On 10/14/05, Pam wrote:
> We found our favorite female Fench dead this morning. She
> had literally eaten out her back-end. The feathers were
> all missing and her internal organs were hanging out. What
> would cause her to do this ?
Your finch did not "eat out her back-end." What happened is
known as a prolapsed cloaca. This is usually the end result
of a finch or other bird that has been laying an excessive
number of eggs. It can also be the result of a bird that has
had laid many eggs in the past even if it didn't result in a
problem at the time. It can also occur in a bird that has
never laid an egg but is trying for the first time and the
muscle is weak.
Lack of calcium in the diet is usually the problem since
calcium not only helps in that actual shell formation, but
also serves as a major component of muscle contraction which
is necessary to expel an egg. If the bird has had to strain
to lay eggs, and you might have not been aware of this at the
time, it weakens the cloaca and eventually causes it to
rupture and expel itself from the bird's body from the strain
As far as the plucked feathers, the bird probably picked at
her backside because of what happened to the cloaca. While
the plucking is coincidental, it is not a direct relation to
If it is caught in time, and the bird is not dead when
finding it, it can be reinserted by a vet and a small stitch
put in for it to heal. Usually once this happens, and if the
bird survives, breeding or egg laying is not advisable.
Sorry to hear what happened to your finch. If you have
others, please make sure that they are being supplemented
with adequate calcium sources such as cuttlebone, crushed egg
shells, or a liquid form in the water.
Also, there are dark greens such as kale, collards, turnips,
broccoli, etc. that are rich in natural calcium.