Bird Cage Portal's PET BIRD BUZZ Blog - All Things Considered 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!
I opened my email box this morning to the best news! It was from one of BirdCagePortal's favorite manufacturers. These folks aren't only great people in general ... but happen to build beautiful, superior quality aviary environments to the online shopper. These great habitats are available in a couple of styles ... that is, an indoor walk-in model and and an outdoor walk-in model. And better yet, they come in a variety of powder-coat wire strengths and dimensions that provide a good choice that is suitable for just about any bird(s). Not only are do the aviaries provide an excellent basic aviary choice for the discerning bird owner, but safety areas and rotating feeder stations are among the options to provide security for your bird and convenience for you. Along with those benefits these aviaries come with a wide choice of roof colors combined with black powder-coated wire, so they will enhance any setting.
Several months ago BirdCagePortal.com was given the opportunity to provide these environments at a lower cost. That was such welcome news! But now, with today's announcement, the manufacturer is now able to also provide these wonderful indoor/outddoor aviaries with FREE SHIPPING to any location in the continental USA. Don't miss this great opportunity to house your bird in a larger environment ... either indoors or outdoors. Even if your bird has an ideal indoor cage consider offering it an opportunity to enjoy the outdoor fresh air, sunshine, sights and sounds on those beautiful, warm days during the year.
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 2010.
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 if 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 friends can’t participate in the festivities of the holiday! Buying a festivebird safe toy to adorn the cage is a safe and fun way to celebrate and keep your companion happy and entertained. Holiday-themed toys are especially fun! Many pet owners also have gotten into the spirit of gift giving with their 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!
Be sure to keep your animals cool during the brutal days of summer. Hot summer days are hard for both humans and animals. Air conditioned environments help tremendously, of course. But what can you do to help alleviate the danger of hot temperatures if your air conditioning fails or if you can’t provide cool temperatures for your birds and other critters?
For your indoor birds, you have a few options:
Ice cubes in the water. Quick easy way to give your bird access to something cool.
Feed some frozen veggies. You can run a bag of organic frozen veggies under hot water for a minutes or less to slightly thaw and then place in your bird’s cage. A great treat, easy to make, and will help beat the heat.
Save your empty 2-liter pop bottles. Fill with water and store in the freezer. If you need heat relief in a pinch, put the bottles in front of a fan. The fan will blow cold air off the bottle and help cool the area down.
Spray your bird with cool water. Tried and true method and quick fix for a hot day.
For birds located outside in aviaries or cages:
Make sure the birds have protection from the direct sun. Fixing a tarp over the top of the cage/aviary will help warn off direct rays.
Make sure the birds have plenty of access to water, and add some ice cubes throughout the day to keep the water temperature as cool as possible.
If your bird is in an outdoor cage try to keep the cage off concrete. Concrete reflects heat back and can really contribute to the heat factor in an immediate area.
Use common sense … and monitor your birds during the day to be sure they are not over-heated and suffering undue stress.
Never attempt to apply sun block to your bird. If you are worried about how your bird takes the heat don’t push the limits. Birds can adapt to heat better than they can handle cold, but heat can still kill. If your heat wave is extreme and you are without a way of cooling your house or outside environment, considertaking your birds on a trip to a friend’s house, perhaps a local pet store, or someplace that you and your pets can safely escape the hot temperature.
Do you take care of other people's birds? Drawing from your own experience as a bird owner, birdsitting can be a great opportunity to interact with other bird species. I have a short list of tips and tricks to help your bird sitting be stress free and successful.
Interview the bird owner. Interact with the bird you will be taking care of and offer references to the owner from previous bird experiences. A good owner will always request references and recommendations from former clients.
Ask about the routine of the bird you will be caring for? What is his normal diet? What foods does he especially like? What snacks and treats are available? Are there any additional supplies you may need, and are they readily available? Does the bird have special needs or health concerns?
Getthe vet's name, number, address, and a signed note of permission to treat the bird in case something is to go awry. You also want to get a signed consent form saying that the owner will pay any medical costs related to the bird should the need arise to seek medical attention during the owners absence.
Get the owner's trip itinerary so you know when they are leaving and expected back in order to properly schedule your time.
Get the owner's emergency contact numbers such as a family member or friend, in case you need to contact someone when the owner is not available.
Obtain a signed note of permission to enter the house of the bird owner. Request a phone number where the owner can be reached, in addition to the house phone. Ensure that a key is available, and if needed, that you have the code to the security alarm.
The above details will help insure your time spent bird sitting is stress free and successful experience for you. It is often hard to find a bird sitter that is well versed in bird care, so if you do the job right you may expect another opportunity to bird sit in the future! Bird owners will value your commitment and attention to detail as you care for their beloved animals.
This article is near and dear to my heart, and I suspect after reading it you will agree this is a pet peeve that has been silently ripping your soul, too. How many of us have had birds for a couple of years now? How many of us are new bird owners? Whatever category you fall into, I’m sure that you have noticed by now how birds are changing, or have changed your life. The fact that your once immaculate carpet now crunches underfoot from strewn bird food from your feathered companion is a testament to the fact that you have, indeed, gone bird crazy.
People that aren’t "bird people" just don’t get it. To outsiders, birds are just animals that scream, fling food, poop, and generally create a bad headache and mess. I’m sure we have all experienced that blank look that you get when you proudly announced you just brought your latest little bundle of feathered joy home. That kind of "what on earth did you do?" look of befuddlement and amazement. Oh yes, you know the look I am talking about. I’m sure the look was followed up with the question of "why"? Or, if you have particularly nice friends, a more "oh, that’s nice" type of response may have followed.
Now, inevitably, you’ve introduced your friends to your new roommate, right? Maybe you did it in a nice beat around the bush "do you want to have dinner at my place" type deal. You proudly introduce parrot to human, and vice versa. You point out the cleanliness of the brand new cage (although we all know that won’t last long), and how smart your bird is for waving on command. Then, IT happens. Oh, you know what I am talking about. This is the part where your friend, caught in cute little animal mode, crouches in front of the cage and starts muttering those cringe inducing words. “Does Polly want a cracker"? "Is Polly a good birdie?" "Can you say Pretty Birdie? Polly want a cracker?”
Of course, your new avian companion is too intelligent to stoop to such level to reply to such questioning, and continues to sit on the perch ... mute and unmoving. Your friend turns to you and shrugs, and then asks that one question that every bird owner knows comes next ... “Does it talk?” You may sigh, shrug, and fruitlessly try to explain that yes, the pretty bird (whose name is not Polly) does indeed talk, but has a funky voice that can be hard to understand. No, the bird will not talk on demand. If you want to see a bird talk on command, go to Youtube. Otherwise, just please appreciate the bird for what it is and let’s get back to dinner.
If my birds could verbalize like humans, I am sure one of the first things they would ask is “why does everyone refer to me as Polly?” I’ve been half tempted to teach them to say “no cracker, thanks” just to see the reaction of the person posing such a question. I don’t know where that whole phrase started, but as a bird owner it sure grates on my nerves. It’s right up there with the whole trying to explain the "parrot thing" to people. You know the conversation, it normally goes something like:
“You have birds?”
“Yes, I have (insert amount of birds here)”
“WOW that’s cool! What kind is it?”
“Is that a type of parrot?”
“Yes”. (By now, the person is looking somewhat pleased with themselves that they identified a real live parrot).
“What kind of parrot?”
“An.. amazon?” (haven’t we been here before?)
“I mean, what color?”
“Green and blue.”
“Oh- so it’s a PIRATE parrot!”
“*sigh* no, not exactly. Those are macaws and they have long tails….” (watch as the person slowly loses interest in the conversation)
“So it’s not a pirate parrot? What about those margarita parrots, are those macaws too?”
“Yes, those are macaws too.”
“Oh. I really like those birds.”
Of course, you know how the conversation continues from there. Further segways into the so-called "pirate parrots", what pirate owned what parrot, why an amazon isn’t the same thing as a macaw, and doesn’t whatsthatbrand (you know, the one that uses a macaw in their advertising) make a good vodka.
Perhaps nothing irks me more as a bird owner then my intelligent animal being dummied down to a simple dog-like species that will do tricks for a cracker. (I mean, of course, my caiques just might jump through hoops for a cracker, but that’s not the point). Perhaps it’s the tone of voice used when people start melting into that "polly want a cracker" ooze of utter stupidity. Like they have such low expectations for the animal, because it’s just a bird. Lets reiterate the point: it’s a bird. Parrots are one of the most intelligent creatures we keep as pets today. Their capacity for understanding and learning is right up there with dolphins and other highly intelligent and respected animals. If Polly could talk back, Polly would tell you that a) his name is not Polly and b) he doesn’t want a cracker, he wants a foot massage and a glass of your finest sparkling water.
Or not. But hey, Polly isn’t the one doing the talking, is he?
Do you fear the arrival of Spring? For bird owners it can be a challenging time as some of our beloved feathered companions can turned into hormonal monsters. In this case Spring doesn't invoke thoughts of fresh flowers, new life, blue skies, and fickle weather. Instead, we cower in terror at the thought of Spring ... rather thinking of band-aids, gauze, ice packs, oozing wounds, and vicious beaks. Generally speaking, springtime is hormonal time for birds that have reached a sexually mature age. This is also referred to as nesting behavior and is a normal pattern of behavior for our avian companions. This pattern of behavior (while ranging from annoying to downright frightening) can be dealt with in a loving manner. By taking the right precautions you may even be able to minimize the effects of some hormonal behavior.
Signs to look for when dealing with a hormonal parrot include:
Excessive "love" regurgitation. Make sure you are aware of the differences between sick bird regurgitation and hormonal regurgitation.
Nest making. Some birds will use anything they can get their beaks on to form a nest. Be aware of such behavior and remove any possible material that may be percieved as a good nesting item from the bird's environment.
Masturbation. This one is pretty self explanatory.
Feather picking. Yes, it can be a hormonal thing. This most commonly occurs in female birds. Females will pick what is known as a "brood patch" on their chest. If they were to nest the patch of skin would have direct contact with the eggs which would heat them more effectively.
... and the list goes on.
What can you do to dampen hormonal behaviors or just make living with your parrot a bit more bearable during these trying times? Several factors should be considered in determining whether or not your birds new behaviors are hormone related. Many things can affect your bird, such as duration of light exposure, types of toys offered,and foods provided to your avian friends can impact their behavior. Some things may even be encouraging hormonal behavior. Typically, light is one of the first environmental factors we take into consideration. As the Spring days lengthen your birds schedule is thrown out of whack. Longer days tells your bird that now is the time for their body to start acting in a certain way that will eventually lead to the laying of eggs. Is your bird exposed to 10 or more hours of light a day? How many hours a day does your bird sleep? Increasing the amount of sleeping time during the spring months and regulating the amount of light your bird gets can help lessen certain hormonal behaviors. Light can be adjusted somewhat by not exposing your bird to light too late in the evening. Shorten their day so they receive about 10 hours of light. One way to help accomplish that is to use a cage cover which are made to completely cover the cage. Using a cover along with turning lights out at the appropriate time should help reduce the hormonal surges.
As I said earlier, make sure your bird does not have anything in its environment that can be percieved as nesting material. For some birds, this can be a cardboard box or perhaps even the paper used in the bottom on the cage. Birds will sometimes try to hide under paper, thus concealing themselves such as being in a nestbox would accomplish. If you find this to be an issue (and a cage grate is not available) you might consider using a single piece of cage liner such as Cage Catchers (replacing it daily), as this thinner paper (with one waxed side for moisture control) may be more difficult for the bird to hide under than newspaper. For other birds, shredding paper is an activity that stimulates hormonal reaction. In this case, it may be best to keep a cage grate in place to prevent access to the paper. Of course, otherwise wonderful cage accessories like Snugglies, Tents and Hideaways provide an inviting place for a bird interested in reproducing. So removing these accessories from hormonal birds is a good idea. Taking steps like these mentioned may reduce nesting urges.
Can food impact your birds behaviors? You bet it can! Certain seasonal foods can encourage behaviors. Take sprouts for example. While they are chock full of nutrition, they are also a Spring item that can stir hormones. Why? Sprouts occur when seeds are fresh, have access to enough moisture, air, and sun that they can sprout. This occurs in Spring when trees are budding. Other foods that can encourage hormones are:
Seed mixtures that contain hemp.
Excessive amounts of warm, cooked foodstuffs.
Increased amount of carbohydrates.
Taking the right precautions can help prevent the full onslaught of hormonal behaviors.... and hopefully reduce a need to increase your stock of band-aids!
We, as bird owners, are always in need of those 'last minute' supplies for our feathered friends. Not all shops cater to the needs of avians, however, and when we do find the occasional store that advertises as being "for the birds" we sometimes find that the shop is less then satisfactory. How to find a good store that you feel confident in buying from? There are two common shopping choices ... online or a "brick and mortar" store. When it comes to the brick and mortar type, here is a general guideline: When you enter a bird store assess the general physical aspects of the store. Then carefully observe the way the employees relate to parrots and customers’ alike.
A Comfortable Ambience
Some of the best shops I have been in are the ones that exude friendliness toward both birds and customers. Many of these same stores have dedicated customers that come in just to visit, or even help socialize the baby birds from time to time. Some stores even encourage such an atmosphere by placing chairs around the area, and bringing the birds out on stands to interact with the customers. In one I have witnessed some of the regular customers enthusiastically helping a store "newbie" make a toy selection, or recommend a certain brand of food. These are not only good social experiences for parrots and humans alike, but good learning experience for both parties as well. When I have a friend that is interested in getting into bird keeping, I take them on a field trip to my favorite local store where they can interact with the birds and gain knowledge from the staff.
The Store Environment
The physical environment of a good store is one that is clean and has good lighting, as well as a comfortable temperature and humidity level. Cleaning that is done as a part of the daily routine is essential. Do not expect a store to be immaculate at all times because, of course, birds are messy creatures. A good shop strives to stay on top of the stores condition on a regular basis. If you are worried about the cleanliness of the shop, visit several times a day staggering your visits so you can observe the environment at different times. Do you see anyone cleaning? Are those hulls on the floor recent, or have they been there since 2 p.m. yesterday?
A good representation of a quality store is to look at the bird's cages. Are the cages clean, do the birds have access to fresh food and water? Do they have toys to play with, and a couple of perches? Are cages stacked upon on another in a haphazard manner in attempt to save room? (Quality manufactured stacking cages are acceptable). Another thing to examine is what kind of clientele the shop has. Does the shop just sell avian supplies, or do they offer boarding services, physically sell birds, or both? If the shop sells and boards birds then make sure to note if the boarding birds and store birds are in a separate area. What about the babies that are still on a hand feeding regimen? Where are they kept? It is a good practice for hand feeding babies to be away from traffic and not allowed to be handled by the public.
One of the best things about a quality bird store, in my mind, is the staff. You can walk into the shop and get educated opinions and advice from the staff about a number of avian subjects. Bird owners, much like their birds, enjoy "flocking" together (pardon the pun, couldn’t resist!) and sharing stories, joys, triumphs, and heartbreak with other bird owners. A knowledgeable store employee can assist with the purchase of items for your bird, recommend veterinary, grooming, or even boarding services. Not only is a knowledgeable store employee a benefit to the shop and customers, a well- ersed store employee is a benefit to the community. An employee that can educate customers on a regular basis is doing a good service and potentially improving the lives of many birds living at home. Unfortunately, many people are still stuck with outdated avian information, and supplying them a source of new and updated information can increase the quality of their animal's life.
If you are lucky enough to have several stores in your area, take time to visit them all and pick the one that best suits your needs. You will be investing a lot of time and money into the shop, with the purchase of bird, cage, or even just regular items such as enrichment and toys and you want to ensure your money is going towards a facility that you can support and recommend to others.
Take Advantage of Online Bird Stores, too!
Shopping locally offers advantages, but what about those of us who do not have a local source, or perhaps are needing a more cost-effective way to obtain our bird supplies. That is where shopping online proves advantageous. The best online bird stores offer a huge array of essential bird supplies and wonderful accessories, some of which are not available through your local sources. And they can often save a bird lover money. These stores, while not able to provide face-to-face interaction, do provide years of experience and more products than most brick and mortar store can inventory. The best stores have knowledgeable and willing owners that will spend as much time with you as needed to be sure that you acquire the right products for your bird(s).
What should you consider if you are interested in opening your home to an adopted bird? Do you know how to find a good avian rescue to adopt a feathered friend? As the popularity of pet birds soar, so does the number of displaced birds each year. In many cases those birds are looking for loving, lifetime homes. If you are thinking of adopting a bird, I suggest answering these questions first:
Why am I interested in adopting a bird?
Do I have the funds to adopt a bird, provide adequate food, supplies, and potential vet care?
Do I have room in my house for a bird ... or another one?
Do I have ample room in my house to quarantine a new bird, if I have others?
How will my other bird(s) react? Can I handle increased noise in my household?
Do I have time to spend with a companion parrot, or another one?
If you said "yes" to all of the above, then great! You are ready to visit a local rescue organization to find a parrot companion.
How To Begin The Search
At first the venues for finding that companion can seem overwhelming. Craigslist, Kijjiijii, Hoobly, and your local classified papers are just one place to turn if you are interested in the private adoption of a parrot. Be careful when pursuing these venues, as there are many scams out there. These scams most often offer birds at a "good price" (usually in the range of $400 or less) and boast of the birds having paperwork, being up to date with their veterinary needs, and beg to take the bird into a good home. Most of these scams reveal that funds from you are needed in advance to ship the bird to you. If you come across such a listing; run, don't walk, the other way!
Begin by calling your trusted avian vet or if this is your first bird set up an introductory visit with an avian vet for counsel. Because your vet deals with exotics on a regular basis, chances are they will know of a bird (or animal) currently seeking a new home. Contact them and inquire about any potential adoptees. If you vet doesn't know of a bird that needs a home they may in the near future. Leave your contact information and request they contact you if they hear of a bird that needs a home.
The next step would be to research any avian rescues in your area. Doing a simple web query can point you in the right direction. Pick a rescue as close to you as possible because many rescues require that the adopting family be within 100 miles or less of the organization's home. If you find one (or more) rescues in your area all and inquire about the birds they currently have available. Ask questions about the organization itself. For example:
How long have they been in operation?
Are they a nonprofit organization? If no, are they currently applying for nonprofit status?
What are their adoption qualifications?
Would they be willing to let you tour the facility where the birds are housed?
Do they have an avian veterinarian on staff, or on a consult basis, to care for the birds medical needs? What is the vets name? Is the vet qualified or certified to work with exotics?
There are many questions to ask. Use your judgement in selecting the questions you feel need to be asked. Insist on visiting the facility (or foster home, in some cases) where the bird is currently kept so you can see the current conditions of the bird. Sadly, some organizations that parade as rescues are really nothing more then hoarding situations. Fortunately, this is not the norm but is certainly something to be aware of.
Picking the "Right" Bird
If you have found an organization you feel comfortable working with, the next step is to review the birds available. Organizations usually have several (or more) birds that are currently available for adoption. Examine the species and make a list of traits you want in your companion. Visit all the birds currently available. If you feel drawn to a specific bird, visit it multiple times. Does it have the traits you desire in a pet? If the answer is yes, then you can begin to move to the next step, the pre-adoption phase.
Most organizations require a home visit prior to agreeing to adopt out the bird. They want to insure the bird is going to an avian friendly home that can properly care for an exotic. Some organizations require more then one home visit: a home visit prior to the adoption, and one or more visits after the adoption process has started and the bird is in your residence. Depending on the organization, each adoption process will be handled differently. When adopting my birds, I was first required to foster them for a period of time before signing the adoption papers. After I signed, the papers were held for a period of time, after which they were sent to me as confirmation that the birds were legally mine. This was to ensure that the were a good fit in my household. If anything was to arise, I had a "grace period" in which I could return the birds to the organization if I determined that it just would not work out.
Depending on the rescue, each can have varying degrees of requirements which you must abide by to adopt a bird through them. These requirements can be anything from living within a certain driving distance from the organization, to being a cat free household, to having your household be teflon free. Some organizations are more strict in their requirements then others. Can you agree with the adoption requirements set forth by the rescue you have chosen?
If you have found a rescue organization you feel you can work with, congratulations! The number of displaced birds is growing each year and secondhand birds need the "forever" homes, too. We applaud your efforts in bringing an older bird into your home.
Listed below are some resources to aid you in the search for your avian companion.
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.
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