International Gloster Breeders Association

Affiliated to

International-Ornithological-Association
National-Council-for-Aviculture-NCA

International Gloster Breeders Association

Affiliated to

International-Ornithological-Association
National-Council-for-Aviculture-NCA

International Gloster
Breeders Association

Fits and Seizures

Fits and Seizures

This article is about birds that are showing a number of different symptoms of poor nerve and/or muscle function. The most common are fits, twitching, neck twisting (stargazing), poor flying, inability to perch properly and twirling. Twirling is when the bird gets onto its back and turns around in an attempt to get back upright.


Although there are a number of nasty possible causes of this sort of behaviour (infections, epilepsy etc) by far the most common cause is a simple shortage of calcium in the nerves and muscles. So it is easily fixed by feeding a liquid calcium supplement directly into the beak. This can be repeated every two hours or so until the bird recovers. It is then recommended that you give it to your birds five days a week for about a month to ensure that the bones are well topped up with calcium.


Although these problems can occur with any bird, three groups are particularly prone:

  • The first is rapidly growing nestlings. If the bones are taking most of the calcium then the nerves and muscles can become deficient. Such cases are often reported in species being hand reared on “home made formulas” and is particularly common in touracos who stargaze. Most other species show symptoms like splayed legs, rickets and lethargy.
  • The second is young birds that have just about reached full size. These birds pump lots of calcium into the bones to harden them up and the nerves and muscles can be starved of this crucial mineral. Twirling is common, and canaries and gouldian finches are highly prone to this problem.
  • The third group is egg laying hens whose demand for calcium to make eggs is very high. Normally this shows up as egg-binding which is often accompanied by poor flying, being on the floor with the legs spread

Prevention of these problems is easy with the liquid calcium product given regularly once a week to non-breeding birds and five times a week for breeders.

Do not give this product seven days a week as the body can become dependent on calcium from the gut and the bones lose their ability to correctly control blood calcium levels.

*Article published with permission of The Birdcare Company.

Join the International Gloster Breeders Association

Formed in 1966 the world’s largest All-Gloster Society devoted to keeping, breeding and the welfare of Gloster Canaries.

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Join the International Gloster Breeders Association

Formed in 1966 the world’s largest All-Gloster Society devoted to keeping, breeding and the welfare of Gloster Canaries.

Join the International Glosters Breeders Association and become an activate member of our community

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