Bird Cage Portal's PET BIRD BUZZ Blog - About Pet Birds and Pet Bird Supplies
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!
For some time now there has been a debate going on about the true meaning behind these three common terms that we hear so often. "I rescued Fido from a pet store" is the general statement that leaves people shrugging their shoulders and asking, "come again"? You hear the terms rescue, adoption, and purchase used almost interchangeably these days. What do they really mean?
Rescue is defined as "to free or deliver from confinement, violence, danger, or evil." The term "rescue" means to save a bird or other animal from dire conditions that were hazardous to the animal and/or life threatening. Case in point: Molly, from Parrot Hope Sanctuary. "Molly is a seven year-old green winged macaw. She was left behind in deplorable conditions, a mobile home that had been repossessed that the owners decided to trash on the way out, as they left their parrot behind. Molly went countless days with absolutely no food and water. Neighbors, who could hear Molly screaming, were unsure what to do to help. Finally, they made contact with Parrot Hope Sanctuary, who worked with local authorities to help rescue Molly. Molly was suffering from starvation and kidney failure due to malnutrition."
Adoption is defined as "To take into one's family through legal means and raise as one's own child." (substitute bird for child). When speaking of adopting a parrot, this normally refers to going through a rescue organization, choosing a bird and following the necessary procedures which would include filling out legal documents transferring the ownership of the bird from the organization to you. Adoption can also refer to the rehoming of a parrot via a private party. Adoptions normally include an adoption fee, which is a small fee that covers any medical treatment the bird has received while in temporary care, or reimbursement for food items and/or enrichment. The adoption fee should never exceed the original cost of the bird as a weaned baby. If one pays the full price for an older parrot, this is to be considered as the re-selling of the animal which is generally frowned upon.
Purchase is referred to when someone pays retail price for an animal from a pet store, or private individual (such as a breeder). When someone comments that they have "rescued" an animal from a pet store -- it normally means what the animal lover community calls a pity buy. A pity buy is when a human sees an animal in conditions they deem as unfit in a retail setting, and to remove the animal from those conditions, they purchase it. There can be legitimate cases of rescue from a store, but normally such actions are classified as adoption or purchase.
So the next time you hear someone say they "adopted Fluffy” ask what that really means. If you are dealing with a behavioral problem, this can be crucial. Adoptions, purchases, and rescues all come from vastly different backgrounds, and pinning down the source of the birds previous living arrangements can help unlock any behavioral (or otherwise) difficulty the owner is encountering. And, as always, educate. Encourage people to use the proper terminology when referring to their animals past history.
I've decided to get a harness for one of my caiques and have been researching the different types available. Having discovered some information, I thought I would share with you as well!
Feather Tether The second most popular harness available, the Feather Tether comes in many colors and sizes. The Feather Tether comes in one piece, but you are required to snap pieces together once on the bird. The disadvantages to this model include:
The harness surrounds the birds crop which can be unsafe
The D-clip used on the harness is a bit heavy and sits on the birds chest where he can easily access it to chew
Bird owners that have purchased the harness talk about it with mixed results. Some say that their bird uses it with no trouble, while others say their birds are afraid of it and they have not been able to use it successfully.
The Aviator Harness
This harness is by far one of the most talked about harness. Manufactured by Steve Hartman, who strongly believes in free flight, this harness was made to accomodate free flighted parrots. The harness is one piece making it easy to put on your bird. Along with the harness comes an instructional DVD, teaching how to properly acclimate your parrot to the harness and how to safely put the harness on. A suprising amount of owners report that they have tried previous versions of harnesses, particularly the Feather Tether, and having had no luck with them found the Aviator readily accepted by their bird. The Aviator harness does not use a snap clip with leash, like the Feather Tether, Bird Diaper, and Ortho Bird Harnesses do. Instead the leash consists of bungeed material so that if a bird were to fall or fly they would not get pulled back and hurt. Another positive note about this harness is that it is not made to sit around the birds crop like other brands are. This is much safer for the bird.
Unlike other smiliar products, this is actually not a harness at all. The Bird Diaper is made to keep your shoulder clean and your bird safe. Bird Diapers come in many different colors and sizes. Most bird owners report more trouble using the Bird Diaper because it is more restrictive then a harness, and some birds do not do well with it. Owners who have Bird Diapers with birds that will accept them say they enjoy Bird Diapers and feel the Diapers are not too restrictive on their birds, but do not use the Diapers for an extended length of time.
Ortho Bird Harness
Harness made by Ortho Bird. This harness resembles another popular harness, the Feather Tether. One noted flaw in the design is that the Ortho Bird harness sits around the birds crop. It appears to have multiple clips, which could pose a problem when trying to put the harness on the bird. Little information is available about the harness, other then from suppliers. The manufacturer's website is down, so no additional information is currently available. Unfortunately I could not tell much about this harness from the photo provided by suppliers, and could find no one that currently uses this harness.
Kaylor Bird Harness
Only available at fredbird.com. Harness comes with woven tie rather then easy disconect clip. Said to have been available for around 15 years. Other than information on the fredbird website, little information was available about this harness. One interesting thing that I was reading in regards to the Kaylor Collar, as it is called, is that the manufacturers of the harness claim it can be left on for days without harming the bird or the birds feathers. I would not personally recommend anyone leaving a harness on their bird for any extended length of time, as there is always danger that the harness could get caught up in something, or rub and irritate skin and feathers. I could tell little about this harness from photos, and found no one currently using this model to interview.
When doing research on these harnesses, I discovered most claimed their harness had been made in conjuction with an avian veterinarian. Unfortunately no information about the vet was available so I was unable to interview the vet to find out more.
All of the above harnesses share two things in common: they are made out of sturdy, brightly colored nylon, and they may not accomodate small birds. The Feather Tether does not fit birds under 100 grams, as does the Ortho Bird Harness. The Kaylor Collar says it fits a bird as small as a cockatiel, but does not give a weight chart to go by. The Aviator Harness accomodates birds from 75 grams and up. Bird Diapers say they accomodate birds ranging from petite to colassal, but I was unable to find a weight chart to compare.
After doing this research, I have decided on an Aviator Harness for my caique. Previously we have tried a Feather Tether and my bird was deathly afraid of it. We got to the point where it could be put on, but he can easily slip out of it, even after I exchanged it for a smaller size. Seeing as how the Aviator compares to others in safety and quality it will be my choice for another harness attempt.
Lately there has been some debate going on whether or not parrots need of grit. This is a common question of concern to bird owners, as well as a source of disagreement. Understanding what grit is, the purpose, and the possible problems that could result from its use, can help you make an educated decision on whether or not to offer it to your bird.
The Purpose of Grit
“Grit is used by birds to aid in digestion of seeds” is a comment heard repeatedly in both outdated parrot care books or other related texts. What this comment fails to convey is that grit is used by birds to aid in the digestion of whole, intact seeds. Birds digestive enzymes work amazingly well in digesting the inner portion of the seeds, but can have difficulty in breaking down the hull (which is the fibrous outer coating). Grit, in the avian ventriculus, aids in grinding and wearing away the outer shell of the seeds enabling the digestive enzymes to reach the nutrients within the inner portion of the seed.
What Exactly Is Grit?
The term grit is often loosely used and not entirely explained. There are two groups of substances that go by the name of grit -- soluble and insoluble. Insoluble grit is the type that is being discussed here. It is composed of minute substances such as sandstone and other minerals often found in dirt and clays. Insoluble grit cannot be digested and will remain in the body until expelled.
Soluble grit is organic and can include crushed shells ... often oyster shells or cuttlebone. Since soluble grit is mostly calcium carbonate it is easily digested by the acids found in the proventriculus and poses little danger of accumulating in the digestive system. However, while soluble grit can offer an alternative source of calcium it does little in actually aiding the digestion of seeds.
Do Birds Really Require Grit?
In the United States, the general consensus seems to be "no". The purpose of grit is to remove the outer coatings of whole seeds, so it seems reasonable to assume that only birds which consume seeds intact, such as doves, require grit in their diet. Birds such as parrots, and even finches and canaries, hull their seeds therefore not needing the extra aid that grit would provide. In fact, some species of parrots have ridges on the inside portion of their upper beak that is believed to aid in the shelling of seeds. The seed is held in place by the ridges, while the lower beak is used to crack and remove the hull. Birds on a pelleted diet should not require grit either. In the US, the use of grit is generally discouraged, especially if offered freely, which may lead to obstructive gastritis. Although in Australia, grit is commonly given to pet birds with few problems being reported. At the time this article was written there is no explanation for these interesting geographical differences.
If given freely some birds may over-consume grit products leading to a possibility of impaction. It is also recommended to check the contents of any commercially-made grit mixtures as some may contain charcoal. Charcoal can affect the absorption of vitamins resulting in deficiencies.
In conclusion, the benefit of grit for parrots and softbills has not been positively demonstrated. Potential risks have been observed, as well as potential health benefits. If offered at all, we recommend offering it in moderation.
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