Published on Mar 17, 2013
All Images Copyright © 2013 Kelly Kage
Published on Mar 17, 2013
Published on Mar 17, 2013
All Images Copyright © 2013 Kelly Kage
This was written by Vicki Knox LeClaire who runs
Miss Vicki’s Parrot Village, Inc
The most heartbreaking things I face on a regular basis revolve around the ‘less than perfect’ birds…not from the birds themselves, but from the humans who encounter them. Here are just a handful of the facts and theories I have about the topic of plucked birds…
1. Don’t feel sorry for a plucked bird to any higher degree than a non-plucked bird. All are captive; all deserve respect, not sympathy. We created the problem, so we need to stand by them. Seeing a plucked bird here, then giving the ‘Bless his/her heart’ is not helping that bird; adopting him/her is.
2. Don’t assume a bird is plucking because he/she is in rescue; that is rarely the case. We have only had two of hundreds, and I am sure other rescues have the same experiences.
3. Don’t assume plucked birds are bored, unhappy, or sick. We don’t see plucked birds in the wild because if they exist, they are plucked out of the gene pool by predators or death; that is natural selection.
4. If your bird is plucking, take your bird to the vet for a full check up, including blood work, to determine if medical causes are to blame. If so, fix them, if not, love your bird as they are. If you are providing a good diet, enrichment, proper sleep, a toxin-free environment, etc. odds are, this is your bird’s ‘normal’. Accepting is and loving him/her as they are is far better for them and you than to constantly be stressing over appearance. Doing this is far less expensive for you than buying every snake oil product out there aimed at ‘fixing’ the ‘problem’.
5. Don’t send your plucking bird to a breeder because you cannot stand how ‘unhappy’ he/she is. Odds are, if you are doing the above, the bird is nowhere near as unhappy as others make you feel the bird is. Sending plucked birds back to breeders is one source of the problem…taking plucked birds into the breeding gene pool that is already messed up, and breeding more birds with the potential genetic predisposition to plucking is only adding fuel to the fire. Mulligan, my M2 that started the rescue was one of these birds frown emoticon
6. Expect it to be a bigger problem in the future. Without the influx of wild parrots into the gene pool and so many breeders not doing their research, we are soon to be facing serious problems from inbreeding. Immunity issues, feather issues, new diseases and abnormalities we have never seen before…hold onto your hats folks…
7. Just love them for who they are. They do it to you every day, just follow their lead
Taking our Feathered ones to the vet is a minimum an annual event. This can be a very traumatic experience for them unless you get them use to the experience of being in their carrier and going out for trips. I find it helps to allow them to play in their travel cages at home. Get them use to being in these cages prior to having to go to a vet appointment. Also take them for short rides or walks around the neighborhood in their carriers. Get them use to the whole experience, without having to actually go to the vet. Take them for a trip to the park or even just out in your own back yard, make it a fun positive experience for them and you. While in their carriers talk to them and keep the tone upbeat, positive and fun 🙂 Always make sure they have access to water and snacks.
If your feathered one gets car sick….give a slice of fresh ginger each day for a couple of days before traveling. Or add fresh ginger to their water for a few days before your scheduled trip. This works wonders and is totally safe for parrots. Never offer any motion sickness medicines that are not prescribed by your Avian Vet first.
More tips for helping to make traveling with a feathered one and enjoyable trip for everyone 🙂 Feathered Angels Car Sickness
Gracie and Daisy all buckled into the car properly….everyone needs to follow this example to prevent injury to our feathered babies when traveling.
Training “tricks” that are often suggested as ways to get your parrots comfortable with unusual items: towel, scale, syringe, travel carrier. You all probably have more ideas/experiences?
In my case, I should have done *applesauce in syringe* training a long time ago; kicking myself… If you need to give your bird meds via syringe at some point, it’s much less of an ordeal if they willingly drink syringe fluids (although they will certainly realize it’s not applesauce — lol! Some meds are grape flavored, though).
Training birds to accept being wrapped in a towel is a great idea for larger parrots. Makes your life and your veterinarian’s life much easier.
*Travel carrier as fun and safe play area* is marvelous (and, again, kicking myself for not having thought of that years ago).
*Avian scale as play area* is one that I did do. Every morning, at the beginning of out-of-cage time, each bird stands on it and receives millet as reward. I note their weights about every three to five days or so.
Here is “point/counterpoint” on this topic:
This article is spreading widely: Why Your Bird Should Try Coconut Oil
However, concerns about giving it to birds range from the issue of too much saturated fat to the lack of Omega 3 fatty acids. An appropriate balance of Omega 3 and Omega 6 is optimal for bird health; please see this article for an explanation of why: Balanced Omega Fatty Acids: Why Do Birds Need Them?
In the group Nutrition For Pets, Dr. Scott Echols has commented that
“…not only is coconut oil very high in saturated fat (which is not all bad) but it has no appreciable omega-3 fatty acids. Besides the issues of destructive farming to get red palm oil (not an issue with all products) it is even higher in omega-6 fatty acids (and again no appreciable omega-3’s) than coconut oil. There are some beneficial fats in both oils including medium chain triglycerides and more that are used in a number of body systems. Some have touted the antioxidants and more. However, there are 0 refereed studies of feeding coconut or red palm oil in parrots. At least red palm oil has been shown to significantly increase omega-6 levels in the blood of chickens. There is generally already plenty of omega-6 fats in our and our pets’ diets. We really don’t need more. So until I can see some solid proof of benefit (I am open to research I am not aware of), I really cannot recommend feeding coconut or red palm oil to birds.”
Here are links for additional info on coconut oil; these links refer to *human* usage as, as Dr. Echols says, there aren’t any studies about its effects on parrots:
The Truth About Coconut Oil
Health & Nutrition Coconut oil
I have seen many comments on this subject and it is clear that there is a misconception that Adult birds in a rescue need more bird education to adopt rather than just purchasing a baby bird. This is absolutely not true! It is in fact just the opposite. A baby bird is going to require a huge amount of time to even have the hope of reaching maturity and not having behavioral or health issues. Babies taken from their parents too early are more likely to develop behavioral issues like biting, plucking, screaming…and the list goes on. Babies should not be weaned for quite some time, some species require a year or more. So that two month old baby being sold as weaned??? Most likely a baby is going to have issues just from forced weaned to early. It is also very important that birds have annual avian checkups. No matter if it is a baby or an adult parrot, everyone needs to do a huge amount of research to even begin to understand a birds wants and needs. Taking a parrot into your life at any age is a huge commitment. There are sacrifices that must be made if you are going to provide for them and meet all their needs.
Birds in rescues are not there because they just happen to be bad or have issues. Most of the time birds end up in rescues due to being purchased as a baby and then the owner was not prepared for what happens when they become adults. Birds are messy, loud, require special diets, loads of mental and physical stimulation and they will chew whatever they can get their beaks on. They require regular avian checkups due to the fact that they hide illness so well. There are many things that are toxic to them and so you must remove and quit using many household items. The list is very extensive and most do not take the time to learn and educate themselves prior to bringing home the bird. These are the main reason birds are given up, they were just being birds and the humans were not prepared for it.
The reason there are so many birds in rescue now is due to the lack of education prior to someone purchasing the baby birds in the first place…. impulse shopping! Now I do understand that there may be other circumstances where a bird is given up to a rescue, but the majority of cases are just that the human is having issues dealing with the bird being a bird. All Baby birds are sweet and cuddly, but as they mature so do their personalities and they are not going to always be that sweet baby you brought home. In fact they are most likely going to do a lot of changing especially when they reach hormonal maturity and then what? That sweet lil baby bird you brought up may decide they don’t even like you. Especially if you do not have the prior education to understand the emotions and changes that they are going through. Hormones can be dealt with and those who truly understand parrots know it is an annual occurrence and how to get the humans and bird through this very difficult times.
Rescues do require a person interested in adopting to fill out a questionnaire which does ask if you have bird experience. And I have seen where some believed this was because the birds in rescues are bad and require more work than babies….this is completely an ignorant statement. They ask because they want to make sure that you have the skills, knowledge and commitment to give a bird what they truly need. Their greatest desire is to make sure that should you adopt from them, that the birds is going into a loving educated home and the bird will have his best chance of staying there forever. Birds that are shifted from one home to another are more likely to develop behavioral issues… like trust. Birds are flock creatures and since we become their family they do not understand being given away especially time and time again. Rescues want to make sure that they are giving the birds in their care the best possible chance of this not happening. Pet stores and breeding facilities that just allow you to walk in a purchase a baby without any questions….as long as you have the desired amount of cash….how much do they truly care about that babies future? Not one bit! It is all about the cash to them and nothing more.
There is also a lot of controversy over the fees charged by rescues. Nobody seems to question a breeder or pet store requiring payment though. Here is a fact that some may not be aware of. A legitimate rescue makes sure every bird coming in is seen by a qualified avian vet…this can be a couple of hundred dollars or more depending on what tests need to be done, species and where the bird is coming from. A rescue then must provide cage, proper food, toys, mental and physical stimulation for each and every bird and continued vet care. All of this can run them hundreds of dollars monthly per bird. Many times the fee charged for adoption does not even cover the initial vet fees. Rescues are NOT making any money! What they are doing is making sure that each bird is well taken care of and is placed in a home with the best possible chances for that bird to have a happy life. They are taking in these precious Feathered ones that others have cast aside and hoping they can make a difference for them.
Bottom line is the reasons rescues are full now is NOT due to the birds being bad or anything like that. It is because these precious creatures are so misunderstood and there is a lack of education prior to people purchasing them. Most people are not willing or understand the commitment needed to provide for these babies for 30 plus years and so.
Take the time to educate yourself properly on what these precious creatures need. Visit your local avian rescues and take a look for yourself. Volunteer at the rescues, ask for the education. Do your own research from many many sources. Talk with an Avian vet. Education is key into helping ease the burden on the Avian Rescues. There are literally thousands and thousands of birds in Rescues just waiting for someone to adopt them. To think that these are all bad birds is just ridiculous. They are just birds being birds and waiting for someone to look at them and see them for the beautiful creatures that God created and accept them as they are.
Let one choose you and you will forever be thankful you did. I have 11 all adopted and they are the most loving babies ever!
AMY LYNN NEEDS OUR HELP!
Amy Lynn is a Moluccan Cockatoo that is currently in the care of Diane Dwyer in Chalk River, ON, Canada. She came to Diane in desperate need of help. There was barely a place, anywhere on her body that was not “self-mutilated”. Amy Lynn has now been to her first vet appointment and the results are staggering. She is suffering from heavy metal poisoning – most likely from the chain that is currently lodged in her stomach. Here is a picture:
If that were not bad enough, somehow, it appears that almost all of her toes have at one time been broken. That is pretty tough for a creature that has little choice but be on her feet 24/7.
Amy Lynn is on injections for the next 10 days to try to stop the leaching of the metal into her system. With a great deal of luck, the chain will pass though but that is a big unknown at this time. Regardless, it as to come out of there somehow and she is going to require a lot of vet care. That, as we parrot lovers know, becomes very expensive, very quickly. (So far over $500 plus travel expenses etc.)
Bill, the Moluccan Cockatoo happens to be in the position to help. Bill is a legendary “carver”. Anyone who shares their home with a cockatoo (or any parrot) will understand. Her “Mom”, Diana Slater of the Too Crazy Birdy Hotel provides lots of wood around a window in her bird room for Bill to chew to her heart’s content. Here is what it looks like when it is a work in progress:
Diana saves the “carvings” for Gail, the Artist. Gail and Bill work well together as Gail can always see the design that Bill had in mind. She paints them for Bill and the result is amazing! The first collaboration was “Bill’s Selfie”
Bill has also created a Lesser Sulfur Crested Cockatoo perhaps a rendition of her friend Billy:
And also a Galah, probably inspired by Joey, who stayed for a few weeks at the Too Crazy Birdy Hotel:
With the love and blessing of Bill, Diana, Gail and F.E.A.T.H.E.R.S. these three pieces of original cockatoo artwork are to be offered for auction to benefit Amy Lynn and Diane Dwyer of Second Chance Parrot Shelter.
Bidding will start on Friday, October 3, 2014 at 6 p.m. Pacific Time and run until Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at 6 p.m. and will be administered from the F.E.A.T.H.E.R.S. Facebook page – Feathers in BC
To follow Amy Lynn’s story go to Diane Dwyer’s Page
From The Squawking Macaw by Bob Kaegi
Again we will discuss the criminal case portion of a shelter operation. After the main primary operation of a raid or criminal case there will still be ongoing parts of an operation that must be handled with a great deal of security.
If you are working in a shelter, you should know everyone in there working with you. If someone is there that doesn’t look like they fit in ask the Shelter Manager if they belong .You may see lawyers on both sides of a case, or others there looking in on the Operations. If you are questioned about anything, do not answer; state that you are just a volunteer caring for the birds. The Humane Agent or Shelter Manager should be the only one talking to any visitors.
One of the most difficult parts of dealing with a case is the Media / Social Media Craze. It is and will always be the job of Broadcast Media to get information, from anybody, and everybody dealing with the case. While they get paid to do their job, as a volunteer it isn’t your job to discuss anything. If you find a camera or microphone in your face, the only response you should have is “no comment”, or” I can direct you to the Shelter Manager “.
Social media is another area you should steer clear of in making any comments of what you hear, or see in the shelter; in some instances you may be asked to sign a media confidentiality agreement. Take it seriously, as anything you may say could land you in front of a judge, and may destroy the very case you as a participant you are a part of. Find out what is within limits or off limits before sharing anything.
Also depending on the case, security of the shelter may come into play. It is important to remember; each side has their supporters, and will do anything to assert their opinions. They may do anything they can to cause trouble for staff and volunteers alike. I have witnessed a shelter being watched, and those who would like to intimidate those who are trying only to take care of the animals in need.
In a Disaster
At some point the family may arrive to either collect their bird or even just want to visit. First they should sign in, and provide some identification; also they need to have some proof of address where they lived in the affected area. They should also be able to provide photos, and or anything that shows proof of ownership.
Remember, animals may have been left behind during the disaster, and Humane Agents or AC’s may have had to remove them. They may have also been running the streets so making identification maybe difficult, and or tying them back to a certain address.
Things are not as always clear cut in a disaster, however when dealing with the media and social media the principles are the same, direct the press to your supervisor, Public Information Officer, or Disaster Operations. Don’t post anything on social media about what you are seeing, that is what the Public Information Officer is for, they will make sure information they want out there is posted.
The security and safety is very important not only for you, but for that of each animal you care for, this is why it is important not to talk about anything you see or hear in the shelter.