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These questions come straight from people all over the world...mostly from adults and some children. We do not correct any of the spelling or grammer. It is a delight to see how someone who doesn't speak English as their first language manages to get their questions understood. We welcome your questions and thank you all!

Q: Hello, (EMERGENCY)
    I have a green cheek conure and took him to the vet today because he was having some problems standing on one of his legs.  While there the vet trimmed his nails and he ended up bleeding for 9-10 hours after the visit.

I would like to know if this is normal or if the vet hit a nerve.  The vet also used a swab in his rectum and he has been pooping blood ever since.  It has currently been 12 hours since we left the vet and he is still popping blood. Is this normal? Did the vet swab him too hard and damage something internal? I am just concerned that he might lose too much blood as he uses the bathroom. 

The vet seemed like she was a little rough with the bird and she is also the only 24 hour vet in the area.  I do not feel comfortable calling her at 12:30 at night to ask her. She also ground down his upper and lower beak, and since being home he has not been able to break open his sun flower seeds that he loves so much. I did cut up a fresh apple for him which he also loves and he is able to eat the apple. Do you think she ground his beak too much and he can't crack the sunflower shells because of it? Will his beak grow back? I really look forward to your answers since it has been so long and he is still pooping out blood.  Thank you very much,
Bobby

A: There is no reason for a bird to bleed more than a couple of minutes maximum EVER! Is this an avian veterinarian or a dog and cat vet???? The vet cut into a vein and quick stop, flour, corn starch will stop that bleeding with 60 seconds of pressure unless it was done incorrectly!

When the vet did the swab she may have gone through the membrane, if so that can be very dangerous for the bird.

There is no way that a bird would have that much trouble with his jaw if the beak trim was done correctly. I would get him to a certified Avian veterinarian As Soon As Possible, please. Do not wait. The bird has already lost more blood then it should and infection can set in where the swab was used if it did go to far.

I am sorry to send you answers like this, but the bird's life is at stake and there is no time to waste.
Just for your information I worked with one of the top avian vets in the country and have been grooming birds for over 40 years, none of what you describe is normal.

 

Q: Subject: questions on Cockatiels

I have two Cockatiels (Sunny and Bubba). My daughter and I bought them from a breeder in North Carolina when they were 2 months old. My daughter is insisting on having a Avian Vet look at them. They seem normal. They eat, drink and defecate ok. They are always active and very playful. My daughter really loves them and she has some questions regarding their health.

Do they need a yearly physical? Do they need the polyomavirus vaccination?I read about other bird owners who are concerned about the effect of the vaccination.

What types of food are good for them? The kind that helps their immune system.

What should be in their everyday diet? Any vitamins in the water?

What kind of fruit they can eat?
 Thank you

A: 1. It is a very good idea to get a well bird check up yearly. A good bird veterinarian will keep results on file and have something to compare to.

2. I personally do not feel the birds need the vaccine, so I would not worry about side effects.

3, I am sending you a food list so you have a good basis to go by. Good hygiene, clean cages, water changed 2-3 times a day. Fruits and veggies fed daily and removed from the cage after a couple of hours. All of these things help keep a bird healthy.

Food list:                                                                      
1. Carrots
2. Yams or sweet
3.
potatoes                                                                  
4.Zucchini                                                                                          
5. Broccoli
6. Cucumber
Chop food in chopper

Add: Raisins
        Bean sprouts
        Rainbow pasta, cooked or raw
        with or without sauce and meat

Treats for the top of the dish: different each day for variety.
       Peanut butter on a Ritz
       Bite size Shredded Wheat
       Cheerios
       Popcorn, no salt
       Vanilla Wafers
       Graham crackers
       Cheese crackers or puffs
Use your imagination.

Your bird can eat most anything you are eating with these exceptions:
NO AVOCADO, CHOCOLATE, BOOZE, ICEBERG LETTUCE, NO CAFFIENE

All fruits are good for your bird:
       pears
       melons
       bananas
       grapes
       papaya
       mango
       etc.

For your information: The birds can eat most anything you are eating including cooked chicken or beef with or with out the bones, spaghetti, pizza, couscous, cheese, cooked cereal. Use good sense and have fun with it. Your bird's life will extend by many years on a diversified diet. Frozen mixed veggies are great too, run them under the hot water tap to defrost, no need to cook.

 

 

Q: Hi!!!
I'm looking after my friend's rainbow lorikeet, and she told me not to feed her: avocado, chocolate and caffeine. I completely forgot about chocolate, and today I made some mini chocolate cupcakes. Knowing that she likes muffin-y food, I ate most of it and put the remaining at her head level, feeding her. She had about 5 small nibbles, but I took it away quickly realizing that she said no chocolate. Will Kiwi (her name) be okay!? Please reply ASAP. It was only small to begin with + she had really small nibbles, and my research says it should be fine because she
didn't have much to eat in the first place..
Thank you,
Fahima

A: You are correct that chocolate is very dangerous, A bite or two will hopefully not hurt the bird but keep a very close eye one her for any signs of fluffing or discomfort breathing. If anything out of the ordinary happens get her to an avian veterinarian. If anything were to go wrong it likely will happen in the 1st 24 hours after she ate it. (This person reported back that the bird is just fine )

Q:My parakeet has an over grown dead beak, ruffled and balding feathers by its bottom, and over grown nails. it is very active and fully functional w/ no signs of pain or discomfort. My other parakeet is 100% healthy. I think the 1st has liver disease but i cant afford to take the bird to the vet. Can i cure the bird myself? or help it in any way?

A: Sadly I must ask why you have an animal that you cannot afford to care for? 1st of all the beak and nails need to be trimmed by a professional who understands the blood vessels in both - so they can be done professionally and not have the bird bleed to death. The fact that it is ruffled and the vent area is balding definitely indicates that the bird is ill. I would not be presumptuous enough to diagnose the bird with out a veterinarian’s degree before my name, nor would I recommend medicine to cure a bird that had not been properly tested and diagnosed. Might I suggest that you find an avian veterinarian that might take the bird as a donation and treat it, or find a person at a bird shop that might be financially able to have it cared for properly. This bird does not stand much of a chance unless it gets proper care.



Q: Hi I have a parakeet thats feather broke. I pulled it out cleaned it with achohol and soap and water. I did not know achohol could burn skin, so I used ice and then read to use cold water not ice. Skin is red right above where I pulled feather. I put antibiotic cream on it and because it was very greasy washed it with lots of soap and water .  I don't want to keep giving him a bath . How long till it's better and is there any thing Else I can try ?
How long should I wait to see a vet ?

A: You did the right thing removing the feather. In the future have either Quick Stop on hand or flour or corn starch. All are excellent at stopping bleeding. You can also use Neosporin on a cut or bruised area without concern. Just don't overdo it, a little goes a long way and is very effective. Alcohol is not a good idea, Hydrogen Peroxide will work fine.
It will take a few weeks for the feather to grow back, don't worry about it unless you feel that there is an infection. If that is the case see your Avian veterinarian right away.

Q: I recently rescued a beautiful (but nearly bald) Vosmaeri Eclectus. She has a plucking problem that has gotten better since she’s been with us this past couple weeks. I think we have that under control now....but my main concern is this..... She will be sitting on my arm and go to scratch her head, and a few different times now has lost balance and fallen off me??  She does good on my 2 fingers and good on perches. When she falls off me she, doesn’t flap her wings on the way down....she tries to catch her fall with her beak on my arm but all that does is scratch me up good. and she still falls!! Have you heard of this?? I HOPE YOU CAN HELP!!
 
Audalina

A: It sounds like she has a problem with a wider area and lack of grip. Check the perch sizes that work for her and stick to those. Some birds are so trusting that they refuse to grip and lose their balance. On occasion I have seen birds that need the curve in their nail deepened slightly so they can hang on better.
You must remember that their beak is like a third foot to them and that is what they grab with to catch themselves. Work with her with "STEP UP" on different sizes and you can close your hand over her toes to let her know it is OK to
grab to hold on.

 

Q: I was given a cockatiel by lady who had had her for 5 years. She was scared of her and never held the bird. The cage was an awful mess. I had to remove the bird and put gloves on while I bleached the cage out. I made her toys and I put perches of different sizes to help with her claws. I also got her vitamin drops and a mineral block and a cuttlebone. I made her a perch which goes on top of her cage. I have to catch her every single time to put her on the perch. I have her sitting right next to me and close to me, but she won't let me touch her or anything. I noticed that she eats her poop. I try my best to make sure that her cage stays clean at all times. I'm trying really really hard to make friends with her so she will trust me and I can hold in love her, but she just won't let me. Can you please give me any ideas.


A: The fact that she has not ever really been handled is the problem. She doesn't know you won't hurt her. Having her groomed properly might help. If her nails are clipped and not sharp, and her wings clipped in a proper fashion so that she has some lift and doesn't fall, she will become more dependent on you. She needs to learn trust, and patience from you will help a great deal. Keep coaxing her to get on your finger, hand-feed her treats like the tiny Ritz crackers with the peanut butter on them, or pumpkin seeds, apple slices, grapes, pieces of corn. She will eventually see that you are not out to hurt her and grow to trust you. THE KEY WORD IS PATIENCE!

Q:I have friends, a married couple, who are both past 80 years old. They both make sense, they both drive, they are out and about with friends, and they keep up with the news.

They have 3 parrots including an African Grey. Several years ago, the Grey was diagnosed with Aspergillosis by Dr. Spira. They followed the regimen, and eventually Dr. Spira pronounced the Grey healthy. But Dr. Spira advised them to have regular check-ups for the Grey because Asper can be difficult.

Dr. Spira has retired, so they took the Grey to a dog and cat vet. Because it's close to their home. Of course the D&C vet did every test in the book, at the cost of many hundreds, and the results will not be in until next week. The bird in question is maybe 20 -25 years old. This vet told them that the average lifespan of a Grey is about 30 years, so "don't worry too much".

I scolded them both as they did not take the Grey to an avian specialist. Several reputable avian vets are close-by. "They charge too much." I was told.

I've heard that Greys can live into their 90s.

What is your opinion?

A: Some time questions are scary and I have to bite my tongue and curb my typing fingers.

Asper is a pain, and it is everywhere, in the air, in the dirt, in front of your nose and behind your back. We are all exposed, and some birds are more susceptible than others.

Taking your bird to a dog and cat vet is like going to the proctologist to get your teeth fixed....WHY would you do that????

Let's hope that the vet sent the tests to an Avian Lab at least. The results will tell. I strongly advise these people to get a 2nd opinion ASAP from an Avian specialist as Asper can be deadly if not treated properly.

You may have to remind these people that they pay for what they get and cheap is as cheap does we have to pray that it does not have an effect on the bird.

Q:Hello, my name is Karla and I have a little Quaker parrot. Since Sunday he’s been acting weird, and yesterday I realized why. I'm not sure but I think that he pulled one of them and it almost came out. So yesterday his wing was bleeding, and when I touch it he yells. I don't know what to do, please help me, I don't like to see him sad....

A: Please take him to an avian veterinarian if there is one available, and if not follow the following instructions. It sounds like he broke a blood feather and that will need to come out ASAP. First get needlenose pliers and some QuickStop. (If there is no QuickStop available, use flour or cornstarch.) Wrap the bird in a towel with the folded part over his stomach. Have some one hold him gently, do not squeeze him but be firm. Part the towel over the stomach and gently pull the wing out from the shoulder so you can see all the feathers. When you spot the one that is bleeding, grip it as close to the body as you can with the pliers and yank it straight out the direction that it is growing. This should stop the bleeding but in case it doesn't use one of the 3 powders. Put the powder on the area bleeding and pinch it off for at least 60 seconds.

Q: Subject: Canary with infection
My bird is forming some sort of swelling next to the anus. There seems to be pus inside it. She's no longer jumping on her cage perches. I cannot afford to go to a vet and the local pet store doesn't sell bird antibiotics. Any advice on how to take care of this?

A: I must be honest with you, you have a medical problem that only a qualified avian veterinarian should handle. This is serious and you are going to lose the bird unless you get it taken care of. To prescribe and anti biotic without doing a culture, blood test and proper check up would be unethical. No one should even offer advice for a bird in this condition and if you cannot afford an avian vet then I suggest that you donate the bird to someone that can afford to care for it properly.

Q:This might sound like a silly question, but my bird fergie hasnt been outside in the garden much since i got him becuase of the rain and his cage is in my house. Can he still get mites?

A: You can test to see if he has anything like mites by putting a white sheet of paper at the cage bottom, tiny black or red dots crawling around are mites. It certainly is a possibility and curable. Contact your Avian veterinarian if you spot any of these eency critters as they are blood suckers and dangerous to the birds.

Q: Hi everyone, my Scarlet is pulling her tail feathers out. She is molting and has new feathers coming in; but seems to be pulling more out than are being reproduced.

She is really happy. Sings and talks all day, plays, swings from her ropes and takes regular baths;but I am afraid that the she may develope a plucking issue if this continues.She is older (nearly 30) and has never been a "plucker".

Any suggestions? Thanks and have a great day.

A: This could be nothing but a hormonal thing, however when was the last time she had a well bird check up? If it has been awhile I would consider having some blood work done just in case she is showing signs that a problem is developing. Better to not take chances and if all is well you will have a great baseline to compare in the future.

Q: Hi there, I have a canary about 3 months, its my first bird. When I got him he was every happy he sang all the time. I got him a little friend (a green finch) because I heard they get along and I was in work till 7pm and hated leaving him on him own. But the green finch was to wild and kept flying al over the cage and they were attacking each other and the canaries feathers were falling out and he had stopped singing and look really sad. so after a week I gave the finch back and the canary started to sing a little bit again but not as much, and its starting to sleep during the day as well as night. Can someone tell me what to do? Ishe lonely?

A: It is a possibility, however the finch might have been a carrier of something, the symptoms your canary is showing are not for a normal bird. I would consider getting a well bird check up so as to make sure that your canary has not picked up something from the finch or is reacting to the stress of having a bird attack him.

Q:I have two male canaries Salvador Dali and Titus Pullo that act perfectly healthy but, Dali's poop looks funny, kinda like loose and runny. When I look up in my canary handbooks there isn't much to describe what the problem could be. He is still singing (even though he has started to molt), loves his greens and seems very chipper. I had given him a dilute dose of over the counter liquid anti-biotic and it looks better than before, but I am still concerned.

A: No one should give an anti biotic without a doctors prescription and direction. Go to your avian veterinarian and get the bird tested properly before you kill it.

Q: Hi, Smokey has trouble at times pooping. She makes the posture and set up, but nothing -- not all the time. She is getting old I know, but is there anything that I can spike the water with to make this a little easier on her. Anybody out there in Bird lover land had any experience or luck with this.

Thanks,
Charles

A: Take Smokey to an avian veterinarian befor it is too late. Do not give her anything without the OK of your Avian vet.

 

JANUARY 2008

Q: I have a green cheek conure that has lost the bottom beak some how. He will eat bread soaked in water and exact baby food for birds. Now will the beak grow back? Anne

A: It is a possibility that it might grow back however if it does not the bird still has a great chance to survive. Is the whole bottom gone or is there still some there? If there is anything there still allow him seeds so he can teach himself how to crush them. My Pionus is missing most of the upper mandible and frankly eats everything and can pinch harder than any bird I have. Keep giving soft foods, any of the baby foods, mixed veggies, applesauce, beef, chicken, any veggies, you can use the frozen mixed veggies, warm with hot water, don't cook. The bird will amaze you with all it will be able to do. Karen the Parrot Lady TM

Q: I have an 8 week Congo and I am still doing 2 handfeeds/day and have started to introduce him to pellets. He is nibbling slowly. I have also been giving him toast, and some frozen veggies I nuked. he is taking slow to all the new foods. He doesn't seem to know how to treat such a variety. I found he seems to like his pellets and the toast. not to interested in the veggies. Any suggestions on what else I should be giving him. I just started putting him into a cage, and put the perch low. he seems to enjoy the bottom (I covered the grill with a towel), but he is curious. How long before he usually starts to climb. I take him out everyday for playtime with me. I love him more than words can express. it is so cute to watch their personalities form.

A: First please do not nuke the veggies, run them under the hot water tap to defrost them. Nuking can be very dangerous as the food heats from the inside out and there is no way to prevent burning the bird if the inside of the veggies get too hot. Sounds like everything else you are doing is fine. Cheerios are a great treat and all the birds love them it starts out as a toy and is tasty. Whallah the baby is eating them. Bite size Shreded Wheat, trail mix without the candy... getting the drift? He will start to climb, like talking when he is good and ready, be patient you have a feathery child for a life time. Karen the Parrot Ladytm

Q: I have two green cheek conures which are 9 months of age. I didn't think that they would start mating at this early of age...but i was wrong. Im worried that my female might not be able to produce the egg and get hurt. Should I worry? I dont know anything about breeding or what they need except for calcium, vitamins and cuttlebone. What do you suggest for a good source of calcium? I heard someone say Cal-Quik? where would I be able to purchase that?

A: Egg shell, mashed with a hard boiled egg or in scrambled eggs, or just whole. Calcionate, Neocalglucon, oyster shell. What got you started worrying, if you are feeding good food there likely won't be a problem. Attached is a good food list:
Birds & More
1637 Cabrillo ave
Torrance, Calif. 90250
310-320-9495 Food for your bird

1. Carrots
2. Yams or sweet potatoes
3. Zucchini
4. Broccoli
5. Cucumber
Chop food in chopper

Add: Raisins
Bean sprouts
Rainbow pasta, cooked or raw
with or without sauce and meat

Treats for the top of the dish: different each day for variety.
Peanut butter on a Ritz
Bite size Shredded Wheat
Cheerios
Popcorn, no salt
vanilla Wafers
Graham crackers
Cheese crackers or puffs
Use your imagination.

Your bird can eat most anything you are eating with these exceptions:
NO AVOCADO, CHOCOLATE, BOOZE, ICEBERG LETTUCE, NO CAFIENE
All fruits are good for your bird:
pears
melons
bananas
grapes
papaya
mango
etc.

For your information: The birds can eat most anything you are eating including cooked chicken or beef with or with out the bones, spaghetti, pizza, couscous, cheese, cooked cereal, use good sense and have fun with it. Your birds life will extend by many years on a diversified diet. You can use frozen mixed veggies just run them under the hot water tap, no need to cook.
Karen the Parrot Ladytm

Q: I need some advice. My husband and I purchased a Double Yellow Headed Amazon from a friend. We were told the bird was a female. Anyway we have had Mandy Joe for about 4 months now and she's bitten me about 3 or 4 times. The last time was yesterday and she bit me hard enough to draw blood. For some reason when my husband brings her to my cousins house she gets real aggressive towards me. They have a Dbl yellow head as well that's supposed to be a male. Anyway my husband put her on top of his cage.

They have an African Grey in another cage next to it. I was talking to the African Grey and she fluffed up her neck and head feathers, went nuts and flew down on my head and ended up biting the heck out of my wrist. I'm having a hard time trusting her and to be honest I'm mad at her. Usually I can pick her up, give her kisses. I don't know what to do. Can anyone explain this? I don't know if she gets jealous of the other bird or is trying to protect it. Maybe hormones? Any suggestions? She rarely ever bites my husband, it's always me she decides to chomp on.

A: Taking the bird to visit another Amazon is not a very good idea. It is breeding season and you are teasing the birds by letting them be together and then separating them. Can you imagine how you would feel if someone did that to you and your husband. You cannot tell the sex of a bird by guessing, or the fact that they might prefer a man or woman better. Two positive ways to tell are, if it lays an egg its a girl. Or have it DNA sexed and that is 99% positive. The latter is the best way to find out NOW, see your avian veterinarian, they should be able to do this for you by taking one drop of blood from a toe nail and sending it to Zoogen labs, it only takes about 6-7 working days to get an answer. It is good to know for health purposes as males have testicular problems and females have ovarian problems and can get yolk peritonitis and die from that if not detected in time. Knowing if it is a male or female can save its life. Karen the Parrot Ladytm

Q: I have a baby ( 5 weeks now) BG macaw...I'm a little worried because I've been noticing that apparently when I feed him I get him dirty on his neck ( I had not noticed before), he was pieces of dry formula stuck togetherwith his little feathers(if you can call them feathers at this age)..I just dont know what to do with it...you think that will create any type of defortimy or cause any harm to the bird???!!

A: Use warm water and wash the formula away. After that wash his face and neck and any place that has formula after each feeding. Deformity is not your problem but bacteria is. In California no is allowed to hand feed a baby unless they are certified, and a baby cannot be sold until it is eating on its own for 2 weeks.. This prevents the problems you are having or might have in the future.

Q: My parakeet is fluffed up and lethargic. His eyes look smaller. I cannot afford a vet, so please give me advice.

A: This bird needs an avian veterinarian NOW. If you don't get him to one you will probably lose him. When A bird shows you they are that ill it is already almost to late. He needs help right away and over the counter meds and unqualified advise is not good. I might suggest that you give the bird to someone who can afford to care for it properly. That might sound harsh, but the alternative is that the bird dies and that is not really acceptable. You have heard of people who have children and complain that they cannot afford them, well prevention, be they regular people type kids or furry or feathery, its all the same. When you take on the responsibility of a child you need to have the means to do so or let someone who can afford it take care of it and you be a visitor, helper, or volunteer.

 

DECEMBER 2008

Q: I adopted my bird from an abusive household, and have noticed some strange behavior. Of biggest concern, she won't poop unless someone takes her out of her cage. I am worried that she is holding it for an unusually long time, and that this may be a result of poor prior treatment.

A: Some people have over poop trained their birds and not let them know it is OK to go in the cage, or this bird might have gotten scolded for messing in the cage. SAD! Try using a word like POOP or Drop every time you see the bird go and then compliment it on how good it is. After you get some results tell it to poop or drop before you take it out of the cage. When it gets the idea and goes in the cage get really excited and tell it how wonderful it is and hopefully it will realize that going in the cage is OK. It is very dangerous for the bird to hold poop in and not go especially if you are not home in time to take it out. Karen the Parrot Ladytm

Q: PLEASE HELP!! I need some advice about my female parakeet.......she can't fly anymore at all - she can't balance herself on the perch anymore either. No, her wings have not been clipped by anyone, she is not egg bound, she is pretty healthy other than not being able to fly or balance. This has been over the last 2 weeks -

A: You need to get her to an avian veterinarian as she may be having neurological problems. Keets are prone to tumors and you need to find out what is going on. To say she is pretty healthy but cannot balance or fly one is not consistent with the other. Please do something now before it gets worse and you are unable to do anything. Karen the Parrot Ladytm

Q: I have two parakeets. I got them about 10 months ago. For some odd reason they seem to fight when they are on my shoulder. this happened about a week ago. I was in shock so I pulled them apart and my male parakeet bit me. I put him back in his cage to let him calm down then after a while I tried to pick him up again. he only bit harder. I have no clue as to why he picked up this biting habit so quickly and I was hoping that you could help me.

A: This is breeding season and you did not say if you know if you have a male and female or two males. If the latter they will fight over your attention, if a male and female you have an angry male and you are interfering with his intended. If male and female they will probably mate and you will have 2 angry birds if you get in the way. If two males they will probably need to be in separate cages and you will need to handle them at different times. Karen the Parrot Ladytm

Q: I just got this new Lovebird from my friend who had it for three years but never spent anytime with it so it bites everything and when it doesn't bite you it draws blood and doesn't let go it's a very beautiful Bird i just wish i could pet it and love it but unfortunately I can't do that without getting my hand bitten off. Can anyone help me :( I don't know what to do.

A: Sadly Love Birds were misnamed, Little Devil would be more appropriate. You will only be able to, possibly, tame this bird by being very persistent and consistent and getting bitten many times until the bird realizes that it is not getting to you and from what you already say that is not going to happen. You really have two choices, keep it and enjoy its beauty, or give it to someone who will.

Q: My name is Bea. I just got a 15 year old male Yellow Naped Amazon. He doesn't like anyone but me. My daughter tried to pet him while he was on my shoulder. He tried to bite her but instead bit me on my chin and I have to get stitches. Is this normal? I'm a little afraid to put him back on my shoulder. If someone could help me, give me some advise. Thanks Bea

A: He was clearly showing your daughter what would happen if she got any closer. I do not believe a bird belongs on your shoulder, as a matter of fact it should never be above your chin and your chest is even better. The bird, on your shoulder, thinks he is in charge and at the top of the tree, so to speak. Think ahead and do not let anyone touch the bird while you are holding it. He still loves you, maybe a bit to much. This is breeding season and all caution needs to be practiced.

Q: I have a pair of mated ring necked doves, I've had them almost a year, guessing them to be a couple years old. Recently, the male started "cooing" CONTINUOUSLY...every 2-3 minutes...for 2-3 minutes at a time. No lie. Before this, he would call/coovery occasionally...it was usually before he mated the female. Then, she'd lay an egg, they'd both take turns sitting on it. (I usually removed it after a couple days.) He was quiet for 2-3 weeks out of the month, except for this period right before he'd mate the female. Now, in the last 2 months, he's pretty much doing the cooing continuously, day AND night....and I'm losing my patience. You can't read, watch TV, or hold a conversation anymore without this constant noise from him. They're in the living room in a large flight cage, so I can't really move them anywhere else in the apartment. Nothing has changed, everything is the same as it was prior to him starting this. I really like them, and don't want to get rid of them, but, unless I can figure out something to do to stop the continuous cooing, I'll have to. Thanks for your help!

A: If I didn't know better I would think this was a joke. How would you feel if someone in your family said it was OK if you stayed there but you needed to stop talking? You cannot take a natural function of a pet or family member and shut off their vocal cords. I personally do not believe that you deserve a loving pet in your home if they annoy you this much. I suggest that you let someone take them that will find their lovely cooing music to their ears and you get yourself a potted plant.
Karen the Parrot Ladytm

Q: The Intelligence of Parakeets -Small cages should be illegal. So should studio apartments and cubicles. I think no one should have any birds as pets at all and anyone who has one is a bad person no matter what size cage they have. Who is anyone to decide what the size of the cage should be. Companion birds are only companions because we force them to be dependent. Are parakeets as smart as chimps and dolphins? I'd love to see some real scientific data on the subject that has peer reviews and such. -god made a cage... a big round one.

A: Grow up, go to school and learn as much as you can, study hard and become a scientist and research all that you can. Then make a contribution to the world without making blank statements that you have not one ounce of knowledge of. Birds have the intelligence of a 3-5 year old child, some a lot more. If it were not for our loving care of our companion pets most of them would be dead and gone, starvation, no protection from the elements, from predators. I am hoping that you will truly make an effort to make this world a better place for all of us as it sounds like you really care. Karen the Parrot Ladytm

Q: One of my keets cere is very dark brown and not smooth. Similar to the color of a cigar. This isn't a new color, it's how she has matured. Her beak now has the same color brown spot. Not the entire beak, but like a mark that originates right below the cere. This is new. She has no respiratory problems and all seems OK, except she has a bit of yellowish discoloration of the white feathers below her beak. I am thinking this is from eating peaches and a "staining " type thing. She has a companion who has none of the above stuff, so I am guessing it is not contagious.

A: Mia, If the beak is smooth and not distorted then this is a sign of sexual maturity and she is in breeding mode. Nothing to worry about except that you have a horny bird on your hands. Karen the Parrot Ladytm

Q: Hi, My name is Sydey and I have a Black Headed Caique and the last couple of weeks he has just been screaming like non stop what should i do?

A: Start by figuring out what has set him off. Did you move the cage, have a visitor or more in the house, did someone tease him. Did you change his diet, give him a new toy, have a baby, get a dog or cat, etc., are you wearing red, someone wearing red nail polish, getting the idea???? Once you figure it out you might be able to correct it. Often sitting in front of a window will do it as the inside bird sees the birds outside and want to be out with the ones flying around. Solution to that: close the blinds. Karen the Parrot Ladytm

Q: Katie, my eclectus, is about 4 or 5 and is egg bound. Saw the x-ray picture today....a big one. She looked really bad last night her inner eyelids were covering up her eyes and she was rocking back and forth on her perch. She calmed down when her friend Mike came over and held her all night long. Now she is sitting in her cage looking a little better. Do I just wait until she starts to lay the egg and if there is a problem to take her in. Or do I get proactive and have the vet suction the egg and let her pass the eggshell.

A: Is she actually egg bound or is she just developing an egg? I cannot imagine an avian veterinarian, doing an X-ray and saying she is egg bound and leaving the egg there. Did she get a shot of Oxytocin to induce the egg laying? If you leave the egg and she is truly egg bound she will die. Find an avian veterinarian that is board certified and get this bird some help NOW!!!!!! Karen the Parrot Ladytm

 

NOVEMBER 2008

Q: I need some advice! I have to give my Myers's medicine for her giardia. She does not like to be handled at all and is very fearful. I have read everything I could find on how to towel a bird, and I understand the concept, however, when she sees a towel she flips out and starts thrashing all over the place. I can't even get the towel close to her without a severe reaction. I wouldn't mind chasing her around my apartment, but I'm really afraid she will hurt herself. She doesn't fly (I've had her five years, she is 15 and had been clipped her whole life and just doesn't seem to know how) so she runs around, hopping and semi-flying without any control. If I take her in to the bathroom she still freaks out just as much and I'm afraid she is more likely to run into a hard surface and hurt herself. any advice?? I'm so worried that she is going to hurt herself, but I know she needs to be taking her meds :(

She was on antibiotics once before and it was not such an issue to towel her, but it seems to be 100x worse now.

Is there something else besides using a towel I can do? thanks

A: Put the bird in a dark room and use only a tiny flashlight. The darkness usually stops movement and you can towel quickly. If that does or work for you using a small net, which I am not in favor of except as a last resort, and give the meds while the bird is in the net. The net actually becomes the replacement for the towel but is easier to catch the little escape artist.

 

Q: hi , I had two lovebirds, both masked lovebirds. i have had them for about 1-2 months, they were already about 8 months when i got them. one died suddenly last night. she was a very active lovebird, and ate and drank very well. she fell off her perch and died a slow death. i found her in the bottom of the cage, she was cold but still breathing. she was clenching her feet, and was having what looked like epileptic fits, stretching and then contracting her wings, and bending her head to the side. the other lovebird is fine.

Why did my love bird die, she was so young?

They are given fresh food and water everyday, covered at night.I have not given them any foods that are considered toxic to lovebirds.Please could someone help me understand why this happened. would really appreciate any sort of help.

A: The only way you can know for sure is to have your avian veterinarian do an autopsy. Heart attack, seizure, stroke are all possibilities.

 

Q: I have a red factor canary who recently had a run in with one of my pet rats, with him ending up with one less toe. we took him to the vets as he lost a lot of blood and she gave us sum Baytril but it ended up leaking after the first day. i took all his perches away at first and gradually brought them back in but he is not really using them and spends most of the time on the cage floor. i know his foot is still sore but it happened nearly two weeks ago so i wonder if its not healing well without that medication. also he sometimes makes a strange wheezing sound when he breathes so could there be something else wrong? he recently finished molting but is also not singing again yet, I'm worried there could be something more serious wrong either as an event of this or something separate.

A: My guess is that you went to a dog and cat doctor as a qualified avian veterinarian would have treated the foot, given you meds to put on it and made sure that the bird received the Baytril for at least 7 days. Infection from any animal bite can be deadly and needs to be treated properly, SEE AN AVIAN VET or you may lose your bird.

 

Q: hello everyone... my parakeet is very sick... I know she will lay her eggs but I think the eggs will not come out and its stuck...maybe this is the cause why my keet is sick please help me.

A: Get her to an avian veterinarian right now. She will surely die if you do not let a qualified person remove the egg that you consider stuck. Karen the Parrot Ladytm

 

Q: Last night I noticed Peetu has a mucky vent. It's not wet, but it is fecal stained and fluffy around the vent. She did have a loose stool last week, just once, that I attributed to her noweating real food vs seed. She has had no change in activity, she is eating well, she is playful with her mate. Other than the stained vent, she seems absolutely normal

So, I called the Avian Vet today that I have been taking her too. I did not speak with the Vet personally, but I explained the situation. I told her I know vent abnormalities can be an emergency. She scheduled my appointment for Wed. and told me because everything else was normal, it would be OK to wait.

Being a new bird owner and having read extensively about health problems, I am not fully comfortable waiting. Am I just being over concerned or should I insist on an earlier appointment ? I called about two hours ago and have been going back and forth in my headwondering if I am over reacting and should just trust that given the lack of symptoms, Peetu will be fine.

A: #1 make sure that you are seing an avian veterinarian, it sounds like maybe this is a dog and cat doctor.

#2 keep the vent area clean, if you do not the poop will dry up and prevent the little guy from going to the bathroom and you will have a rip roaring problem.

#3 rely on your instincts, you do know your bird better than ANYONE

Karen the Parrot Ladytm

 

Q: Subject: is my bird sick?

My cockatiel keeps doing this weird thing. He takes his claw picks his nose then makes a sound. I am not sure if it is a sneeze or not. Also when he drinks water, he makes a weird sound like hes choking it down. He has done that since I got him but the nose thing I noticed for about a week now. He has had no change in his behavior and runs around and still chirps. Can anyone help me?

A: It sounds like you might be dealing with a sinus infection, I would certainly go to an avian veterinarian that knows how to do nasal flushes and see if you can clear up the problem. The nasal flush can even be done with an anti biotic like Baytril. He could even have a small seed lodged in the sinus passage. If that is the case it is very irritating, and can cause an infection if not removed, the nasal flush will accomplish that. Karen the Parrot Ladytm

 

Q: Hi,I have an 11 year old cockatiel female. I would like to get her a companion. I am in my mid 60 and want her to kick the bucket before I do. She is so spoiled and I cant see her being thrown to the void as a senior citizen.

Is there a way I can tell if a companion bird is over 10 years old. I really do not want one that is going to live until 2025.

Thanks.
Charles in Canon City Colorado

A: Charles, if you buy and older tiel from someone you trust and they tell you that the bird is 10 years old. Otherwise you are just taking a chance. Also there is no guarantee that they will get along at that advanced age so be careful.
Karen the Parrot Ladytm

Q: I have a lovebird hen that is about a year and a half old. She is bonded to me but adores the other members of the household comprising of my boyfriend and his father. Everyone spends lots of time with her and she is rarely in her cage. All of us can handle her freely including petting and preening. Once we accidentally let her lay a clutch of five eggs, but even then, all of us could stick our hands in the box with the eggs and she would just coo.

Issue:
When people come over who are not one of us three, she becomes aggressive towards me, biting my ears or my hands extremely hard. She also tries very hard to get over to the new person. In the beginning we allowed her to go to the new person, but she was very dominating and in the person's face each time. Also they usually had jewelry and couldn't prevent her from trying to destroy it without getting bit. I'm not sure that I understand why she is exhibiting this aggression with new people. All I know to do is to keep her away from all but the most bird-experienced people, but I am aware that refusing to let her come into contact with new people may compound the problem. If she hurts my friends, they will be harder to "re-train" than the bird will be, and that will make things worse as well. Does anyone have any advice on a constructive way to alter this behavior?

Thank You!

A: First of all she is bonded to you and she is showing your friends what will happen to them if they get closer... and it does. She needs to be left in her cage when you have company or you may well be looking at a law suit.

Love birds are not known for being loving birds so feel blessed that she loves you and your family. This is not acceptable behavior. Would you let your dog or child bite your friends, if so you won't have friends for long and if not why would you let the bird do it? Karen the Parrot Ladytm

 

Q: Hello, I have 1 male lovebird and he is very tame, but i can not spend as much time with him anymore and I am afraid he will get lonely, so I think I am going to get another one. Is this a good Idea? What should I do to introduce them? Should I get a male or female? Thanks so much for your help!

A: First you are so lucky to have a tame Love Bird, it is really rare as they are little devils, if you get him a mate, male or female you will likely lose him as a pet. When you are not home let him watch the TV, the Disney channel is great, all my birds love Sesame Street. Do NOT put on the discovery channel as it is too violent and upsets the birds.

OCTOBER 2008

Q: Can birds get Motion sickness????? I didn't think birds could get motion sickness as their natural mode of transportation is flying.

A: OH BOY CAN THEY!!!
I had two birds come into my shop today, both had thrown up all over. Prevention: Cover the cage completely when in the car. Do not let even a speck of light peek through. The birds that get motion sickness need to be kept in a motionless area where they do not seee the cars go by, or the trees or birds flying and no swinging toys in the carrier. It is no different then you on a boat hanging over the rail tossing your cookies to the wind....MOTION does it, so eliminate it.

Q: Hi, Please help if you can. I live here in Southern Spain and unfortunately our vet's, who I'm sure are very good at what they do, are not avian vets and therefore not too helpful with small birds. We have an 18 month old female who has just hatched two young. It's her second brood this year and all was fine for the first two days. Yesterday, without warning she just went over and we thought we had lost her. We took her inside from the aviary and kept her quiet and warm and she did rally a little. We have managed to get some antibiotic mixed with water into her and a small amount of baby protein food but she is still very poorly. I think I can detect a slight click in her breathing and she appears totally exhausted on the bottom of the cage although she is still fighting on. The babes of course are now taking up a lot of time but seem fine. At three days old we still have a way to go but fingers crossed. Any suggestions on her problem much appreciated.

A: Normally the male feeds the female and also helps feed the babies, she could be stressing doing all the work and you did not mention the male. You need to keep the bird warm , a heating pad off to one side of the cage on low would help a lot. She may have had a stroke or a heart attack.

You can add hard boiled egg to the parents diet, apples and oranges. A small amount of baby cereal, made with water, not milk, in a dish and see if the parents will eat it. You can add strained baby food, beef or chicken. You may need to feed the new babies, but if you are lucky the father will do most of the work and give mom a rest. Remember that warmth is very important to her if she has to work to keep the babies and herself warm you will lose her. Please feel free to contact me directly if you need to. Karen the Parrot Ladytm Birdsnmor@aol.com

Q: My albino female has been picking out her feathers and one of the others has been plucking at her too! This morning she started bleeding I bathed her and have been giving sugar and milk by way of a q tip what else can I do. as she is weak and I don’t have a lot of money to spend for vet.

A: #1 STOP THE SUGAR AND MILK. Both are very bad for the bird. Separate the birds NOW. She may be in need of a collar to stop the plucking cycle. I suggest that you get her to an avian veterinarian ASAP or you will lose her. She needs real food, not sugar that makes the heart race and both help to grow bacteria. She may need to be tube fed for a bit if she is weak. Karen the Parrot Ladytm

Q: I have just gotten a three or four year old Scarlet macaw. He has bitten me hard and drawn blood twice. I know its a matter of trust and he's scared of me now. I have only had him for 3 days. He is coming to the open door of the cage now and taking food from my hand and also lets me pet him some times. I have a cockatoo as well who is very nice. Tango who is our macaw will not step up yet. He will not let us get to the position were he will get on my arm. I really want him to play and be happy in his new surrounding, is it just a matter of time or is there something else I can do?

A: Scarlets are notorious nippers. Truly they are like your OLD GREAT AUNT that pinches your cheek. It’s a love thing more than not. They also use their beak as a third foot to step up or get to another place and have no sense of it hurting you as it is a natural move for them. Some birds never step up due to the fact that someone did not understand the 3rd foot and thought they were getting bitten and dumped the bird, or yelled at it etc..
Be persistent and consistent, loving and use positive reinforcement and be ever so patient. The rewards of a loving Scarlet Macaw are the very best.
Karen the Parrot Ladytm

Q: My male and female keets have been living together for about a year. They are so happy together and getting my girl a friend was the best thing we ever did. I was told that if I didn't provide nesting material, they wouldn't mate. Well my 11 year son quite literally learned about the "birds" and bees from their behavior a while ago. Now today I'm watching her hanging off the back of her perch and "plop" down drops an egg! I was shocked! She didn't go after it and just kept playing and kissing Harry. I panicked and ran out and got her a bamboo nest because the receptionist at the vet said she will probably lay more eggs...WHAT? I looked online and everything seems to be geared towards people trying to breed lots of birds. I just want my little girl to be safe, healthy and not mourning some cold egg in the bottom of the cage. What do I do next?

A: If she dropped the egg she really is not interested in it. Should she lay one in the nest, and you should have a Keet nesting box, let her sit on the eggs for at least 24 days after the last one is laid. They can lay 1-5 eggs and there is no guarantee that they are fertile. LET THEM SIT ON THE EGGS ANYWAY> If you get babies the parents should raise them. Whoever told you that they would not lay eggs if you did not put in nesting material does not have a clue about birds.
Karen the Parrot Ladytm

Q: My concern is this: I have 5 birds, 3 tiels 2 IRN. They all have their own cages and live in my living room dining room. Everyone agrees that birds need lots of people interaction, and that they need lots of out time. My problem, since I don't have a "bird room", of course they have to be in their cages at certain times. I've read how a lot of folks have bird rooms, and their birds are out all the time. This makes me feel guilty for the times I have to cage mine. On the other hand, if I had a bird room with the door closed, they wouldn't get the full people interaction with everyone that they do now.

I'd like to hear from others, and how they deal with this situation. Thanks.

A: Give yourself a break. Provide toys, good food and the best out time you can handle and don't worry about what everyone else does. When you keep your birds happy, entertained with toys, interaction with you and lots of love they will live happy, healthy lives and love you dearly.
Karen the Parrot Ladytm

Q: I adopted my bird from an abusive household, and have noticed some strange behavior. Of biggest concern, she won't poop unless someone takes her out of her cage. I am worried that she is holding it for an unusually long time, and that this may be a result of poor prior treatment.

A: Some people have over poop trained their birds and not let them know it is ok to go in the cage, or this bird might have gotten scolded for messing in the cage. SAD! Try using a word like POOP or Drop every time you see the bird go and then compliment it on how good it is. After you get some results tell it to poop or drop before you take it out of the cage. When it gets the idea and goes in the cage get really excited and tell it how wonderful it is and hopefully it will realize that going in the cage is OK. It is very dangerous for the bird to hold poop in and not go especially if you are not home in time to take it out. Karen the Parrot Ladytm

Q: PLEASE HELP!! I need some advice about my female parakeet.......she can't fly anymore at all - she can't balance herself on the perch anymore either.

No, her wings have not been clipped by anyone, she is not egg bound, she is pretty healthy other than not being able to fly or balance. This has been over the last 2 weeks.

A: You need to get her to an avian veterinarian as she may be having neurological problems. Keets are prone to tumors and you need to find out what is going on. To say she is pretty healthy but cannot balance or fly one is not consistent with the other. Please do something now before it gets worse and you are unable to do anything. Karen the Parrot Ladytm

Q: I have two parakeets. I got them about 10 months ago. For some odd reason they seem to fight when they are on my shoulder. this happened about a week ago. I was in shock so I pulled them apart and my male parakeet bit me. I put him back in his cage to let him calm down then after a while I tried to pick him up again. he only bit harder. I have no clue as to why he picked up this biting habit so quickly and I was hoping that you could help me.

A: This is breeding season and you did not say if you know if you have a male and female or two males. If the latter they will fight over your attention, if a male and female you have an angry male and you are interfering with his intended. If male and female they will probably mate and you will have 2 angry birds if you get in the way. If two males they will probably need to be in separate cages and you will need to handle them at different times. Karen the Parrot Ladytm

Q: I just got this new Lovebird from my friend who had it for three years but never spent anytime with it so it bits everything and when it doesn't bit you it draws blood and doesn't let go it's a very beautiful Bird i just wish i could pet it and love it but unfortunately I can't do that without getting my hand bitten off. Can anyone help me :( I don't know what to do.

A: Sadly Love Birds were mis-named, Little Devil would be more appropriate. You will only be able to, possibly, tame this bird by being very persistent and consistent and getting bitten many times until the bird realizes that it is not getting to you and from what you already say that is not going to happen. You really have two choices, keep it and enjoy its beauty, or give it to someone who will.

Q: My name is Bea. I just got a 15 year old male Yellow Naped Amazon. He doesn't like anyone but me. My daughter tried to pet him while he was on my shoulder. He tried to bite her but instead bit me on my chin and I have to get stitches. Is this normal? I'm a little afraid to put him back on my shoulder. If someone could help me, give me some advise. Thanks Bea

A: He was clearly showing your daughter what would happen if she got any closer. I do not believe a bird belongs on your shoulder, as a matter of fact it should never be above your chin and your chest is even better. The bird, on your shoulder, thinks he is in charge and at the top of the tree, so to speak. Think ahead and do not let anyone touch the bird while you are holding it. He still loves you, maybe a bit too much. This is breeding season and all caution needs to be practiced.

Q:Subject: Ring-neck doves continuosly cooing

I have a pair af mated ring necked doves, I've had them almost a year, guessing them to be a couple years old.

Recently, the male started "cooing" CONTINUOUSLY...every 2-3 minutes...for 2-3 minutes at a time. No lie.

Before this, he would call/coovery occasionally...it was usally before he mated the female. Then , she'd lay an egg, they'd both take turns sitting on it. (I usually removed it after a couple days.)

He was quiet for 2-3 weeks out of the month, except for this period right before he'd mate the female.Now, in the last 2 months, he's pretty much doing the cooing continuously, day AND night....and I'm losing my patience. You can't read, watch TV, or hold a conversation anymore without this consatant noise from him. They're in the living room in a large flight cage, so i can't really move them anywhere else in the apartment..

Nothing has changed, everything is the same as it was prior to him starting this.

I really like them, and don't want to get rid of them, but, unlessI can figure out something to do to stop the continuous cooing, I'll have to.

Thanks for your help!

A: If I didn't know better I would think this was a joke. How would you feel if someone in your family said it was ok if you stayed there but you needed to stop talking? You cannot take a natural function of a pet or family member and shut off their vocal cords. I personally do not beleive that you deserve a loving pet in your home if they annoy you this much. I suggest that you let someone take them that will find their lovely cooing music to their ears and you get yourself a potted plant.
Karen the Parrot Ladytm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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