Animal Science II-Small Animal Birds-Unit D3
Parrot Family • Contains some of the smartest birds. • Many species can be taught to talk, are affectionate, and make excellent pets. • Members of the parrot family are known for their large beaks, especially the Macaws. • Includes Cockatoos, Cockatiels, Conures, Macaws, Parrots, Parakeets, Lovebirds, Hanging Parakeets
Cockatoos (Parrot Family) • Crest or tuft of feathers on the top of the head • Ability to mimic words and sounds • Intelligent • Range in length from 13-30” • Popular birds that make excellent pets • Tame easily
Cockatiel (Parrot Family) • One of the most popular pet birds • About 12” long (the size of a small cockatoo) • Commonly found in pet stores at a reasonable price • Gray cockatiels are mostly available. • Ideal for beginners and youngsters • Easy to raise and affectionate
African Gray Parrot (Parrot Family) • 13” long • Primary color is gray • Very alert, intelligent and affectionate • Considered to be the best talker of all birds • Voice closely resembles a human voice
Budgerigar-budgie (Parrot Family) • Most popular pet bird in the world • Australian bird that gets its name, which means good bird or good food, from the Aborigines • About 7” long with a primary color of yellowish-green • Can be taught to talk with proper training • Easy to care for, inexpensive pet • Eats food from floor of cage
Toucans (Woodpecker Family) • Fairly rare as pets • May cost $2500 or more • Very noisy birds • About the size of a macaw • Extremely large bill, which can be almost as long as the bird’s body
Perching Birds • Largest family of birds • Almost 60% of all birds (5,100 of 9,000 bird species) • Good singers known as song birds
Starlings (Perching Family) • Talking Mynah bird is in this group. It is a black bird with an orange bill • Has the ability to mimic the human voice and other sounds • Require lots of care • Cages must be cleaned daily because Mynah birds have a diet of fruit • Prices range from $300 to $500
Canary (Perching Family) • Very important pet • Some are bred for their color • Others are bred for their singing ability • Some are bred to have a crested top (feathering on the top of the head)
Finches (Perching Family) • Small birds that are sociable in nature • Bengalese Finch is the most social of all birds • Zebra Finch is the most widely kept and bred finch in captivity.
Perches • Size and style depend on the bird • Most store bought cages come with hard plastic perches which may be uncomfortable for birds. • If birds refuse to perch, replace plastic perches with wood perches that are more natural for birds.
Perches • Larger birds like larger perches, smaller birds like smaller perches • Finches/canaries- ½” round perch • Budgerigars- ½” oval perch • Parrots- 1’ square perch
Perches • The perch for large parrot-type birds must be replaced as these birds destroy wood perches. However, the bird exercises its beak and stays busy in the process.
Perches • Limbs and tree branches make natural perches, but care must be taken to insure they are free of mold and pesticide residue.
Perches • Tapered perches work well because they give the bird a choice of most of the comfortable perching spot.
Water and Feed Containers • Water containers need to be hard and easy to clean materials like glass, ceramic, or stainless steel
Water and Feed Containers • Gravity-type waterers that hang outside the cage with a metal spout/tube extending into the cage work excellent.
Water and Feed Containers • Feed containers may be plastic for smaller birds, but parrot-type birds need the same kind of material used for watering containers
Toys • Prevent boredom • Large parrot-type birds need stainless-steel chains with bells • Smaller birds like canaries and finches can have mirrors, chains with bells, and ladders
Cage Location • Location of cage must be out of direct sunlight, free from drafts, in a place of constant temperature, and protected from hazards like poisonous plants and pets.
Feeding • Most birds eat one of three things—seed, fruit, and/or nectar
Seed • The vast majority of birds have a diet of seed • Cereal seeds—higher content of carbohydrates compared to oil • Canary seed, millet, corn, dehusked oat kernals • Oil seeds—higher in fat content than cereal seed and lower in carbohydrates • Sunflower, peanuts, safflower, pine nuts, rape, maw niger, linseed
Seed • Usually bought in a commercial premixed ration of cereal and oil seed that is formulated for certain bird species and provides balance and variety • Should be dry and free of dust and dirt • Moldy seed should never be fed (peanuts are very susceptible)
Seed • May be soaked in warm water for 24 hours for young birds who may have difficulty cracking the seed with their beak or for birds during the breeding and molting season
Soaked Seeds • Soaking stimulates germination which causes a chemical change that increases the protein content of the seeds. • Before feeding, rinse in tap water and examine for mold or fungi • Discard any soaked seeds not consumed within a few hours and clean containers before feeding more soaked seeds
Fruit • Consumed by Mynah, lories, and lorikeets • Diet does not include seeds, grit, and cuttlefish • Soft bill pellets or foods from the pet store • Fruit—apple slices, grapes, orange slices, and banana or dried fruit can be fed • Mealworms are live food that can be fed also
Nectar • Nectar and pollen are consumed by lories and lorikeets • Powdered nectar is available from a pet store to mix with water
Other Feed Options • Green plant material • Carrot tops, chickweed, dandelion leaves • Kale and spinach in moderation (too much green can cause diarrhea) • Avoid lettuce because it lacks nutritional value • Wash to remove any pesticide residue • Feed after it has warmed to room temperature
Other Feed Options • Grit aids in the ventriculus in grinding food up since birds have no teeth • Soluble-oyster shell breaks down and is a source of minerals • Insoluble-crushed granite provides the base for food to rub and work against to be ground up
Other Feed Options • Cuttlefish bone (marine mollusk) • Provides a source of calcium and will readily be eaten by larger birds • Smaller birds may need cuttlefish shaved or chipped • Particularly useful to female birds who need calcium for egg production
Handling and Training • Allow birds to adjust to new locations for 2 to 3 days before any handling is attempted. • Offer a treat at regular intervals until it will take the treat through an open door cage • Press a stick perch up against the bird’s chest above the legs to encourage the bird to step up on it
Handling and Training • Once the bird is comfortable one may substitute a finger or hand for the bird to perch on • Leather gloves may be needed for larger birds that use their beak to climb to perch
Clipping Wings • Wings can be clipped to restrict their ability to fly and prevent escape • Painless • Primary and secondary flight feathers are cut just above the base of the feather shaft • Cutting into the feather shaft will result in injury and bleeding
Clipping Wings • The two outer primary flight feathers are left for aesthetic purposes
Teaching to Talk • Budgerigars, cockatiels, parrots, macaws and cockatoos can be taught to talk • Young males are usually the best learners and easiest to teach • Remove distractions such as mirrors, toys, and feed during lessons • The same person needs to work with a bird on a regular basis. Usually women and children are better trainers.
Teaching to Talk • Lessons should be given at the same time everyday. • Limit the length to about 15 minutes each day • Use short phrases and words and slowly repeat them
Competency 20.00 Use principles of bird management to create a healthy habitat for pet birds.
Internal Parasites • Rarely a problem with birds • Roundworms • Diagnosis is by observing feces for long, thin, white worms. • Contracted from ingesting worm eggs in contaminated feces, soil, or food. • Symptoms: blockage of intestines, poor plummage, weight loss, diarrhea. • Treatments are available
Internal Parasites • Tapeworms • Diagnosed by observing small rice-like segments in the feces • Contracted from eating an intermediate host such as house flies, fleas, ticks, or earthworms. • Proper cleaning and sanitation are the best prevention. • Treatment with piprazine, nicotine sulfate and Kamal powder
External Parasites • Red Mites • Appear as tiny red specks and feed on blood of infected birds at night, causing restlessness, scratching, and picking at their feathers. • Spread through contact with infected birds. • Adults may be dusted with pyrethium powder. • Clean and disinfect all cages and nest boxes.