(Excerpt from the Essentialbird yahoo group)

A few weeks ago I noticed that several of the hens in my females-only Gouldian aviary were closing one eye. When only one bird is closing an eye, it is usually something mechanical at the root, like an environmental irritation, which causes the bird to rub the eye. But with a group closing one eye, I always panic because this can indicate the presence of a virus such as pox or herpes, and lead to a huge mess in an aviary setting. And with a virus, the one closed eye usually turns into a horribly puffy crusted eye, additional symptoms develop quickly. and fatalities begin within a week or so.

Gradually I began to notice additional cases of the single closed eye in all four of my gouldian finch aviaries. However, I wasn’t having any signs of a virus so I decided the most likely cause was mycoplasma, which is a common cause of non-viral conjunctivitis. Conventional treatments for conjunctivitis involve antibiotic-type sprays for aviary settings.

I took two steps:

1. I used 3 drops of grapefruit seed extract in 8 ounces water as the only drinking water for all my aviaries and continued using this for about three months.

2. As a spray, I mixed up a very strong batch of neem leaf tea (see the article on using neem for birds).

Neem tea spray:

I used one cup of neem leaves gently packed into the measuring cup, and two cups of boiling water. I let this soak in a sealed glass jar for two hours, then strained the leaves out and poured the tea into a spritzer.

I then sprayed all the birds in all four of my affected aviaries until they were very wet twice per day. After about three days none were closing one eye anymore. I continued the sprays for about ten days just to be safe.

Everyone looks fine now:)

Lainey Alexander

Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, or by any veterinarian. All information, including any product or technique mentioned, is for educational purposes only. None of the information is intended to diagnose or treat any disease.