Saturday, April 29, 2017

Shopping for Safe and Edible Plants Locally

There are many plants and flowers that are safe for your bird, some are even edible providing health benefits as well as tasty treats.  A great place to find healthy plants and information can be right in your own backyard so to speak.

Check out plant sales sponsored by your local Master Gardeners Association and help support local volunteer gardeners and their special projects in your area.

These groups may work with local food banks in providing fresh produce, youth groups such as 4H clubs, city beautification projects, and much more.  So when you purchase your safe bird plants and edible flowers for your birds, you are helping to give back to your community too.

Check out our Pinterest Board: Safe Plants and Edible Flowers for Birds with lots of photos of safe plants and flowers.  Also be sure to visit our website at: Safe Plants and Trees for Birds for a more complete list of plants and trees that are considered safe for parrots.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Parrot Shopping at Your Local Farmers Market

Have you checked out your local Farmers Market yet?

It's a great place to shop for your parrot.

Fresh foods, organic foods, locally grown foods, super nutrition at reasonable prices.

In the south, I already have some great food choices at my local market for my parrots such as strawberries, lots of fresh greens, non-acid tomatoes, and sweet potatoes,

Visit your local farmers market and get to know the growers to find out the best time to shop, when certain foods will most likely be available,  You can also find some great starter plants for your own garden.  I purchased two cherry tomato plants myself this morning.  They are sweet small cherry tomatoes and my parrots and grandchildren love them.  I'm trying to decide whether to plant them in my flower bed or in some pots on the patio.  Either way, we will all enjoy them this summer.

By shopping at your local farmers market for your parrots and yourself, you not only guarantee your food is super fresh and the highest quality nutrition, you will also help support your local farmers who work hard to provide good food at good prices.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

It's That Time of Year Again!

Got the Spring Cleaning bug?  I think Spring is a great time to thoroughly clean your Bird's Home and surrounding birdie area.

Here are a few tips to help you out.

Tip 1 - Remember to remove bird from cage to fun play area with lots of toys and treats to keep your bird occupied before beginning cleaning project. As many of us know, some birds simply do not like anyone messing with their stuff.  So keeping them occupied elsewhere, hopefully, may keep them from noticing what you are up to.

Tip 1 Rule:  Always respect the bird and his or her personal "things" if you value fingers and such.

Tip 2 - Remove all bird toys and perches from cage prior to cleaning. This is a great time to thoroughly inspect all toys for wear and tear and throw out anything that might not still be safe. Check for strings, shredded cloth or rope, bird poop that can't be cleaned away, chewed wood that has any sharp places, and so on.

Tip 2 Rule:   When in doubt, throw it out.

Tip 3 - Wooden and trimming perches such as concrete, sand, and such, can be soaked in a sink or bathtub in gentle dish detergent and water.  Be sure to thoroughly rinse and air dry before returning to your bird's cage or play area. Perches made of Rope and Sisal, or other such materials, can be brushed with a stiff bristle brush to help remove dried on poop, or food.  Although some people may gasp, both wood and rope or cotton perches can be run through a gentle dishwasher cycle after brushing to better clean them.  Again, make sure they are completely dry before returning to your bird.  Throw out any perches that look like they might trap tiny toes or toenails, or wood that looks splintered and possibly a foot hazard.  It may be time to add new perches and throw out the old, using different sizes for foot exercise.

Tip 3 Rule:  Perches that are not completely dry, can cause foot problems so taking the time to be sure they are dry is well worth it.

Tip 4 - Cages and play areas can be washed with vinegar and water, or a mixture of gentle dish detergent and water.  Always rinse well after cleaning.  Our bird store also carries products specifically made to clean cages, perches, and toys, that are bird safe.

NEVER use cleaners such as  Mr. Clean, Lysol, Soft Scrub, Windex, 409, etc. to clean anything your bird can come in contact with.  Almost all household cleaners 
can be deadly to your bird. Bleach is not recommended for cleaning as it is toxic if inhaled by your bird  (or you for that matter), is very caustic to cage finishes, and can burn skin if splashed accidentally.

If your cage is small enough, try putting it in the shower or bathtub for cleaning.  Be sure to put down a towel or bath mat to prevent scratching tub or shower finishes. 

You can also roll larger cages outdoors and use a garden hose to clean.  If using a power washer, you will probably want to set to a low-pressure setting to prevent paint damage to cage.

Tip 4 Rule:   Remember birds have very sensitive respiratory systems so if your cleaner smells strong to you, then is more than likely is not a good idea to use it around your bird.

Tip 5 - Once everything is nice and clean, add a couple of new toys as a reward before returning your bird to his or her home.  After all, your bird is going to know you have been messing with his or her stuff no matter how stealthy you think you have been, and new toys may help soothe things over for you.

Tip 5 Rule:  Now enjoy your Spring and your Bird's new clean area.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Spring Severe Weather Prepardeness

A little planning can save valuable minutes in an emergency.

Although any time of year can have weather related emergencies, spring often brings tornados, floods, severe thunderstorms, lightning strikes, power outages, or early hurricanes, for many parts of the country.

Being prepared ahead of time can be key to avoiding a lot of worry, and can help keep both you and your bird safe during any weather emergency.

Severe weather can often cause power outages so it's always good to have some extra non-perishable bird food on hand for such an event.  Include a few bottles of water, as well as some paper towels, and a bird first aid kit.  If you don't have a smart phone with a flashlight app, you can include a flashlight with extra batteries.  Make sure to have either a carrier or small travel cage and a thick towel or cover.  Having some fresh fruit on hand can provide some quick energy nutrition as well as providing a distraction for an upset bird.

If your bird is frightened by thunderstorms, placing your bird in a carrier or smaller cage and covering, can provide the security feeling your bird may need.  Placing your bird in the carrier or cage before the weather gets bad, can be especially helpful, as during the storm you may be dealing with a very stressed or panicked bird who might try and fly away, or bite in fear.

A carrier can be a lifesaver for your bird if you need to move quickly to an interior room in your home, to a storm shelter, or even evacuate during dangerous weather events.  Emergency items can be stored year-round inside the carrier so everything is always ready when you need it.

Some birds may relate carriers to not so good events such as vet visits.  Begin early to teach your bird that his or her carrier can be a cool place to hang out.  Make the carrier available to your bird often throughout the year with treats and favorite toys inside.  Bird treats and foot toys that your bird can go into the carrier and retrieve can be good training.

It's always a very good idea to have a towel stored with your carrier supplies in the event your bird never learns to like the carrier, as it can be used a quick wrap to move your bird from cage to carrier.  Don't worry about removing the towel, just deposit bird and towel into the carrier.  Birds pick up quickly on human emotion and if you are nervous or stressed by the weather, then even the bird that is a sweetheart, may be nippier than usual and avoiding the bite will benefit both you and your bird.  The towel in the carrier may also provide a snuggle place or even an object to nip at instead of you.

Let us know if there is a must-have for your severe weather emergency kit.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Pumpkins and Pumpkin Seeds for your Parrot

It's that Pumpkin Time of Year again and pumpkins and their seeds are great for parrots.  Pumpkins and pumpkin seeds are high in vitamin A, and also provide calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and other wonderful healthy nutrients.

You can bake small edible pumpkins in your oven at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.  First, clean out the inside of the pumpkin and remove all seeds and pulp.  Place pumpkin on safe cookie sheet or pan and into the oven.  When done, a baked small pumpkin can be given to larger birds to enjoy, or cut into smaller pieces for smaller birds.

Did you know you can freeze fresh pumpkins for yummy eating later.  Wash any dirt from your pumpkin and remove the seeds (you want to save those too).  Cut the pumpkin into wedges or slices, or both and put them into freezer bags and freeze.  When ready to use, thaw the pumpkin chunks and cut into smaller pieces or use your food processor, and add to bird bread for extra moisture and yummy flavor.

Then take your pumpkin seeds, rinse well to remove the stringy gooey pumpkin stuff, pat dry with paper towel, and then spread on a large cookie sheet or cake pan. (DO NOT USE NON-STICK PANS)  Spraying the cookie sheet or pan first with some non-stick cooking spray will help a lot in preventing the seeds from sticking to the sheet.  Preheat oven to 250-300 degrees, and bake the seeds for about 40 minutes.  You will need to stir and mix the seeds about every 5-10 minutes to prevent sticking and to be sure all seeds are all evenly roasted.  This is why I personally prefer a large sheet cake pan so I can mix without sending any pumpkin seeds around the oven outside of the pan.

Or, you can just click on the video below and let your parrot enjoy.

How to enjoy a leftover Halloween Pumpkin

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Easy Bake Apple Pumpkin Harvest Bird Muffins

1 package Harrisons Millet Flax Seed Bread Mix
1 large apple chopped into small pieces
**(peel apple & remove seeds before chopping)
1 16 ounce can 100% pure pumpkin
2 medium or 1 large egg
1 cup water (or use unsweetened apple juice instead of water)
1/2 extra cup water or juice (optional)
2 tablespoons Red Palm Oil or olive oil
paper cupcake or muffin liners

This yummy fall bird muffin is healthy and delicious.

In a large mixing bowl pour the package of Harrison's Bird Bread. Add the eggs, oil and stir thoroughly.
Next, add the can of pumpkin to the mixture and stir well.

Peel apple (to remove any wax or pesticide residue) and remove any apple seeds as they are toxic. 
Chop the apple into small pieces. We use our food processor for just a few seconds for quick small pieces. You just need to cut apples into smaller pieces so they are distributed through the muffins more evenly.  

Add apple pieces to mixture and stir gently but well.
Add water or juice to mix until mixture is blended well. Although the pumpkin will add some moisture to the mixture, the apples will soak up some of moisture  offsetting the liquid you add some. Add enough water or juice to make a cupcake-batter consistency. (The thicker the mixture, the longer it will need to bake).
Pour mixture into mini muffin or cupcake pans and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Oven temperatures can vary so be sure muffins are done.

Thoroughly cool muffins before serving to your bird.

Cooked muffins can also be frozen in freezer bags or plastic containers and removed daily for a fun treat each day until gone.

Use fall or Halloween cupcake/muffin paper baking cup holders to add extra fun for your bird. 

Hand your bird the complete muffin and watch him or her peel away the muffin paper and relish the yummy fall muffin inside.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice

Who doesn't just love the smell of cinnamon and spice and everything nice that translates into the fall and holiday season.

Those of us who share our homes with birds though can feel a little left out sometimes.  Scented candles, air fresheners, and especially those plug-in fresheners, are totally off limits in our homes.  Many if not all of these scented items, can be deadly to our birds.

A general rule of thumb when it comes to candles, potpourri, air sprays, is that the better it smells, the more toxic it probably is for our feathered friends.  Our own avian veterinarian has warned us that plug-ins are not only dangerous to our birds but have also been linked to seizures and other health issues in some cats and dogs as well. Some essential oils used in many scented candles and potpourris can be toxic to birds.

So how do we join in the fall holiday spirit and spruce up our aromatic indoor smells?

It is actually very simple indeed.  Gather up some cooking spices such as ground cinnamon, cinnamon sticks, ground and/or whole cloves, and some ground pumpkin pie spice.  You can also add some sliced oranges or apples to the mixture as well.  Then find a warming pot such as one for potpourri, or a small size coffee pot that has a warm setting, or even just a small size sauce pot (no teflon please), add some water and sprinkle a little or a lot of the spices that you prefer, stir well, and keep warm.

Now you too can enjoy all the wondrous smells of the fall season and holidays without worrying if it is safe for your birds and other pets.

Caution Note:  Do make sure the pot never dries out as it may damage your warming pot, or cause burned smells which would not be good for your bird.  Unplug your unit when you are not at home to keep an eye on it.