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 Bird Cage Portal's PET BIRD BUZZ Blog - All Things Considered 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!

 
Wednesday, February 24 2010

Rescue VS Purchase VS Adoption

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.

Posted by: Emily AT 03:31 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, January 17 2010

Debunking of the article "Bird Marts - The single greatest threat to avian health"

There has been an article circulating the internet for some time now, which essentially bashes what is very commonplace in the bird world ... bird marts. This article makes very dangerous claims that have raised the hackles of many avian enthusiasts today. The subjects swabbed eight different events across the country for disease at such bird events. The author claims that the goal of the testing "was to be able to demonstrate these problems exist universally throughout the US" and lists the results of the events. All records listed claim that the events tested yielded positive results for two or more major diseases. The article then goes on to continually bash anyone who participates in such events.  Even going so far to conclude that "The potential for generating and spreading fatal avian diseases is unsurpassed anywhere in the world as it is at 'bird mart' type events. We have not found a single 'bird event' free of these diseases.... it is unconscionable to believe that ...

  • anyone who cares for birds would hold any event where young birds are present for display or sale 
  • anyone would attend any event to purchase items for birds
  • any person would ever attend any event with such a high degree of fatal organisms waiting to be transmitted to healthy birds
  • anyone would support or recommend any such event."

Such bold, brash statements leave me reeling every time I read this article ... and I have gone over it many times! In all fairness to such "'bird events" let’s discuss the many aspects not included in the article, and why such statements should be made with caution.

Issue #1 - "These events have risen to become the single greatest threat to bird health we have ever encountered."

The above statement is bold one. It’s enough to strike fear into any bird owners heart. The last thing we wish to do is track home communicable diseases that could make our birds sick, and potentially transmit to our entire flock. What this statement does not include is several key elements. Who backs this statement that marts are the single greatest threat we have ever encountered? Are there statistics to back up this so called data? How many birds a year are victim of disease brought home from a mart? Why target just marts? Bird marts are not the only places where people can go and interact with birds, food, and supplies in an open area. Bird stores that have live stock are the same, and there are even tourist attractions that mimic the atmosphere of a mart or show. In Miami, Florida, Parrot Jungle comes to mind. One can pay an admission fee (like a mart), walk through the many rows of birds that are out on stands and in habitats (like a mart). You can interact with some of the birds by feeding them, holding them, or even taking a picture with them (like a mart). Parrot Mountain in Tennessee is the same way. So why single out marts? There are many other venues that have the possibility to be just as dangerous, if not more.

Issue #2 - The tests and subsequent results

The article makes the bold claim that "our goal was to be able to demonstrate these problems exist universally”, and presents the results in a tabled fashion. Unfortunately, there are so many holes in the information presented its next to impossible to be able to grasp the entire picture. The article claims that eight events were tested, and swabbed for the following diseases: PBFD, Polyoma, and Chlamydia. In each event, two out of 3 diseases yielded positive results. What the article fails to say is how exactly the areas were tested. Was each area tested multiple times, in case of a false positive? Exact dates and locations are not listed, only month and year. The testing started in 1998, and ended in 2000, according to the so called study. Did the testing method vary at all? Were multiple swabs taken and tested by a panel of certified avian veterinarians, to ensure that a full spectrum study was carried out?

Unfortunately, so much as the text of the article reveals, none of the above questions can be answered. One question that lingers in my mind is if there was such a high case of disease, were the venues notified so they could be properly disinfected? Interestingly, some of the test results report positives from a "reptile exhibitor". Seeing as how reptiles are not birds, and therefore have different diseases that live on them (case in point, salmonella and turtles,) are those results an accurate reflection of true avian diseases? Another burning question I have is where these tests were taken specifically. The claim to "demonstrate these problems exist universally" cannot be supported. Eight tests in eight locations is a small number in comparison to the number of events and locations that take place each year. Because no information was given as to where the tests were conducted, it can only leave us to wonder if all these events happened in the same state or within the same area. If this is true, then the results yielded would be inconclusive as it would be a contained breakout and not one that people nationally must be concerned about.

Issue #3 - The time period

Whenever someone brings this article to my attention (as it is on a semi regular basis ... such is the internet age), the first thing I question is if this information is even relevant anymore. Why do I wonder this? Because all of this information was collected and presented eight years ago. While eight years doesn't appear to be a long time in the past, with the rapid way we are embracing technology to learn more about our avian friends, eight years can be a lifetime. Eight years ago, we knew a lot less about food, diet, nutrition, Vitamin D synthesis, and viruses (just to name a few) then we do today. In this day and age we are armed with information that can overrule previously believed and carried out bird keeping practices. In eight years, great strides have been made with diseases such as Polyoma, PDD, and Aspergilliousis. Case in point is the statement made by the article author "Some exhibitors proudly display signs stating that their birds are protected by a Polyoma vaccine. Whether or not the vaccine offers any protection from Polyoma is still up for debate...". Such a statement is a true sign of the times. Nowadays, it is the norm to vaccinate all chicks for polyoma, and species such as caiques that are more susceptible to the diseases are required to have the vaccination because it is proven to be effective.

Issue #4 - Incomplete study

The statement that winds up the article is one that boldly proclaims "We have not found a single bird event free of these diseases!"  Again, I must reiterate. Only eight events were tested. The testing stopped in the year 2000 and only spanned a period of study lasting two years. How many events occurred during and since the period of testing? One can only guess. I have attended several bird events including actual bird shows, marts (with vendors), and roundtables. Many event curators now are starting to understand the worry of disease, and taking many precautions to prevent the spread of pathogens. The last mart I attended personally, all birds that were in the area had been tested only days before by a certified avian veterinarian, and were given a clean bills of health. Birds that did not vet check well were not allowed on the premises. While this is not the case for every event I have attended, it is certainly becoming more the norm.

Be Smart

Don't let such articles keep you at home, worrying about potential diseases you could bring back to your pet bird. Anytime you enter into a store that carries live stock, go to a friend’s house that has birds, or even attend a bird club meeting, you are entering into a scenario where there would be disease. That doesn't mean you can't take proper precautions. Whenever entering into an event taking the following precautions will help keep your household happy and healthy.

  • Don't buy supplies that are unwrapped or cannot be disinfected (e.g. leather products, edible products) from any source that contains livestock. This goes for stores, educational venues, and marts/shows/etc. Always buy items that are sealed, and/or can be easily disinfected. 
  • If you interact with other animals, be sure to sanitize properly before going and interacting with your animals at home. If going out to an event, wear clothes that you can easily change out of upon arriving home. Wash your hands thoroughly before touching your birds.
  • Wear an old pair of shoes. It’s been suggested that a number of pathogens are tracked in on the bottom of shoes. Wear an old pair of shoes to any such event, and remove them before walking into your house.
  • Play it safe. If you are at an event, ask to see the health certificate of the birds you interact with. Perhaps inquire if there was any required testing for the birds that are on display. When were they tested, and what were they tested for?
  • Avoid bulk bins

Bird marts, fairs, and other venues can be very educational experiences for bird owners.  Taking the proper precautions can help make these events a fun and stress-free time.

 

 

 

Posted by: Emily AT 11:43 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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 www.petsitters.org 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
Thursday, June 12 2008

BirdCagePortal.com logo

Not too long ago … actually in late 2006, I decided to create my second bird related website which is ultimately the reason this new blog exists.  But perhaps I should digress slightly and explain that my first website revolved around my interest in bird watching and especially backyard bird feeding.  I enjoyed the experience of creating Birdwatchin’.com so much that I knew developing a site devoted to pet birds would be the next logical step.  After all, I’ve been a devoted pet bird owner for over 23 years!  I might even confess my involvement with them is my life’s passion.

As I said, in 2006 I began creating BirdCagePortal.com, a site devoted to helping bird lovers provide the best lifestyle and environment for their pets.  As a natural progression this blog has come to life to talk more about the various products, bird supplies, and basic care information that pet bird owners will discover at BirdCagePortal.com.  Knowing myself as I do, it is a sure bet that I’ll be chatting about my life with pet birds, too.

So here I am making my first post to this new blog, a project that along with the others, will fill my remaining years with more to do than I ever imagined.  Weblogs, by their very nature, are never finished and it will definitely be that way for me.

So let me welcome you to the BirdCagePortal Blog and extend an invitation to revisit to see what’s coming up.  Your comments are welcome so please share your thoughts and any info that you’d like other bird lovers to know.  An educated owner is empowered to provide the best care for their bird.  It is the goal of this blog to help us all improve the quality of life for our pets.  After all, that’s what we all want for these amazing and dearly loved creatures, isn’t it?

Posted by: Shari AT 11:44 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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