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Oral Medication Dosing of Peafowl

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Craig Hopkins

Many peafowl medications are most effective when given orally down the throat.  An oral dose of medication assures that the peafowl are getting the proper dose and that no bird has missed getting the medication.  When peafowl are showing signs of illness, there is no better way to get them on the road to recovery than to give them the medication directly down their throat.  While oral dosing has many advantages, it must be done properly to assure that the bird gets the full benefit of the medication and is not injured during the process.  The purpose of this article is to describe and illustrate the proper method of giving an oral dose of medication to peafowl.  The steps described in this article are best done with two people.

The first step in this process is to catch the peafowl and to properly restrain them so that they donít injure themselves or you.  I use a large fishing net with a long retractable handle to catch the bird.  The net material is not the normal coarsely woven nylon mesh.  I use a tightly woven nylon mesh made especially for catching birds.  Entire nets or just the mesh material can be purchased from most poultry or pheasant supply companies.  Once the bird is caught, pin the bird to the ground with the net and grasp both legs firmly with a gloved hand.  It is best to grasp both legs at the knee joint and to hold both legs in one hand.  Remove the bird from the net and cradle it against your body so that it canít flap its wings.

The second step is to open the birdís mouth.  Your assistant should grasp the birdís top beak firmly in one hand and pry open the lower beak with the other hand.  Once the mouth is open, the fingers on the upper beak can be placed between the 2 beaks to keep the mouth open.


Now that the mouth is open, the birdís wind pipe (trachea) needs to be located.  This is the tube located at the base of the tongue that opens and closes as the bird breathes.  Medication should not be allowed to enter the trachea as it will cause the bird to cough and even drown if too much liquid gets in to the lungs.

    To prevent any medication from entering the trachea, a long narrow syringe without the needle should be used to insure that the medication is dosed down the throat past the trachea opening.  I use 3cc syringes to dose most medications.  An insulin syringe works well for small doses and on young peafowl.  Once the proper syringe has been selected and the proper dose of medication has been drawn in to the syringe, you are ready to medicate your bird.  Open the mouth wide and insert the syringe in to the mouth past the opening of the trachea and inject the medicine.  For larger doses, inject the medicine slowly so that none splashes back and ends up on you or down the trachea.  Once the syringe is empty, remove it from the birdís mouth and allow the bird to close its mouth.  The bird can now be released.

 I hope that you have found this article informative and helpful.  Oral dosing of medications is a very effective method and when done properly, completely safe for the birds and for you and your assistant.  Thank you and best of luck with your peafowl.

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