Should we choose where to put a cage by deciding where it would look the best or what location is best for the bird? Too often, new bird owners decide they should place the cage where it is out of everyone's way. The health and mental well-being of your pet is at stake here. To maintain the cheerful attitude and healthy feathers of your bird, you need to treat it well and provide appropriate surroundings.
Placing the cage in front of a window or doorway may seem like a nice idea, but on a warm night, the cool breeze that comes in through your open window to make YOU feel more comfortable is not the best things for your bird. Never place your bird's cage where a draft can blow on it. A window is not the only source of a harmful draft; an open door, a heat register or an air conditioner also allows unpleasant breezes to blow on your bird.
A window is a nice location to provide natural light for your pet. A little sunlight is good, but how would you feel if you were left lying in the hot summer sun for a whole day? Make sure part of the cage is always in the shade. The bird can then decide where it wants to sit and not unnecessarily suffer from heat exhaustion.
Be aware of nearby poisonous plants. A leaf hanging into the cage may look artistic, but it can be very toxic to a hungry bird.
For a list look under FAQ Toxic Plants and Woods.
The location of a bird's cage can also affect its mental state. A pet bird needs companionship and attention, which it gets from you, so don't tuck it away alone in a secluded area. A bird that is neat your family's activities will learn to tolerate more of you comings and goings and become less startled by small movements. It learns to adjust to all the noise and activity.
Converting your bird to pellets
These tips for converting your bird to a pellet based diet are provided courtesy of ROUDYBUSH, but may be used to convert to any type of bird pellet that is convenient.
CONVERTING YOUR BIRD’S DIET TO ROUDYBUSH
Most birds are creatures of habit and will choose foods that look familiar to them. Converting your bird to Roudybush is mainly a matter of convincing your that it is food. There are several methods that can be used; choose the one that is most appropriate for your bird. The most important factor in switching your bird to Roudybush is your determination that it will eat a nutritious, balanced diet. Your bird may initially act as if it does not like Roudybush, but imagine a child that you are trying to convert from a diet of snack foods, candy and ice cream to a lower fat, healthy diet; it is a similar situation. Once your bird makes the transition you will find that it enthusiastically eats Roudybush.
The instinctual method can be used with a healthy bird that you can only monitor irregularly. It takes advantage of your parrot’s instinct to eat at the highest location possible. It allows your bird access to its normal food while providing you the opportunity to know exactly what food it is eating. Place the bird’s familiar dish in a low part of its cage. Put you bird’s old food in this dish. Fill a similar dish with Roudybush pellets and place it in a higher part of the cage and be sure to place all water sources near this dish. Since the bird prefers eating from the higher dish, it will try the new food and start eating it. Eventually, Roudybush pellets will be the main food eaten by your bird. When the amount of food disappearing from the bottom dish is reduced to less than 10% of the food disappearing from the higher dish, try removing the lower dish from the cage. After removal of the lower dish, monitor your bird to be sure it is eating as described in method (2).
This method should be used with a very finicky, difficult to switch bird that is starting out at a good weight. It is generally the quickest, easiest method for switching the most birds. Do not use this method on a thin bird, sick bird, or a bird you cannot monitor. Remove the old food and replace it with Roudybush. Clean the cage at the time of the switch and line it with paper. Do not use corncob or other litter because you won’t be able to monitor droppings well. Watch your bird’s droppings or weigh your bird daily. When a bird isn’t eating, the droppings will be very small and the green part will be very dark green, almost black. Or you may see a lot of urine (liquid) but almost no green part, which means your bird is filling up on water and not eating much. Give nothing but Roudybush and water for two full days for small species or three days for larger species. If at the end of this period your birds droppings indicate it isn’t eating, put your bird back on its old diet for 7 days, and then repeat the switching process. Most birds will convert the first time, and those that won’t switch the first time usually switch the second time. If you can weight your bird, keep your bird on Roudybush unless it loses more than 3% of its starting body weight. At that point, put your bird back on the old diet for one week then repeat the switch process, weighing your bird at the start of the switch. Disappearance of food from the food dish is not a reliable way of determining if your bird is eating. Most birds will spill the new food out of the dish, looking for familiar foods.
3. GRADUAL INTRODUCTION
This method is best for a bird that is likely to try new foods or a bird that cannot be monitored carefully. Mix the Roudybush into your bird’s normal diet, ¼ Roudybush mixed with ¾ old diet. Gradually increase the proportion of Roudybush over a 3-4 week period. When you have reached the point where more than ¾ of the diet is Roudybush, clean your bird’s cage and line it with paper. Watch the droppings to make sure your bird is eating. Small, very dark droppings indicate that your bird is not eating. If that is the case, add back more of your bird’s old diet until the droppings return to normal. Continue increasing the proportion of Roudybush more slowly, watching the droppings.
4. HANDFED AS A TREAT
Some birds will eat almost anything they think you are eating. Act as if you are eating the Roudybush then offer some to your bird. This can be sufficient to teach your bird that Roudybush is food. Then the old food can be replaced with Roudybush. Again, watch the droppings when you make the complete switch.
5. SOAK THE ROUDYBUSH IN JUICE
Some birds like moist foods and like certain fruits or fruit juices. Putting a bowl of pellets soaked in orange juice, apple juice, or fruit nectars may entice such a bird to eat the pellets. If this method is used make sure you only leave the soaked pellets in the cage for an hour or so to prevent spoilage. Once the bird is eating the soaked pellets, gradually decrease the amount of juice.
"Feeding for health, vitality and longevity"
The single most important cause of disease in pet birds is poor nutrition. Pet birds live under artificial man-made conditions. They are not able to forage for food as in the world, so it is up to us to see that the proper food is being fed and eaten. Seeds are not a complete diet and must be supplemented with a variety of other foods. Therefore, remember "variety is the spice of life" and feed your bird similar to the recommendations of other animals using the Four Basic Food Groups as general guidelines.
1. Whole-Grain Foods Groups
About half (50%) of the daily intake should be from whole grains. Seeds are in this food group. Seeds are good to feed, but keep them fresh (refrigeration helps) and feed a variety of different types. Larger seeds for larger birds and smaller seeds for smaller birds. In developing a "balanced" diet, be sure to feed a combination of whole-grain foods.
Try a combination of any of the following: whole-grain breads, cereals (ie. granola, Chex, Cheerios), pasta, cooked brown rice, commercial monkey biscuits and other whole grain products. Make up a mixture of the above and store it in an air-tight container.
2. Fresh vegetables and Fruits Group
Fresh vegetables should make up another 30-40% of the daily diet. All vegetables are acceptable and often depend on the preferences of your bird. Wash them before feeding. You can cut them up ahead of time, store then in and air-tight container and keep them refrigerated. Thawed frozen vegetables are an acceptable alterative.
Fresh fruits should be offered daily, but only in small amounts. All fruits, except avocados, are good to feed. Wash them prior to feeding. It is recommended to de-seed and pit all fruits as well. Dried fruit is a good alterative.
3. Protein Group
Use the food as only a supplement to the above food groups. Good protein sources include cook beef, chicken and fish, cooked eggs, nuts and cooked beans, (i.e. navy and kidney).
4. Dairy Group
These products should be fed in only very small amounts. Try offering a little cheese, yogurt and even milk.
Formulated Bird Foods
For the busy pet bird owner or for the bird that will not eat a variety of foods, these diets are well worth a try. They are available as pellets (most common), crumbles and hand-feeding formulas. Good quality pellets should provide a balance of all the nutrients a bird requires.
Try introducing the pellets gradually by mixing in a few with familiar foods such as seeds. Pelleted seed cakes are bound tightly together so that the bird must eat everything and these may also help with the acceptance of pellets. Supplementing with other foods while on pellets is still a good idea as this will provide additional services of activity and enjoyment.
For tips on converting your bird to pellets look under FAQ "Converting you bird to pellets"
Additional Feeding Tips
- DAILY VITAMIN AND MINERAL SUPPLEMENTATION, especially if on primarily seed diet, is highly recommended.
- If your birds is eating to many seeds, GRADUALLY reduce its intake by adding other foods in slowly increasing amounts.
- Grit in not necessary for your pet birds. If you are going to offer grit, add a pinch to the food a few times weekly.
- You may want to try feeding your adult bird twice daily, in the morning and evening. Leave the food in the cage for only 15-30 minutes at a time and then remove.
- Vitamin A is essential for optimal health and seeds are deficient in it. Cooked liver, egg yokes, sweet potatoes, carrots , pumpkins and broccoli to name a few, are high in Vitamin A.
- Calcium supplements may be a good idea especially for seed eating birds.
- UV light (natural sunlight) is very beneficial. Unfortunately, it does not pass through windows. Therefore, on sunny days try putting your birds outside for short period time. However, for safety reasons keep them in a cage and keep a watchful eye our for dogs, cats and wild birds. As an alternative, artificial UV light sources are available for indoor us.
- Never attempt to change diets when your bird is sick.
- All food and water cups should be cleaned daily and spilled food removed.
- Offer FRESH CLEAN WATER DAILY.
Many birds become fussy about the food they eat. To make matters worse, once established bad eating habits are difficult to change. Until they become familiar with the appearance of new foods, they will be reluctant to try them. Never starve your bird into eating new foods. Here are a few suggestions:
- For the fussy seed eaters, try moving most, but not all of the one or two types of seeds your bird seems only to be eating.
- Take out the regular food at night. Then give your bird a chance to try the new foods first thing in the morning. If necessary add the regular food back in later in the day.
- Mix new foods in with the regular food.
- Place new food s near a favorite toy or at the end of the perch.
- Sweeten foods with a small amount of molasses or brown sugar.
- Try hand-feeding new food, but don't get him to dependent on this method. Also try offering the food as a "game" or "reward".
- Feed in favorite area outside the cage.
- Try feeding new foods in different forms, i.e. chopped vs. whole, cooked vs. uncooked, cold vs. warm etc.
- Use your imagination...where there's a will, there's a way.
Remember: Persistence pays off!
Article provided thanks to Acacia Animal Hospital
Knowing basic first-aid procedures before you need to use them on your bird.
In an emergency, the most important thing an owner can do is remain calm. This is not the time to start paging frantically through the phone book in search of an avian veterinarian. Hopefully you already will have established a relationship with a veterinarian familiar with birds. In an emergency, call ahead so the staff can prepare for your arrival.
GOOD FIRST AID CONSISTS OF:
- Restraining the bird.
- Arresting any serious bleeding.
- Keeping the bird warm.
- Transporting the bird safely to the veterinarian.
Never apply topical ointments or creams to a bird; these may cause the bird to lose its ability to insulate and keep warm properly. Do not give a sick bird home remedies, over-the-counter medications or alcohol.
Adequately restrain a sick or injured bird so that it does not incur more damage to itself or you. (Injured or frightened birds often will bite in response to pain or fear, so the owner needs to protect himself as well.) You may wrap an injured bird in a towel, burrito style, for restraint. This will prevent the bird from flapping its wings, which is very important if the bird has broken bones or serious injuries. Make sure to wrap the bird loosely so that it can breathe easily by moving its keel in and out.
A sick bird need heat, so make sure to keep your bird warm and quiet during transportation to the clinic. A hot-water bottle or a heating pad (on a low setting) will supply warmth during the trip to the vet. You may also transport a sick or injured bird in a carrier, a small cage, cardboard box or even a paper bag.
If the bird is bleeding badly, try to identify the source. If the blood is coming from a broken blood feather, you should gently remove the feather by holding the shaft with a pair of hemostats or needle-nose pliers, holding the wing steady and gently pulling the feather straight out. If you are not familiar with this procedure, ask your veterinarian to show you how to do it. If the bleeding is coming form the skin or a toenail, apply a clotting agent such as Kwik-stop, flour, or cornstarch. Apply direct pressure, if necessary, with sterile gauze to control bleeding.
If the wound is deep, simply cover if and transport the bird to the vet. If the tip of the beak breaks off and is bleeding, apply ice to the tip, and seek immediate veterinary treatment. Bleeding from the beak is often difficult to control, and significant blood loss may occur.
Injuries that result from birds flying into ceiling fans can be very serious. A concussion is a common injury from fan blades, as are lacerations and broken bones. Lacerations through air sacs, skin and even the crop may occur. Concussions may also occur from birds flying into mirrors or window glass. A bird with any of these injuries should be taken to the vet immediately.
A bird that has been attacked by another animal should be treated by an avian veterinarian as soon as possible. Bites by animals such as dogs, cats, and ferrets are particularly dangerous. The bacteria injected into a wound as a result of a bite can quickly cause serious infections that are often life threatening. If possible, gently wash out the wounds with antiseptic soap or hydrogen peroxide, and take the bird immediately to the vet. Leave deep wounds for a professional to clean and treat. If a clot has formed in a wound, do not dislodge it.
A bird playing with an unsafe toy may end up with a beak or toe caught in a bell. If the toy doesn't easily dislodge, take the bird immediately to the vet. Some birds will require sedation to have the offending article removed.
Occasionally, an open leg band may get caught in the wire of a cage. Try to prevent the bird from struggling, and transport the bird to the vet right away. If a leg band is too tight, have your vet remove it.
If your bird has chewed on something that may be toxic, bring a sample of the item with you to the vet or the container with the label on it. If a bird swallows something that cannot be digested, such as a soft feeding tube or jewelry, take the bird directly to the vet. Some objects can be professionally manipulated out of the crop, but some require surgery. Time is of the essence in these cases.
Many miscellaneous conditions can occur that require medical care. Treat burns by flushing the area with cool water. Do not apply any ointments or creams to the burn. Take the bird immediately to the vet for treatment. Seizures are a serious condition that require veterinary care. If a bird is showing signs of respiratory distress, or tail-bobbing, or if it is sitting on the bottom of its cage, take it to your avian vet as soon as possible. Treat heat stroke by spraying the bird with cool water, and wetting the feet with either cool water or rubbing alcohol.
The American Red Cross and other organizations offer good first-air courses. It is a good idea to take a basic course since first-aid principles are primarily the same for all species. Everyone who keeps pets should be familiar with the basics of first aid.
|This is a list of common household items that can be toxic or hazardous to your parrot. Please use caution, supervision, and common sense when allowing your birds to chew and explore. This may not be a complete list, if you have any doubts do not use it.
ANT SYRUP or PASTE
CORN & WART REMOVER
FELT TIP MARKERS
HAIR DYES & SPRAYS
NAIL POLISH / REMOVER
PAINT & THINNER
TEA TREE OIL
Play is a critically important substitute behavior for companion parrots; it is a way for them to expend the tremendous amount of time and energy that would normally be used in food gathering and eating. Different kinds of play may also be a substitute for many other natural behaviors that pet birds cannot accomplish. These include courtship, nest-building, territorial aggression and flock interactions. Without the opportunity for play, many captive bird become depressed and develop serous behavioral problems which may contribute to poor physical health.
Play is also a learning process where young animals learn their adult behaviors and survival skills, act them out and practice being adults. This is certainly true of human beings but is also true of other intelligent animals. Although young parrots have basic survival instincts, their skills are certainly developed with the guidance and teaching of their parents. While the development of survival skills is very serious business for a parrot chick in the wild, we might perceive it as play if we were watching. The parents encourage the often clumsy young novice to fly, to climb and to explore. They teach their youngster where to eat, what to eat and how to eat. They show if the safe places and warn it about predators. The your bird follows the examples of its parents and practices until it gets the behaviors right. The practicing may appear to be play, but it is a crucial learning process. As the young bird becomes more accomplished, it becomes less dependent on its parents.
Just as the natural parents teach their young birds how to be parrots in the wild, parrot owners as surrogate parents need to teach their young birds how to be pets. This is also a way to encourage some degree of independence in companion parrots that will always be dependent on us for their care and needs. A parrot that learns to play with its toys and can entertain itself will be far less demanding as it matures. Few things are sadder than an over-dependent parrot that needs its owner's constant attention to be content.
LEARNING TO PLAY
Teaching a young parrot to play is usually quite simple. Even an older parrot that has not yet learned to play can be encouraged to do so.
Before hanging a new toy in the cage, place your parrot on a bed, the floor or the couch, and sit down with it. Everyone knows how to play with a dog or a cat. Playing with a bird is not much different. Just as you might normally play with a dog or a cat, drag the toy along the surface in front of the bird. Be careful not to frighten your parrot. Amore timid bird should be patterned to accept new toys more gradually. Explore the toy with your hands.
Playing with your parrot like this should be fun for you, but if it isn't, act like you are having a great time. Smile, laugh, and involve your bird in the fun you are having. Tell your pet about how great the toy is, move the parts around, and ring the bell if it has one. The sillier you get, the more fun it will be for your parrot. Once you have shown your bird how to play with the toy and it is used to it, let the parrot play with it by itself, and then place the toy in your bird's cage. Once you teach your parrot to play with you, encourage it to play by itself with supervision.
Play is a critically important part of a physically and psychologically healthy companion parrot's life. A cage with at least two perches and plenty of room for exercise and play is essential. It is recommended that a parrot should have a minimum of three or four toys strategically placed in its cage. One toy could be a quality acrylic, solid nylon or other indestructible toy with moving parts that jangle and clank or form a puzzle. Other could have vegetable-tanned leather knows, 100% cotton rope or soft wood for their chewing and destructive value. And every parrot should have an exercise toy- a swing or ring that it can climb on and hang from. Buy extra toys and rotated one or two every week or so to challenge your parrot's natural curiosity. We also encourage bird owners to provide a separate multiple perch play gym with toys so their parrots can get exercise. IN the past few years there has been an explosion of bird products on the market and there is a good selection of quality parrot toys and gyms available.
Click HERE for a peek at the large variety of toys we carry.
Click HERE to see our selection of table top gyms and floor stands.
Breeding parrots should not be neglected when it comes to play and exercise. They are also deprived of most of their natural behaviors. Even courtship often involves play and play objects (what could be called toys), such as food offering, branches, nesting material and so on. Providing them with a large flight and safe toys, chewing wood and clean branches will not distract them from breeding. To the contrary, the exercise and play will help keep them physically and psychologically healthy, and will encourage their pair bond.
As we begin to understand the needs of captive parrots better, it is obvious that their psychological development and welfare is just as important as their physical development and health. One certainly affects the other, and it is significant to consider bother in the care of pet and breeding parrots. Play should be an extremely important part of a captive parrot's daily routine.
Toxic Plants and Woods
|This is a list of plants and woods that can be toxic to your parrot. Please use caution, supervision, and common sense when allowing your birds to chew and explore. This may not be a complete list, if you have any doubts do not use it.
AUSTRALIAN UMBRELLA TREE
BIRD OF PARADISE
CHALICE (TRUMPET VINE)
CHINA BERRY TREE
CLEMATIS (VIRGINIA BOWER)
RATTLE BOX &
ELEPHANT EAR (TARO)
DYED OR TREATED
EUONYMUS (SPINDLE TREE)
(MATERNITY, AIR &
SORGHUM, SUDAN &
LAUREL, BLACK LAUREL,
ANDROMEDA & AZALEA)
HEMLOCK: (POISON & WATER)
IVY: (ENGLISH & OTHERS)
KY. COFFEE TREE
LANTANA (RED SAGE)
LILY OF THE VALLEY
LOCOWEED (MILK VETCH)
LORDS & LADIES (CUCKOOPINT)
(SPLIT LEAF, SWISS
(WESTERN & EASTERN)
RED SAGE (LANTANA)
ROSARY PEA SEEDS
SAND BOX TREE
CROWN OF THORNS)
STAR OF BETHLEHEM
SWISS CHEESE PLANT
WHITE CEDAR, CHINA