Thursday, June 29, 2017

Keep your Friends Safe this 4th of July

Upcoming 4th of July Independence Day celebrations can be exciting, fun, and filled with activities.  Don't forget though your feathered and furred friends who may not love all the people and sounds of the celebration.  The pops and bangs of fireworks can be quite unnerving to some of our furred and feathered friends.

The booming sounds of neighborhood fireworks make some of my birds nervous.  The Cockatiels tend to bet a little flighty, and a few tend to get unusually quiet, sitting very still and unsure about all the festivities.  My little rescued Yorkie dog gets nervous and quite yappy at all the loud pops and sizzles and extra family and friends visiting for the holiday.

To ease any anxiety among the birds, I partially or fully cover the cage of any birds that get very upset which tends to make mine feel more protected and they do 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 event a fun celebration for all.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

4 Things You Should Know about Parrots

1.  Parrots bite.  Yes, they can, and yes they often will.  Bites can vary from a little love nip because you were not paying enough attention, to a harder bite that bruises because, well you were still not paying attention to the body language, to the really bad bite that causes bleeding and much pain.  The level 3 bite is almost always from fear or hormonal aggression which is why you must never forget the golden rule of living with a parrot, ALWAYS pay attention to the body language of a parrot.  If you do get a bite, never blame the parrot because you didn't pay attention.

2.  Parrots make noise.   Sometimes quite a lot of it.  It's important to realize "noise" is a personal thing.  Some people find a budgie chattering or a cockatiel whistling quite annoying.  I once had a person tell me their zebra finch was driving them crazy with all the noise it made.  Other people find a conure screaming quite annoying.  Then there is the top of the mountain noise level people who finally break at the cockatoo ear shattering shrill yells, or the megaphone macaw squawks.   Personally, I'm a level 3 person because to me my sun conure screaming is a hum compared to one of my Amazons imitating a cockatoo screaming.  Not even my macaw is that annoying.

3.  Parrots make messes.  Really big messes.  They are very good at it.  It's in their DNA.  Flinging fruit around the rainforest just comes naturally.  Totally destroying that $50 toy in one day, well every parrot needs to keep their beak in shape and sometimes destroy things just because they can.  Even if a bird is born and raised to live with us, that wild bird personality is alive and well.  They just can't help themselves, they must fling food, toys, and whatever else they can grab and fling.  To not be messy would be quite boring for them.   After all, a parrot's natural foraging instinct is a goal of getting to the center of things and not caring where the outer layers end up.

4.  Parrots are picky.  They are picky about what foods they like, what colors they like or hate, picky about what toys they will play with, and definitely picky about what people they like and don't like.  Just because they loved a certain food or toy last week, doesn't mean it's still okay this week.

Patience is your friend when living with a parrot.  They challenge us to help them enjoy a healthy diet, use their awesome intelligence in play and foraging, and encourage trust and love to help avoid the bite.  If you love a parrot, then you are a pretty cool person.  If you are loved by a parrot, then you are a very cool person.