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: