Category: Bird (Page 1 of 3)

Keeping Your Bird’s Beak Healthy

Keeping Your Bird's Beak Healthy.

A healthy bird has a healthy beak. And a healthy beak means your bird will use it like we use our hands, as it performs a multitude of vital tasks such grooming, feeding, and defending. Each bird has a beak with a distinct shape and design relating to its lifestyle and the type of food it normally eats.

Here are some signs of a healthy beak:

  • Smooth, symmetrical appearance
  • No peeling or unusual textures
  • No discolored areas
  • Proper beak length
  • The upper should align with the lower beak

Here are a few products that will help keep your bird’s beak in tip top shape:

Cuttlebones
A cuttlebone is not actually a bone, but rather the internal shell of a cuttlefish. It is a great source of calcium which helps strengthen the keratin that makes up your bird’s beak, and its texture is helpful in wearing down overgrown beaks. The cuttlebones come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and flavors. It’s a great idea to keep one in your bird’s cage at all times.

Beak Conditioner
Made of natural lava stone, this block helps birds keep their beaks sharp and trimmed.

Manu Mineral Block
A natural, mineral-rich clay originating from the Manu River deep in the Amazon. This clay contains the nine essential minerals that birds crave, and its rough texture and odd shape also provides great exercise and conditioning of the bird’s beak.

Banana Mineral Treat
A treat and beak conditioner all in one! This banana-flavored treat provides the essential nutrients calcium and iodine, while also trimming and conditioning.

Correcting Bird Biting Behavior

If your pet bird bites you-or someone else-it’s important that you spend time to correct the behavior. A bird’s biting can be playful, their attempt to climb on or to preen you, or just simple baby bird behavior.

Purposeful biting happens for one of two basic reasons, either out of fear or aggression, so the first step in correcting biting is to determine the underlying cause.

Fearful biting

Sometimes, the cause of fear is a rational one-a loud sound like a vacuum cleaner, for example. Other times, the fear appears illogical, but perhaps something happened in your bird’s past to cause the fear. Once you’ve determined the cause, remove it from the bird’s environment, if at all possible. If that’s not an option, try increasing the distance between the cause and the bird. Give the bird treats and positive reinforcement as you gradually move the bird closer (very slowly, over the course of days or weeks). Eventually, the bird will associate the cause of the fear with positive reinforcement, which should reduce its fear.

Aggressive biting

Some underlying causes of aggression include control/territorial dominance, lack of attention or hormonal or medical issues. There are right and wrong ways to correct this behavior-it’s important not to reinforce it. In your relationship with your bird, you should have established yourself as the “head of the flock” and he should already be trained to step up onto your hand on command. Birds react to facial expressions and praise. So if your bird is biting, you should:

  1. Calmly and firmly, but not loudly or dramatically, say “No”
  2. Give your bird a stern look to express that you are not pleased
  3. Then do what is known as “laddering”. This is where you calmly and firmly tell your bird to “step up” onto your finger, and then have them do this over and over (3 or 4 times in a row).

This puts you back in control and reminds your bird that you are in charge. You must be consistent with this technique and if you are, the biting should stop.

It’s just as important to know what NOT to do. Do not:

  • React by yelling. Birds love drama and yelling and think of it as a reward.
  • React with violence, under any circumstances. You will damage their trust in you and therefore your relationship.
  • Attempt to punish the bird by putting it in its cage. They won’t make the connection between biting and being put in his cage.

Pet Bird Happiness

Birds are smart creatures—some species of parrots have been shown to have the emotional complexity of a 5-year-old-child. It’s important to keep these intelligent animals happy and healthy. By knowing the basics of your bird’s needs—just three major elements—it can make it much easier to keep them content and healthy.

Keep them healthy

  • Good nutrition and variety is important to a bird’s diet. Offer seed, pellets, and treats to keep your bird healthy.
  • Daily access to unfiltered sunlight—birds need access to UVA and UVB rays direct sunlight or full-spectrum lighting to synthesize vitamin D necessary for bone health. Window glass blocks necessary UV rays.
  • Grooming—your bird should be given regular opportunities to bathe. A bird bath and even bird bath spray can be found at your local Pet Supermarket.
  • Temperature regulation—protect them from extreme heat or cold.

Appropriate accommodations

  • They need a spacious cage, big enough to accommodate perches, bird toys and several food dishes; as well as allowing for exercise—maybe even short flights from one perch to another. The larger, the better.
  • Make it fun. Include natural perches (set up as they might be in the wild), foraging opportunities, and adequate nature—safe, edible plants and non-toxic wood.
  • Add indoor plants if possible. These increase oxygen flow and help clean the air indoors, and also provide privacy, which can alleviate some behavioral problems, such as feather plucking.

Spreading their wings

  • Social time. By nature, birds are social creatures and enjoy the company of other living beings. If it is an only bird, make sure to spend quality time with your bird. Place multiple perches throughout your house so your bird can “hang out” with you.
  • Daily exercise. Your bird needs out-of-cage time at least once a day to allow for sufficient physical and mental stimulation, preferably including free-flying in a safe, supervised environment.
  • Offer a variety of toys and enrichment activities, or work on teaching your bird a few tricks. This will have the added benefit of strengthening the bond between you and your bird. For maximum benefit, rotate toys periodically.

Protecting Your Bird In Summer Heat: Safety Tips For Monitoring & Regulating Body Temperature

Summer heat safety tips for your pet bird.

Although most types of pet birds are native to tropical habitats, warm summer weather can still be a threat to their health. Birds handle heat better than cats and dogs because their normal body temperature is around 104 degrees Fahrenheit. But because they lack sweat glands, any increase in body temperature can cause heat exhaustion. Heat stress in birds is a serious concern and must be treated immediately. Here are some tips for protecting your bird in the summer heat.

  • Make sure cages are kept away from direct sunlight. Keep in mind that the sun changes direction throughout the day and the cage’s location may need to be altered accordingly.
  • Air conditioning and ceiling fans are useful options for keeping your bird cool. Even if the air being circulated is warm, it will help pull heat from the bird’s body. Be careful not to direct the airflow directly at the bird, however. Gel-based freezer packs in a Ziploc bag can be placed in the cage to help cool down the air.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables will be a welcome addition to your bird’s high-quality seed-based diet. Your bird’s preferences may vary, but fresh apple pieces, parsley, cucumber, and moist lettuce leaves are great options to offer as treats. Food spoils more quickly in the heat, so for this reason make sure to remove any uneaten food after a couple of hours.
  • Make sure there’s an abundant supply of clean, fresh water—for both drinking and bathing—in separate containers. Your bird may also enjoy being spritzed with cool water from a water bottle. Besides cooling them down, it also keeps the feathers in condition, helps grooming and enhances coloration. Just take care not to startle your bird with the misting.

By following these tips, you can ensure your bird stays cool and healthy in the summer heat. However, it’s helpful to be aware of the signs of heat stress. One of the first signs that your bird is not feeling well is the lack of preening or grooming, usually followed by fluffing up in a ball and being very quiet, or sitting at the bottom of its cage. Another signal of heat stress is your bird panting with an open beak and its wings spread away from the body. If you notice any of these signs or your bird’s behavior changes suddenly, contact your vet immediately.

How & Why to Bathe Your Bird

Bathing birds

Unlike most other pets, birds actually enjoy taking baths. Bathing is important for birds, as it not only removes dirt, but also helps to maintain skin moisture and the insulating properties of feathers. While figuring out what works best for your bird can take a little time and effort, it is important to your bird’s health and therefore necessary.

  • There are a few simple rules that apply to bathing for all birds:Use a bird bath spray or plain, clear water—no soaps or shampoos. Birds produce a special oil that they preen their feathers with, and soaps can strip the feathers of this essential oil.
  • Bathe your bird during the warmest part of the day. Wet birds get easily chilled, which is a serious health hazard. Make sure there’s enough time for their feathers to dry before the temperature drops. Some larger birds may allow you to wrap them in a towel to help them dry.
  • Use lukewarm or room temperature water. Water that’s too hot or too cold can shock your bird’s system, not to mention burns or other problems that could arise.
  • Never soak your bird’s feathers. In the wild, a bird would only become saturated with water in extreme circumstances. This can lead to loss of body heat and flight impairment.
  • Never use an electric hair dryer on your bird. It can quickly and seriously burn your bird, and may even emit toxic fumes.

Some birds enjoy bathing every day and others only occasionally. Initially offer the bath once or twice weekly to figure out your bird’s preference. Where to bathe your bird depends on its size. Smaller birds can bathe inside their cages, while larger birds may need to be bathed in the shower, kitchen sink or bathtub, or with a spray bottle or mister.

Do You Know Your Budgie Sounds?

Budgies and their sounds.

Budgies, also known as parakeets, are masters of noises. Having a variety of different vocal ranges and tones, these birds can be very talkative and entertaining! Watch or play with your budgie for any length of time and you may notice how the sounds they make along with their body language can tell you a lot about how they feel.

Body language is important to understand when deciphering budgie sounds. If your bird is standing or sitting still and has a relaxed demeanor about them, they are likely very happy and really enjoying their surroundings! However, if your bird is flapping their wings or pacing they could very likely be stressed or scared. Pay attention closely, and you will notice the sounds they make will vary slightly as well.

Budgie sounds include, but are not limited to: chirps, singing, loud screeching, and even talking. Chirps and singing go hand-in-hand with contentment and some chirps may be longer than others and quiet songs usually mean your Budgie is telling you they are happy and okay. Often times, Budgies will sing songs together as a group to say their flock is happy and healthy!

Budgie sounds are not always positive, and it is important to note the differences. If parakeets are in distress or trouble of any kind they may hiss or make low “screams” that could indicate pain or stress. If you find that your bird is simply stressed, covering their cage with a towel or blanket can help them calm down. However, if you are unsure it is best to take them to the vet for a proper examination.

Items at Home that can Endanger Your Pet Bird

As a responsible pet owner, it’s crucial you know that birds are fragile creatures in a human’s world. They are susceptible to many of the things they can come into contact with in your home.

To ensure your pet bird stays out of harm’s way, read on for some of the dangers that may be lurking.

Poison control
There are a wide range of substances that can be quite harmful to your bird. They include:

  • Insecticides
  • Bleach
  • Ammonia
  • Glue
  • Nail polish remover
  • Perfume
  • Paint
  • Oven cleaner

A bird can become extremely ill or even die by ingesting or inhaling these toxic substances. Keep your pet bird away from them by storing these items properly and by exercising caution while using any chemicals.

Standing water
Of course, your pet bird needs water, like all other living things; however, standing water can be dangerously attractive. Birds are inquisitive creatures and like to explore. If your bird has access to standing water, it’s a sure bet he is going to investigate, which can lead to him falling in and drowning.

To prevent accidental drowning, make sure all standing water is properly secured. Close your toilet seat lids and make sure sinks and other basins aren’t left unsupervised when they’re filled with water.

Non-stick coatings
You may love cooking on pans that have a non-stick coating, but, believe it or not, this coating can be extremely toxic for birds. If you overheat this cookware, the coating can emit toxic fumes, which could cause death for your bird.

Cookware isn’t the only thing that contains this substance; waffle irons, curling irons, clothing irons and blow dryers are also sprayed with this coating. Be cautious when using them and don’t allow them to overheat.

Electrical cords
Birds often use their beaks to explore, but this can pose certain risks at home. Electrical cords can be very dangerous if your bird or parrot nibbles on a wire. Keep cords away from his cage and conceal or cover them with corrugated plastic tubing to prevent electrocution.

8 Facts You May Not Know About Parrots

Parrots are intelligent birds that offer great companionship. If you’re a proud parrot parent (or are thinking of becoming one), you might not be aware of these interesting facts:

  1. Parrots have their own body language
    They use their body to communicate what they are feeling, but because they have feathers and beaks and not nails and teeth, it may be difficult for a human to understand that body language. Take the time to get to know your parrot so you can pick up on the obvious cues he will give when he is scared, nervous or angry.
  2. Parrots aren’t domesticated
    Domestic animals have been bred to have specific features and character traits. Parrots have not been domesticated, however, which means that they’re just as they appear in the wild.
  3. Parrots are different species, not breeds
    While beagles or bulldogs are different breeds, they’re both members of the same dog species. Parrots, however, are different species. A blue and gold Macaw, for example, is a different species than an African grey parrot, which is why we can’t generalize about the needs of parrots overall.
  4. They need complex nutrition
    Keep in mind that parrots have a large, complex diet consisting of various types of nuts, fruits, foliage, soil, clay and even grubs.
  5. They’re intelligent
    Because they’re so intelligent, they require activity. Provide them with toys, take them out of their cages and let them engage with you and others.
  6. They have delicate bodies
    Parrots have very delicate bodies and respiratory systems, which make them susceptible to complicated diseases. As such, they require special veterinary care and special care at home.
  7. Parrots can be trained
    Want to communicate with your parrot? You’ll need to train him. He’s intelligent enough to learn tricks, talk or respond to cues. Reward good behavior to let him know what is expected.
  8. They live long lives
    Parrots have a long life expectancy, so make sure you’re ready for a long-term commitment. He will likely be with you for the major milestones in your life and then some.

Above all, parrots are fun and they make wonderful pets.

Teaching Your Pet Bird to Talk

Do you talk to your pets? If you have a pet bird, don’t be surprised if he learns to talk back. To encourage these bird chats, train your pet with these steps…

Make it fun and interesting
Birds respond to enthusiasm, so make it sound like a game and speak loudly and enthusiastically – as if you’re speaking to a child. Repeat the word in different tones of voice several times a day.

What to teach?
Your pet may respond more easily to names of foods he likes. Teach him “apple” or “nut” for example and reward him with it when he says the word. You can also tie words to actions. Say “hello” when you arrive home, “goodbye” when you leave or “goodnight” when you cover his cage. If you’re consistent, your pet may repeat these words back to you.

Reinforce and reward
If your little guy is close to saying the word, reinforce it with vocal approval (“Good” or “Good boy!”) and reward him right away. Keep in mind that while many birds are motivated by food as a reward, some are motivated by attention, such as head scratches, etc.

When is he talking?
Your pet’s first words probably won’t be very clear and will likely sound like muttering or whistling with speech-like intonation. That’s OK. Encourage his progress by getting excited and saying the word back to him.

Is your bird likely to talk?
With some species (like parakeets or cockatiels), a male is more likely to talk, although a female might still understand what you say. Species that are known to talk include African grey parrots, blue-fronted Amazon parrots, yellow-naped Amazon parrots, double yellow-headed Amazon parrots, Eclectus parrots, Quaker parrots, Indian ring-necked parakeets, cockatiels, conures and budgies or parakeets.

How to Know When You Need a New Bird Cage

How to tell when you need a new bird cage

Does Polly need a new home? You know she needs a new bird cage when…

  • There’s not as much room as you thought
    Anyone can make a mistake. Not getting a large enough cage is a serious one as it can affect your bird’s comfort, movement, safety and even behavior. For these reasons, it’s best to buy the largest cage you can afford.
  • The cage door is broken or has been “fixed”
    Did the door hinge break? It happens and you may be tempted to fix it with twist ties, binders or clips. But consider how this compromises the cage’s safety. Your bird may see the item as her new chew toy or may get her wing or foot caught in the extra space that’s now available.
  • The debris guard is cracked or missing
    If the plastic tray at the bottom of the cage gets chipped or cracked, we advise against taping it or using a sheet of cardboard. Your bird’s curiosity or love of chewing (or both) will drive her to investigate this new material, which can be harmful if ingested. Any sharp edges that get exposed through the tape can also be a hazard.
  • Cage bars are bent or pinched
    The bar strength of your cage may not hold up to your bird’s beak, especially if it’s a cage meant for a smaller species than it’s currently housing. Once you notice bent bars, keep an eye out and consider getting a new cage. If your bird is strong, it’s only a matter of time before she pinches often enough to break a bar, leaving a sharp point that can cause serious injury.
  • The paint is chipped or rusted
    Are the cage bars painted or coated? If Polly grabs the bars with her beak to move around the cage, you’ll eventually notice scratches in the paint. They may get rusted as well. Chipped paint or rust flakes can be ingested and harm your bird.

Your bird’s cage is one of the most crucial purchases you can make for your pet. It will serve as her home for many years, so make sure it offers enough protection to keep her safe and healthy. If you need a new cage, visit your nearest Pet Supermarket for a broad selection.

How to Create a Safe Indoor Flying Environment for Your Bird

Creating a safe flying environment for your bird

Does your bird get free-flight time inside your home? Here are a few precautions to make the experience a safe one.

Limit access to water
To prevent your bird from trying to drink or bathe in open water, keep the toilet covered and cover any pots of water in the kitchen. Since small birds can also get trapped in tall glasses of water, watch what you’re drinking and be mindful of any flower vases.

Make sure plants are bird friendly
Does your bird like to nibble on plants? Make sure it’s not harmful by checking this list of toxic plants.

Windows and mirrors are a hazard
Windows will attract your bird to the outdoors. Keep windows and large mirrors closed or covered so she doesn’t fly out or fly into them.

Ceiling fans should be turned off
It may be obvious, but it is easy to overlook. Make sure your ceiling fan is turned off to keep it from striking your bird.

Keep an eye on Tweety
If your bird likes to follow you, take careful note of where your bird is before sitting down, walking through a room or closing a door behind you.

Hang safe perches in the room
Encourage your bird to fly to perches or safe areas you’ve created in your home. This will keep her safe and entertained, especially if you add food cups, toys or mirrors to these areas.

Get the whole family involved in keeping Tweety safe at home and visit PetSupermarket.com for your bird care needs.

What to Do When Your Bird Doesn’t Want to Return to His Cage

How to get your bird to return to his cage.

Birds enjoy being out of their cages for playtime, exploration and freedom. But your bird may like it so much he resists when it’s time to return to his cage. If this sounds like your bird, here are a few tips.

  • Overall, make sure your bird sees his cage as a fun and safe place to be. Make sure he has plenty of space, food and fresh water. Don’t forget to rotate a variety of toys and activities for him as well. This will give him a new toy to play with when he returns to his cage.
  • Train him to understand that the fun isn’t necessarily over when he goes back to his cage. Have him step into the cage and come back out right after. Reinforce this at different times and give him a reward or treat.
  • Do you automatically leave the room after he returns to his cage? One reason for his resistance may be that he doesn’t want to lose your company. After placing him in the cage, spend a few moments giving him attention. Do this a few times to reinforce the fact that cage time doesn’t mean alone time.
  • Lure him with a favorite treat in his cage. You might find he’ll return home on his own.

It may take a while to change your bird’s behavior, but if you keep at it he’ll learn that the fun can continue in his cage. Get started with bird treats that are sure to lure him home!

How to Cut Stress for Feather-Picking Birds

How to Cut Stress for Feather-Picking Birds

Did you know feather plucking is one of the leading causes of vet visits for pet birds? Birds like to clean themselves just like other animals, but their behavior can become obsessive due to stress or their environment. Read on if your bird is taking his feather picking too far.

What causes feather picking?

Feather picking can be the result of a medical condition or stress. Your first step should be to check with your vet to rule out any medical issues that may be causing or contributing to the problem. If it’s not caused by a medical condition, it may be due to stress or an environmental issue.

To help your bird, offer the following:

  • Varied Diet – Do you vary your bird’s diet? Is it nutritionally sufficient? Offering a varied diet not only helps your bird avoid boredom, it also fills his dietary needs. In addition to seed, offer pellet food, fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • Stress-Free Environment – Is your bird’s cage in a noisy area? Move it to a less stressful room for some quiet time, especially if your bird’s not getting enough sleep. (Parrots need 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep.) Not keeping your bird’s cage clean can also cause stress. If the cage spends more time dirty than clean, you may want to step up your cage cleaning schedule.
  • Mental Stimulation – Birds can be very intelligent and social. Think of them as small children who get bored quickly. For mental stimulation, get your bird a variety of toys and rotate them every one or two weeks. Focus on activity toys like swings and ladders, puzzle toys with food, and toys that can be torn up. These will keep your bird stimulated and also allow him to work off any frustration!

Start these good habits early to avoid feather plucking and help your bird live a long, healthy life. For questions or recommendations on bird food or bird supplies, visit Pet Supermarket.

Pet Bird Basics for First Timers

Bird Keeping Basics for Beginners

Their vibrant hues and chirping melodies make birds beautiful pets. But they’re also delicate creatures that need special care. Here are a few tips if you’re considering buying a bird or have just bought one for the first time…

  • Birds might be low maintenance compared to cats or dogs, but they need a longer term commitment and a few special accommodations in your home.
  • You’ll have to give up your non-stick pans, air fresheners, candles and cigarettes. Birds have very delicate respiratory systems and can be harmed by fumes and chemicals from these items.
  • Stay on top of your bird’s health needs. Birds don’t show signs of being sick until very late, so it’s best to focus on preventive health, including a good diet and a clean environment.
  • Feed your bird a diet that includes a nutritious bird food and species appropriate fresh foods as well.
  • Rise and shine! Birds arise with the sun so be prepared to rise early to their chirping.
  • Clean and refresh your bird’s cage, food and water bowls every day.
  • Commit some time to taming your bird and interacting with it. You’ll be rewarded and will enjoy the fruits of your labor for many years!

How Birds Serve as Your Lifelong Feathered Friends

Lifelong feathered friends

Only a few pets can serve as lifelong companions. With lifespans ranging from 5 to 100 years, many birds are among them. A bird’s lifespan depends on its care and health, but some have been known to live 40 to 60 years or more in captivity. Keep reading for a guide to common pet birds and their lifespans.

Finches and Canaries
These popular birds can live 10 years or longer with a proper diet.

Parakeets
Parakeets are small, hardy birds that can live 8 to 15 years with good care.

Lovebirds
Among the smallest parrot species, lovebirds have a life expectancy of 15 years, with some living 20 or more.

Cockatiels
Whistling and singing cockatiels often live 15 to 20 years or longer.

Cockatoos
A cockatoo’s lifespan averages 40 to 60 years, although there have been some that lived as long as 120 years.

African Grey Parrots
A medium-sized parrot with high intelligence, African greys have been known to live 40 to 60 years in captivity.

Macaws
Large macaw parrots can live 30 to 50 years or more. The smaller varieties have a shorter lifespan, often 30 years.

By knowing more about pet birds and their lifespans, you can choose one that fits your lifestyle and expectations. A large parrot, for example, might be a feathered friend for your lifetime!

Take great care of your pet bird with bird food, cages and toys from Pet Supermarket.

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