Asking For Advice And Sharing Information


Asking for Advice

Most people who maintain and raise birds feel the need to seek guidance from other bird owners on a regular basis. Unless we know the counselor personally, following the advice may be ineffective or even dangerous. Advice should be heeded with care. What are our reservations about advice? If we are inquiring about the behavior or requirements of breeding couples, does the adviser have one pair, two pairs or many pairs on which he or she based the advice? How many years has the individual been working with the species? Is it two years, five years, or ten years? Time and experience with a variety of pairs of one species make a significant impact in comprehending the species’ behavior. Individual birds act differently with various partners and under different situations.

Are the birds kept inside or out in the open? Are the future flights populated by couples of the same species, or by pairs of other species? What about cage furnishings? What sorts of perches are utilized, and where can you get them? Are there any toys on board? Where do food dishes go? What are the components in the diet? How much is fed everyday and at what time of day? What are the ages of the couple in question? Younger than 5 years? Over the age of five? How long have they been dating? What is the pair’s conduct like? Are the birds wild-caught or kept in captivity? Answers to these questions are valuable to the adviser and create the foundation for a more complete response when we seek assistance on our birds.

Information Sheets For Clients

Clients who have never had a bird before prefer printed instruction sheets and are more likely to study them thoroughly prior to or when they first acquire the bird. Some pet bird owners may have many birds but lack transition information. It is critical that those of us who sell birds provide excellent advise on settling the bird into its new home.

Caging

First and foremost, caging should be appropriate for the species in terms of size and perches. Perches should be beneficial to the bird, not just for perching but also for using their beaks to maintain them in perfect condition. Inform new bird owners that when a perch is damaged, they should expect to move perches. They should also be aware that they should brush the perch at least once a week since the bird will wipe its beak on the perch.

Place the cage with its back to a wall to boost the bird’s sense of security. Cages in the center of a room might generate stress in birds. If the cage is in a room where the residents remain late at night, cover it at night.

Diet

The volume and positioning of food dishes, as well as the daily food content, are crucial for the effective transition of a new bird into a new habitat. When a juvenile parrot is put in a new cage, it will choose a perch that seems most comfortable to it, most often the tallest perch. Food and water dishes must be put nearby such that they are readily accessible, i.e., the bird just has to reach down and take up food. People who are unfamiliar with birds’ strong instincts for survival may fail to recognize the young bird’s desire to reach the highest perch. I’ve met rookie bird owners who put food bowls at the bottom of their cages and then questioned why their birds didn’t come down to eat. Birds who do not eat enough will become skinny, feeble, and prone to bacteria.

Even mature birds, when put in a new cage or flight, may refuse to move down from a high perch to a lower level to eat. Place the food bowls immediately near to the tallest perch, at least until the bird gets over the transition period’s nervousness.

The daily meal should include things that the bird is accustomed to eating, cooked in the same way, i.e., sliced or diced in comparable sized pieces, sprouted, and so on. The new owner should be provided an information leaflet outlining the diet. When the bird has established in for a few weeks, other meals may be introduced. It is not advised to modify a bird’s food when he or she is relocated to a new cage. Even the color of the food or water dish might be unsettling to a bird in transition. Bright red or yellow ceramic or plastic dishes might be scary to a bird used to a stainless steel bowl. Bowl design is particularly crucial for young birds; broad shallow bowls are favoured over narrow deep bowls. Otherwise, young birds will spill food outside the bowl and will be unable to collect it.

Moving Breeding Pairs

Depending on the species, placing a couple in a cage or flight big enough to accommodate the species might be crucial. This cage size is determined not by the size of the bird, but by the behavior and demands of the species pair. Cockatoo breeders that are successful claim that their birds are most prolific on lengthy trips (15 or more feet long).
In such a lengthy flight, the male has a lower chance of successfully catching and harming the female. Cockatoo breeders in Australia and other countries where the birds are kept in huge flights do not record aggression-related mortality during the breeding season. As a result, it is essential that the vendor notify the buyer about the size and kind of cage in which the birds were kept. Moving a pair of parrots from a big flight to a smaller flight may be disastrous for the couple. This may result in extreme tension and aggressive behavior in certain species, such as Eclectus. When formerly happy and compatible pairings are put in smaller cages, they might become antagonistic and violent. It is also critical to arrange caged breeding pairs above, rather than below, your eye level. The tension of caged birds is increased when they are placed below your eye level.

Transporting Adult Birds

Preventing violent behavior during transit should be addressed by putting each bird in a different compartment or container. Individual birds in even the most connected, compatible couples might become confused, afraid and eventually violent when brought together in a container. In a matter of minutes, deaths have occurred from this ill-advised technique. It is smart management and good business to plan for the safe transportation of a pair of birds from one facility to another by ensuring that each one is crated in its own compartment.

Smooth Selling —The Importance of Transition

Birds For Sale

Most of us who raise birds also sell birds, and occasionally we purchase birds. Probably the majority of birds sold are young birds, bred to be companions in a house or family. Some are young birds bred to be future breeding birds. We sometimes sell older birds or pairings that we have chosen not to retain. Perhaps we are lowering our breeding stock to lessen our burden, or perhaps we are eliminating certain species from our breeding program to make place for others. In all these circumstances when birds are sold or acquired, the birds are travelling from an environment with which they are accustomed to an environment that is utterly new and unfamiliar. This is a significant transition in the life of a pet bird or breeding bird that should be taken seriously and properly arranged by both the seller and the purchaser.

Background

According to field biologists, young parrots in the wild grow up and learn about their surroundings with the help of their parents. After fledging, they stay with their parents; they learn the location of numerous food sources and how to obtain the food. They acquire proper and acceptable behaviour from their parents and the flock throughout their early infancy. Although new, unexpected, and seasonal occurrences occur in their everyday lives, the locations of food supplies stay generally stable, and they are familiar with their same-species daily companions. They basically live in a world that is quite familiar to them.

Hand-Raised Babies

Our hand-reared young birds go into the unknown. Weaned baby parrots are old enough to feed on their own but still require parental assistance and direction. Bird breeders that work with the public must prepare both the newborn birds and the new owners for this significant shift from their original home to the new one. Bird breeders often have a wealth of fundamental information about the birds they produce, but the person adopting a companion bird may have little understanding about birds, much alone “bird” common sense. We who raise birds often forget what we didn’t know when we initially got our first bird. We had to learn by trial and error, often at the price of the birds.

Transition Preparation

It helps a young bird feel more at ease in a carrier if the bird has spent an hour or more in a carrier with a bowl of food and a toy on multiple occasions. The carrier then ceases to be menacing. Young birds that have been in a vehicle are more relaxed when they travel. When a baby bird is reared with a range of toys, it may have a preference. Sending a favorite toy with the young bird helps it adjust to its new surroundings. For breeders who have the time and inclination, letting the new owner see the baby bird on multiple times boosts the comfort level of the young bird with its new owner. For those of us who send birds across the nation, this is not always doable. However, there are several steps we may take to assist the bird adapt smoothly.

Wing Trims

I’ve seen and heard of several major issues caused by poor wing trims over the years. The worst case scenario is when all of the flying feathers, primary and secondary, are clipped. Although I am not aware of any veterinarians who prescribe this specific cut, I am aware of several who have done it. When alarmed, birds with this cut may jump from their owner’s arm or the cage, only to fall to the floor like a stone. These birds suffered sternum injuries, and one of them had a fractured back.
Trimming all of the primaries extremely short has been known to cause feather plucking as the bird attempts to groom the sharp cut ends poking into its side on a regular basis. Eventually this pattern of behavior evolves into the habit of chewing on feathers. This issue might be avoided by leaving the first two primaries untouched or by making a shallow cut that only removes the outer half of the primaries. With little species like as cockatiels and budgerigars, this shallow trim will not work as their bodies are so light that may still get height while flying.

This cut, however, works well with bigger, heavier-bodied parrots. Always flight-test a trimmed bird inside multiple times over several days to ensure that the wing trim is effective in managing flight. Trimming may be required for certain birds. As we learn more about the effects of various sorts of trims, opinions concerning wing trimming are evolving throughout the avicultural world. Furthermore, some pet owners maintain fully flighted birds in homes where they cannot access open doors.

Overgrown Beaks

Sometimes hard perches, such as manzanita, ribbon wood and eucalyptus, although attractive, are too hard for beak work for many of the small parrot species or the larger species with soft beaks. If your birds never chew their perches, perhaps it is because the perches are too hard for them. Providing an additional perch of soft pine allows the bird to work the beak successfully on the perch.

Chewing and stripping the soft wood on a routine basis makes it possible for the bird to keep the beak in proper shape and avoids the problem of an overgrown beak. Sometimes veterinarians diagnose an overgrown beak as a liver problem when the real problem is a rock-hard perch for the species in question. Generally, cockatoos and macaws do not have this problem! Of course, when birds chew the perch to pieces, you need to replace the perch. New cages often come with attractive manzanita perches. Young parrots in their first cages may find the manzanita too hard for beak work, and thus may not develop the proper beak-working habits at the stage when their instincts direct them to work on the perch. These young parrots find a softer perch very desirable.

Banding Exotic Birds

The major reason for banding a bird is to provide a permanent means of identification. This identification is critical in two important ways. One is as a means of record keeping regarding hatch date, individual history, medical records at the veterinarian’s office and ownership. The second is as a means of quickly and easily identifying the bird when it is lost or stolen. I am aware of two separate events where stolen macaws were returned because the band number proved ownership. I also know of a lost pet African grey that was brought to a pet store by the finder. The store owner read the band and contacted the organization that sold the band; thus the breeder was found and the bird was returned to its worried owner. The states of Colorado, New Jersey and New York require that domestic-raised birds entering or living in the state be banded. When pet bird owners travel outside the United States with their birds, they must be accompanied by proper documents to enter some countries and to return to the U.S. with the bird. A numbered leg band is a quick and easy way for officials to identify the bird and compare the band number with the number on the documents. The bird’s band number should be included in its medical history by your veterinarian.

Cutting Off Bands

One problem associated with the banding of birds is that some veterinarians do not seem to be aware of the importance of the band to the bird owner. These veterinarians routinely remove bands when the bird is brought in for a health check or a wing clip. A few veterinarians do not believe that birds should be banded. This attitude may arise out of the problems associated with the wild-caught birds bearing the open leg bands placed on them during USDA quarantine. These bands were improperly applied, most being cinched only once where the directions explicitly state that the bands must be cinched twice. Some of these bands were so open that they caught on cage wire while the birds climbed around in the cage, thus resulting in wounds. Breeders today who use the proper-sized closed bands should not find them to result in the same kinds of problems.

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