Raptors are recognized for their keen site, strong beaks and powerful talons. They are also known as birds of prey because of the fact that they hunt for and feed on other animals. Examples of birds that are included in this group are eagles, hawks, falcons and owls. These birds have been used in the sport of falconry for centuries, but can also been found in zoo and wildlife rehabilitation settings. These birds should only be handled by trained falconers or licensed wildlife rehabilitators.
Aside from the most common species of birds, we also see other birds ranging from canaries and finches, doves and pigeons, to pet turkeys and toucans! If you are not sure if we provide services for your pet bird, please call us and ask.
Finches and canaries are small birds that belong to the order Passeriformes, also known as passerines. There are numerous different species of finch with examples like the zebra finch, society finch and gouldian finch commonly found in the pet trade. Canaries have been bred in captivity for years and many different breeds are available such as the gloster, Yorkshire and Norwich. Many people keep these birds for their exquisite beauty, attractive songs, and entertaining personalities. These birds can be hand tamed if raised by people shortly after hatching.
Pigeons and doves belong to the order of birds known as Columbiformes and are comprised of about 300 different species. These gentle birds can be found all over the world except the Arctic and Antarctic. Humans have utilized the rock pigeon for racing, message delivery and as a food source. The most common species that are found in the pet trade include the ring-necked dove and the diamond dove.
Everyone knows that eating a good diet is one of the best things we can do to stay healthy and the same is true for our pet birds. The question that we must then ask is “What is the best diet for our birds?” Of course this will vary for the species in question but there is an unfortunate misconception out there that seeds are all a pet bird needs to stay healthy. This has led to many pet birds developing nutritional disorders and therefore, seed alone diets have been implicated as a problem. It is true that in the wild, seeds are consumed by many species of birds but that is not all they eat. Parrots in the wild will eat various types of seeds, nuts, fruits, beans, flowers, and even foliage from plants. The varieties of seeds that are foraged for in the wild are numerous and different studies have shown birds to consume greater than 20 different seed types. In captivity many of our seeds mixes only have 5-7 different types of seeds.
Parrots and other birds are intelligent, curious and naturally active in the wild. The typical wild bird spends most of its day searching for food and being alert for predators. When it is not looking for food, it may be searching for a mate or helping take care of a nest, protecting its home from rivals, socializing with other birds, or preening its feathers, among other activities. As pets, birds no longer have to search for food, worry about predators, defend their home from rivals, or do many of the other things necessary to survive in the wild. Without these things to do, some parrots and other birds begin to engage in abnormal behaviors such as feather-plucking and chewing at their skin, pacing around their cages, back-flipping, eating their own stool, prolonged abnormal screaming, etc.
You need to plan ahead before you bring a bird into your home. Part of that planning should include a same-day wellness visit to a reputable veterinarian since there is no way to be sure a bird is completely healthy just by looking at it. After a physical examination, the veterinarian may discuss screening your new bird with laboratory tests. Simple tests can be done at the hospital, such as looking at droppings and oral secretions for abnormal bacteria using a Gram stain or checking the droppings for parasites. However, additional tests are often needed particular for birds that have been around many other birds. The importance of this additional testing cannot be ignored -- one study using protein electrophoresis, a kind of blood test, revealed that 30% of seemingly healthy birds had undetected infectious or inflammatory disease. Specific tests for psittacosis (also known as parrot fever or chlamydophilosis), Pacheco's virus, and psittacine beak and feather disease may be important especially if you have other birds at home. If the Gram stain suggests abnormal bacteria are present then microbiological cultures and sensitivities should be performed so that the right antibiotic can be chosed to treat the infection. Your new bird can have its sex determined by saliva, blood, or feather samples to confirm that you got what you paid for or to learn what you got. When you are budgeting for a new bird, make sure you remember to include money for a thorough health check!
Maintain the squab at a temperature of 95.0 to 98°F. A thermometer should be used. A small bowl of water may be needed to provide enough humidity. There are many good quality squab raising formulas available commercially and I recommend having some on hand at all times if you want to raise doves. Roudybush's Squab Formula works well (see www.roudybush.com). Harrison's Neonatal Formula can be used if you can't get a dove-specific hand-feeding formula.
Many ringneck doves do well on a good wild bird seed mix or small parrot seed mix (i.e., a mix of millet, hemp, milo, wheat, and canary seed), this may) that is supplemented with fresh chopped greens, soft (cooked) orange to yellow vegetables (e.g., squash, sweet potato, etc.), and pieces of whole grain bread. I recommend mixing in Harrison's High Potency Bird Mash to the seed to help enhance their nutritional value. Additional food treats can include hard boiled egg (shell and all!), cooked beans, sprouted beans, and even small bits of cottage cheese. A shallow dish of calcium should be
When a bird is very ill, it is often recommended that a “hospital cage” be created at home to provide an optimal environment for recovery. It is best to have a designated cage for this before an illness occurs in order to be well prepared. Your veterinarian will make specific recommendations for you based on your individual birds problem but the following information is often adequate for most basic at home hospital cages.
Pets may be sent home with liquid medications. An oral liquid medication must be given by mouth to be effective. An injectable liquid medication must be given by injection beneath the skin to be useful. Some injectable medications require that the medication is inserted into the muscle to be most effective. It is important that you understand how to read the syringes that are sent home so your pet gets the proper amount of medication at each dose.