As summer approaches, (at least that’s what they tell us is going to happen!), it is appropriate to ‘bird ready’ our pets for the season. Here are a few spring and summer tips:
A longer day length is a great time to re-try food items you are sure your bird ‘doesn’t like’. The longer day length coincides with the flush of new growth and new food items a bird would get in the wild and now is a good time to capitalize on this to try new food items.
Harvest new branches for perch material now, when tree pruning is best for the tree and before the trees are sprayed, leafy and full of wild birds. Remember to wash and disinfect all new branches and if possible, bake them, supervised, at a low heat for 15 – 20 minutes to help kill any microorganisms that may cause health problems in your pet.
Take those large cages out of the house and to the car wash to take advantage of a good power wash.
Re-visit harness training with your bird so that once the weather permits, the bird is accustomed to wearing its harness and going outside is safe and easy.
Plan early for any summer vacation time, whether enlisting friends, family or neighbours or booking with a pet sitting service.
Book your bird’s annual health check now to have health certificates ready and summer wing clips done.
If you take your bird camping (*this refers to camping in a trailer or an RV – tents are a whole different game!!) remember:
- no wing clip is totally safe when your bird is outside – assume your bird can fly, get an updraft, or run like crazy!
- to use either a harness or an outdoor cage for your bird when out of the trailer
- to be wary of predators, both from above (hawks) or below (weasels, martens, or other campers’ pets) and nuisance animals (mice, wasps to sticky fruit)
- to make sure there is adequate ventilation and that the bird will not overheat during the day
- to make sure that the unit can lock if you leave the bird unattended (human predators)
- to buy a ‘visual barrier’ for the door – either made of strips of clear plastic or beads so that something breaks the clear line of vision from the interior of the unit to the great outdoors and thereby acts as a deterrent for the bird leaving its perch to follow you outside
- to be wary of fumes from camp fires, mosquito spray, heaters, or idling vehicles
- to be aware that mosquitoes are vectors of West Nile Virus and to use mosquito netting when appropriate and to keep the bird inside on muggy days. West Nile Virus is fatal in all pet birds
- to consider having your bird microchipped as an identification tool
- to make a tape recording of your bird making noise – an escaped bird is more likely to return to its own call than to a human’s voice
Have a safe and happy summer!!
Dr. Kerry Korber
Calgary Avian & Exotic Pet Clinic