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- Do you have a bird that is
like a two year old having a temper tantrum....always biting, doesn't step up,
scared, screaming or isn't social? We have found the Nanny 911 of the bird
world. Check out the website below to find useful information and a DVD on
how to develop a great relationship with your bird.
Bird Training - Do you have a bird that is like a two year old having a temper tantrum....always biting, doesn't step up, scared, screaming or isn't social? We have found the Nanny 911 of the bird world. Check out the website below to find useful information and a DVD on how to develop a great relationship with your bird.
*We are not affiliated in any way with birdtricks.com
Toys - Want quick
and inexpensive hours of fun for your bird?
Bird Toys - Want quick and inexpensive hours of fun for your bird?
Try using a soda bottle filled with nuts, cheerios, fruit loops, or other treats. Close the lid tightly so that it is difficult for them to remove. There are all different sizes of water and soda bottles to fit the size of your bird. Do not use sport bottle tops, they can come apart.
Cereal boxes make for a great treasure hunt. Give your bird a new box of cheerios, fruit loops, corn flakes, etc (use the miniature boxes for the little birds). Watch them tear through the paper and into the treats.
Use dried mini bagels as foot toys...even better...before drying insert nuts, then dry making the nuts harder to remove. With larger bagels, you could slice them, dry them and then string them along with some dried fruit on an old toy chain or leather strip.
Use an old tub of margarine as a treasure box. Wash the tub completely, put a hole through the lid and the bottom (make the hole in the lid big enough so that the lid will move easily up and down the holder), string the tub onto old leftover toy parts such as; sisal rope, leather strip or chain (be sure to knot the bottom so the tub will not fall off). Fill the tub with treats such as nuts, dried fruit, millet, etc and close the lid tightly. They may be able to get the lid off but will have to work to keep the lid open to enjoy the treats.
For the little guys a toilet paper roll with some left over paper to pick at is a fun diversion. Find some raffia at your local art store...cut about ten twelve inch long strands and tie as one around a bar in the cage for a pompom effect.
Always supervise your bird and check your toys careful to be sure they are safe!
Bird Mites - Have you noticed a strange scaly or flaky appearance on your birds nostrils and legs....or is your bird itching more than usual? If so, your bird may have mites. There are two types of mites that may be affecting your bird. The first mite is most common in parakeets and canaries. It is called scaly face mites. You generally will not be able to see these mites because they are burrowed under the skin. However, if you look closely at the affected area, you may notice the burrowing tunnels.
The other type of bird mite is the red mite. These are not easily seen either because they generally feed on the bird's blood at night. When the bird awakens, they hide in cracks and crevices. If you suspect red mites, try leaving a white paper at the bottom of the cage and surprise them at night with a flash light (don't frighten your bird).
The best and quickest way to treat these mites is get a diagnosis from your vet and to give ivermectin medication orally or by injection about every 7-10 days until cleared up. It is important to get a series of treatments to kill any hatching eggs and larvae.
Why Birds Need Toys - Chewing is an integral part of a parrot's everyday life. In the wild, parrots are avid chewers. Nuts and wood make up a large part of their chewing habits. It is important to support this natural instinct for a parrot in captivity. A birds beak grows constantly throughout its life. Chewing helps keep beaks trimmed and healthy. Birds are also very intelligent and need constant stimulation and entertainment to be happy.
Bird toys are meant to be destroyed! Don't be upset if your bird goes through lots of toys...this means your bird is happy. Even softbills, which are not avid chewers, require several swings and different sized perches to satisfy their constant activity level.
Look for toys made of the following:
Hard and soft woods; manzanita, guava wood, eucalyptus, and coconut.
Cotton or sisal; be sure it is a supreme cotton and cut off any loose strings to prevent entanglement.
Acrylic; basically hard colorful plastic toys which are indestructable.
Beads; look for colorful and textured beads to provide interest.
Nuts; filberts, almonds, brazil nuts, and pine nuts are treats to be taken out of something making a game of the toy.
Leather & Rawhide; make sure the leather and rawhide are natural and not dyed.
Keep several toys and rotate them every other week to keep your bird interested.
Toy Safety - Look for toys that have a quick link or C shaped link that attaches to the cage. Other links are easily opened and can catch nails and beaks. All metal chains should be welded closed to prevent beaks and nails from becoming caught. Look for toys that are labeled by bird type. Large bird toys are not meant for smaller birds and vice versa. Wood toys should be natural and not treated with chemicals or dyes.
Feather Tether - Are you a bird owner that would love to take your bird with you wherever you go but are too afraid of an escape attempt? All to often an tame bird that has never left his friend's shoulder suddenly is frightened and takes flight never to be seen again. However, you can stop this tragedy with a Feather Tether which is actually a bird harness. Use it in the car to keep your bird from flapping around in the car and great for any other outdoor activity such as going for a walk, running errands, or perching for some sun and fresh air. See the link below for more information:
Bird Poop-Off - Tired of the nasty looking build-up at the bottom of your bird cage? We found a bird product that is an organic cleaner that safely cleans those stubborn stains on the bottom of the cage and perches. You don't even have to take your bird out of the cage! The product contains natural enzymes that help dissolve bird poop that is stuck on the rungs of the bottom of the cage as well as the perch. The product comes with an applicator and brush to help scrub the poop right off. Ask for it at your local pet store. Click on the picture below for more information:
New Bird Introductions:
Leg Bands - There are two types of leg bands;
Bands come in metal or plastic. The colored plastic bands are usually used by breeders of captive-bred birds to differentiate between the males, females and parentage. Leg bands are an inexpensive way to identify your bird. The other alternative is microchipping.
We feel that leg bands are important because they provide important identifications such as proof of ownership in cases of loss or theft, tracking and breeding histories, as well as they are required by government regulation. Birds that are being sold without leg bands can have questionable backgrounds such as theft and illegal entry in to the United States. It is important to have these regulations to discourage illegal entry and prevent possible spread of infectious diseases in our bird population. If you choose to have your bird's leg band removed, be sure to have a veterinarian do the cutting to avoid injury and he can also provide a certified document that your bird had a band and what the numbers were in case of future sale.
Below are some of the common markings that can be found on leg bands:
Open Bands - Will usually have a State abbreviation followed by 3 or 4 identification numbers. The State abbreviation refers to the USDA Quarantine facility where your bird was imported. There are also private quarantine facilities that use the name of their facility followed by numbers. Breeders and shippers use open bands for identification that commonly include their initials and a number.
Closed Bands - Will usually have a breeder code followed by idenficiation numbers and the year it was born.
Some of the common abbreviations for Organizations found on leg bands:
ABS - American Buderigar Society
ACS - American Cockatiel Society
ALS - African Lovebird Society
AS - American Singer Club
NCS - National Cockatiel Society
NFS - National Finch & Softbill
SPBE - Society of Parrot Breeders & Exhibitors
Crusty Nose - Does your bird have crust around its eyes and nose? If it does, your bird may have a serious respiratory infection. Respiratory infections are common in birds and should be treated immediately by a veterinarian. They can quickly become life threatening. Keeping your bird warm and away from drafts can help reduce the risk of contracting a respiratory infection. Birds in the wild do not show signs of illness until they are very sick. Therefore, you may not notice your bird is mildly ill until it is too late. Watching your bird carefully and knowing his routine can help determine if he has developed a problem.
Bathing - Birds love to take baths. Even if your bird did not like it the first time, try, try again. Eventually, your bird will get the hang of it. The most popular method for bathing a bird is with a mister. It is important that your spray bottle only be used for misting your bird and never had anything in the bottle except water. Mist your bird completely and thoroughly being careful not to mist his face too much. Showers are another way to bathe your bird and a great way to bond at the same time. Be sure to purchase a special grooved perch for the shower to prevent a slipping accident. The shower head should have a gentle mist as opposed to a hard stream. You can let your bird be sprayed by the water being careful not to fully engulf his head. You can also bathe your bird in the bathroom sink by lining it with a t-shirt (to prevent slipping) and filling it with water to the top of your bird's leg. Never leave your bird unattended while bathing. Bathing can be done as frequently as daily (large parrots and cockatoos benefit most) to at least once per week. During molting, increase your bird's bathing to decrease any itching. If you have a bird that is a feather plucker, try bathing him more often too.
Egg Binding - It is that time of the year for birds to be laying and some birds can develop a problem called egg binding. Egg binding occurs when an egg becomes stuck in the pelvic canal. This can be a life-threatening problem and should be treated by a Veterinarian immediately. Do not attempt to manually take the egg out. You may accidentally rupture the egg causing a dangerous infection. Symptoms of egg binding include an abnormal stance, lethargy, puffed feathers, sitting on the bottom of the cage, and a swollen vent. To prevent egg binding, add a lot of high calcium vegetables to your bird's diet. Calcium aides in the proper formation of eggs. Oyster shells also provide an excellent source of calcium. It is also important for you to become familiar with your bird's laying cycle so that you know if she is having a problem.
Noisy Bird? - Did you know that birds in the wild call every morning and every evening to locate their friends and family. This is a way for birds to communicate where they are and find friends and family. Have you noticed that your bird is particularly noisy at these times of the day? When your bird screeches, yells, and is flapping his wings like crazy, take into consideration that he may be looking for you and just telling that he is there and needs to be heard. On the other hand, some birds make all kinds of piercing noises to get attention. If this is the case, under no circumstances give him attention while he is making these noises (even to say no!). That is exactly what he wants. Wait until he is done and then reward him with treats and your attention. Do not acknowledge the bad behavior because any attention they can get, bad or good, makes the problem worse. Another helpful tip is to cover the cage and give your bird some quiet time. Immediately upon taking the cover off, give him lots of attention and something to do. Enjoy those moments when you are included as part of your birds flock!
Determining the Sex of Your Bird - Many birds can be sexed by looking for certain markings or characteristics in behavior. However, to determine the sex of some of the larger parrots, it requires a Veterinarian surgical exam or blood test for reliability (usually Macaws, African Greys, Amazons, and Conures). The easiest bird to sex is the budgie or parakeet. As the male budgie ages, you will notice a distinct coloring of blue on the upper area around the nostrils. They also can have a bluish color to their legs. Whereas, the female budgie will have a pale or tan colored area around the nostrils and pale pink legs. In Canaries, look at the vent or "poop hole". The male Canaries' vent protrudes more than a females. To get a better look, try gently blowing on the vent area to move the feathers. Singing also differentiates a male Canary from the female who does not sing. Depending on the type of Finch,there can be color distinctions, beaks broader in males, and lots of other minor variations. In Cockatiels, the color on the cheek patch of an older male is brighter than that of the female Cockatiel or you can check underneath the tail feathers of males and look for solid colored feathers. The female Cockatiel has stripes on her underneath tail feathers. Also with male Cockatiels, they have no spots on their flight feathers. Lovebirds are difficult to sex but experienced handlers can check the width of the pelvic bone which is wider in the female. Cockatoos also can be hard to tell but if you have a trained eye, the female Cockatoo has a reddish tint to her eye color and the males have a black or dark brown color to their eyes. In most cases, as the bird ages the more distinct the difference in sexes becomes. This is meant to be a general guideline and if you are going to be breeding your bird, you should verify the sex with your Veterinarian.
Feather Picking – This can be a devastating problem for the bird and the owner alike. Birds who exhibit feather picking lose all their feathers due to plucking them out. It is a troublesome problem because there can be a number of causes, all of which have to be ruled out prior to curing feather picking. First, start by taking your bird to your veterinarian to be sure there is no medical problem. If it is not medical then the cause can be related to a stress factor in the bird’s life. These can include an allergy, poor nutrition, boredom, or a change in environment. If it is an allergy, try changing your bird’s diet and add a vitamin and mineral supplement. If you suspect that your bird is bored or lonesome, try adding background noise while you are away such as; a T.V. or radio. If you have had a recent addition to the family, lavish extra attention on your bird whenever possible. If it is a new bird, try putting it into a quieter corner until it has settled into your routine. Sometimes a larger cage with a regular change in toys is enough to stimulate your bird. The key is to try just about anything you can think of to distract your bird’s attention away from the feather-picking problem.
Molting – This process is the natural shedding of your birds feathers to make way for the new feathers. This is a seasonal occurrence and happens at least three times per year. Signs of molting are increased amounts of feathers at the bottom of the cage, lots of preening and a change in disposition. This is a stressful period for your bird and if agitated, it can cause an abnormal molt leading to improper feather development. You can help your bird through this process by feeding extra fat and calcium and providing a quieter and warmer environment. New feathers are encased in a sheath that your bird preens apart to reveal the new feather. You can assist your bird by helping him preen the new feathers on his head and neck where he can’t reach. Gently squeezing the sheath and gently rubbing it between your fingers helps break apart the sheath to let the new feather emerge. New feathers are also called blood feathers because they contain a blood supply until the feather development is complete. If a blood feather should break and bleed, it is best to completely pull out the feather (call your vet immediately if the bleeding does not stop). A successful molt should bring new feathers that are shiny and healthy. An unsuccessful molt can bring feathers that have unusual markings and streaks called stress bars. If this should happen, check with your veterinarian.
Capturing an Escapee – First…don’t panic. If you saw your bird escape, follow it. Don’t try to find rescue equipment. Enlist the help of a volunteer to get your rescue equipment. Any noise and activity may scare your bird. Try using a hushed voice, which may entice him to listen and move closer. If he moves closer, reach out our hand or a branch to reach him. If you did not see your bird escape, try leaving his favorite toy perch and cage outside where he can reach it and, most importantly, where he can see it. Be sure to leave all his favorite treats in sight too. Items that make-up an emergency plan are as follows:
· Write down your bird’s leg band number for easy identification
· Have a recent photo available
· Train your bird to land on a variety of objects and to come to treats
· Rescue equipment can include; a net, a carrier, binoculars, a stick, and a favorite treat
· The number one preventative is to have your bird’s wings clipped properly
Rewarding Good Behavior – Birds do not take kindly to nor do they respond well to negative reinforcement during training. They do respond well to and should be rewarded for good behavior. The best way to deal with bad behavior is by ignoring it. Most birds are trying to get your attention and will try anything. By ignoring the bad behavior, they will try something else. To get your bird’s attention or to stop him from doing something, try speaking very softly so that they will concentrate on what you are saying and not what they are doing. A common problem behavior in birds is biting. To stop biting, try a “handquake”. This method is done by gently shaking or dropping our hand quickly to get your bird’s attention. You should never cause your bird to fall to the floor as this can injure him. Good Luck!
Poisonings – Typical poisoning cases in birds are caused by lead and salt. Lead poisoning can be attributed to lead in the water supply from lead-lined pipes, curtain weights and lead-based paints. Lead poisoning symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea, neurological symptoms such as seizures and lack of coordination. Salt poisoning is fairly unknown to many bird owners and is caused by the ingestion of too much slat, such as in some types of dough. The symptoms include severe dehydration and diarrhea. Teflon coated cookware is probably the least known poisonings and can be fatal. At certain high temperatures, Teflon coated cookware can release a poison gas that is fatal to birds. It is important to note that if your bird is not in the immediate area of the kitchen that this is probably not a problem. Therefore, if you are using this type of cookware, keep your bird well away from the kitchen. There are all easily preventable by keeping your bird protected from the above sources in poisonings. Your veterinarian should be contacted immediately if you suspect that your bird has been exposed to any type of poison.
To Grit Or Not To Grit - Contrary to popular belief, grit is not necessary and can even be dangerous to your bird. A bird's beak was made to break apart food for ingestion. We have handed down the grit myth from chickens and the way a chicken gulps its food whole and then breaks the food down in their gizzard. Psittacines (another word for parrots) do not have gizzards. Most of the grit that you can purchase is made from sand and does not have essential minerals and can cause impaction. If you feel your bird is lacking in vitamins or minerals the best way to assure that your bird is getting what it needs is to apply a powder formula vitamin supplement to soft fruits and veggies.
Feather- Clipping – To prevent your bird from flying away or endangering itself around the house, you will need to clip its wing feather regularly. We recommend you clip both sides so that your bird is balanced. You can either stand your bird on a perch and extend its wing or wrap your bird in a towel and extend one wing out of the towel. Only clip the first five feathers at the tip of the wing called flight feathers. These are the long feathers located underneath the wing. The feathers should only be clipped about halfway from the tip of the feather. Be sure that the feather is not a blood feather (a new feather not completely formed) that looks like it is filled with blood. Let the blood feather finish growing before clipping. If you do cut a blood feather call and take your bird to your veterinarian immediately.