- Newly arrived birds should be maintained separate from the main
collection. This allows screening for disease, as well as special monitoring of general
demeanour, behaviour and feeding, and allows the birds to settle.
- Length of quarantine appropriate for incoming birds will vary depending
on the species and suspected diseases. A quarantine period of sixty days (B13.2.w21), six weeks (B11.33.w1), or three weeks has been recommended (B96.w2).
- A full physical examination should be carried out at the beginning of the
quarantine period (see: Physical Examination - General), including taking blood for haematological and biochemical examination, and
appropriate serological tests.
- A full physical examination should also be carried out at the end of the
- Faecal samples should be screened repeatedly during quarantine for
salmonellae (see: Salmonellosis)
as well as for parasites.
- It is particularly important to ensure a full post mortem
examination is carried out on any bird which dies during quarantine, and to keep full
records for reference in the case of disputes.
- Sick or injured birds are usually isolated from their cage mates, both to
reduce the risk of transfer of disease and to avoid harassment of the affected individual.
- Consideration should be given to the social stress put on gregarious
birds placed in isolation, and the potential beneficial effects of conspecifics in visual
and/or auditory range.
- Quarantine and isolation areas should be kept quiet and disturbance-free
as much as possible.
- After a sick or injured bird has been isolated, reintroduction to the
group may need to be carried out gradually.
- New birds being released into an outdoor enclosure/aviary should be released in
the morning, allowing all day for settling and exploration. In a mixed-species exhibit
they should be released at morning feeding time, when other birds are busy feeding, and
onto the water. they should be monitored carefully for several days to ensure they are
coming to feed and are nor being bullied. Birds which are constantly being harassed are
stressed and therefore more susceptible to disease, and may also be injured.
- N.B. quarantining new arrivals cannot guarantee that the
birds are not carrying diseases asymptomatically.
- Good hygiene is an important part of maintaining healthy animals (this
does not mean maintaining a sterile barren environment).
- Consideration should be given to ease of cleaning when designing
- Thorough cleaning, before the use of any disinfectant, will in itself
remove most of the infectious disease agents present, e.g. on feeding bowls, in
incubators, inside buildings.
- Correct handling and disposal of carcasses is essential (see:
Environmental and Population
Management - Carcass Pick-up & Disposal).
- Build-up of parasites and pathogens in the soil cane be reduced by pen
rotation, with the pen left empty for 1-2 years; vacant pens can also be
limed and deep-plowed before being left vacant. (P1.1977.w2)
- Separate facilities should be provided for chicks and juvenile birds,
keeping them away from adults which may carry parasites and pathogens. (P1.1977.w2)
- Minimising access of people to enclosures (e.g. allowing access only
to those involved in husbandry) reduces the chances of disease being
spread by people. (P1.1977.w2)
- Spread of disease between enclosures by personnel can be reduced by
use of strategically placed foot baths containing an appropriate
- Disinfection should be seen as an adjunct to removal of animal wastes etc., not
as a replacement for general cleaning.
- The efficacy of most disinfectants is greatly reduced by the presence of organic
- Disinfectants require time in which to act.
- Disinfectants generally work better at higher temperatures.
- Disinfectants should be used at the manufacturers recommended dilution:
stronger does not necessarily mean better, and efficacy may be greatly decreased at too
- Disinfectants may be toxic, irritant, corrosive and in some cases potentially
- Appropriate precautions (e.g. wearing glovas, other protective clothing, face
protection) should be used when handling disinfectants.
- Disinfectants should be used and disposed of with regard to potential deleterious
- Not all disinfectants are equally effective against all agents.
- Susceptible to most chemical disinfectants: mycoplasmas, enveloped viruses,
gram-positive bacteria, gram-negative bacteria, rickettsiae
- Moderately resistant to chemical disinfectants: non-enveloped viruses, acid-fast
- Highly resistant to chemical disinfectants: bacterial
endospores, coccidial oocysts.
- Extremely resistant to chemical disinfectants: prions.
- If a particular disease organism is known to be present, care should be taken to
choose a disinfectant known to be effective against that organism.
(Disinfectant) (household bleach) are effective or highly effective against a
wide range of infectious agents and may be used as a general disinfectant in many
circumstances. They are not effective against coccidial oocysts. Care must be taken in the
use of concentrated bleach solutions
N.B. where a particular infectious
agent is known to be present, a disinfectant which is recognised as being effective
against that agent should be used.
- Incoming waterfowl should be quarantined for at least six weeks. (B11.33.w1)
- A companion bird may be provided for hospitalized waterfowl to reduce
stress and stimulate feeding. A domestic duck may be kept for this purpose, but care is
required to avoid such a companion acting as a vector and transmitting disease between
successive patients. The risks may be minimized by allowing its use as a companion only
with birds which are not suffering from an infectious disease, and be regularly checking
it for subclinical infection.
- Some species such as diving ducks do very badly in typical quarantine
accommodation and may need to be let out onto larger water areas immediately (B7); however the disease risks must be considered and a separate pen used initially
if at all possible.
- Releasing new birds into a separate pen initially also makes it easier to
monitor the birds, checking that they are feeding and not just hiding in cover. Water
should always be available for bathing.
- Initial pens should also be provided with cover so that birds can hide
until they feel secure. Lack of cover may be very stressful, increasing the susceptibility
(B7, B11.33.w1, B40,
- Cranes arriving at a collection should be quarantined before being
placed near or with other cranes. (B115.12.w8)
- Ideally, a quarantine facility should be at least 1 km away from
other crane enclosures. (B115.12.w8)
- A quarantine period of 30-60 days is recommended when cranes are
moved between collections. (B115.8.w4)
- Personnel caring for cranes in quarantine either should not also be
caring for other cranes or the quarantined birds should be cared for
last, after the other cranes. (B115.12.w8)
- To avoid the possibility of long-term soil contamination, ideally
quarantine pens should not have an outside area. If there is such an
area, any contaminated soil should be left unused for at least one
- In the face of a particular infectious disease problem such as IBDC,
serological monitoring, swabing to test for shed virus, and housing
sentinal cranes in quarantine areas may be appropriate. (B10.24.w46)
Hygiene & Disinfection
- "Clean pens are important to the continued health of cranes."
- Note: chicks are more susceptible to many pathogens (e.g. Aspergillus)
than are adult cranes. (B115.2.w7)
- Sand can cause ocular lesions and conjunctivitis if it gets into the
eyes of chicks. (B115.2.w7)
- A good way to keep large outdoor crane enclosures clean is by pen
rotation. This removes the crane host, thereby breaking the pathogen's
life cycle. (B115.2.w7)
- If possible, pens should be left empty for one or two years after a
year of use and preferably should also be limed and deep ploughed, to
minimise pathogen and parasite build-up in the soil. (B10.24.w46)
- Generally, if enclosures allow at least 50 m per crane and the birds
are rotated annually into alternate pens (i.e. each pen is left empty
every second year), no cleaning of the outdoor enclosures is needed. (B115.2.w7)
- For an enclosure known to have a high pathogen load, or to harbour a
particularly dangerous pathogen, while it is empty, disinfect the
enclosure by tilling the soil and applying lime, formalin
or a commercial disinfectant appropriate for eliminating the
- Move cranes between enclosures in mid-summer, autumn (fall) or, to
ensure chicks have a clean enclosure, just before egg laying starts. (B115.2.w7)
- For a row of crane enclosures, move all cranes on the same day, so
that all crane pairs are separated from their neighbours by an empty
- Fully enclosed shelters/houses with bedding of woodchips or sand
should be cleaned (droppings and wet bedding removed) every day or
every other day. (B115.2.w7)
- Soiled areas can be removed from shavings using a scoop or a
hand protected by a rubber glove. (B115.2.w7)
- Sand substrates can be sieved through a 3-mm mesh to remove
droppings and wet sand. (B115.2.w7)
- Note: wet bedding promotes the growth of fungi and
bacteria, particularly in warm, wet weather. (B115.2.w7)
- Change bedding more frequently if cranes are locked into the
indoor shelter for long periods. (B115.2.w7)
- At least once yearly (more often if appropriate for the amount the
shelter is used), clean each shelter thoroughly:
- Remove all bedding;
- Clean the walls and floor, disinfecting them by scrubbing or
spraying with bleach or an appropriate disinfectant - e.g.
Environ or Nolvosan, mixed 1:250 with water.
- Leave the building to dry thoroughly before putting new, clean
bedding into it.
- Note: disinfectants are potentially toxic to animals. (B115.2.w7)
- Keep the cranes out of the building for one to two days
longer than the half-life stated on the label, to ensure it is
safe for the cranes. (B115.2.w7)
- Do not use disinfectants at a concentration higher
than that recommended by the manufacturer. (B115.2.w7)
- Bathing pools, can harbour a variety of bacteria and parasites from
faeces of the cranes, other birds and pest rodents. If allowed to
become stagnant, can harbour bacteria such as Clostridium botulinum
(the source of toxin causing Botulism). If the pool does not
have constant water throughput (preferred), it is suggested that it
should be cleaned every 3-5 days (more often if there is a chick in
the pen). (B115.2.w7)
- To minimise cross-contamination between pens, use an antibacterial,
antiviral footbath. (B115.2.w7)
- Suitable agents include Broad Spec, Environ and Nolvasan. (B115.2.w7)
- The footbath should be at least 40 cm diameter and contain 6-12 cm
deep fluid. (B115.2.w7)
- One footbath should be provided at the entrance to each crane pen
- Personnel should dip their footwear in the bath whenever they enter
and leave the pen complex. (B115.2.w7)
- Change the footbath solution at least weekly, more frequently if it
is diluted by rain. (B115.2.w7)
Feeding sites for free-living cranes
- At wild crane feeding sites, where cranes may be concentrated
and the potential for disease transmission increased, consideration
should be given to the potential for disease transmission, and
whether any preventative measures are needed. (B10.24.w46)