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.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Attending a Bird Show or Fair this Fall?

What fun a bird show or bird fair can be.  At a Bird Show you will probably see many species of birds you would otherwise never be lucky enough to see in person.  Doesn't matter if it's a Finch and canary competition, cockatiel show, budgies, or a parrot show with all the larger parrots.  Bird Shows are educational, fun, and interactive as you learn and mingle among the other show attendees.  Local Bird Clubs are usually the sponsors of Bird Shows and are usually affiliated with national organizations with high standards of health, beauty, and ethics.  Often bird shows will also hold sponsored educational forums and lectures throughout the show.  I encourage you to attend some.  Often they will be conducted by Avian Veterinarians or very experienced bird owners.

Bird Fairs are for selling birds and bird related items.  From small vendors displaying and selling their products, to large manufacturers showing the latest in bird food, bird toys, and supplies.  There is also sure to be bird breeders with the babies looking for new forever homes.  It is super fun to see all the different items available and sometimes you can find some really sweet deals too.  Some fairs are only held once a year and sponsored by a local bird club, some are more business oriented and may be held as often as every 3 months.  Sometimes the sponsors of local bird fairs may also offer classes or seminars along with the fair and some will have a veternarian on site during the fair as well.

As someone who has shown birds at Club Shows in the past, also been a vendor at bird fairs, there are a few tips I highly recommend you practice if you plan to attend a show or fair.

As you will see, the venues are usually open air markets or large meeting places.  As some avian diseases can be airborne, you definitely do not want to bring anything bad home to your own feathered friends.

Always disinfect any bird toys, cages, or supplies you buy while at the fair, and all food should be in sealed containers or bags when purchased.  Best practice is to totally strip down as soon as you get home (hopefully in the privacy of your home).  Take a shower including washing your hair.  Wash your clothes, and don't forget your shoes.  Take your shoes off at the door of your home,  The bottom of most shoes can be lightly spritzed with a solution of one part chlorine bleach to 4 parts water to make sure you don't track anything inside.  Some shoes may be ones that can be washed.  You do want comfortable shoes when walking around the show or fair, but remember they should be shoes that can be disinfected when you get home.

I don't want to get too much into buying a bird while you are at the bird fair, but if you do, make sure you quarantine, have it immediately vet checked, and don't forget to get the breeder or seller's contact info and a bill of sale (even if it's only a note on paper) with the seller's signature.  Ask whether there is any health guarantee before you buy.  Most responsible breeders will give you a time frame in which to have the bird vet checked for illness.

To see more bird show winners visit our Pinterest Board

To find a bird show or fair in your area visit some of these sites for more info.

Friday, August 05, 2016

Do you Know what Chop is?

Parrot 'Chop' 

Really means whatever you want it to mean

Basically, parrot chop (or chop for short) is a mixture of vegetables, grains, fruits, and other goodies in whatever ratio that works best for your bird.

It is a great weekend project that doesn't take as much time as you would think, and the more you do it the faster you will be at preparing your chop.

When deciding what to put into your chop think like a parrot, think colors and textures.  Orange carrots, red peppers, yellow squash, green broccoli, and so on.

Your chop can be super simple with one yellow and one green vegetable, and a couple of fruits such as apples and oranges, or as complicated as you wish to get.

Unlike the layered salad of yesterday, (not mixed when prepared but still a great method of feeding), chop is mixed at the time of preparation and it is slightly processed through a food processor to "chopped" sizes.  You do not want to leave pieces too chunky, and you sure don't want to go so far as to create a mash.  So take some time to get used to the size of chop.  Birds love to throw out and around chunky pieces of food, wasting all but maybe a taste, and some birds simply do not like a mushy mash texture.

(NOTE: Believe me you do not want to chop into tiny pieces all these ingredients so invest in a food processor if you don't already have one.  Small counter top sizes can be purchased for about $20.  You do not need a big industrial expensive one unless you just want one.)

Chop is making the food small enough that pretty much ensures the bird is going to taste some favorites and have to try some new foods as he or she picks and chooses.   Chop unlike a mash, leaves the fruits, vegetables, and other foods, large enough to visually be more appealing to your bird and hopefully help make the bird curious about the colors in particular.

As soon as you feel confident, you can begin expanding on the number of ingredients and add foods such as brown rice, flax, quiona, beans, and more.

A few tips I personally practice when feeding fresh.  Always wash/rinse well all vegetables unless you grew them and know for a fact there is no pesticide residue.  I always peel my apples because of the pesticide factor and that most apples have a waxy covering, and wash/rinse all other fruit well before serving.
(NOTE: Standard safety tips of no apple seeds or fruit pits as they are toxic)

Now here is the cool thing about chop.  It can be frozen in baggies or ice cube trays (yes they do still exist).  Making it easy to thaw out quickly and serve as often as you and your bird like.  Some people make a base chop, and then add some chopped fresh ingredients at serving time.  If you have the time to do that, more power to you.  Myself, I'm lucky to be anywhere near organized in the mornings so I prefer a complete meal ready to thaw and serve.  There is no right way or wrong way, just the way it works best for you.

There are lots of chop food suggestions all over the internet and some groups on facebook.  I've listed a few references below that I found informative and helpful.  

Happy Chopping!

On Facebook check out:

On the Internet check out:

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Microchips for Parrots

Did you know you can microchip your bird?

Most people know that dogs and cats can be microchipped to help recover lost pets, but did you know that your parrot can also be microchipped for identification.

Why microchip your parrot?  That really is a personal choice.  If your bird is valuable monetarily it can help prove legal ownership if the bird is stolen.  If your bird is emotionally valuable (as most are), then a lost pet can also be reunited with its family if found and turned in at an animal shelter, rescue,  or veterinarian.  Most of these facilities now have scanners for microchips.  

Birds may have leg bands for identification, but often the bands are not registered or they may not provide sufficient information to reunite a lost bird with its human.  Even if the band does contain good information, it's only valuable if the band remains on the bird.  Often bands are removed due to leg injuries, or weight gain or age causing the band to be tighter than it should be.  Bands can become entangled in toys, or caught even in cage bars and are removed sometimes to prevent accidents.  If stolen, a band could be removed quickly by the thief.
If you are considering a microchip for your bird, a few things to know are as follows.

Most veterinarians prefer birds weigh at least 100 grams to be microchipped.  If your bird is smaller, you should discuss the pros and cons of a surgical insertion used on smaller birds.

Microchipping your parrot is actually a quick and simple procedure performed by your veterinarian without any anesthesia in most cases.  By using a local numbing agent, the microchip can be injected painlessly into your bird.  The microchip itself is only about the size of a grain of rice and each microchip has it's own unique identification number that is registered for your bird.  Costs may vary anywhere from $25 to $50 depending on your region and veterinarian.    

There is more than one chip manufacturer and some only require a one-time registration fee while others may require a yearly fee to remain active in their database.  The most important thing is to remember if you ever move or change your phone number you need to update your information online.  Your vet's staff will usually set up the registration for you and explain how to access your information online.

There is no GPS component to microchips currently, but maybe it's in the future for our pets to help keep them safer than ever.
Above Photo source:

Click the link to watch a short video of a Senegal being microchipped 


Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Silent Killer

Okay, I'm on a bit of a rant today, but I just get so angry every time I learn of another tragic death due to manufacturers using PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) as if it were such a great invention.  No it's not! It can kill a bird in your home within a few minutes.  

Why on God's green earth would we want such a silent killer in our home, around our children, grandchildren, pets, anyone we care about, or even ourselves.  Just because a person doesn't die within minutes, doesn't mean it's not causing horrible harm to the health of those we love as well as ourselves.

What is so offensive to me is that manufacturers insert this hideous danger into our lives in so many different products without telling us.  Most bird people are aware of the non-stick cookware, such as the brand name Teflon, but did you know this toxic substance is also in almost all new ovens, stoves, indoor grills, carpets, flooring, clothes dryers, hair dryers, space heaters, irons, ironing board covers, waffle irons, deep fryers, heat lamps, as well as many other small appliances and even in some clothing products.

For many years it was assumed this PTFE had to reach a certain temperature to do any harm.  That has been proven false.  It has been shown it can be deadly at medium temperatures as well.  It has been documented that at a temperature of only 350 degrees (some researchers say as low as even 250 degrees) toxicity becomes a concern.  

It's called a silent killer because you can't smell it, you can't detect it with a monitoring device, you will never know it's killing your bird until it's too late to do anything to save your precious baby.  It simply spreads the insidious odorless fumes throughout your home without you knowing it.  Even a closed door will not keep it out.  

Having personally witnessed the death of a friend's birds after she innocently used a new drip pan to broil some steaks, I can say it is a horrible tragedy to happen. She lost budgies in an adjoining garage, and cockatiels in a room off the kitchen.  The doors to the dining room and the garage were shut.  

Another friend lost her beloved Eclectus to this horrible chemical compound and the bird was down the hall in another room from the kitchen where the cookware was used.

And, just this week one of my wonderful customers lost several budgies and her Indian Ringneck simply cooking dinner using her oven newly installed 2 months ago.  She was careful not to use teflon or other non-stick cookware that might be dangerous.  She had no idea the lurking danger in her new oven.  

What can we do?  We can spread the information whenever and wherever we can.  We must be pro-active in reading labels carefully, asking questions of sales people and retailers, and contacting manufacturers with questions when necessary.   We may not be able to eliminate 100% of everything that contains this dangerous chemical, but by being careful, we can help keep our birds and ourselves as safe as possible until manufacturers own up to the dangers and care more about the customer than their profit.

My heart goes out to anyone who has lost a bird because of this.  

If you would like to read more, visit the links below.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Keep your Pets Safe During the 4th of July Holiday

With 4th of July Independence Day celebrations this weekend, please remember you pets may not love all the people and sounds of the celebration.  The pops and bangs of fireworks can be quite unnerving to many furred and feathered friends.

The sound of fireworks make my own birds nervous.  Some get flighty, especially the cockatiels, and some get very quiet, usually the amazons.   Even my little dog is nervous and yappy at all the loud pops and sizzles and extra family and friends visiting for the holiday.

It's easier for me to calm my dog than it is to calm my birds.  I can snuggle the pup up to me and partially cover with her blanket, and walk outside with her when necessary.  However, some of my birds are not snugglers, and even the sweet ones may become nippy when unsettled by loud noises and extra people in their home.

I partially or fully cover the cage of any bird that gets very upset and that helps them feel more protected and they settle down better.  I include special treats in everyone's dish in the hope that getting a special treat helps distract them from the goings on.  I'm lucky that my birds are in their own bird sun room so it's easy to keep visitors out of their room.  If you bird is usually where people gather, you may want to consider moving the cage into a quiet bedroom until after the fireworks and visitors are gone.  If the cage is too big to move, a sleep cage or even a travel carrier can work just as well.

A little planning ahead of time for the feathered and furred family members will help make your July 4th weekend a fun celebration for all.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Importance of Water


Water, refreshing, energizing, fun, and absolutely necessary for life.

A lack of water can quickly cause dehydration and can have serious and sometimes even fatal results for your bird.

How long a bird can live without water can vary greatly among the different species, and can actually be as short as only a few hours for very small birds such as finches and canaries.  Females often drink more water than males, and breeding females require even more water.  Older birds or birds with any health issues may require even more access to water.  Birds who eat more pellets than seed diets also usually drink more water.  

Using open water bowls have both pros and cons.  Many birds just love to splash around in their dishes and all that splashing and bathing can add needed moisture to their feathers, especially during molts.  Birds are also notorious for soaking their foods, especially pellets, in their water dishes preferring a softer food or creating that interesting birdie soup as we like to call it.   Unfortunately, the above fun activities also keep their humans busy trying hard to keep clean water in the dish.

Water bottles provide clean drinking water for our birds, but can also take away the fun baths and soup mixtures.  If you prefer to use a water bottle instead of an open water dish, always always be sure your bird is drinking from the bottle before removing the familiar open dish.  Placing the bottle over the regular water dish may help your bird discover the bottle tube easier and give it a try quicker.
However even using a water bottle for cleaner water can also present issues as some bird learn how fun it is to shower under the water bottle tube.  Some also discover how much fun it is to push seeds and other foods (and even a small toy part or two) up the tube.  Unfortunately, all these fun activities can result in an empty water bottle, or a tube that has been stopped up and unable to release water to your bird.

When using water bottles it is so very important to check at a minimum of once daily that the bottle is not stopped up, and contains plenty of water.  Never assume just because a bottle looks full, it is working properly.

Even in a water bottle, bacteria can also begin to grow within 24 hours so it also needs to be changed regularly for freshness.  Sometimes using both an open water dish, and a water bottle will provide both fun, and clean water for your bird.  

Don't forget about those refreshing baths and showers and how important water is for your bird's feather health.  Doesn't matter if your bird enjoys bathing in a dish, sink, shower, or fun water bottle spray bath.  Water helps soften new feather shafts, refreshes feathers, helps control dander, adds moisture to the skin and just plain makes those feathers gorgeous.

Overpreeners often do much less damage to wet feathers as can be done to dry feathers, so regular bathing lets them preen thoroughly without as much damage to the feathers.  Overpreening also seems to be less in birds who bathe on a regular basis.   Feathers are healthier and stronger and hold up better to a bird who is a little more aggressive in preening.  

Not to mention the sheer joy of a bathing bird.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Vacationing without your Bird

Planning a fun vacation or other trip this summer and can't take your bird with you?

If you take a little time to plan for your bird, he or she can be well taken care of while you are away.

First, decide where your bird will spend vacation time.  Most veterinarians  provide boarding facilities just make sure your vet boards birds as well as other animals.  If you are lucky enough to have an avian vet that boards, then your bird will be staying where people understand their special needs.  This might also be a good time to get a health checkup if it's been a while.

Some local pet stores may also provide boarding, there again, don't wait until the last minute to book your reservations.  Don't be afraid to ask about safety and how they make sure your bird is not exposed to other boarders to prevent any illness or cross contamination.

As a safety precaution, many vets and pet stores require birds be feather clipped while boarding.  If you do not normally clip your bird's flight feathers, this may or may not be an issue for you.  You can ask if a junior clip is an option.  With a junior clip your bird will still have limited flight until the new flights grow back, but may still meet the safety requirements of the boarding facility.  Unless the facility can provide a safe room for your bird when out of the cage if fully flighted, your bird may not be able to come out of the cage while there, or may have limited time outside the cage.  These are things to consider and know beforehand.

Most places that board birds do so by appointment, so call early and make sure there is room, find out all costs, and be sure to ask if they provide a cage or if you will need a travel cage for your bird.  Also, ask if food is included, and if so what do they feed.  If it's the same diet you feed, great, if not, then you will need to plan on packing food to send with your bird.

Include at least a couple of bird toys your bird really likes, as well as a few fun new toys to occupy your bird's away time.  Don't forget some favorite treats too.

If you do not have a place to safely board your bird, or if you prefer your bird remain at home where he or she might feel the most comfortable, think about asking a neighbor, friend, or relative if they might be able to take care of your bird while you are away.  At least twice a day check-ins are best.

The person will need to be able to feed and water your bird, change any cage papers, turn lights on or off, turn on and off the tv or radio for your bird, and do a visual check of your bird daily.

Set up a few things near your bird before you leave for the caretaker in case of an emergency.  A towel large enough to scoop your bird up in if needed, carrier, first aid kit, and the name and phone number of your bird's vet, as well as the name and phone number of someone other than the vet they can call on for help if they are not experienced with birds.  Don't forget to leave a phone number where you can be reached as well.

There are professional pet sitters as well, just make sure to get references and then actually call the references and ask questions about the services they received and whether they felt their bird was well taken care of.  Pet sitters may also provide other services as well such as bringing in the mail or newspapers, watering plants if necessary, taking care of other pets, and checking to make sure your home is locked and secure.  Of course, your neighbor or friend might also do this if you ask very nicely.

If your bird does not like being alone, then consider asking that neighbor, relative, or friend, to let your bird come stay with them while you are away.  Just make sure they are ok with it, can handle all safety issues, and then be sure to provide all the items mentioned above.

There is no right or wrong way to vacation without your bird, just choose what works best for your bird and you.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Summer Travel Tips

Summertime and the living is easy.  

Well, that is unless you are planning a vacation or trip.  In that case, you may be busy planning, packing, and trying to figure out what to do about the bird.

Here are a few tips that might help you with the planning and packing.

It really is possible to vacation or travel with your bird in many circumstances.  Just do a little planning ahead and be as prepared as you can for just about anything.

If you will be driving on your trip, know that most birds travel well in cars.  You will need a travel carrier or small cage for the trip.  Some birds do experience motion sickness, either caused by the actual motion, or by the stress of what's happening, so if your bird is one that does, you may want to practice short drives around town in preparation for the longer trip.  A few trips around the block may be all you need to do.

Decide whether your bird travels best in a covered carrier where he or she cannot see any objects moving by the windows.  Lay down a small towel inside the carrier with some layers of paper towels on top for the trip.  If you feel you need a perch, a  free standing small perch, or a dowel type perch attached to the sides of the carrier are better.  Keep them low so if an unexpected quick brake happens, your bird won't fall causing injury or panic.  If you can use a seat belt with the carrier, even better.

Long trips are better without a water dish inside the carrier as that will probably just slosh around getting everything wet.  Better to provide juicy fruits such as orange, watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes, peach, even apple slices will provide moisture as needed.  Add some spray millet, a small dish of favorite seeds and/or pellets.  If you bird doesn't like juicy fruits, better get started training him or her to like them, or you will need to stop every couple of hours to offer a small dish of water.  Just remember every time you need to open the door to the carrier, a possible escape can occur, causing a bird to panic, fly into the window, or worst case scenario, escape through an open window or door.

If you bird does not willingly go into the carrier, start practicing now.  Set the carrier next to the cage on a table top or secure stool,  Place very special treats just inside the door and act like you don't know it's there.  As your bird gathers up courage to snatch the treat, move the next one a little farther into the carrier.  The goal is for your bird to associate the carrier with a fun place to visit that holds extra special treats.

I highly recommend you never ever leave your bird alone in the car.  Cars heat up fast and a bird can have a heat stroke within minutes if it reaches too high a temperature.  Not to mention, birds do get kidnapped from cars.  Someone should stay with the bird at all times.  If you are traveling alone, you will need to take the bird with you when you leave the car.

Make sure your hotel, condo, etc. allows pets when you call to make reservations.  As well as any friends or relatives you might be staying with.  Make sure they are ok with a feathered visitor too.  Double check your vacation spot and specifically ask if they spray pesticides inside the room in-between visitors.  Practice all safety regimens that you would naturally at home.  

Once settled in, set up a play area for your bird, whether it's a small travel cage with toys or a play gym set on top of the carrier, make it your bird's vacation area.

Wherever your bird will be spending time, cover all furniture surfaces where your bird's cage or play area will be with paper towels, newspapers, or bed sheets to help keep the area clean of food and poop.   Don't forget the floor area too.  Remember your bird is going to be just as messy on vacation as at home.

You may also want to remember to put out the do not disturb sign whenever you are not in the hotel room.  Just a precaution to make sure no one disturbs or scares your bird when you are not there to supervise.  In fact, you may even want to ask family members who your bird does not know to only interact with the bird when you are also present.

Here is a list of a few things to pack in your bird's suitcase.

Paper Towels (lots of them)
Newspappers (lots of them)
Bed Sheet
Wash cloth (for quick cleanups)
Wet ones (for even quicker cleanups)
Night or car cover (even if you only use it as a partial cover)
Container of food
Container of water brought from home
Bird First Aid Kit
extra set of dishes
A hand held vacuum or hand broom & dustpan
A few new fun toys
And lots of special treats
(If you plan to feed fresh foods you may also want to include a small cooler)

I hope this helps give you some ideas on planning and preparation for a fun family vacation that includes your bird.  Maybe next week we will discuss vacationing without your bird as many people just can't take their bird along.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Recycling Bird Cages in the Garden

Don't throw away those old bird cages, just roll them out into the garden or patio area, and repurpose as a beautiful new garden accessory.

Pictured left is a large wrought iron cage that was painted white and filled with large pots inside the cage, and smaller planters on top with wave petunias.

Here we used an old flight cage with small bar spacing as a great seed starter protection area.  With small bar spacing, it helped keep the chipmunks, squirrels, and birds from enjoying our tender plants before they had a chance to grow.

 Especially good for sunflower seedlings.

A small plastic lightweight cage was used here for a beautiful cage full of flowering Mandevilla vine.

 An old large amazon cage was used to grow hummingbird vines, trumpet vines, and honeysuckle along a fence line.

 An old large iron cage is used here as an arbor of sorts for Mandevilla, Alamanda, and Bogenvilla plants.

Notice in the left bottom area, an old Prevue 123 cage is used to place large planters on for varied heights of the plantings.

We also used a second prevue 125 cage as an umbrella stand with a hanging basket of potato vine inside to dress it up.

For more inspiration visit our Pinterest Board Bird Cages in the Garden

Big, small, or in-between, old recycled bird cages can add interest and great design to any garden area. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Summer Bird Slaw

Summer Birdie Cabbage Slaw Recipe

1 small head of cabbage
1 pound fresh carrots
1 large bunch of fresh broccoli heads with partial stems
4 summer squash with the ends cut off
1 large green or red or yellow bell pepper
1 apples chopped (remove apple seeds)
1-2 Tablespoons Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

Remove outer leaves of cabbage and thoroughly rinse all fresh foods to remove any contaminants.

Cut cabbage into sections and finely chop. A food processor helps make this an easy task. Layer cabbage in large plastic container. I use a sheet cake container upside down so that the bottom becomes the lid, and it holds the slaw perfectly.

Next chop broccoli and spread evenly over the cabbage.

Then finely chop the carrots and spread evenly over the broccoli.
Next chop squash and layer on top of the broccoli.
Finely chop the peppers and layer next.
When finished layering the slaw, add 1 or 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar sprinkled over the top of the slaw. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
To serve, take a large serving spoon and scoop out ever how much you need to feed your flock, 
and place into a bowl. Stir mixture thoroughly and add a fresh chopped apple to the mixture. 

This birdie slaw can be fed to all birds, from finches and canaries to the large macaws.
A great recipe for adding Vitamin A and calcium to your bird's diet, and a fun favorite.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Safe Tree Branches for your Bird

Now that we have all the spring cleaning out of the way, why not take advantage of adding some natural tree branches to your bird's cage or play area.

Natural tree branches can provide foot exercise, simulate movement, and provide lots of chewing fun.  I leave the bark and even leaves of my weeping willow whenever possible.  The birds love peeling off tender new shoots of green from the branches.  Stripping every inch of bark off is a fun activity especially for my large parrots.

Try to choose branches with no visible wild bird poop or other stuff.  Make sure anything you choose you know for certain has not been sprayed with any kind of pesticide or fertilizer.

Small branches can be washed with soapy water or a mixture of vinegar and water in the shower, tub or a sink, rinsed well, then placed on baking sheet and baked in over at 250 for a couple of hours to kill bugs and germs.

Larger branches can be washed off outside with a hose or power washer, rinsed well, then laid in a safe location in the sun for a day.  The sun is amazing at killing bacteria and mold and can be as effective as bleach without the toxicity.

Branches can be stuck between bars in the cage at any angle that fits.  Birds are not particular that their perches be straight or aligned.  Birds also don't care if the branch is of the appropriate size.  I have watched my hefty male Amazon Ronnie walk along a small branch that actually seemed to give a little under this weight.  He treated it as a vine to maneuver across exercising his toes as he gripped.  I've watched my smaller conures sit atop a large branch as if it were a resting platform for them.

If the branch is large and heavy, you can insert large screws into the ends that will fit between the bars of the cage.  If you are handy with tools or have a helper that is, the ends of the branches can be shaped into slats that will fit better into the cage.  If nothing else, pile some branches securely on top of the cage or play area and watch your bird have fun.

Here is a list of a few tree branches that are considered safe to help you get started.


**Pine is often listed as a safe tree but beware of any sap as that could be a problem for your bird.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Growing Safe Flowers and Herbs for your Bird

People who love birds often love flower gardens also.  Did you know some flowers and most herbs are safe, nutritious, and quite yummy to feed your bird?

To be sure the plants and flowers are edible make sure they are grown without the use of pesticides and other harmful additives.  Even better, you can grow a few for yourself in pots or any garden area.

Although all of the plants and flowers we have listed are considered edible, it's always a good idea to only feed a small portion initially to your bird.  For example, parsley is considered safe and edible, yet I had a budgie named BlueBell who loved it, but it always made her throw up.  No other bird in our home had that reaction.  So although a flower or plant is considered safe, a bird may still have a sensitivity that is not common.

Here is a few healthy, yummy, easy flowers and herbs to start with.  You might find you enjoy them as much as your bird.

Basil is highly fragrant herb with a pungent and peppery taste.  Easy to grow in containers.

Bee Balm tastes like a mixture of peppermint and spearmint with a touch of oregano.  Interesting and quite lovely to grow.  Bees and butterflies love it too.

Borage leaves and flowers smell and taste kind of like cucumber and can be added to salads.  The lovely blue flowers are neat.  Not the prettiest plant, but a good one to 

Chamomile leaves and flowers have an apple or pineapple taste, and are great also in a salad as well as in tea.  The flowers are pretty and daisy-like and make a great addition.  Chamomile is known for its calming influence, and you might notice it helps calm your parrot a little too.

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) have lovely pink pom-pom like flowers and the flowers do have a mild onion flower.  Easy to grow in containers.

Daisies (Bellis perennis) have yellow and white flowers that have a mint or clover flavor and are so pretty growing in the garden.

Although dandelion flowers are considered unwanted weeds by many, they are a super nutritious addition when picked young.  The yellow blossoms have a honey flavor and are very nutritional.  

Fully mature flowers turn white and are bitter and not recommended.

White fragrant gardenias are a great addition to the garden with a delicate taste and a fabulous aroma.  

Tropical Hibiscus flowers are not only beautiful but fun for your bird to eat.  Although the flowers tend to have an acidy taste, most parrots seem to love them.

Honeysuckle flowers are small white or yellow trumpet shaped blossoms and they are sweet and as delicious as they smell.  Lories in particular love these flowers.  

NOTE:  Only the blooms should be fed to your bird, not the leaves and absolutely none of the berries they produce.  

Impatiens (Impatiens wallerana) are found in many colors and the blooms have a mild sweet flavor.  Add them to your salads and drinks too.

Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) has purple flowers that are edible as well as the leaves as well as the milk thistle seeds produced.  

Milk Thistle is known for its benefits to the liver and can be a great healing flower for a bird with liver problems.  The leaves taste similar to spinach, just a little bitter and with an earthy taste.

Nasturtiums (Tropaelum majus) have red, yellow, and orange flowers and both flowers and leaves can be eaten.  They tend to taste a little sweet at first, then the taste blends into a rather hot and peppery radish flavor.  Birds tend to love them.

Pansies (Viola X Wittrockiana) come in many colors such as purples, whites, yellows, blue, etc., and have a sweet yet tart flavor. Although I haven't personally tried one, I'm told the blue flowers have a mild wintergreen flavor.


Petunias (Petunia hybrida) have flowers in many many colors these days.  The flowers have a mild flavor.


Roses (Rosa spp) are some of the tastiest flowers and can have a slightly fruity flavor as well as an awesome fragrance.

Rosemary has tiny flowering blooms and makes a really cool looking container plant.  Rosemary is great to add to many grilled dishes also.

Sage can have lavender blue flower spikes on some varieties.  The flowers definitely have a strong sage flavor.

Sunflowers (Helianthus) have yellow black-eyed centers.  If you let them mature, they will contain those seeds that many parrots just find so yummy. 

Thyme has a slight minty flavor and is often used in many cooking dishes as well.

In Summary:  There are many more plants, herbs, flowers, and such that can be safe for your bird.  Start with a few, then do some research and experiment with flavors and colors, and find what you and your bird enjoy the most.  Just remember to always use caution with new foods to make sure both you and your bird are not sensitive to it.