Parrots like to climb and bite. A good toy for such a need is a toy ladder. A toy ladder is not only to satisfy the parrots’ need to play fun, but also to allow them do more exercise for its health.
Materials and tools for a toy ladder
Wood sticks, two strings and a hole driller.
The wood sticks can be sourced from a branch free of pesticides and chemicals, the branch should have a diameter bigger than 1 cm, you know a parrot like to bite, so the wood sticks can’t be too slim. The branch should be treated with boil water and bleach solution to kill the bacteria, then rinse the branch with plenty of water and dry it under sunshine. Cut the branch into wood sticks at a specific length according to the size of your parrot. Decide the quantity of wood sticks and the distance between sticks according to the planned length of the ladder.
The ropes should be coarse and made of organic cotton because the parrot will surely bite them.
Make the toy ladder
Drill holes on two ends of the wood sticks, two cotton rope go through the end holes and tied at two ends of the toy ladder to form two loops that can be hung inside the bird cage.
Spring and summer are the seasons for the adult birds to nest and give birth to babies. Be careful at this period that you may meet a baby bird on the ground when walking in the the street with trees on one or two sides, or the place with trees that’s available for birds to nest.
What to do when meeting a baby wild bird?
You are supposed to observe the baby bird closely, make sure if it need help.
- For the fledglings who’s learning to fly, it may be too tired to fly and stop on the ground. You can catch it, but actually it can fly again if you let it alone to rest for a while. In such a case, just let it be.
- If the baby birds just fell off the nest to the ground, its parent may be nearby and going to feed their babies. You are not supposed to take the baby bird home. It’s better to put the baby back to its nest. If you are unable to find the nest or it is too high in the tree to reach, put the baby bird into a basket and affix the basket with wire or nails on the tree firmly as near as possible to the nest or its parent you observed, its parent will hear and find it.
- A baby bird who’s learning fly may get hurt easily. If you found a baby bird who’s injured, you need to help him because its parent is unable to take care of an injured baby. The first action should be contacting a licensed wildlife rescue center for help and suggestion, Wildlife International Site and Wildlife Rehabilitators Directory – USA are two related helpful webpages. If you are unable to ask help from a wildlife rescue center and you insist to help the bird that may risk you to be infected, take the bird home and place the bird to a warm place, handle the injury with disinfectant or splint the broken leg or wing with tape. Remember always wash your hands with soapy water after touching the wild bird. For feeding the bird, you may don’t know what’s its dietary need, you can feed it with fluid food that mixed with water and crushed bird seeds.
I found by chance my parrot’s low beak had some plaques with pitting marks/small holes on the root. I searched online and know it’s a fungal infection that’s also called “dermatophytosis”.
The parrot with fungal infection on the beak
The most suggested treatment is to apply a layer of white Vaseline on the affected area. This is to isolate the fungi from oxygen, then kill the fungi. But it would take a long time (about two weeks or even longer), also the parrot may feel inconvenient and scratch the white Vaseline off.
I decide to use garlic fist. I like to use garlic because I had used it to save some birds who’s had internal infections. Garlic is able to suppress and kill fungus. I cut garlic into slices and dipped them into water. Then I drip-fed the parrot with garlic water and dripped garlic water on the affected area for a week. It worked to stop a further infection, and slightly reduced the symptom. But a few days after I stopped using the garlic water, the infection deteriorated again. Garlic seemed not that effective to treat the outer infection.
Finally, I adopted tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is well-known for its powerful antiseptic properties of killing many strains of bacteria, viruses and fungi. But tea tree oil is also very poisonous, especially to small creatures if the tea tree oil goes into their blood circulation via the delicate skin or wound. This is why I hesitate and don’t use it first. Of course I would be very carefully not to let the tea tree oil go inside the mouth of the parrot since I decided to use it.
The tea tree oil to treat fungal infection
>>>Click here to view more about tea tree oil at iHerb.
I used a cotton swab with tea tree oil to scratch slightly the parrot’s infected area, the next day, I observed the plaques were peeling off. The tea tree oil really worked and was very effectively! I applied the tea tree oil every two days on the parrot’s outer infected area. The below photo is after 3 times using tea tree oil.
Treat the parrot beak’s fungal infection with tea tree oil
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A bird also catches a cold. This is a common thing that happens mostly on baby birds. Baby birds are weak and their feathers are not fully developed, so when they can get a cold easily!
When birds get a cold, they often tuck their heads under wings with fluffed feathers, appear no appetite, inactive and sleepy. Finally they die if you don’t treat them in time and correctly.
Here’s my experience to treat a bird’s cold effectively and simply.
- Use garlic! Garlic can kill the Cold bacteria. Firstly, we can cut the garlic into small piece and put them into water to have garlic water, drip feed the bird with garlic water. The second way is to mix the garlic pieces into the soft food to feed your bird. In general, the garlic water will take effect quicker. Two or three hours after being fed with the garlic water, the bird will become spirited again! Continuously feed the bird 3 days with garlic water and/or garlic pieces to achieve a complete recovery.
- After feeding with garlic and letting it rests 2~3 hours, bask the bird in the sun for 5-10 minutes, you would observe the bird tighten its feathers and becomes more active. Be careful not to put the bird in the sun too long otherwise you are killing it.
Some points need to be noted for this issue.
- Don’t bathe your baby bird just because you consider it very dirty. Most of the baby birds get cold just because their owners bathe them. The idea of bathing the bird with warm water and blow it to be dry with warm wind by dryer is wrong! The bird still easily to get cold by such a way! You can use a moisty cloth to scrub gently the surface of the feathers and let the bird wash itself when it grows up.
- When your bird get a cold, don’t try the antibiotics easily, the antibiotics may not cure the bird’s cold and would cause serious side effects that kill your bird.
Bird flu, also called Avian influenza, refers to influenza caused by some influenza virus strains adapted to birds. There are many types of bird flu, and most do not cause severe illness in birds and humans. But one type of bird flu, H5N1, have caused the death of millions of poultry and many wild birds, and sometimes can be passed from birds to humans and can be fatal to humans. The newly detected bird flu of H7N9 is low pathogenic to birds, but high pathogenic to humans and would cause humans to death. These viruses cannot by now spread between people, but scientists worry that these viruses may mutate and become contagious between people. Bird flu caused by such highly pathogenic viruses concern greatly the health of both birds and birds’ owners.
What are the symptoms of the birds and bird owners who got bird flu?
Symptoms for Birds:
- No appetite
- Problems with breathing or walking
- Swelling of the legs and face
The above symptoms can be observed mainly on poultry. In wild birds, infection signs are much more subtle and complicated. Highly pathogenic avian influenza that caused by H5N1 can kill birds rapidly within 1~2 days.
Symptoms for humans:
- Aching muscles
- Respiratory symptoms, such as a cough or runny nose
Anyone who appears flu-like symptoms should consult their doctors if they have been recently exposed to poultry or meet a dead wild bird. The incubation period of bird flu can be from 2-17 days, an early proper diagnosis should be made if there is any potential exposure because the disease of H5N1 and H7N9 can be fatal to humans.
It should be noted that not all the symptoms for birds and humans may present in every case, the most confident confirmation of bird flu come from blood analysis. Anyone who found any suspected symptom for both birds and humans should contact a doctor, a vet or local government.
How to prevent bird flu from infecting birds and the bird owners?
- Keep your birds and their food/cage away from all wild birds. Better to keep your birds indoors, if you keep them outside, enclose the cage with a roof and a cloth wrapping it. Collect the bird food immediately that pushed out of the cage by pet birds in case these food attract infected wild birds and leave the viruses to pet birds and owners.
- Do not often go to poultry market or farms when bird flu infections are reported nearby recently, clean your hands /clothes after you come back from these places.
- Have a good sanitation. Clean the bird cage, food/water containers at least once a week with soapy water, then apply a disinfectant and keep for about 15 minutes before rinsing them off with plenty of water.
- Cook poultry meat and eggs thoroughly to kill bird flu viruses and other harmful germs if there are.
- Do not travel to the area with bird flu infection just reported, and be careful not to be close to the people who just came back from the places where bird flu infections were reported recently.
What is egg binding?
Egg binding refers to a serious medical condition that a female bird is unable to pass an egg. The egg may be stuck near the cloaca or inside the reproductive tract, it can cause infection and even death if not treated properly in time.
Why egg binding occurs?
Egg binding can occur due to the below factors:
- The egg is malformed and/or too large.
- The bird’s cloaca or reproductive tract is too narrow.
- Calcium deficiency causes the egg too soft.
- The bird is overweight.
- The bird is too young when having an egg, while its reproductive system is still not mature.
How to identify if your pet bird gets an egg binding?
Watch carefully if your bird has these signs and symptoms:
- Strains without producing any egg and poop
- Often sits on the bottom of the cage.
- Difficult to sit on a perch
- Breathes rapidly
- Presents inactive and no appetite
- The bird’s feathers fluff up
How to prevent egg binding?
- Supplying your pet birds with a diet rich in calcium and Vitamin D. Provide a piece of cuttlebone for parrots or mix the powder of cuttlebone or egg shell into the bird food is a common good idea.
- Make your birds exercise more by providing a big cage and playing with them often, offer lighting in the early evening to let birds exercise longer for pet birds don’t need to sleep long time while wild birds need enough sleeping to have more energy looking for food in the day time.
How to treat egg binding?
- A warm water bath to the bird may be of great help. This relaxes her muscles and let she pass the egg into the water. Don’t force the bird if she don’t like a bath.
- Massage the bird’s abdomen gently to help the bird pass the egg. Before doing this, you can lubricate the bird’s cloaca and the reproductive tract by feeding it vegetable oil and drip a few drops of vegetable oil into the cloaca directly. Massage the abdomen very gently and slowly pushing the eggs towards the butt. This lead to a success of passing out the egg in many cases.
- Sometimes it’s hard to massage out the egg because the egg is too big or the cloaca is too small. For such a case, a veterinarian will use an injection needle to extract the egg content, allowing the egg shell to collapse and be removed.
- Surgical extraction can be done by a skilled veterinarian. The vet will cut a very small open and place inside a minimally invasive device, the device will widen the reproductive tract to let go out the egg.
surgical for a parrot with egg binding
It’s rare for a pet bird, especially a pet parrot, to get constipated. But once a bird suffers a constipation, the bird will often strain to defecate, and become very inactive or irritable with fluffed feathers. It’s a very bad health problem that needs to take immediate attention and action.
The bird’s constipation can be caused by:
- The bird does not have enough exercise.
- The bird has a poor diet: The bird food is with low fiber and/or lack of oil; Eat a lots with little water.
- The bird suffers gastroenteritis.
- Supply seeds that are rich in oil and fat, and fruits that’s juicy with multi-vitamins and fiber.
- Provide in the cage fresh water all the time. Without water, the bird food will be dry and blocked inside.
- Clean the cage often, sterilize the cage and feeder periodically because infection like a gastroenteritis will also cause a constipation.
- Use warm water and a soft cloth to remove the poop built around the bird’s butt. Be careful that you are not tearing its skin to cause wound and get infected.
- Use an eye drop to feed the bird with a few drops of vegetable oil.
- If it’s serious and the above step doesn’t work, grasp the bird upside down and drip the vegetable oil directly into the cloaca, hold the bird upside down for a few minutes to let oil flow inside completely.
Dehydration is a common serious problem that often happens in baby birds. It will cause baby birds die quickly, so an immediate medical attention should be paid when the birds have the below signs:
- Reddish looking skin instead of pink looking.
- The baby gets a bit constipated as it often does the pooping jobs with little poop out.
- The skin is dry and not springy.
Upon seeing these symptoms, we need to feed the baby bird with pedialyte. We can make by ourselves the pedialyte solution by mixing a tablespoon of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of salt into one litre of water. In case of the baby bird inhales the water, don’t use an eye drop to feed the baby bird, just dip one of your fingers into the sugar-salt water and then place on the top of the baby’s beak, the baby bird will suck the drops from your finger. Only feed the bird a few drops each time. It should be noted that the baby bird will die if fed with too much sugar and salt at one time.
To prevent dehydration of a baby bird, the bird should be put in a warm and humid place, if the condition is too dry, place a cup of water nearby. Also, it shouldn’t be too long between 2 meals for the baby bird.
The conjunctiva is the membrane that lines the inside of the eye lid. When the conjunctiva gets inflamed or infected, we call it “conjunctivitis”. Conjunctivitis is a common eye disease in parrots. It can be caused by vitamin A deficiency, viral infection, injury or parasitic infection. If not treated in time, the disease would develop to blindness or even death.
Symptoms for a parrot eye conjunctivitis:
- Swollen or red eye-lids
- Eye lids closed or partially closed
- Increased frequency of blinking
- Often rub the eye, beak or face on their claw or perch
- Feed the bird with seeds and fruits that are rich in vitamin A.
- Put the sick bird alone in a cage in case infecting other birds.
- The bird with eye infection fears lighting. Use a cloth to sleeve the cage or put the cage in a dark place to reduce the lighting stimulation to the bird’s eye.
- Use normal saline to wash the bird’s eye.
- Apply tetracycline ointment or other antibiotics ointments on the bird’s eye, or you can drip antibiotics eye drops into the infected bird eye.
- Perform the above steps for one week, if situation persists without going better, it’s very possible that the conjunctivitis causes the internal infection or the conjunctivitis is actually caused by internal infection. We need to add antibiotics into the bird food.
Ear infection is a common bird disease. It may be caused by ear mites, fungus and bacteria.
Symptoms of a bird’s ear infection can be:
- The Birds often scratch or shake their heads
- The ear hole is exposed completely
- Liquid is going out of its ears
- Solid yellow crap or mold is found in its ear canals
Observe the birds’ ears, if you can see mite feces or the mites in the ear canal, drip a few drops of vegetable oil in the ears and use a Q-tip to clean the ear canals, don’t put the Q tip too deep in case hurting the eardrum. Clean the ear canal one time a day for three days.
If the ears are infected by fungus that you can see greenish/moldy craps inside ear canals, squeeze fungus cream into the infected ears and use a Q-tip to push fungus cream inside the ear canals.
When you sort out the above signs, the infection may be caused by bacteria that requires antibiotics. Drip a few drops of antibiotics ear drops that can be for human otitis media into the ear canal one time a day for 3~5 days.
A special note is that the ear of a bird is really very small, so if you are using a Q-tip to cope with the ear infection, you may need to initially remove some of the cotton from the tip that makes the Q-tip fits inside the canal, and control the bird from moving its head in case the tip hurt the eardrum.