Pet Bird Care Tips (Reader Submission)


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If your bird likes to pluck its feathers, you should, in addition to providing it with the most mentally taxing things you can find to prevent it from becoming bored, conserve its feathers. You may add their feathers to toys they already have, or you can construct a “feather toy” by grouping a number of feathers together. This will urge them, rather than preening and plucking the feathers on their body, to preen and pluck this instead.

Robin Hall

While I was cleaning the bird room, vents, windows, and other areas, I realized that there was a draft coming in via the gaps in the window and through the electrical plates in the wall. Now would be a good time to put in those insulators we can buy to place around the power outlets and possibly plug in holes in windows/sills or put up plastic (safely, of course) to help keep drafts away from our infants. This would be a wonderful idea given that the cold winter is approaching us.

Sandy Eck

Making Birdie Bread soon? When you are ready to add the eggs, wash them well with Apple Cider Vinegar or Grape Fruit Seed extract (to eliminate any germs that may be on the outside of the egg), and be sure to utilize the whole egg! Eggshells are an excellent source of calcium and other minerals that are beneficial to your pet bird. Simply crush the eggshell into a fine powder and include it in your preferred recipe.

Robin Hall

There are five birds in our household: a Green-cheek Conure named Sammy, a Parakeet named Dark Wing, a Peach-faced Lovebird, and two Tiels (Yugi & Ted E. Bird). The Tiel are notoriously hesitant to accept new and healthier foods; in other words, they will eat almost everything except seed. The remaining birds consume fruits and vegetables on a regular basis, in addition to pasta and the majority of the foods that people eat that are appropriate for them… To entice the Tiels, I took some thick cording made of 100 percent cotton and strung it with organic cereals of the Cheerio type, alternating them with dried and fresh fruits. The cording was then wrapped around. Cranberries, blueberries, chopped strawberries, raisins, and dried plums were all organically grown and utilized in this recipe. They devoured the whole thing even though I hung it from the very top of their enclosure. I guess it was the game I created out of it by letting the cords sway as I passed by. I also fastened a bell to the end of the rope since I am aware that they are particularly fond of bells. They will now eat dry fruit from a plate, but I will continue to offer them string and Cheerios. They give off the impression of enjoying themselves, and it is entertaining to observe them eat, play, and move about all at the same time. In addition, I was successful in getting them to eat corn on the cob by first cutting the cob into pieces that were two inches long before frying it, and then threading a string through each piece of corn using a doll needle. I then offered the corn in the same way that I had given the fruit. Now, every time I haul out the box of cerial, five birds start talking to me in anticipation of getting their rewards.

Ila M. Turner

Conducting research is the most effective method for determining what kind of bird you can devote your time and resources to. Before you go out and purchase a bird just because it’s lovely, you should first conduct some study online, read some books, and participate in online chats. Instead of using a bird as a decorative accent in your life, look into getting a bird that can live with you in peace.

Wilson, Rosemary

If your birds consume seed and seem to like it, you need to remember to check their dish every day. It is not uncommon for a dish to give the impression that it is full when, in reality, it just includes empty hulls. Make sure the dish is totally emptied, and then refill it every day!

A. Holth, Jan

Invest in a minimum of two of each kind of food dish and water dispenser that you use with your birds. When I am getting ready to give the animals fresh food and water, I fill the clean bowls and then simply replace the filthy ones with new ones. Not only does this make less of a disturbance for our birds, but it also makes it much easier to spend less time cleaning and feeding them. More time for fun and games!

Robin Hill

Things like cars breaking down, people getting into accidents, and people having unexpected situations are all things that may keep people away from their homes and their birds for a number of hours. Make sure that your loved ones and friends are aware that your birds may want their assistance in obtaining food and water at some point. Even if there are external feeding stations, aggressive parrots still have the potential to scare visitors, particularly those who are not acquainted with them. When startled, birds of a smaller size may be able to slip through the feeder openings. Everyone in the household who is at least eight years old should be familiar with the proper way to feed and water pet birds in the event of an unexpected emergency. Demonstrate to any members of your family, close friends, or carers who could step in for you how to pour seeds and pellets onto a piece of paper, pull the edges, and then funnel the food through the cage bars into their plates. In order to reach the water bowls within the cage, a plant waterer with a long neck that is labeled “BIRD WATER ONLY” should be maintained nearby. Alternatively, everyone should be educated on how to refill water bottles and make sure they are working correctly after being re-hung on their cages.

The Crouch of Randa

People who own macaws and cockatoos, two birds who like undoing fast links, learn very quickly how to use pliers to make quick links more secure. If a large Macaw cannot open them, a little Conure most likely will not be able to either.

Linda Agers

Have you observed that within a short period of time after you change your birds’ water or food, it turns into a “poop soup”? Make sure that their swings, perches, and other toys that dangle in their cages are not placed over or near their food or water. It just takes a little amount of forethought to make sure that their enclosures are set up in a way that prevents them from contaminating the food and water supply.

M. Jan Holth, Minnesota

Birds need to forage in order to maintain their physical and mental well-being. When I take a kale leaf and stuff it with brown rice and steamed veggies that have been chopped, my birds go absolutely crazy over it. I use the leaves to make a “pouch,” which I then put in their cages using a bird-friendly, short length of natural thread. They get great enjoyment in dangling from it, biting a hole in it, and then discovering their treats within. Hanging this on the side of their cage is most comfortable for the smaller birds. The Too’s have great pleasure in shrieking with glee and attacking, and THEN devouring their prize!

Dawn Henson, Second Chance Avian Rescue

In addition to the vegetables and pellets that make up the majority of their diet, each evening I prepare “extras” for my flock to eat after dinner. On a portion of a paper plate that has been precut, unseasoned pasta, corn, beans, and other foods are served. One dish with four parts (one each for tiels, greys, and macaws) is put on the bottom of each cage to prevent food from being thrown about and to facilitate the speedy and hygienic removal of leftovers after meals. No mess, no fuss! Excellent dining!

Randa

I spritz the birds and then use a spray bottle filled with water to clean the filthy cage grates at the same time. After waiting a few minutes, use a cleaning cloth (Scotch produces green ones, and you can get them at Sam’s Club) and scrub the surface well. This works better than Poop Off and other cleansers, which don’t disinfect anyhow, so why bother using them? It goes without saying that a chemical cleaner should be used for disinfecting, but if you need something done quickly, this method works wonderfully!

Linda Agers

I try to feed my flock only organically grown foods as much as I can. eat it raw or steam it. When I steam vegetables, I soak raisins in the water left in the steamer, which is rich in the vitamins and minerals that were extracted from the vegetables. In only five to ten minutes, the birds will also be able to enjoy the warm and moist raisins, as well as the additional nutrients that they would be deprived of if the water had merely been tossed away.

Wendy Peccitto

I have a Goffin’s Too chicken that picks out of routine and out of boredom.

I purchased a bag of tamale corn husks, cut each one into pieces about five inches long, and then tied them all around his cage (bars). Now, instead of working on his feathers, he wastes hours demolishing these things.

Angel of Angel Wing Aviaries

To ensure that the cuttlebones are attached securely, I buy a bolt with a wing nut and two washers for each bone. I make a big purchase of cuttlebones, and then I set to work with my reliable drill. It is necessary to drill a hole in the cuttlebone that is one size bigger than the bolt that will be inserted. Install one washer on the front of the cuttlebone, then put the bolt through it, and then use the second washer to secure the cuttlebone to your cage in the same manner as a perch. It not only keeps the cuttlebone off the bottom of the cage, but it also lowers the chance of harm from the metal clips that are offered with most cuttlebones that are bought separately.

Candace Kochosky

Birds spend their whole lives on their feet, thus any issues they have with their feet may be very detrimental to their health. If you have a bird that is having problems with its feet, here are some helpful hints: Perches made of sisal or cotton rope should be used in their enclosures; they should be checked daily for loose threads and trimmed as necessary. Alternatively, you might cover wooden perches with vet wrap. It makes the perches more comfortable, making them less painful for those with arthritic or wounded feet, improves traction for people who are unable to properly grasp, and also offers a little variation in size. Cotton rope may be zip-tied onto the metal rims of play stands for bigger birds if the birds’ cages have play stands on the top. This will soften the rims. Sandpaper perch coverings that may be purchased in shops should not be used. It has been shown that they are counterproductive rather than beneficial.

RUTH ROGERS (Feathersongaviary.com)

When I hear tales about other people and their new birds, I can’t help but think of the lyric from a song that goes, “Slow down, you go too quickly.” When dealing with a bird, quickness is not necessary. Is it absolutely necessary for the bird to form a bond with you within the first two weeks of having it if you consider that even the smaller birds could be with you for the next 15 years and the larger birds could be with you for the next possibly 50 years? What would happen if it took as long as a whole year to feel comfortable and connected to the other person? It would still leave you with many more years in which to enjoy life… Do not force your bird beyond the point where it feels comfortable. There is no good that can come from adding stress to a relationship. The strongest friendships are those in which there is mutual trust, regard, and comprehension on both sides. Give your bird the opportunity to become familiar with the other members of the household as well as the surrounding environment. During the first few months of your bird’s life, you should give it the freedom to decide the amount of interaction it wants from you. If they seem anxious or even just a little bit nervous, try sitting quietly with them and reading to them. In your conversations, make sure to mention them and their name. You should do everything in your power to make them feel as though they are truly at home, loved, and not threatened. This is the foundation for a wonderful, long-lasting relationship between the two of you.

Gay Noeth

TIPS FOR HOT WEATHER Be aware of two common problems when traveling with your bird during hot weather. First, make sure that the air conditioning vents are not pointed toward the carriers, and second, check to make sure that the sun is not directly shining on your bird carrier while you are driving (especially if plexiglass type). We ask that you not leave your bird unattended in the car for even the briefest amount of time. Cover the top of the carrier with a thin towel of light color and light weight to block the sun. During the warm months, the water bottles may need to be changed twice a day in order to guarantee that your bird can get “cool water” relief. The sun should never shine directly on cages at any point. Be on the lookout for torn screens and doors that are propped open (both do not only escape routes but also allow mosquitoes and other insects in). Keep a close eye on any fresh foods that have been left out for your birds to eat because the heat and humidity will cause bacteria to rapidly multiply. During the hot weather, foods that are either freshly prepared or freshly cooked should not be left out for more than two hours. I hope everyone has a wonderful summer.

Carolyn Mann

Got a juicer? If you want to give your birds’ food an extra “punch” of vitamin A, run some carrots through the juicer before you start cooking the grains for them, and then use some of the carrot juice as part of the cooking liquid. You can also add variety to their diet by using other juices. For example, you could use apple juice and add a spoonful of cinnamon to the grain while it is cooking; this combination is not only delicious but also has some positive effects on one’s health. Alternately, you may use tomato juice and add minced garlic, which has natural antibacterial characteristics as well as other beneficial features, as well as crushed red peppers (Vitamin A). Providing kids with a variety of foods keeps them engaged in eating, and it also enables you to slip in some nutritious items.

Ruth Rogers, Feather Song Aviary

My lovebird, Zen, enjoys playing with Legos in his spare time. They are sturdy enough that he won’t be able to break off parts, and it’s something that the two of us can play with together – he helps me put things together, and I help him take things apart! Sometimes he’s even kind enough to give them back to me after he’s done using them!

Laura Pegoraro

Have you given any thought to obtaining a bird as a pet for yourself?

PLEASE give this matter a great deal of thought and consideration…

A great number of bird species are capable of living for 50 years or more if they are well cared for.

A genuine commitment of time, love, and patience is required when one decides to purchase a bird.

BEFORE your new feathery friend comes, there are a few items you’ll want to make sure you have, including:

(Be careful to do enough study to determine which breed is most suitable for your home and circumstances…

Although macaws and cockatoos are stunning birds, keeping one of these exotic pets is NOT for everyone. If you live in an apartment, it is very important that you give consideration to the sounds and the volume of those sounds.

A Cage: this is the biggest and best one that you can buy, and please check to make sure that the bar spacing is appropriate for the species that you are getting. Additionally, please make sure to choose a safe powder-coated cage, or even better, stainless steel….

A gram scale so that you may weigh your bird once per week; a first-aid kit (and please learn how to use it), toys, toys, and more toys; a water bottle; bowls of various sizes; perches of at least five different varieties; a blanket; and a cat carrier. Foods (include a variety of seed mixes, dried vegetables and fruits on a weekly basis, and as many different kinds of fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables as you can get your hands on); acquaint yourself with a reputable avian veterinarian, or at the absolute least, a general practitioner who has experience treating avian patients; bottled or distilled water to provide regular hydration for your pet bird; a play structure, such as a jungle gym or a tree, (for spending quality time with you and your family); a good air cleaner (please do not use an ozone generator); a humidifier (look for one that has a UV light to purify the water and steam so that you are not putting stale water mist into the air); a tiny mini chopper or food processor to process fresh foods; apple cider vinegar or grape fruit seed extract (to wash fresh foods); a good disinfectant to clean cages, perches, and toys (Oxine by Oxifresh or Eviroclean are great); a good, safe carrier (which can be strapped into a seat belt for vet visits and outings); an aquarium, plastic container, and source of heat for sick birds; a good, safe carrier (which can be strapped into a seat belt for vet visits and outings); a good, safe carrier (which can be strapped into a seat (hot hands, available at Hornbecks make a great source of instant heat for power outages and injury treatment).

Research…learn…and be aware of what you will need to begin what will undoubtedly be one of the BEST relationships you will EVER have…

Dee Hayston

Do you have a plan in case of an emergency?

When there is a crisis, every second counts; whether it’s a trip to the veterinarian, fire or fumes, a flood, or any other type of natural or man-made disaster, PLEASE be prepared.

You will need to have the following things available to you: sturdy carrier(s), including tote bags or duffel bags if more than one bird (to carry them efficiently), bottled water/food (set aside in your refrigerator where you can grab it quickly), First Aid kit, clean towel(s)/blanket(s) (if cold weather), your vets’ or clinic’s phone numbers, and any other items they might require if you must have them out of your home for an extended period of time. I also have a foldable cage stored in the trunk of my car, and I always keep my duffel bag stuffed with various pieces of equipment and additional dishes. It is our sincere hope that you will never have a need for them; nevertheless, in the event that you do, being prepared will make a huge difference!

Happy birding!!!

Karen Tuscher

There are a lot of simple things that may be done to improve the quality of life of your parrots…

Just a handful of them are as follows: Give your bird(s) some “family time” by letting them out of their cage sometimes. The majority of parrots find traveling in a secure and comfortable carrier to be one of their favorite activities. Toys that are not only safe but also fascinating and varied are essential for preventing boredom and encouraging thinking. You should switch up the toys at least once every two weeks to maintain their interest and provide enough for them to be able to fully appreciate their cages (homes). In addition to seeds and pellets, the diet should consist of a variety of fresh foods since parrots like a variety of flavors, colors, and textures. Both morning and nighttime should be set out as special times for all of you; bedtime is an excellent opportunity for special scritches.

Susan Mahaffey

When you feed your birds new foods, you should first chop up the new food into small pieces and then mix it with one of their favorite foods. They will consume sufficient quantities of the new meal in order to convince them to eat it when they are eating their preferred food.

Gal Wyche

The month of December is filled with joyous occasions for so many of us to celebrate…

During the holiday season, our homes are filled with visits from family and friends as well as additional activities. It is possible for our birds to get hurt during this time. In addition to the Holiday Dangers that are described in this article (http://www.aviannetwork.com/articles/holidayhaz.htm), I would like to add the following: There has been an increase in the number of people going in and out of our homes, which poses a threat to birds that are free and roaming around the house. In warmer climates, doors and windows may be left open by people who are not accustomed to being aware of the potential threat. When there are a lot of people around that the birds don’t know, some of the birds might feel happier and safer in their cages. If you are unsure of how your bird will respond, it is best to play it safe and keep them in their cages where they are safe. In the event that you have visitors staying with you, you should ensure that they are aware of some of the fundamentals concerning the use of teflon cookware, the burning of candles, and the use of hair spray, deodorants, and/or cleaners in close proximity to your birds; Noise levels and increased stress can make your bird anxious. Make sure they are able to get at least ten hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. Unsupervised handling by children and/or adults who are unfamiliar with your birds can pose serious problems for all parties involved. To ensure that everyone has a happy and healthy holiday season, make sure that you provide your visitors and family members with instructions that are kind but clear respecting your feathery pets.

April Hoefer

Spray the fresh fruits and vegetables that you feed your birds with apple cider vinegar.

This not only helps to maintain the freshness of their food by preventing the growth of molds and germs on it, but it also promotes healthy digestion and adds nutrients to the food they eat.

Cheryl-Anne Miller

On the days when my parrotlet, Pip, is being a little bit chilly and doesn’t want to cooperate by coming out of his cage, I use an additional booda perch to “help his escape”! However, I do believe that we all need a safe method to get our fids out of their cages, particularly in the event of an emergency..so it’s a good idea to have an alternative method that works for you. Many times, I will not take him out if he is happy where he is. However, I do feel that we all need a safe method to get our fids out of their cages. When I hold out a booda perch in front of Pip and tell him to “step up,” he always does as I ask and steps on it. I made the decision that I needed to find a solution that would work for us because I live in Minnesota, where we experience a lot of severe storms, and there are times when I have to move him very quickly into the basement with the rest of the family. I was determined to find a solution that would do the trick. I maintain a booda perch that is rather long, which I fold in half. If he decides that he wants to nip me, I can switch my grip to the other end of the stick very quickly. When I consider that this is part of my backup strategy for evacuating the building in case of an emergency, I have a greater sense of self-assurance.

JAN HOLTH

The Booda Rope perches provide our birds with an excellent “alternative” to the hard perches; however, it is important that you check these perches every day for loose strings and threads… It is possible for a bird’s nails, toys, and feet to become entangled with one another, which could result in serious injuries to the legs and feet. Wherever it is necessary, trim with sharp scissors.

STEPHANIE

The dander would fly everywhere whenever I cleaned my “too’s” cage, regardless of how slowly I rolled the newspaper…

Now all I have to do is take a spray bottle filled with water and spritz the newspaper, then roll it up and take a deep breath.

DAWN

The bulk of a parrot’s day is spent searching for food while it is living in the wild. To encourage this behavior within the confines of the cage, try disguising treats within other foods (such as a grape or strawberry rolled up in a piece of kale), moving treats to an unusual location within the cage (such as the top of the cage) so that your bird has to climb to get them, or purchasing some of the new toys that claim to be able to “hide a treat.” They have their minds engaged, have to move about in order to get their rewards and experience a sense of fulfillment when they succeed.

ROXANNE

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