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
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
Super Seeds For Parrots
Written by Jo Lod Lease of Lair Of Dragons Bird Rescue
Ch-ch-chia! Chia seeds—particularly the Salba variety—are high in iron, folate, calcium, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids and soluble fiber. The superseed’s calcium and magnesium promote bone and dental health, while the omega-3s help your heart by lowering triglycerides, the bad fats in your blood that can cause heart disease. Their soluble fiber helps decrease cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar, and make you feel full longer. The nine amini acids in chia make it a high-quality sourse of protein. One ounce of chia delivers 11 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein.
Not just for hippies, these superseeds are a great source of complete protein and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They also contain phytosterols, plant-based compounds that help lower cholesterol levels. Hemp is loaded with protein. Just one ounce of shelled hemp seeds contain more than 10 grams of protein. Not only are they loaded with protein, they are also a good source of other important nutrients including iron, magnesium and zinc
Also known as pepitas, these superseeds are a source of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, zinc, and protein, and are particularly rich in the amino acid tryptophan, which may help lower anxiety. Pumpkin seeds also have high levels of essential fatty acids that help keep blood vessels healthy and lower bad cholesterol.
These underrated superseeds are an excellent source of B vitamins, including folate (which helps prevent birth defects), and vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that protects cells from damage, helps maintain healthy hair and skin, and may work to prevent cancer. They are also rich in protein and heart-healthy fats.
These little, brown, nutty-flavored superseeds are a great source of soluble fiber (each tbsp. contain about 8 grams) as well as a good source of magnesium, phosphorus, copper, thiamin and magnese which helps lower cholesterol, makes you feel fuller longer, and aids in stabilizing blood sugar levels. Flax seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acid, which benefits eye and brain health, and can help lower triglycerides, protect against immflammation and high blood pressure. High in lignans, a plant-like form of estrogen, they may also help prevent certain cancers.
The nutritional powerhouse of the wheat kernel, wheat germ is loaded with protein, iron, and B vitamins such as folate. The high fiber content of this superseed helps prevent constipation and keeps your appetite in check although it is high in calories, so modertion is key. And wheat germ is low on the glycemic index, so it doesn’t spike your blood sugar. The health benefits of wheat germ include a boost to the immune system and a preventative measure against cardiovascular disease and cancer. Wheat germ has anti-aging properties, and can positively affect mental agility, muscle development, stamina, and the healing rate for wounds. The nutrients in wheat germs can also aid in digestion, prevent damage to the arteries, and help in efforts to lose weight. Adding wheat germ or certain types of wheat germ extracts to your diet can help you reduce the risk factors for multiple types of cancer.
This South American seed is at the top of so many superfood list. One cup of cooked quinoa has 8 grams of complete proteinand 5 grams of dietary fiber. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Essential amino acids are the amino acids that must come from food, since our bodies can’t produce them. Quinoa is rich in several of these essential amino acids, making it an excellent source of plant-based protein. Since quinoa is cholesterol free and also full of fiber, it is a healthy alternative to animal-based sources of protein, including meat and cow’s milk. In addition, quinoa contains more than 10% of the dietary recommended daily allowance for a wide range of vitamins that includes thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and folate and is packed with minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper and magnese.
This seed is truly is the king of all seeds when it comes to protein. One cup of cooked amaranth contains more than 9 grams of protein. Unlike a lot of other plant-based proteins, amaranth contains all the amino acids (the building blocks of protein) that we need, making it a complete protein. Amaranth is also a good source of fiber (5.2 grams per cup), unlike animal proteins. When you consider the vitamins and minerals that are packed into this grainlike seed, you will be amazed. One cup of cooked amaranth contains more than 10% of the RDA of vitamin B6,folate,calcium,iron,zinc,copper and selenium and it is a great source of magnesium,phosphorus and magnese.
Been doing some research as I was not sure about rather Sweet Potatoes were safe to be served raw. Well this is the info I found and I researched in many places and gathered this…
Sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamin A and contain energy-giving carbohydrates, vitamin C, folate, calcium, dietary fiber and potassium. Serve them to your pet bird cooked or raw. (Peel or scrub thoroughly first.) Introduce young birds to mashed sweet potatoes so they’ll enjoy them all their lives! Even canaries love sweet potatoes. Discard sweet potatoes that have become moldy in the pantry, because cooking may not kill the spores.
Sweet potatoes and yams are actually two different vegetables. Both are tubers, but the sweet potato is native to South America, and the yam hails from Africa. The important difference is that, according to USDA reports, only the true sweet potato contains Vitamin A.
Pumpkin is also a good source of vitamin A. Birds will enjoy the seeds, fresh or roasted, as well as the cooked pumpkin itself.
Brussels sprouts contain vitamin E, vitamin B6, vitamin C and folic acid. Feed them to your bird cooked or raw.
Cauliflower is a source of biotin and pantothenic acid.
Carrots are highly nutritious and readily available year-round. Cut them into sticks or chunks; offer them raw or cooked, and include the tops: small birds love bathing in the wet greens.
Cook hard beans (kidney, navy, black, etc.), potatoes, beets and white potatoes prior to offering them to your pet bird. Boil corn on the cob briefly to reduce the risk of mold. Many birds enjoy cooked butternut or acorn squash and pumpkin. Cut these vitamin-A-rich vegetables into chunks, or serve them mashed, like potatoes.
It isn’t necessary to cook most vegetables, such as broccoli, peas, string beans, peppers, well-scrubbed sweet potatoes or leafy greens, but if your bird refuses raw produce, try cooking it. Add a few hot pepper flakes for flavor if you wish.
“Sweet potato shows trypsin inhibitor activity. That means it contains an enzyme inhibitor that blocks the action of trypsin, an enzyme that digests proteins. The trypsin inhibitor prevents the digestion of protein. Sweet potatoes with higher protein levels have more of the trypsin inhibitor. This makes raw sweet potato difficult to digest. The trypsin inhibitor is deactivated by cooking.
One way the raw food diet helps people is by supplying food enzymes. Food enzymes do part of the work of digesting the raw food. Enzyme inhibitors increase the amount of work that your body needs to do to digest foods. Enzyme inhibitors force your body to produce more digestive enzymes. This uses up resources that could be used to produce detoxifying enzymes. When animals are regularly fed enzyme inhibitors in research, they become sick. Sweet potato should not be eaten raw”
In order to get the optimal amount of Vit A from sweet potatoes, or carrots that they need to be at least slightly cooked or steamed.
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
Birds Bite! It is a fact that if you share your life with a bird, it is more than likely going to bite you at some point and time. Does this mean that all birds are mean or aggressive….Hardly! In fact it is probably furthest from the truth. Birds use their beaks for a variety of reasons. A beak is another hand to a bird and so they use it for eating, climbing, playing etc. Sometimes they aren’t biting at all but just using their beak to step up on you, or check you out. You also have to learn body language and be able to understand what your bird is trying to communicate with you. If he or she is telling you “NO” and you are not paying attention, then a bite may happen. Normally a bird will only truly bite out of fear.
There are some birds that have learned to bite due to not being listened to from previous humans in their lives and now they will bite first and discuss later. What you have to keep in mind is that you need to earn this birds trust. This takes time, patience and lots of love. A lot of people have the false notion that if they have a baby bird it will bond to them and never bite. This also is a myth and totally wrong. As a bird matures so do their wants, desires and personalities. Also you have to keep in mind that when a bird reaches maturity their hormones come into play. I have talked with literally hundreds of people who had a sweet loving baby for years and all of a sudden it started biting them. Not to worry though this can be worked through as well, if you are willing to put in the time and effort to forge that bond and relationship.
Aggression in parrots include territoriality, hormones, stress, not enough mental stimulation, health issues etc. You need to look at your birds health first off and make sure that they are in good health by getting a full checkup from an Avian Vet. Once your bird has a clean bill of health then you need to look at the environment. Maybe they are fearful of something in the home, or too near a window and seeing too much activity outside. Maybe you have changed something in your home or on yourself. New furniture, moved things around, colored your hair or even wearing a new nail polish. Someone new moved in or maybe even your work schedules have changed.Birds can also associate certain colors with good or bad feelings. You also need to make sure that their diet is a healthy one full of all the nutrition they need. All of these things can factor into your birds behavior and so much more! Parrot bites can be painful and severe.
Over the years, I have seen and heard some horror stories involving people and parrot bites. Parrot beaks can be very powerful, even some of the smaller species. Some bites occurred from not aggressive birds but very sweet tame ones in the blink of an eye. If you have children in your home or around your birds…no matter how sweet the birds are you have to be ever vigilant in making sure that both the parrot and the child are safe. A serious bite can happen in the matter of seconds and with a small child this can mean the loss of a finger or an eye. No matter how sweet you think your bird is and has never bitten anyone….it can and does happen!
I am not trying to scare anyone from sharing your life with a parrot. To the contrary, I have many and love them so much. However I feel it is very important for anyone considering a bird to gain all the knowledge you can first. These are highly intelligent beings and it is very important for everyone to understand them before you bring them into your home. Birds are given up to rescues, banished to basements, put outside and even let go when the human does not understand them enough to work through the problems. Once given the proper understanding and patience a bird is an amazing companion, but we must study, research and know the facts prior to bringing one into our home. These are wild creatures even the ones bred in captivity are only a few generations away from their natural wild ancestors. The average parrot can go through many homes during their lifetime due to the humans not fully understanding them. They are creatures of very complex emotions and behaviors. They are not meant to be in homes who aren’t fully on board and dedicated to making their lives as rich as possible.
Moving from home to home also takes a toll on their emotions. Birds are hardwired to stay in one family (flock) and when given up they can become confused, mistrustful and possibly the start of aggression. However if you are willing to take the time, an adopted bird can be the most amazing rewarding experience of your life. All of my babies came from previous homes. Some had many and some only a few. However I have the most loving birds. They are amazing and I do fully trust them. I have had both babies and adult birds during my life, and I can honestly say that it took time and effort for any age bird to form a bond and a trust between us. Taking home a sweet baby bird can be the most misleading start of a relationship. You think this wonderful little ball of fluff is so sweet…..and then maturity happens and you have no clue what happened to your precious little feather baby. Trust me, unless you are fully aware of all the challenges ahead and ready to devote your lives to these babies….they will change once they mature. And then you must start over on the trust and bonding process.
Below is just a small example of pics taken of bird bites and they were from some very experienced bird handlers.