Birds

Birds need a clean roomy cage in a location that has no drafts. 

Filtered, boiled (cooled), or bottled water is recommended to avoid protozoal contaminants

Pelleted food is a healthier choice than a seed diet, but it is important to convert birds slowly by offering seeds at the cage bottom, and pellets mixed with a few seeds at a higher location.  Avicakes and Nutraberries are very good for improving your bird’s diet, as they are mixtures of seeds and pellets. Your bird can basically eat anything you would eat. Avoid giving your bird alcohol, caffeine, avocado

                     

 Avoid exposing them to second hand smoke as this can be fatal. 

Some birds get gastroenteritis or ingluvitis (sour crop) and will have diarrhea or regurgitate.

Many pet birds will chew on items around the house or their cages and get lead & zinc poisoning. 

Your bird should be seen 1-2 times per year by your avian veterinarian for an exam, stool check, and diagnostics if needed.  

** Birds hide symptoms as long as possible

 when you notice something may be wrong: they are very sick!**

Avian Reproductive Behavior

 Female birds occasionally have reproductive problems such as egg binding and chronic egg laying.

Several factors stimulate birds in their natural habitats, to go through physical changes so they can reproduce.  Awareness and avoidance of these factors is psychologically healthier for pet birds and in many cases will prolong their lives.

Light Cycles: Increased hours of daylight alert birds that spring is coming and it is time to mate.  Unfortunately by keeping our birds in artificial light for 12, 14, or 16 hours a day keeps them in permanent state of reproductive stimulation.  .

Try 12 hours dark and 12 hours of light.  Dark time is with a thick cover in a quiet room.

 

Dummy Eggs: Artificial or “dummy” eggs (available from many online stores) may be used as a form of birth control. If an egg is laid, it is replaced in the cage or nest box by a dummy egg that is similar in size, shape and weight as the real egg. Most hens shut down egg production after they lay the typical clutch size. Substituting dummy eggs at the upper end of the clutch size may cause even a prolific hen to stop laying

 

Nutrition:  Seed diets are very fatty.  Eating seeds exclusively can result in fatty liver syndrome.  Egg production is dependant on liver function.  An already compromised fatty liver may not be able to withstand the stress of egg production.

  Limit seeds, try to convert bird to avicakes or nutriberries first then to pellets.  Table foods are good but avoid caffeine, alcohol, guacamole, high fats, salts or sugars. 

 

Preening and Feeding Behavior:  Adult birds do not cuddle or mouth feed each other unless they are a mated pair. Cuddling your bird, petting and handling the whole body, kissing on the beak or feeding from your mouth reinforces mating behavior.  This is affectionate behavior to the humans but very confusing to the pet bird.  Besides trying to mate or lay eggs, some birds become so agitated they pull out feathers.  In excess, these relationships are described as a type of mental incest where the bird’s purpose is not to be a bird but a mate that provides for the short comings in the owner’s life.

  No cuddling, petting, or kissing.  Put your bird on a T-stand, allow him/her to be independent but near you.  Allow him/her to be a bird and enjoy them as such.

                             

Additional Hormone Exposure: Some house plants can contain estrogen.  Soy products contain estrogen. 

Hormone creams, pills, or patches can be a source of additional hormones.

 

Try no exposure to additional hormone sources.  Wash hands before touching your bird.

 

Nesting: access to a nest box or next materials stimulates further egg laying.  Allowing free flight provides access to dark enclosed areas.

 

Remove any boxes if present.  Place a wire grating in the cage bottom to avoid access to newspaper, bedding or other potential nesting materials. 

If out of the cage time is given, have your birds wings clipped to ensure she is not accessing additional nesting areas.

 Medical Prevention If environmental manipulation is unsuccessful, your pet may then require medical treatment to control egg laying.

Effective hormonal treatments are available when used in conjunction with environmental changes.

 

In some situations surgery may become necessary.  Consult your avian veterinarian and a tailored treatment

protocol will be made with your birds needs in mind.

Remember, homeless birds are often at the shelter