CLOACAL SIPPINGDeveloping the Immune System
by Sally Blanchard
When a baby parrot is in the nest or aviary, there is a gland called the Bursa of Fabricius on the side of the cloaca (the 'vat' at the end of the digestive and reproductive system that holds waste). This gland actually “sips” in aspects of the environment to assist the development of the parrot's immune system. If the baby’s area is filthy, the immune system may be overwhelmed and the baby will most likely become ill. On the other hand, if the baby’s area is compulsively clean, the immune system will not develop properly because there is nothing to gauge in the development of the immune system. It is essential to establish a balance to create a healthy parrot. Once the baby's immune system has developed, the Bursa of Fabricius dissolves into the cloacal wall. If you have ever seen the interior or a wild parrot's nest cavity with the chicks, it would be obvious that they would never receive the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. Prophylactic use of antibiotics in baby parrots can cause problems in the development of the immune system causing problems with continual infections and illness as the parrots mature.