Library

Birds

  • Hand-raised babies usually make better pets, as they have been completely socialized with humans. Hand-feeding is a job best left for the experienced bird breeder or aviculturist. If you’re considering hand-feeding a baby bird, you should contact your local bird breeder or veterinarian for help. A chick may be removed from the parents any time before weaning, but many suggest leaving the babies with the parents for up to 3 weeks. Precise temperature and humidity is essential for optimum growth of newly hatched birds. Generally, the temperature can be lowered by one degree every 2-3 days as feathering progresses. If you are raising a chick, always monitor your bird for signs of overheating or chilling. Poor growth or poor digestion (delayed crop emptying) may indicate poor health (including presence of gastrointestinal tract infections), improper consistency/mixing of hand feeding formula, improper temperature of formula, or improper environmental temperature and humidity. There are numerous commercially available hand-feeding formulas for baby birds. All food must be prepared fresh for every feeding. Food retained from one feeding to another is an ideal medium for the growth of harmful bacteria and yeast. Any food prepared or heated in a microwave oven must be mixed thoroughly to ensure that the food’s temperature is uniform. Food that is too hot may cause severe burns to the crop. Food that is too cold may be rejected by the babies or may slow down digestion. The frequency of feeding for young birds is greater than that of older birds. The best indication of a healthy, growing chick is a good, strong feeding response at every feeding, with the crop emptying between feedings, and the regular production of droppings (feces). Weight gain should be monitored and recorded at the same time each day using a scale that weighs in grams with 1-gram increments to detect subtle increases or decreases. As a bird gets older and develops a full complement of feathers, it should be encouraged to wean off formula and to eat more on its own. Birds should be offered a variety of foods, including formulated pelleted diets, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables, at this time to encourage their exploration and experimentation. As this food introduction continues, hand-feeding may be withheld at certain times. All feeding utensils must be cleaned, disinfected, and dried thoroughly between feedings.

  • It is common for owners to have their birds on their shoulders as they go about their day. We are left with our hands free and our little buddies get to spend part of the day with us. Although this seems like a wonderful idea, it is not appropriate in all situations or for all birds.

  • Home renovation can be arduous for every member of the household. Both pet owners and pets can be stressed during the construction process. Pets are faced with many potential hazards in a construction site. Pets can also interfere with construction workers and pose a safety risk to them. Awareness of possible construction site problems will help home owners avoid pet-related issues. Knowing how to deal with problems that do occur will minimize health risks for pets. A little planning can make the renovation process run more smoothly for workers, home owners, and pets.

  • Birds are naturally mischievous and if not properly supervised, will get into many predicaments. It is crucial that you bird proof your home. The bird's cage is its house and the confines of your home represent the bird's environment.

  • In general, the bigger the cage, the better. A rectangular stainless-steel cage, is preferable and one that is longer than it is tall, but tall enough to ensure a bird has room to move up and down without hitting its tail on anything. All-metal cages are the most practical to keep clean. Bars on the cage must be close enough together to prevent the bird from getting its head or legs stuck between the bars. Perches that are easily cleaned or replaced and of varying diameters are best. Perches that are chewed up and splintered need to be replaced as birds destroy them. Soft, braided rope perches that are easy to grasp are another great option for pet birds. Large birds should be provided with stainless-steel dishes, as they are indestructible, easy to clean, and attach securely to the side of the cage. Pet birds need daily psychological stimulation and entertainment. There are numerous commercially available foraging and puzzle toys designed to engage and entertain birds for hours. For large birds, toys should not have snaps, clasps, bell clappers, open chain links, easily removable or broken parts, glass, or extraneous loose fibers that birds may chew or swallow or that could wrap around a toe or foot. Toys should be cleaned with warm, soapy water and rinsed thoroughly.

  • Bird cages must be big enough for birds to move around with ease and to not strike their wings or tail as they move from perch to perch and stretch or flap their wings. Bars on the cage must be close enough together to prevent the bird from escaping or getting its head caught. Natural wood branches of varying diameters make the best perches, as they more closely mimic birds’ perches in the wild. Wood perches may help wear birds’ nails down and provide birds with something to chew on. Sandpaper perches should be avoided. Natural hemp or braided cotton rope are softer on birds’ feet and are another great perch option. Food and water dishes should be made from sturdy, non-toxic materials that are easy to clean and disinfect every day. Enriching bird toys must be provided, such as ladders, rope, swings, mirrors, bells, hanging toys, hidden food items in the cage, or pieces of wood or leather to chew on. Introduce new toys slowly to allow the bird to become accustomed to them over time. All toys should be periodically washed and disinfected.

  • If you saw a person have a seizure or fall down the stairs or wreck a car, what would you do? You'd call 911. But what should you do when the crisis involves your pet? You call a pet emergency number. Ask your veterinary hospital how they handle after-hour emergencies.

  • Hydroxyzine is given by mouth or injection and is used off label to treat allergic or itchy conditions. Give as directed. The most common side effect is sedation. Do not use in pets that are allergic to it or cetirizine, or pets that have heart failure, urinary obstruction, or stomach obstruction. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.

  • Contrary to popular belief, pet birds not raised with other birds typically bond to their owners and are unlikely to want to live with another new bird. If you feel your bird is lonely or bored, first consider providing more enrichment in the form of safe toys and entertainment. If you decide you want to introduce another bird into your household, be sure you are ready to take on the work of caring for more than one bird and be certain to introduce him slowly. All new birds should be checked by a veterinarian before exposing the original bird to a new one, and the new bird should be quarantined in a separate, isolated room within the house for 30-45 days. Some birds never accept new birds in their territories. Consult your veterinarian if you are experiencing problems.

  • Itraconazole is given by mouth in the form of a capsule, tablet, or liquid to treat fungal infections in cats and for off label treatment in dogs and small mammals. The most common side effects are anorexia, vomiting, liver toxicity, skin lesions, or limb and vessel swelling. It should not be used in pets with liver disease or low stomach acid production, and used with caution in pregnant, lactating, or pets with heart disease. If a negative reaction occurs, call your veterinary office.