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 Bird Cage Portal's PET BIRD BUZZ Blog - About Pet Birds and Pet Bird Supplies
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A blog dedicated to the companion birds in your life!

Pet Bird BUZZ shares our thoughts and experiences of living with pet birds for over 25 years, along with comments about bird cages, bird supplies and accessories offered at BIRD CAGE PORTAL.  Pet Bird BUZZ is all about having a great relationship with pet birds and providing them with the best envirnoment and a great life!

Monday, December 28 2009

The holiday season is a time for travel and for pet owners that can be especially stressful.  Finding kennels for cats and dogs is relatively easy, but how about one that specializes in birds?  One that will recognize the importance of the seemingly small details that are so critical to good bird care? Thinking about it is enough to make you pull your hair out!  Not to fret, while it can be a seemingly overwhelming burden ... there is hope. There are many options to choose from.  There are several in-house pet sitting services that have avian knowledge.  Also, boarding is available at a facility set up specifically for avians, at your vets, or you can even entrust your bird to a dependable friend while on holiday.

If you are transporting your bird to a boarding facility you be sure you can do so safely with a travel carrier appropriate for your bird.

When hiring a professional pet sitting service to come into your home and care for your animals, consider a few things.

  • Is the business professional and licensed
  • Is the business professional and bonded, and/or insured?
  • What prior experience with avians does the caretaker have?

Getting recommendations from other bird owners is a good way to start the search for a professional sitter. You can also use online resources such as the website for the National Associate of Petsitters located at to find a petsitter in your area that meets your requirements.  Many sitters also arrange a pre-meeting so they can come to your house and meet with you.  That way you can review how they interact with your animals and is highly recommended.  If you hire through an agency, make sure the agency is in good standing with your local and state agencies. Be sure you get a signed contract of services rendered, and that it explains clearly what liability the company/agency will take if unexpected accidents happen in your absence.

For whatever venue you choose to board your bird while you are away, be sure to ask the caretaker of the bird questions such as those listed below to ensure the health and happiness of your pets:

  • What type of training do you have?
  • Do you have previous experience caring for exotics & avians?
  • How many other pet sitting obligations will the sitter have during the period they will have your pet(s) under their care?
  • Can the employee provide references?
  • What precautions will the sitter take to prevent the transmission of diseases?
  • How many times a day will they come to your home, and how much time will they spent at each visit?
  • Will they interact with the bird, clean the cage, etc.
  • What is the cost of each service?
  • Are they willing to cook food for your bird or will all supplies have to be prepared in advance?

You want to also touch base with the employee and find out how knowedgeable they are about your species of bird(s).  If they have general knowledge, it may be a good idea to send home some literature about your birds.  That way you ensure they will will know the differences in species and the particular care each species may require.  A lesson on how to properly handle the bird would be important as well.  Be sure to leave a large flyer in an easy to locate place, i.e. the fridge for instance, detailing the emergency contact numbers, your number, alternate number, and avian vet number in case of emergency.

Good luck in your search for the ideal pet sitter.  While the search may be harder then expected, the reward of leaving with peace of mind that your pet is safe will make your vacation all the better.  Happy travels!

Posted by: Emily AT 01:31 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, December 14 2009

As a bird owner, I’m sure you’ve had someone recommend that you place a cuttlebone in your birds cage. Perhaps you’ve seen it in the store and wondered what exactly is this strange, solid-yet-flaky substance? As far as you may be aware, it’s a good source of calcium.

Cuttlebone is indeed a bone. In fact, it is a hard, brittle internal structure found in cuttlefish (yes, they do exist!) The bone is composed primarily of calcium carbonate. If you have cuttlebone, you’ll notice how light it is and that it seems to have small ‘air holes’. This is because it is a chambered, gas filled shell that the fish uses as buoyancy control. In the past, cuttlebones have been used for numerous things such as: polishing powder, toothpaste, and antacids. Ever heard of sepia ink? That was a bi-product of cuttlefish as well. Like squid they expel a dark, almost black ink when threatened. Artists would gather this ink and use it for their paintings or drawings.

But lets back up for a second. What exactly is a cuttlefish? Is it a fish, a squid, or just a really creepy looking animal that floats aimlessly around the ocean? Cuttlefish are actually not technically fish. They are marine animals in the order of Sepiida, belonging to the Cephalopoda class. This class also includes the cuttlefish’s close cousins, squid, octopuses, and nautiluses. Cuttlefish are said to be more closely related to your common variety garden slug, then an actual fish!

Cuttlefish have an internal shell (the cuttlebone), large pupils, eight arms, and two tentacles furnished with sucker which they secure to their prey. What do they eat you may ask? Cuttlefish prey on mollusks, crabs, shrimp, fish, and even other cuttlefish. Their natural predators include: dolphins, sharks, fish, seals, and other cuttlefish.

Interestingly, there are few cuttlefish species that are actually native to American oceans, most of which are living in the southerwestern Pacific Ocean. It is said that in areas where there are many native cuttlefish species, a person walking the beach can collect cuttlebones that wash ashore.

Cuttlebone - 1 lb. box

Back to the bone

Cuttlebone can be purchased at your local pet store. Different sizes of cuttlebone come from different species of cuttlefish, but no worries they all have the same nutritional value! Cuttlebone is a very common way that pet owners get some calcium into their birds’ regular diet. Perhaps you have seen different colored cuttlebone in the store. Some companies flavor the cuttlebone and dye it hues of oranges, pinks, and greens in an attempt to make it more appealing and tasty. You may see different varieties of cuttlebone as well. Recently I’ve noticed that in addition to the dyed cuttlebone, companies have started incorporating a mineral block into the cuttlebone. I picked up a cuttlebone the other day that had a mineral block outer layer, and a cuttlebone inner layer.

White is the natural color of cuttlebone, and one you most commonly see in bulk bins at your local pet store. Cuttlebone is readily available, I’ve even found cuttlebone at a country feed store. It is easy to come across, and an inexpensive way to introduce calcium into your birds diet. 

Posted by: Emily AT 01:58 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, December 03 2009

During the holidays there are many new and exciting things we use to decorate around the house that can be as dangerous to your avian friend as they are pretty.  We want your holidays to be fun and safe, so we are addressing the common holiday household dangers for 2009.                                                       

Christmas holly

Among the most common decorations for the winter season is mistletoe.  This often seen holiday plant that harbors such a fairy tale legend also has a dark side.  Mistletoe is part of the Viscaceae family, and the form commonly seen in North America is a hybrid plant of both English and European varieties.  Mistletoe is famous for bearing it’s fruit in the winter months making it a popular decoration during the Christmas season.  The red berries that are such a trademark of mistletoe are toxic to our avian friends, as are holly berries.  Another favorite holiday plant, the Poinsetta, can cause GI tract irritation if ingested.

Other holiday decorations such as tinsel, angel hair, and other common Christmas tree adornments are made of plastic.  They should be kept out of reach of your bird(s) at all times, as they are made of plastic and could become impacted in the crop of accidentally ingested.  Your favorite holiday scents can be dangerous to your birds, too.  Burning candles should used with diligence, and birds should always be kept in the cage if a candle is lit.  Candles, which have a bad reputation for lead in the wick are safer now due to new regulations.  More bird owners are beginning to use them again.  If you do use a candle, use one that is made out of a natural material such as soy or beeswax and is not heavily scented.  Remember, our feathered friends have a respiratory system different than ours.  Because of the way the air they breathe travels into their system any scent can be especially irritating.

Remember as you invite guests into your home this holiday season to keep tempting foodstuffs away from your avian companion. Alcoholic beverages, avocado, coffee, and salted foods should not be given to your bird under any circumstances.

Of course, with all these cautions, it doesn’t mean that your feathered friend can’t participate in the festivities of the holiday!  Buying a festive bird safe toy to adorn the cage is a safe and fun way to celebrate and keep your companion happy and entertained.  Many pet owners also have gotten into the spirit by choosing holiday themed toys for their avian companions.  For added fun, wrap the ‘gift’ in a piece of newspaper and place in the bird’s cage. Watch the bird unravel the present with delight!

Posted by: Emily AT 08:16 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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Bird Cage Portal is a great online source for buying quality pet bird supplies, accessories, bird cages and so much more ... at the lowest prices.  It is also offers a guide to learning about good bird care and provides resources to insure the best life for your bird and the most enjoyment for you.


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