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Biosecurity for Pet Birds

Biosecurity for Pet Birds

Birds are very popular pets.  Many sought-after exotic birds come from other parts of the world. Because of the high prices associated with some of these breeds, the smuggling of exotic birds into the United States has become profitable and dangerous in terms of the chances of introducing diseases such as AI and END into the country.

The USDA quarantines and tests live birds imported into the United States to ensure that they do not have any foreign animal diseases such as the HPAI H5N1 virus. All imported live birds (except from Canada) must spend 30 days at a USDA quarantine facility where they are tested for the AI virus before entering the country. Returning U.S.-origin pet birds (except from Canada) also are tested and are home-quarantined. You must make a reservation at the chosen quarantine facility in advance by contacting the USDA port veterinarian.

To find out more about importing a pet bird, please see the APHIS Web site on animal imports. You may also find the publication "Importing a Pet Bird" helpful.

In addition to the 6 simple steps, pet bird owners should also follow these additional biosecurity steps:

Buying Birds

  • When buying a pet bird, request certification from the seller that the birds was legally imported or came from U.S. stock and was healthy prior to shipment.
  • It is a good idea to have your new bird examined by a veterinarian.
  • Isolate new birds from your other birds for at least 30 days.
  • Restrict access to your birds, especially from people who own birds that are housed outside.
  • Keep your birds away from other birds.


Handling Birds

  • Clean and disinfect your clothing and shoes if you have been near other birds, such as at a bird club meeting or bird fair or at a venue with live poultry.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap, water, and disinfectant before and after handling your birds.
  • Keep cages, food and water clean on a daily basis.
  • Remove feed from bags; place it in clean, sealed containers; and throw bags away.
  • Do not borrow or share bird supplies. If you must, clean and disinfect the items before bringing them home.


Looking for Signs

  • Know the warning signs of infectious bird diseases.
  • If your bird shows unusual signs of disease or dies unexpectedly, call your avian veterinarian.


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