Feathered Friends Love Summer Too!
Here are some of the hazards you should be aware of
Summer brings heat, vacations and the desire to spend more time outdoors. Pet birds relish warm weather, fresh air and sunshine as much as we do! Unfortunately fun can quickly turn into unnecessary tragedy if certain precautions are not taken. Here are some of the hazards you should remember to watch out for:
Clip those wings - The best
advice anyone can give you is to CLIP your bird's wings. It
will keep him from harm when indoors, and help prevent his
escaping through open windows or doors and flying away if
outside of your home.
Indoor sunlight - birds like seeing the
activity outside and enjoy the sunlight. If you have a cage in
front of a window, be sure that there is a place in the cage
which provides ample shade for your bird if he becomes too
warm. Beware of overheating either the cage area or the room
from direct sunlight. Make sure there is always fresh, clean
water available, as this will help prevent dehydration which
Air Conditioners/Coolers - Air conditioning is
safe for birds. In very hot and humid climates, air
conditioning or other methods such as swamp coolers are a
necessity. However, make sure that your birds are not placed
directly in front of the air conditioning outlets where they
may get a chill. If you use swamp coolers, they must also be
cleaned periodically to prevent bacteria growth.
Windows and Screens - When it is hot, we all
tend to open a window or a door. Before you open doors and
windows, check that the screens are in place and in good
condition. You don't want your bird flying out an open window
or hurting himself on a torn screen. Another good reason to
clip your birds wings.
Doors - In summer many of us go in and out of
the house more often, increasing the chances of a bird flying
out a door. Be sure that doors you open also have screen doors
and that these automatically shut. Check the latches and
closing mechanisms to be sure they are working properly.
Floor Fans and Ceiling Fans - It only takes a
moment for a curious bird to investigate a fan. And a ceiling
fan is an accident waiting to happen for an unclipped bird.
Purchase fans with a guard around the fan blades. When
unprotected fans are in operation, keep your birds in their
cages or in other rooms. Remember, a bird with properly
clipped wings cannot reach a ceiling fan.
Food and Water - Food spoils more quickly and
water grows bacteria more quickly in the heat. Remove soft
foods from cages after a few hours and change the water more
frequently. Dishes should be thoroughly washed each day.
Bedding is also another source of bacteria and mold growth, so
it's a good idea to change this once a day too.
Insects and Pests - Ants, bugs, rodents and
other small pests seem to be part of the summer landscape.
Check and double check any products you use to get rid of them.
Read the labels thoroughly, as most are toxic to birds. For
ants, try coating an area with lemon juice. Use fly paper for
insects. Or a 5% Sevin solution. If in doubt about a product,
check with your veterinarian.
Pesticides and Herbicides - These can be toxic
to birds. Ask your service provider what products are being
used, what the ingredients are and how long they remain toxic.
If you apply these products yourself, read the labels. If you
have your lawn or trees sprayed, prevent exposure to your
birds. Keep the windows shut and check any units which can draw
outside unfiltered air into the indoor air circulation systems.
Many products sprayed on your gardens specify that the plants
shouldn't be eaten for a number of days. If a product is toxic
to you then it is probably more toxic to your birds. Be sure to
wait at least the amount of time the manufacturer specifies
before eating the plants in your garden or giving them to your
birds. And be sure to thoroughly wash them first.
Porches and the Backyard - Your bird will
enjoy a visit outside, even if it's just on a porch. However,
be sure it is a pleasant experience for him. Set his cage where
there is shade so the bird doesn't become overheated. Even with
partial shade, do not leave your bird in the sun too long. Be
sure that water is available. You might even spray your bird
with water periodically to keep him cool. A dish of water with
a little crushed ice in it can be placed on the bottom of the
cage to provide a cool bath. Try a few short periods outside
rather than a long one. If you see your bird fluffing his
feathers (to cool off) or having any difficulty in breathing,
take him inside immediately. Be sure that the cage is placed
where dogs, cats and rodents cannot get to it. Be wary of wild
birds. They may attack the cage or just frighten your bird as
they fly by. Also be sure not to put the cage near grass or
plants which have recently been sprayed with pesticides. It is
best to stay outside with your bird at all times unless he is
in something safe like an enclosed porch.
Going Out - Many of us like to take our birds
with us when we visit or run errands. The birds enjoy the
outing and the variety and we enjoy their companionship. Just
remember to CLIP those wings. You might also use a harness.
Most birds will wear them if you take the time to get them used
to these devices. There are even companies now making bird
diapers. These will help keep you clean when your bird needs to
Automobiles - If you take your bird in a
vehicle, NVER leave him alone with the windows closed. The
temperature in the vehicle will quickly become hot enough to
kill your pet in only a few minutes. It is a good idea to bring
some food, water and a first aid kit, even for short trips to
Vacations - Summer is also the time when we
take vacations. What do you do about your pets? Take them with
you, board them with a friend or commercial facility, have a
friend or pet sitter come to your home to feed and care for
them? There are pros and cons to each approach. Research each
option and make your decision wisely.
Camping - There are many things to beware of
if you take your bird camping. You have no control over what
animals may visit your campsite. Prepare for adverse weather
conditions - storms or very hot days. Plan how you will keep
your pets warm or cool or dry. Bring extra food and a first aid
kit for emergencies.
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Summer can be a fun time for all of us if we just take a few simple precautions and prepare for the unexpected. Enjoy your summer!