I’m always happy to help you with your birds or help you select the right one.
Where can I find my bird?
To begin with, although you may be tempted to do so, NEVER purchase a bird from a pet store. Most pet stores have absolutely no history of the bird, nor will it know what sex it is. I have read and observed too many horror stories about the sale of animals and birds at pet stores.
Before you check the classifieds or contact breeders, you should make an effort to obtain your bird from an animal shelter or sanctuary. There are several parrot rescue organizations that have birds available for adoption including small birds. This site has a worldwide list .
USE CAUTION. There are several organizations advertising themselves as parrot/bird rescue groups but they are nothing of the kind. These places are merely parrot farms. They secure birds solely for the purpose of selling them under the guise of an "adoption fee". There are no restrictions or regulations and the bird could be sick or infected . A genuine bird rescue/sanctuary like Parrot Adopt Southern Ontario which I personally support has strict adoption regulations.
It is very important that you have as much information about the bird as possible. Also, if you intend to get more than one bird and keep them together, I suggest that they be sexed for obvious reasons. Unlike cats and dogs, it is impossible to properly sex birds by examining them. The only way to sex a bird is by DNA testing. The cost ranges from $20 to $30 per bird. Usually, chicks offered for sale by breeders have been DNA'd so you know exactly what you are getting. Many will also provide you with a certificate of health from an avian vet.
Many common variety small birds like canaries, finches and budgies are not that expensive to buy. Larger birds like exotic breeds are very expensive ranging from $300 to $100,000 - no, I'm not kidding!. The latter is the current asking price for the very rare Blue Hyacinthe Macaw which, in my opinion, must be left in its natural habitat due to threat of extinction. Many exotic birds are similarly threatened due to poaching and illegal export of chicks many of which die in the process. It is very sad.
Most breeders I know have a great love of birds which is important. Breeding birds are contained in a healthy, happy environment and rearing of chicks is carefully monitored. They will not sell any bird until it is properly weaned although some breeders might allow you to finalize weaning if you have a comprehensive knowledge of bird welfare. I had the privilege of completing the weaning for my little lost Chico which resulted in not only a very tame bird, he also understood everything that was said to him. He was amazing and a great loss.
Have you considered the problems and cost?
Before you decide to purchase your bird, you must be aware and be prepared to accept that the actual cost of the bird is only one consideration. You must also take into account the cost of avian vets if your bird is sick or requires emergency treatment. Avian vets are more expensive than vets which treat cats and dogs. This is because the treatment of exotic animals requires additional traning - e.g. the difference as between a family doctor and a specialist. Also, avian vets are not as easy to find as a regular vet and, speaking from experience, not all avian vets are created equal when it comes to treating your bird!
You will also need to purchase a special carrier for trips to the vet. Try to find one that is intended for birds. There are some cute bird knapsacks available which have a perch and a window. I know of a company that has these for $39.99US with free shipping so this is a good buy. Feel free to contact me for more information.
Also, the cost of food and supplements is important to mention. Your must ensure your bird is getting the proper diet which contains all the nutrition recommended for the type of bird your own and this entails far more than just picking up a packet of bird seed from the local supermarket. Care and Maintenance.
Non-stick cookware can give off toxic fumes when overheated, especially if the pan is dry. If this type of cookware is in your home, ALWAYS keep watch when using it and never turn the heat on under it if you will not be there through the whole cooking process.
Most birds love their free out of cage flight time, with the exception of canaries or finches who usually prefer to remain in their cage as they like to feel secure. There are exceptions of course. My long lost red factor canary, Sunny, loved his free flight time. The only problem here is that they enjoy it so much that they can be hard to catch so purchasing a nylon net is a great idea.
If you do let your bird have his out of cage time, these are a few things to watch out for:
Make sure your bird is not flying free around boiling pots, hot stoves, dish water in sinks, overhead fans or open toilets. Birds will fly into clear windows or mirrors thinking that they are going into another room.
There are a number of plants that are poisonous to birds, so if you have houseplants the safest thing for your bird is to keep him well away from them and never let him chew on them. There are a number of internet sites that list both safe and toxic plants. THIS ONE provides such information and also for safe wood used for perches and toys.
Another danger is leaded glass in French doors or stained glass windows. Birds have died from lead-poisoning after chewing on these.
When feeding fruit, never let the bird have seeds or pups since some of them (such as apple) contain arsenic which could build up in his system. NEVER feed Avocado to a bird or have it where your bird can nibble on it. Avocado is deadly poison to all birds.
Never leave a bird out of his cage unsupervised, or alone with a dog, cat, larger or smaller bird, or a young child. Apart from the obvious possibilities for injury, a bird can get stood on, sat on or get trapped in a closing door.
Some birds, budgies and lovebirds for instance, are very curious and will chew anything they can get their beaks on, so make sure you always know where he is when he is out of his cage, or he may do some reconstruction on your wooden furniture, picture frames, mantelpiece, window sills, etc.
Weather permitting, you may want to take your bird outside but always have him in his cage and be sure the cage is secure before leaving the house. Birds have been lost because one of the clips was broken or not connected properly and the bottom of the cage separated from the top allowing the bird to escape. The door should also be secured -- I have heard of a bird who flew off after a pigeon knocked against the door and it popped open.
If your bird is outside, be sure you are always with him. It only takes a moment for a cat to injure a caged bird, or a wild bird landing on the cage could leave parasites behind as well as terrifying your pet. You must also be sure that your bird has fresh water and a place to get out of the sun. Birds left in the heat can develop sunstroke.
If you go out, even if it’s a brief visit to the store, be certain that your bird is safely in his cage. Birds have been known to fly out a door that is only opened for a moment, and sometimes an owner will forget that a small bird is sitting on their shoulder or back. If it is always a habit to check that your bird is closed inside his cage, you will never have to worry about him hitchhiking a ride out the door. It would like your bird to accompany you outdoors minus his cage, be sure that his wings are properly clipped to prevent flight. I
Care and Maintenance
Care guidelines vary depending on what type of bird you own but here are some general guidelines that applies to ALL birds:
Birds will naturally hide any signs of illness until it is almost too late. If a bird shows any sign of illness in the wild, other members of the flock will attack and possibly kill them to keep the flock strong and healthy. A sick bird will stop eating, although he may sometimes consume vast amounts of gravel -- which should be removed to prevent the crop from becoming impacted. A sick bird's droppings may become runny and/or discoloured. He will sit with both feet firmly planted on the perch -- a healthy bird will frequently rest on one foot. He may fluff up his feathers to retain body heat, and he may sleep excessively. He will stop preening, and there could be a discharge from the nostrils or eyes. If he has a few of these symptoms, a visit to the vet might be considered. Since avian vet's are generally expensive, and not everyone wishes to incur this cost, an over-the-counter remedy can sometimes help. However, some medications may cause diarrhea, and since this could already be a problem, a product called Ornacyn-Plus, which has amino acids in can help with diarrhea, as well as being an antibiotic.
The best choice for a sick bird is a visit to a vet. If you decide to go this route, make sure it is an avian vet as discussed earlier. . Please contact me if you need information regarding an avian vet in your area.
The best prevention of sickness is a well balanced diet which varies depending on the type of bird or birds you own. Please contact me and let me know what kind of bird you have and I will be pleased to provide you with a diet sheet.
Just like humans, birds need vitamin supplements. Here again, dosage depends on the kind of bird you have. The most convenient are those which are water soluble especially for small birds. My preference is Quiko liquid as it does not transmit any powder residue and discolour drinking cups. Unfortunately, this is seldom available in Canada. I have to order it from the U.S.
Some exceptions apply, more often for larger birds - parrots for instance. If they are strictly maintained on a pelleted diet, added vitamins are not necessary because most pellets contain all of the necessary nutrition required. This type of diet is strongly recommended by avian vets. There are several brands available. Harrisons (organic), Rowdybush or Tropican. Tropican pellets are very good and are the least expensive and can be obtained in most pet stores. Pet stores do not sell Harrisons or Rowdybush. Should you prefer these I can let you know where you can get them although they are more expensive than Tropican. Harrisons pellets are organic so I favour these for general use and to make bird bread. My bird bread is famous for balanced nutrition. Click Here for the recipe.
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