Hot Tips For Cool Birds

Early Season Backpacking Washington...
Early Season Backpacking Washington (A 2022 Guide)

Although it is just Memorial Day weekend, Portlanders saw abnormally warm 90 degree days last week! So it’s not too early to discuss hot weather hazards and how to “summerize” your companion animals.

When the temperature rises into the 80s, 90s, and above, we must be cautious about not just heat, but also sun exposure, drafts, humidity, and increased germs in wet food. Parrots thrive in homes maintained between 68 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and when temperatures climb over that, we must make some alterations in the home environment. Always keep cages away from windows; birds need access to shade at all times. Those of us who live in the Northwest (both people and birds!) look forward to sunny weather with almost religious enthusiasm!! (After all, we only see so much of it!) My birds and I vowed if we never saw the sun again, it would be too soon – yet after our first winter in Oregon, Amber and I celebrated the last coming of summer (in mid-July) with wild abandon as we made our regular walks to the park. Sunshine is beneficial to birds’ health because it promotes feather growth and vibrancy. Open windows provide fresh air, but keep an eye on wing trims and screen windows to prevent escapes!

Most people are already aware of the advantages of full spectrum illumination. Unfortunately, window glass cuts out some of the helpful rays, so in the summer, an outside aviary or secure cage is ideal.

When traveling, avoid leaving birds in closed automobiles unattended, since asphyxia might occur. If you reside in a hot, dry region and/or often use air conditioners, use a humidifier to protect the air from becoming too dry, which is harsh on skin and feathers. Check for drafts from air conditioner ducting in cages. If temps drop significantly at night, keep cages away from open windows to minimize drafts and chilling, and, of course, turn off ceiling fans while birds are out!

One of the nicest parts about summer is that birds may have a daily bath or shower in the morning and then air dry for the duration of the warm summer months.

Although birds can adapt to a broad range of temperatures and climates, issues occur when temperatures vary abruptly rather than gradually growing to allow birds to acclimatize.

Make sure to provide lots of clean, fresh water (change 1-2 times per day minimum). If your birds are “soup makers” or “water hogs,” try converting them to water bottles for their own good. Remember, birds can’t tell the difference between bowls of water for drinking and those for bathing!

Finally, if you know me, you know that I recommend that 12 of the diet consist of fresh vegetables, cooked whole grains/legumes, and some fruit – and that wet food be removed after 3-4 hours due to spoiling. In the summer, though, since bacteria proliferates at higher temperatures, you may need to remove it after just 1-2 hours. After 1 hour, eliminate dairy items and eggs in particular.

So, now that the sun is shining, let your bird enjoy the fresh air and sunlight, eat plenty of nature’s spring and summer crop, and enjoy the enjoyment and benefits of daily bathing. Celebrate the season; before you know it, the gloomy skies of autumn will return, and it will be snuggle time for you and your birds.

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