As I sit here watching another another storm pass over the mountains that surround the Pacific Ocean, I am reminded that I need to check our emergency supplies. Not just for myself and my spouse, but also for our animals, particularly the birds. Whether one lives in earthquake-prone California, the bone-chilling snows of the Midwest and Northeast, or waits for hurricane season on the East and Gulf Coasts, calamity may strike at any moment. Whether it’s Mother Nature or heinous man-made disasters, being prepared might be the difference between life and death. Although I am not an expert in emergency operations, as a native Californian, I have seen several calamities, including earthquakes, floods, fires, mudslides, and even a tidal wave warning. I immediately realized that in order to offer my birds with the greatest prospects of well-being and potentially even survival, I needed to be informed, prepared, and ready before calamity struck.
Water is the most vital component in every emergency pack. All living things need water, therefore water is frequently the first item to disappear in any tragedy. As a result, whether you reside in earthquake, tornado, or hurricane country, it is critical to have bottled water kept in a location where it can be collected even if the home falls. I would suggest at least one 16oz bottle of water each chick every four days. While the government recommended that individuals be prepared to be “on their own” for three days, in 1989, many people were without water for seven days and power for two weeks or more. Many people lost electricity for more than a month after Hurricane Isabelle last year. There would be no water if one obtained their water from a private well. It is advised to plan on becoming self-sufficient for at least a week. Also, if evacuation is required, be prepared since many emergency shelters do not take animals.
Then there’s food. It is unlikely that feeding birds their normal fresh or prepared meals will be practicable or even safe, so keep lots of additional seed and/or pellets on hand. Millet spray is a complex carbohydrate that delivers immediate energy. It is ideal for feeding stressed birds. It is also simple to keep in plastic zip top bags, so include millet spray in your pack. One spritz per bird each day should be plenty. Put NutriberriesTM or AvicakesTM in the kit if the bird will eat them. If the bird needs a specific diet, such as lories or mynahs, ensure that it is given and kept in airtight containers, such as plastic zip top bags. Cans of fruit and vegetables (with a manual can opener) may also be brought, but only if there is a safe location to wash the dishes. Paper plates may be used, but keep them in plastic bags to avoid becoming wet or contaminated.
Each bird or pair of birds should have their own flat-topped travel cage that can be readily stacked. It should be set up with perches and feeding bowls. Birds that are not ordinarily housed in the same cage should not be put in the same travel cage. The birds will be very anxious and terrified, which may result in aggressiveness. It’s preferable to have an additional cage or two than to worry about fighting. Buy one additional of the bird’s favorite toy or anything it loves to snuggle against and put it in the travel cage. A small bag of toys may be stashed away to assist divert the bird, particularly if the problem does not resolve itself within a day or two.
Hot packs developed for sporting injuries may be obtained at a medicine shop for individuals who are concerned about the cold, such as during snow storms and power outages. They are simply heated by placing them in hot water or stirring the gel. This is especially useful if there are unweaned infants in a brooder and no generator is available. In addition, if the bird gets very agitated, heat may be used to provide supportive treatment. When I travel with unweaned newborns, I use them to keep them warm for 6-8 hours, depending on the temperature of the air surrounding them.
Emergency Bird Supply Kit
- Flat Top Travel Cage with Food & Water Containers & Perches
- Water (Enough to Last 7 Days)
- Food (Basic Diet Normally Fed) Enough To Last 7 Days
- Millet Spray
- Extra Food & Water Containers
- Extra Perches
- Paper Plates
- Paper Towels
- Duct Tape
- Large Plastic Garbage Bags
- Plastic Zip Top Bags
- Small Hand Towels
- Large Towels
- Hand-Feeding Formula
- Gavage Tube
- Dish Soap
- Plastic Tub
- Athletic Hot Packs
To keep the bird calm and quiet, cover each cage with a thick towel. In a fire, the duct tape and tarp may also be used to barricade a room, vehicle, or cage to keep smoke out. The Office of Homeland Security has advised using this strategy in the case of a chemical or biological attack. In case the bird has to be force fed or medicine is administered, a tiny syringe, hand-feeding formula, gavage tube, and a small bottle of bleach should be included in the pack. Bleach may also be used to decontaminate drinking water. If you reside in a region that has regular power outages, particularly in colder climes, or if you are a breeder who often delivers kids, purchasing a generator is a highly worthy investment that may often mean the difference between life and death, especially for young birds.
Additional water, hand-feeding formula, a disinfection bottle, food bowls, spoons, syringes, an extra basket or container, thermometers, a bag of shavings, a tiny plastic critter carrier, a heating pad, a vehicle converter, and a small appliance to heat water will be required if caring for unweaned infants. A portable AC/DC brooder with a UPS for backup power is a prudent investment that may save infants’ lives. A four-wheel shopping wire basket, such as ones used for groceries, is an ideal location to store bird emergency supplies and is especially useful if evacuation is required and a lengthy walk is required. They may be pushed or pulled, works well, and are inexpensive. Plastic bags are ideal for stockpiling materials.
A bird first aid pack with emergency supplies is also recommended. This will provide the best possible protection for the bird in the event of sickness or damage. In the case of a big catastrophe, veterinary treatment is unavailable, particularly during the first 24-48 hours, thus carrying a well-stocked first aid bag may actually save a bird’s life. While there are commercial kits available, putting together a kit for usage is not difficult or costly. It is advised that all bird owners keep two first aid kits, one for usage around the home and one for emergency use only. This manner, it will always be accessible when it is most required.
I genuinely hope that no bird owner will ever have to face with a severe calamity. However, we live in a constantly changing world in which no one can forecast the future. As a result, it is more preferable to be prepared for calamity and pray that it never occurs than to be caught off guard with little or no resources. Our birds rely entirely on us for their care and safety. A few minutes of preparation now may prevent huge issues in the future and perhaps save the life of a cherished bird.
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