering from this disorder we will see the following:
- Difficulty to evacuate
- Irritated sewer
- Swollen belly
- Repetitive gestures down with the tail to try to expel stool
- Scarce and viscous stools
So, if you ever think that your Mandarin diamond is embolado, that is to say that it is with the hollowed feathers, it may not be well and that it is with the inflamed belly, in this case it will be like this for quite a while. But this gesture is also something that birds do to reposition their plumage or regulate their temperature and, in that case, at one point it will shake and look normal again.
The main causes of this digestive system disorder are a too dry food and astringent, for example that only consume seeds, and sudden temperature changes. The treatment that must be followed, in addition to going to the veterinarian if the problem persists for several days, is to immediately change the diet for one that includes fruits and vegetables for the Mandarin diamond and provide a water-soluble supplement to regulate the functioning of the digestive system, which you can find in specialized stores and veterinary clinics. Also, cod liver oil with bran and charcoal supplements are very effective in treating constipation.
The only way to prevent this uncomfortable condition is to try a varied and balanced diet, rich in natural foods with fiber. Of course, we must also avoid sudden changes in temperature and air currents at all costs.
Among the most frequent problems that this little exotic bird can suffer, we also find the sewer inflammation, the hole through which birds excrete organic waste, which usually occurs more in females than in males. Among the symptoms of cloacitis in a Mandarin diamond we find mainly the following:
- Swollen abdomen
- Irritated and inflamed sewer
- Difficulty defecating
- Droppings stuck in the feathers at the bottom of the tail
The main causes of chloacitis in exotic birds are a improper feeding, a poor adaptation to the environment which causes stress and, in the case of females, can also be due to problems and difficulties in laying eggs. If you see that your pet has this problem you should treat it by carefully cleaning the area of the sewer and around, apply a zinc oxide ointment and improve the diet as necessary. Thus, the only way to avoid this discomfort is to ensure adequate feeding of the Mandarin diamond, a rich and quiet environment and good hygiene.
The intestinal inflammation or enteritis It is one of the most frequent conditions in these birds and manifests with the following symptoms:
For this reason, that you see your Mandarin diamond with your eyes closed for a long time, that your stools are more liquid and frequent and that you notice it more dull, without wanting to move, you might be suffering from this inflammatory condition in your digestive system. The main causes for which this disease is caused are spoiled food, sudden temperature changes, intestinal parasites and germs like pasteurela, salmonella and colibacilos.
The way to cure this problem is to offer a healthy diet appropriate to your species, give the antibiotic prescribed by the veterinarian according to each case, clean and disinfect both the cage and accessories and toys. Therefore, the way to prevent this condition is to give healthy food to our little partner, maintain good hygiene of the accommodation and accessories and the bird itself.
Stomatitis and glossitis
Stomatitis is the inflammation of the mucosa of the mouth and glossitis is about the swelling of the tongue, so this condition is a situation in which the mouth of the bird is inflamed and irritated in a generalized way. Among the signs that will alert us that our pet suffers from this oral disorder we find the following:
- Visible swelling of the tongue and mouth
- Difficult breathing
- Peak open to breathe
- Trouble feeding
- Purulent secretions in the nostrils
The main causes for this problem in mandarin diamonds are the use of foods too hard or with insecticides and pesticides and also the infections Bacterial, viral and mycosis. The treatment is based on offering soft food with added vitamin A and the antibiotic prescribed by the veterinarian. The way to prevent this condition is to give balanced, healthy and as natural food as possible, as well as taking care of your hygiene properly.
Between the intestinal worms which can get this little bird the most common are the cestodes, the ascites and the capillary, which are transmitted directly or by contact with debris from parasitized birds. These are internal parasites that lodge in the digestive tract of these birds when they are not dewormed internally with the appropriate frequency or live in a properly sanitized environment. Thus, the clearest symptoms that occur when this health problem appears are:
- Eyes closed often
- Small white fragments in the stool
The treatment is based on supply a vermifuge suitable against specific parasites and in disinfecting the cage and accessories. To prevent your pet from becoming infected, you should take good care of their hygiene and that of their environment, give them good food and deworm when and how your veterinarian tells you.
Another of the most common diseases of Mandarin diamond is the plumage acariosis caused by external parasites such as gray and red mites, in addition to lice, which can easily be installed in the cage and accessories that are not well cleaned. Thus, the signs that these parasites are in the feathers and skin of your bird are:
- Opaque plumage
- Nervousness and restlessness
- Constant itching and scratching
- White powder like dandruff
Due to the inconvenience and the itching you may also see that your Mandarin diamond plucks the feathers, although this gesture may be due to more reasons. The treatment of mites in birds focuses on using a adequate antiparasitic and disinfect the housing and accessories. To prevent it from occurring, you will only have to have good hygiene of your bird's environment and use external antiparasitics if the veterinarian recommends it.
The anomalous change of feathers Of these exotic birds is also one of the typical problems they may suffer. If you see that your Mandarin diamond loses primary and secondary feathers outside the molting season, that is, outside the summer, then it is having an unusual molt.
The reasons why this happens are inadequate food, with lack of vitamins, and poor hygiene. It is also possible that if we have the bird in a heated area as if it were summer even if it is actually another time of the year we will cause the molt and, in this case, it does not have to be sick.
To solve this condition, the diet must be modified by improving it, disinfecting, cleaning and ordering the environment and giving a suitable vitamin complex soluble in the drinking water. The only prevention is to always give a correct and varied diet, keep your environment clean and healthy and avoid sudden changes in temperature.
Anromal peak growth
The excessive peak growth It is a common problem that is easily seen, since the upper part of it becomes much longer and the lower part is not modified or does very little, and can reach the point that the bird is unable to feed itself.
Thus, if you see that your winged friend has a beak with a different shape than always, go to the veterinarian to reduce it to the right extent, with special material such as scissors and files suitable for spikes. Also, to finish treating it you will have to give it cuttlefish or sepia bone whole to peck it or include it in powder or crumbled in your food or in the bran paste.
The main cause of the overgrowth of the beak is the lack of material in which the bird can wear its beak itself according to its needs. Likewise, other common errors in the diet such as just offering soft food or others that cause nutritional deficiencies can favor the appearance of this health problem. Thus, the only way to prevent it is an optimal diet and the use of these bones or calcium compacts.
It's about the inflammation of the membrane inside the eyelids and when it occurs only at the edge of the eyelid it is known as blepharitis. All symptoms in this case focus on the appearance of the eyes:
- Internal eyelid inflammation
- Irritation of the eyelid membrane
- Closed eyes
If you notice that your little bird has the eyes closed, swollen, red and with mucus you should take it to the veterinarian to review it and start a treatment. The main causes can be trauma or blows, wounds, allergies and infections. To combat this eye problem it is recommended to give an appropriate antibiotic prescribed by the specialist either in water or food or directly applied to the eyes in the form of eye drops. The only way to avoid this problem is to ensure good hygiene and a healthy life.
This article is purely informative, at ExpertAnimal.com we have no power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case he presents any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Common Mandarin Diamond Diseases, we recommend that you enter our Prevention section.
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The mandarin diamond It is that little bird that is also known as Timor's zebra diamond or zebra finch.
A small bird native to Australia but nowadays you begin to see a lot in Spanish homes.
Today we are going to focus on the most common diseases. The intestinal inflammation It is a disease that originates due to poor cage hygiene or poor diet. It is characteristic for diarrhea, apathetic behavior, weight loss and drowsiness.
A poor diet either by giving inadequate food or food in poor condition, or poor hygiene in the cage is the origin of this disease.
At the other end we have the constipation, which is another of the most common diseases of Mandarin diamond. It shows because he has an inflamed belly, an irritated sewer and we see that he has difficulties in expelling excrement.
The origin is again in the diet, a diet that has not been rich in fibers.
Another most common disease in Mandarin diamond is the chloacitis, a very common ailment in these birds that is nothing more than the inflammation of the sewer. It affects females more than males because the laying of eggs is one of the causes of this disease that has its origin in the lack of hygiene and poor nutrition.
The internal parasites, or the so-called intestinal worms is another of the diseases that we will recognize by the white dots or streaks of feces.
As for the feathers we have on the one hand the acariosis of the plumage and on the other hand the abnormal molt.
The acariosis It is due to external parasites and we will recognize it because the bird is constantly scratching.
The abnormal mute It is due to the lack of hygiene and a very poor diet. We will recognize it very quickly because it is the fall of primary and secondary feathers outside the molting period that is in summer.
And finally we can mention the abnormal peak growth and that is because the Mandarin diamond has had nothing to limit its beak, such as cuttlefish bones.
Characteristics of Mandarin Diamonds
Mandarin diamonds are birds very tiny, whose size usually does not exceed 12 centimeters, while the weight is only about 12 grams. They have a small peak compactly suitable for feeding with seeds of all kinds.
Except for those that are totally white, it is very easy to distinguish between female and male since in the case of the female, this shows a plumage although pretty slightly less ostentatious than that of the male, which also presents color on her cheeks, which makes them more colorful.
In males the beak is usually reddish while that of his female partners tends to be more orange, additionally they have a white color on the chest and a drawing that emulates zebra stripes that goes from the bottom of the beak to the top of the chest.
Among the variations of this little bird, the best known colors in which it can be found are: Common Gray, Masque, Black Cheeks and White.
Mandarin Diamonds they are originally from Australia, they feel comfortable in environments such as the savanna and dry subtropical environments, it is also very common to see it in places that man frequents, such as parks and gardens located in the cities.
Their activities are carried out during the day, because they are daytime birds, They are very sociable and are in groups of about 100 diamonds, they do not usually occupy a territory larger than the surroundings of their nests, however and when looking for food, they have the ability to undertake long trips.
The members of the same group they communicate and recognize each other by the sounds of their song, which can be very varied since they have the ability to learn sounds from the environment and from humans.
How are Mandarin diamonds?
These are the main characteristics of Mandarin diamonds:
- Class: bird
- Length: between 10 and 12 cm
- Weight: between 12 and 15 grams
- Longevity: between 10 and 12 years
- Maturity: 3 months
- Reproduction: oviparous
- Young by laying: 4 to 5 eggs
- Incubation: 13-15 days
- Habits: daytime
- Feeding: herbivorous
- Character: sociable and gregarious
How old is a Mandarin diamond?
Their average life is much lower in freedom than in captivity, in the first case they manage to live between 2 and 5 years because they are more exposed to external factors such as natural predators, diseases and food since many times they do not have the necessary .
The opposite occurs when they are raised in captivity where their life expectancy extends to 12 years and because they have more care, good food and veterinary control.
Ancestral Gray (Classic)
In the common ancestral or gray Mandarin diamond the color that predominates in the body is gray, where your red beak, legs and orange nails, the eyes are dark red and from them part a black line down, the chest has a black bar, the sides are brown while with evenly distributed white dots, the chest and under belly are white.
In this variation everything that is predominantly gray becomes Brown and the other brands and lines are maintained.
Continental Masque (Flanked White)
The mandarin diamond of this species is from white color in almost the whole body, however, the male is distinguished from the female because of its chest markings that resemble the zebra stripes and the coloration on the cheeks which is much less evident in the female specimen.
Mandarin Penguin Diamond
They are characterized by usual gray color combination which only appears on the head, wings and back and the white which predominates in the chest and abdomen, these do not have the line that starts from the eyes as a tear, however the male is distinguished by the reddish color of her cheeks.
Mandarin diamond with a clear back
The beak, eyes and chest maintain the normal characteristics of the species and the cheeks remain a distinctive but less pronounced touch, however, the head and neck acquire a pearly gray tone, the wings and back turn dark cream combined with gray.
Where to buy a Mandarin diamond?
You can buy them both in pet stores and in hatcheries, in these last ones you get a lot of variety since the breeders work in constant mutations.
There's also rescue centers where you can adopt a couple and take them home to give them the care and affection they need.
Always make sure they are trusted places, that the pet is in good conditions, you have or birth certificate, proof of health control, that the site has a good reputation and that they can give you all the information you need before taking it home.
It is highly recommended that you take them in couple since they are animals that enjoy a lot when playing and interacting with each other. On the contrary, it can be torture for them to be alone.
Mandarin Diamond Behavior
Mandarin Diamond enjoy living in large groups, socializing with each other, so It's not a good idea to have them in a cage alone. Now, if you have the ability and willingness to have more, it is recommended that you have several females since they are very friendly with each other.
If you wish to have one or more males for breeding, try to have several females per male so that there are no fights and so that the female does not run out when she is forced to reproduce by the male.
Males are usually very talkative and are singing all the time and communicating with each other, they also establish a link with the person who takes care of them and even hears your call.
During the day they are quite active and they like to flutter around places near the nest and at night they usually snuggle in it.
Are usually very scarys and they lend more to watch than to have another type of contact closer, that you feed them and give them the water they need is more than enough.
They enjoy bathing in fresh water and they also need a little sun daily, which you can facilitate by placing the cage near a place where it receives sun, preferably in the morning hours that the rays are not so strong, to avoid damage.
If they have at least one partner in captivity, you can see how they relate to samples of affection, clean themselves and sing as a sign of happiness.
To be possible you have to allow them to fly out of the cage daily Since this exercise makes them stay in excellent condition, leave the cage open so you can feed again and drink water.
Mandarin Diamond Cage
You have to think of the cage as the place where it will remain for a long time, therefore you should not improvise and you need to document yourself very well before buying one.
The cage must be as big as possible since they need enough space to move around and have a good quality of life. For a couple of diamonds the minimum size of the cage should be 75 cm long x 40 cm high x 30 cm wide. In case of having more copies the cage should be much larger.
Cages of mandarin diamonds they must always be rectangular enough space prevailing for them to fly with some ease and feel comfortable and safe, in fact they are the most recommended. In the case of the breeding cage it should be the same rectangular but a little smaller to better control the process.
We should never have them in cagescircular, should always be rectangular or square. This is because they need a safety zone (a preferred side), which in circular cages cannot have, Where can I go when I get scared And want to feel safe. If your cage is circular or round, the bird may not have this reference point and you will feel nervous and restless all the time.
Then there is the material of the cage, being the most recommended stainless steel It already offers security, they are resistant, they can be washed and dried very quickly. The use of wood is not recommended Since cleaning is complicated and humidity prevails longer, which causes it to deteriorate and fungi and bacteria proliferate.
The bars they must be vertical with a separation of more or less 12 millimeters between them, in such a way that you avoid that adults try to escape or that the young are harmed by being stuck between them.
They must also have horizontal bars so that these can be held at a certain time.
As usual a single gate to the cage is more than enough, what is important is that you have enough space to introduce in it the sources for water and food, a nest and toys. Likewise, it should facilitate cleaning and drying of this.
It is important that they have an adequate enclosure system.
The tray is a part of the cage that must be removed and cleaned daily since there are deposited the remains of food and the depositions of the birds and of not having the necessary care and hygiene, bacteria are going to make your pets sick.
There are those who cover it with newspaper or other materials that you get in the pet store, in any case the important thing is that they remove bowel movements daily and what uonce a week you clean the tray thoroughly, like the rest of the cage.
You should always remove the remains of moisture to prevent fungi from forming.
Keep the cage in a safe and ventilated space for them, without being exposed to drafts and also to direct sun or moisture. Ideally, place them in the morning in a place where sunlight reaches them as they need it to stay healthy.
If possible and you have enough space the ideal would be to have your mandarin diamonds on an outdoor flyer, which would be much more beneficial for them since they are in an environment more similar to their natural habitat, without the risks that this implies.
In stores there are many options with dimensions from 1 m x 1 m, you put the limits and the space you have to place it.
The hygiene of the cage it's super important since it is an effective way to prevent diseases caused by the proliferation of germs.
It is advisable to do it at least once a week since these little birds they get very dirty leaving food scraps everywhere as well as their stool that although it is true you have to collect them daily from the tray, no less true is that the cage in general can have traces of dirt.
That's why you have to wash the entire cage, with emphasis on cleaning the bars by applying soap and water, then place some disinfectant trying that hygiene products are neutral to avoid discomfort or compromise the health of pets.
We must buy all its accessories, for food, water, for the bathroom, toys, branches to emulate those of trees, yes, trying not to detract much space to fly.
The recommended ceramic or stainless steel feeders since we are easier to clean and disinfect. The plastic can be broken with the beak and can be damaged.
Can't miss the drinker, same stainless steel or ceramic. Usually these birds make the water very dirty, so if it is possible to have at least two.
Since they love to bathe and it is therefore a necessity for them, we must place inside the cage a container with water as a bathtub. We must change the bath water daily.
The hangers are an indispensable element in the cage since the birds are all the time on their legs, therefore you have to provide hangers of different materials and thickness So they feel comfortable.
There are different types of hanger, the of plastic which usually come with the cage, the sandpaper which is used to sharpen the beak and file the nails, the of wood that serve to exercise and emulate the natural habitat very well and finally the mobiles, which function as an element of distraction for the bird.
Although it is not a toy as such, the bathtubs are an important element that we can place and extract from the cage so that our little ones enjoy a bath, in addition to it's a fun time for them.
Afterwards it is important to provide them with toys, without exaggerating saturating their space since the idea is that they have elements of entertainment and that we make their life more enjoyable, in addition to this greatly stimulates the intelligence of pets and keeps them entertained.
What accessories are recommended? For example, wood, jingle bells, stairs, swings, etc., and to these you can add other entertainments such as nuts, or pieces of branches that can be explored and nibbled without being harmed.
Fortunately you can get a variety of toys for your diamonds at pet and exotic bird stores, so you make sure that They are not made of any toxic material that could harm your birds.
Mandarin Diamond Seeds
We must offer seeds provided so that you receive the necessary amount of fiber, protein, fat, etc.
These are the seeds that our Mandarin diamond should ingest:
- Hemp seed
- White millet
- Japanese millet
- Red millet
In pet stores we can find seed mixes for diamonds (finches) that contain a mixture of seeds. Of course, we must look for a mixture that is of quality. A good way to make sure what a good option is is to ask our exotic veterinarian for advice.
Another also very good option is, on the recommendation of our veterinarian, make our own seed mix buying the seeds separately.
A balanced mix for them would be:
- 35% of birdseed
- 35% white or yellow millet
- 15% panizo
- 10% Japanese millet
- 5% red millet, flaxseed or others
Mandarin diamond vegetables
We must not forget the vegetables in the diet of our diamond because they are excellent for their diet and they also love it. Fruit and vegetables should consist of 20% of your diet.
These are the most recommended vegetables:
- Spinach (best boiled)
- Cabbage leaves
We should not give our diamond Mandarin lettuce because it contains a lot of water and that can cause diarrhea.
We can offer you different types of vegetables to find out which vegetables you prefer.
The vegetable should always be well washed and dried, besides being fresh, as well as at room temperature. We must remember remove the remains of vegetables daily that have not been eaten to prevent damage.
Mandarin diamond sprouts
We can also opt for offer sprouts, also a very good option if our diamond is not convinced by vegetables, because they are similar to seeds and have a different consistency. The sprouts can be found in pet stores.
The most advisable sprouts are:
- Bean sprouts
- Wheat sprouts
Mandarin Diamond Fruit
Fruit is also an important element in the Mandarin diamond diet, it is an option that they like it a lot and it gives them many vitamins.
The most recommended fruits are:
Fruit always must be washed and at room temperature.
It is possible that during the first days of our diamond at home do not eat fruit or vegetables, because it is a food to which they are not accustomed. We must be patient and leave some fruit and vegetables of different types every day. If this is our case we can try sprouts and tender shoots (like arugula).
Since diamonds tend to get bored of food It is very advisable to vary the diet every day To be happier.
If our Mandarin diamond does not eat fruit or vegetables then we should give him a vitamin to make up for the lack of vitamins. We can buy a vitamin in pet products stores, but we must not forget to consult a veterinarian first. However, the best option will always be to eat fruits and vegetables.
Branches for Mandarin Diamonds
Something that we can also offer to our Mandarin diamond and that they also like very much are the branches. We can place a branch of some variety in its cage to peck. It is a way to enrich their diet in a fun way for them.
The option they like best is the branch of panizo or paniset and the millet in branch.
We should not overdo this type of food because they are not very nutritious and we are interested in eating the seeds, vegetables and fruits.
Calcium for Mandarin Diamonds
Mandarin diamonds should always be available a source of calcium, especially in breeding season. For this the most recommended is to place a cuttlefish bone in its cage, since they like it a lot and offers them the calcium they need in addition to serve to sharpen the beak.
Reproduction of Mandarin Diamonds
It is an animal oviparous which reaches sexual maturity at three months of life.
The breeding process of these birds is one of the fastest in the animal kingdomDue to the harsh conditions in which they live when they are in their natural habitat, it is strictly linked to the rainy seasons, therefore as soon as it begins to rain the females proceed to prepare the nest.
What diamonds are monogamous, once they select the couple, they will accompany them for life.
The procession of courtship is that both the spikes are restricted to each other, afterwards and with small jumps, the male approaches the female at the same time that he sings and spreads his wings, the sign that he has been accepted is the movement of the female's tail and it is when he allows the act of mating.
Siguen construyendo el nido, justo cuando comienzan las lluvias y crecen las gramíneas que son la fuente de alimento de estas y con las cuales también construyen el nido. La hembra se ocupa de la construcción en el lugar elegido y el macho transporta los materiales.
Cada puesta consta de 4 o 5 huevos, en los mejores casos tienen hasta ocho. El color es blanco puro y el tamaño es de más o menos unos 15mm. Cada huevo se pone a razón de uno por día y la incubación comienza cuando llega el cuarto.
Ambos padres se encargan de incubarlos, relevándose cada dos horas y media aproximadamente, la señal para el cambio es el canto de la pareja que está fuera. En la noche permanecen ambos en el nido.
Una vez eclosionados los huevos los polluelos se mantienen al cuidado y alimentación exclusiva de los padres hasta la tercera semana, cuando ya son capaces de emanciparse. Sigue un breve periodo donde éstos regresan por las noches a dormir en el nido y a recibir alimento, pero eso dura unos 10 días más, a partir de los cuales ya son totalmente independientes.