The Best, Fittest Bird
Dear Parrot Lover,
One of the most integral components of breeding parrots, is understanding the importance of proper avian pediatric examinations. Whether you are a new parrot breeder, or a seasoned aviculturist, you should get into a daily habit of conducting thorough physical examinations for every baby bird that is in your nursery.
Donít feel intimated by this, because doing physical exams is quite easy once you know what to do and it only takes a few short minutes. Doing baby bird exams daily will help you to keep accurate breeding and health records for each baby in your flock. By doing exams every day you will more easily recognize any kind of abnormality or illness and will then be able to take the baby bird to an Avian certified vet for proper treatment. It is especially important to know that the sooner an abnormality in a baby bird is discovered, the quicker it will be for the baby bird to recover.
Each morning, before receiving their feeding and on an empty crop, every baby bird should be weighed. The weight must be measured in grams and recorded. Remember to keep the baby parrot as warm as possible. Neonates that only have a few down feathers are not able to thermos-regulate themselves and they will catch a chill very quickly. Hereís a tip: keep the baby bird on a heating pad during your physical examination.
Take notes regarding the texture and color of the baby birdís skin. Skin that is too pale could be a sign of anemia, polyoma virus or chilling. Study the musculoskeletal system and size of the birdís beak and head in relations to its body. Check for straightness and symmetry and/or healed fractures. Depending on the age and species of the baby bird, its internal organs might be visible through its skin, such as the liver and lungs.
Next examine the baby birdís eyes for any swelling or discharge. Depending on the species of parrot, the eyes will be fully open sometime 10 to 28 days after hatching. Donít forget to examine the ears and nares as well. There should be no discharge at all. The babyís crop should be checked for proper movement and existence of any foreign body. The consistency and volume of any contents within the crop should also be palpated.
Lastly, make sure that the baby parrot has a normal feeding response by carefully stroking its beak. If the baby bird is sick or just cold, it will either have a week feeding response or none at all.
The Best, Fittest Bird
Creating the best nutrition for your bird
We all know the expression you are what you eat. Food is at the heart of nutrition and health for all of us. A bird who doesnít have the proper diet can suffer from illnesses and even have an early death.
The reason most pet birds suffer poor nutrition is a diet based heavily in seeds. Seeds should really only represent a small portion of a birdís diet, maybe about 10%. Half of his diet should consist of nutritionally complete bird pellets, and the remaining portion should be fresh items like fruits and vegetables.
Stress plays a role in disease too
Stress plays a large role in making your bird susceptible to disease. Stress causes the body to release hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, but persistent stress never allows the body to return to normal levels, instead always staying elevated. These hormones, in small doses, have a natural purpose in situations like avoiding a predator, but long-term elevated levels are not good for a bird.
Chronic stress can have a large impact on mental health and can lead to behavioral issues like depression, feather plucking, anxiety, etc. It can also greatly impact your birdís health. Chronic stress is linked to a greater likelihood of disease as well as heart and digestive problems.
How to keep your bird healthy
Dr. Joel Murphy is an avian veterinarian with over 21 years of clinical veterinarian experience from The Animal & Bird Medical Center of Palm Harbor. Heís seen many pet birds with health problems that could have been prevented or reversed with good nutrition and stress avoidance. Now heís sharing this knowledge in his e-book How to Care for Your Pet Bird.
This book is perfect for the new bird owner or even the more experienced one. Youíll find 22 chapters full of information on just about every bird care subject that you could think of such as nutrition, illness, emergencies, general proper bird care, selecting a veterinarian, and more. No more worries about an unhealthy bird!
Regards, Nathalie Roberts