Wednesday, April 23, 2014

5 Tips to Preparing Your Birds for Severe Weather

Spring has sprung and us Kansans know what that means... severe weather. We're no strangers to nasty storms no matter what season it is, but it never hurts to be prepared. Rather be safe than sorry I always say! So here are some tips that could make the difference if you only have a matter of seconds. Most of these tips work for almost any natural disaster and to keep almost any animal safe.

           1. Be aware! If you hear on the news or the radio that your area may experience bad weather in the couple days, always take it seriously! Again, you're better off being safe than sorry.            

           2. Prepare! Take the time to gather items that you can have ready with your animal's carrier or travel cage such as extra bird food, bottled water, towels/blankets, newspaper/paper towels, sandwich baggies (can be used for daily portions of food), and of course your usual disaster prep items: batteries, flash light, radio, food, etc. I like to keep these items ready all the time in a bag or backpack near my animals or in my basement. Again, if you only have a matter of seconds, having these things ready before disaster strikes could mean saving lives!

                  ~Another important step to preparing is to have carriers or travel cages ready. Make sure they're thoroughly cleaned and have their cups and perches in place. Line the bottom with newspaper and/or paper towels. Have spare towels/blankets set with them just in case you need to keep your animals warm.

            3. *IN CASE YOUR BIRDS ARE NOT TAME OR ARE IN FULL FLIGHT* - This is very important! A lot of people have birds that are temperamental and may not come out of the cage easily or aren't trimmed. If you have to get your birds out of its cage in order to put it in a carrier, take a thick towel (make sure your hands are covered!) and grab the bird gently but firmly. The easiest and most comfortable way to do this is to wrap the towel around the bird's body, restraining its feet and wings but keep the head exposed. Keep a firm hold on the bird and put it in the carrier. The bird will most likely not enjoy this, but the key is to keep them safe without you getting bit or the bird being hurt.

Here are some pictures of Nancy catching up "Joker", an Umbrella Cockatoo that came in for a trim. Nancy is demonstrating how to properly catch up a bird with a towel safely.

            4. Try to get your bird adjusted to your travel cage/carrier BEFORE an emergency happens! Your bird should not be afraid of the carrier. If they're not familiar with the carrier it can cause a traumatic experience and give the bird more stress than necessary. To do this, put your bird in its "back-up transport" at least once a week, comfort it and give it treats. This will help immensely any time you have to take the bird somewhere.

            5. Another tip that most people don't think of is having an ID or info sheet attached to the bird's cage or carrier. Just like how dogs and cats can have ID tags on their collars just in case they get lost, an info sheet for your birds (or any other animal that doesn't wear collars) can be just as important. Some details to include would be bird's name, type of bird, your name and contact information, what the bird eats, and any other emergency contacts such as a family member, friend or even us at Birds of Paradise.

When anything happens suddenly or unexpectedly, we all would like to think that we'd know what to do, but the only effective way is to organize and set up an emergency plan with your family. Go over drills once every six months and keep items on standby just in case. Another thing to keep in mind is that although we would want to save as many living beings as we can, the reality is that sometimes you just don't have time. That's why it's so important to pay attention to the weather and prepare as much as you can ahead of time.

If tragedy does strike and you need somewhere to take your birds while you settle your affairs, you can always board your birds with us at Birds of Paradise. We board birds 365 days a year and every major holiday. You'll know your birds are in good hands and are safe with us while you're away. Give us a call at 316-263-0850 if you ever need to set up a reservation for your birds.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Springtime ~ The birds are all atwitter!

Spring is finally here! There's something about this time of year that makes the animals so chipper. Now is the perfect time to get your birds outside to enjoy the beautiful weather!

Natural sunlight and fresh air is essential to a bird's health and happiness. It also gets you outside to enjoy it for yourself! We encourage all of you to make "outside playtime" as part of your routine but there are a lot of steps you need to consider to keep your birds safe.

How do you plan to take your birds outside? There's plenty of easy and safe options! Consider a "travel cage". This is a smaller cage than what your bird may be used to, but if your bird's cage is large and difficult to move, a smaller cage would be much easier for you and would only be for temporary reasons, such as travel or just to enjoy being outside! A travel carrier would work just as well. However, if your bird's cage is not too large and is easy enough to take with you, you might be better off just using that!

Another option, but would take some time to get your bird adjusted, would be a harness. Avian harnesses are growing in popularity but finding the right kind and size can be tricky, as well as training your bird to wear it. Once the bird is comfortable in the harness, your bird will have the freedom of being out with you while also being safe and you being in control. We've started carrying Feather Tethers which seems to be a decent product that our customers have been happy with.

Other simple things to remember when getting your birds outside to play:
  1. Provide lots of water
  2. Keep all cage doors closed (locks, clips or wire ties)
  3. Most importantly - NEVER leave your birds unattended outside! You never know when a predator or person might have their eye on your bird. Always keep close watch over them while outside!
  4. If it's too hot or too cold outside for a human baby - same for your bird.
  5. Try to keep them off the ground if you can to prevent bugs from entering the cage/carrier.
  6. Make sure they are freshly trimmed! (But remember, even if a bird is trimmed, a gust of wind can pick up your bird and take it great distances! Avoid taking your bird outside on windy days without protection.)
There you have it! Simple ways to make going outside a time to look forward to for both you and your birds! You'd be surprised how much this changes their demeanor and how much they love to get outside on gorgeous spring days.