02 Jan

Before you buy a parrot

Before you buy a parrotBy John Catchpole

Buying a pet, particularly a parrot, is a very big commitment, and because of longevity, a parrot may well outlive you so great thought must be considered if you decide to include one into your life.  If you are buying for a pet (companion) be fully aware it will become a major part of your family, and will probably still be around when your kids have grown up and left home!  Below are some issues you should take into consideration.

  • Take great care when considering which species will best suit you and your family
  • Be sure you are buying from a reputable seller - do some research and ask questions
  • If you live in a densely populated area, make sure you won't upset your neighbours as some parrot and parakeets can be quite noisy
  • If you decide to buy a baby bird, make sure it is fully weaned and can independently feed itself
  • Make sure you get a comprehensive bill of sale that fully identifies the bird and whether or not it is suitable for the purpose - pet or aviary for example
  • A good sign is if the bird has a closed ring (a one piece ring, not split) on its leg or better still, has been micro-chipped
  • Make sure you know the bird's history and where it has come from
  • Make sure it has been bred in your country and has not been imported, which would mean it had probably been wild caught and survived a gruelling journey
  • Consider what will happen to your bird when you go on holiday or are away
  • Are you prepared to deal with veterinary bills from time to time?
  • A healthy bird should appear 'bright eyed and bushy tailed', if it is not, it may well be unwell.  However, it can be quite tiring spending a lot of time 'on sale' so don't jump to conclusions too quickly!
  • Beware of cheap deals as they can turn out to be the most expensive

Photo courtesy of Andrew Marven.

26 Dec

Keeping welfare at the top of the list

Keeping welfare at the top of the listBy John Catchpole

As we look over the past 12 months, the need for better care of our animals is growing stronger.  We have long seen the appalling conditions in puppy farms as care and responsibility seems to be right down at the bottom of the list, as opposed to making money, which remains at the top.  Is the same happening with our birds?
 
At Parrots magazine and with the success of our Think Parrots Shows, it is evident that people are wanting information in order that they can take better care of their birds.  In contrast, we seem to see an increase in the number of auctions that take place around the country, where birds and other animals are treated the same as spare car parts, with little concern for their needs and welfare, and seemingly without any requirement for regulation.  The ubiquitous wheeler-dealers clearly put profit above the care of their birds, and auctions and some bird sales are feeding this trend.  There are rumblings within the avian world, from highly respected experts, to bring in self-regulation in order to stamp out unacceptable practices.  Parrots magazine, together with our Think Parrots Show, will always encourage high standards of welfare and will support any forms of legislation that will improve levels of care, and stamp out those who bring the hobby into disrepute.
 
The care of our birds is of utmost importance and their welfare must always come first.
 
Photo courtesy of Judy Irving.

19 Dec

Kelp – its benefits

KelpBy Pauline James

Kelp is a seaweed or brown algae, which grows in underwater ‘forests’ in the nutrient-rich and cool waters of shallow oceans, where the sun can penetrate.  This extraordinary product, which is one of the most nutrient-rich natural foods found anywhere in the world, grows rapidly at around half a metre per day and in total can reach up to 80m long, and is dried and provided in powder-form.  It is an excellent source of marine minerals, including potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron, and also provides significant quantities of folic acid, essential fatty acids, amino acids, vitamin K, and many of the B group of vitamins.
 
This unique seaweed is also rich in iodine that boosts the thyroid gland, which in turn supports the growth of healthy plumage, and keeps a bird’s skin, beak and nails in good condition.  Kelp also supports the other glands in the body too, including the all-important pituitary gland, and serves to boost overall energy levels.  It also acts as a natural antitoxin and antibiotic, and is thought to help reduce the body’s ability to absorb fat, and could therefore help a more sedentary companion parrot keep trim.

12 Dec

Homemade New Year’s treat for parrots

Treats for parrotsBy Pauline James

Parrots absolutely adore homemade cooked treats, and it is an excellent way to get fussy eaters to try new foods.  This recipe for Cranberry Apple Biscuits is delicious, high in nutrients, and most birds won’t be able to resist them, especially if you are tucking into them too!

Cranberry Apple Biscuits
Cranberries are a ‘superfruit,’ and have high nutritional benefits, including high levels of vitamins A, C and K, a diverse supply of minerals, are a good source of phytochemicals, and have powerful antioxidant qualities.  They are also anti-bacterial, anti-cancer and benefit the cardiovascular and immune systems.  Cranberries are closely related to bilberries, blueberries and huckleberries.

3 large egg whites
¾ cup low sugar apple juice
¼ cup low sugar cranberry juice
3 tablespoons nut/olive oil
2 cups flour (preferably wholegrain)
1½ cups quick cooking oats
1 tsp baking powder
½ cup chopped walnuts
2 cups chopped apples
3 tsp of lemon juice
 
Preheat oven to 350°F or 175°C
 
Method:
1. Beat egg whites until almost stiff.
2. Add juices and blend well.
3. Stir in oil.
4. Add flour, oats and baking powder.
5. Mix until well blended.
6. Stir in walnuts and pieces of apple coated in the lemon juice.
7. Drop heaped teaspoonfuls onto a greased baking tray or greaseproof paper.
8. Bake for 10 minutes.
9. When cool, freeze or store in an airtight container in the fridge.

05 Dec

Natural perching is best

Natural perchesUsing natural perching of differing widths and textures is the best way to keep a parrot’s feet healthy.  All manufactured dowelling perches, supplied with larger cages, or the square-shaped grooved plastic perches, intended for lovebirds, parrotlets or budgies, should be discarded.

Select fresh branches of varying sizes that will naturally exercise and stretch a parrot’s feet, helping to keep their toes supple, and prevent cramp or arthritic conditions from developing.  Smaller birds with more delicate feet find plastic perches particularly uncomfortable and are more likely to suffer swellings, corns, foot sores, infected ulcers on the soles of the feet, and bumblefoot.

Budgerigars are particularly susceptible to the latter, which is a chronic bacterial infection that penetrates deep into the tissue of the feet.  This is mainly due to repeated abrasive injury when their feet are continually set in the same position, and/or dirty conditions.  Treatment is surgical drainage and antibiotics.

Cockatiels are more vulnerable to developing ulcerated feet, when using the same-sized, smooth perching continually, and rapid treatment is necessary to stop them becoming crippled and unable to perch.  For their comfort, they should be offered a soft layer of newspaper on the floor of their cage, while their feet are healing.

Cut fresh perching or branches for parrots to gnaw and chew on from:

  1. Any fruit tree, including apple or pear, but not cherry wood, which is thought to be toxic to parrots
  2. Any nut trees, including hazelnut, walnut, and almond, but not chestnut
  3. Olive tree wood
  4. Eucalyptus
  5. Hawthorn, or
  6. Any variety of willow

natural-perching-3These trees are non-toxic (except those indicated) to birds and most contain a great diversity of minerals and medicinal properties, which are very healing and beneficial to parrots that enjoy exercising their beaks regularly.

21 Nov

Preventing frostbite

PreventingFrostBiteBy Pam Fryer
 
It is my belief aviary parrots should have available adequate inside living accommodation, somewhere secure where they can go to eat, drink and shelter from the winds, rain, ice and snow, especially at night.
 
In my experience, if you wish to prevent frostbite of your aviary birds, you have to increase the width of perching during winter months.  Parrots need to be able to cover their toes with their feathers when at rest and when roosting at night.  If, as it is often advised, you decrease the width of perching in winter months, it will cause the unfortunate parrots to wrap their toes around the narrow perching, making it difficult to cover their toes with their feathers.  The exposed toes could end up with frostbite. So do make sure your parrots have sufficient perching.  So often I have seen aviaries with insufficient perching which is a stress factor to parrots.  It is important to discourage parrots from clinging to aviary wire, especially during winter months and never use metal or concrete perching in aviaries.
 
For a great article about Winter – precautions and procedures by Rosemary Low, see December’s issue of Parrots magazine - READ MORE HERE.

28 Nov

Improve air quality in a room

Improve Air QualityBy Pauline James

What do most parrots and parakeets all have in common?  Dust!  They produce and shed copious amounts of dust.
 
There are many things that can be done to significantly improve the air-quality in a room housing a ‘powder down’ parrot:
 
1. Clean all surfaces regularly with a damp cloth, rather than a dry duster.  This will trap and remove particles, rather than sending a large percentage airborne again.

2. Use a vacuum cleaner with a highly-efficient HEPA filter that traps dust rather than spreads it, and avoid vacuum cleaners that collect dust in a removable bag.

3. A good quality HEPA air purifier can be very effective at removing dust and pet cander as well, in some models, airborne allegens.

4. Use a simple misting spray daily and aim the spray above his head, so the fine water droplets fall on him from above, rather than make him nervous by aiming straight at him.

5. Keep a humidifier near to the cage.  This will help to keep the bird’s skin and feathers hydrated, and prevent its skin from becoming dry, flaky and itchy, stopping it from scratching and preening excessively.

14 Nov

Energy Healing for Parrots

EnergyHealingBLOG

By Pam Fryer

Energy is all that there is. We are energy beings. We live and breathe (as does all in our Universe) in what amounts to a sea of motion - a quantum sea of light.

There are electrical fields around every organism from humans to parrots, elephants, frogs, bees, trees, viruses, bacteria, moulds etc, all have their own field.

Everything is energy operating at its own frequency, every organ in the body has its own electrical field and frequency.  All vitamins and elements in the periodic table are found in fruit, vegetables and all live foods grown with the help of the sun, providing the soil is well cared for and organically fertilised.  This is why live foods have huge healing benefits for parrots.  They need those vitamins and elements in the periodic table for health and well-being, as do we.  You can give supplements, which do have their healing place, but live foods for parrots are a natural source, which for them also creates interest, texture and taste.

It is wise to try to keep parrots as far away as possible from electricity meters, power lines, mobile phone masts, electricity pylons, electricity sockets, TVs, computers, any man-made EMF that brings distortion to their, and of course our, energy field.  Pigeon fanciers talk about racing pigeons being disorientated and not finding their way home due to man-made EMF distortion affecting their navigation systems.  Parrots feel that distortion, they have not evolved to live amongst modern day technology emitting damaging EMF.

Disease takes place when one’s body field gets scrambled.  It all starts in the subtle energy fields.  This is something as a society we need to take on board.

Parrots respond well to natural forms of healing which can also help support medical treatments or help the healing process after surgery.  Research has proved healing works.  There are so many forms of healing from Spiritual Healing to Reiki, Angelic Reiki, Reconnection Healing, Energy Healing to name a few.  Long distance healing has also been proven to be effective.

Some herbs are healing for parrots, these each have their own energy.  Crystal Healing also can help.  Crystals emit energy each has a different energy.  I often used to put crystals around a parrot’s cage to help a health condition.  Homeopathy also has a place in healing as that also is energy.  The aim with all healing is to help balance and try to restore the distortion in the energy fields.

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