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What is Disinfecting and Why Should I Do It?

by Dr Greg Burkett

Board Certified Avian Veterinarian

The message that I would like to convey with this handout is that disinfection and routine sanitation are the cornerstones to a healthy pet bird. These two components of a daily care program add very little time to an owner's chores, but contributes tremendously to a bird's overall health. A good sanitation program is one of the major ingredients in an all-around excellent preventative health program and is equal in importance to sound nutrition and psychological stimulation.


Disinfection by definition is the act of freeing something from the presence of disease-causing organisms. These organisms include bacteria, fungi, yeast, viruses, and Chlamydia. Organisms such as these are found abundantly in the environment in which our birds and we live. A healthy immune system is he first line of defense against these diseases. A healthy immune system depends on proper nutrition, a good health status, and a clean environment. Even with a healthy immune system, an overload of disease-causing organisms or a constant, low-grade exposure to disease-causing organisms can lead to an infection.


To help your bird maintain a healthy immune system you should feed mainly a formulated (pelleted) diet with fresh food supplements, and prevent disease exposure through proper sanitation and lowered exposure to disease-carrying birds. Proper sanitation includes washing water bottles, fresh food bowls, cages, and cage accessories regularly with water and a mild detergent, then disinfecting them with a safe, effective disinfectant. Regularly means daily for the fresh food and water bowls and weekly for the cage and accessories. We have spare dishes so there is a clean dish in the cage while the dirty dish is soaking in the disinfectant solution. The disinfectant should be rinsed afterwards to insure that there are no residues. See the particular disinfectant label for specific use directions.

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