The 8 Most Popular Man-made Animals

Popular Man-made Animals and more!

Man-made animals are real live animals!… not animal wannabes like chia pets, furbies, or virtual pets.

Some of the most popular and favored animals that we encounter everyday are basically man-made. These animals are not a new phenomenon; many have been around for thousands of years.

Today’s domestic pets are some earliest animals to be developed. Yet for some of the most popular man-made animals, the original species are no longer found in nature. In fact there are contrary opinions on some, about which species they even originated from.

Since the time when the first wild dogs began skirting human encampments to catch snacks and waste to fill their bellies, the crafting of animals began. Man with his incredible creativity took specific species, domesticated them, and then began to develop them to fill all sorts of needs. They were selectively bred for optimal forms and vocalizations so that they could provide protection, aid in hunting, carry loads, and even be a food source.

Man then took the next step and began to craft animals for more than just practicality. Select breeds began to be developed for unique appearances and for song. New body shapes emerged as well as longer or shorter limbs and tails along with unusual and attractive skin coverings of feathers or fur. But a favorite development has been, and still is, the incredibly beautiful new color forms.

Popular man-made animals are mostly developed from a single species, selectively bred for particular traits. There are also hybrids and mutations. Hybrids result from crossing two closely related species while mutations result from a change in a gene or a chromosome.

Looking at the history of any particular group, however, you will find that a number of breeds are also now “extinct.” Those are animals that lost favor for one reason or another, so were no longer developed.

The 8 most popular man-made animals:

  1. Dogs
    Dog BreedsDog Breeds

    The dog Canis lupus familiaris is the first domesticated animal. Although there are varying studies, it is believed its domestication could have started as early as 34,000 years ago. Other closely related dog types are wolves and foxes. At one time was a popular belief that the ancestors of today’s domestic dogs were wolves, but that lineage has pretty much been disproven in more recent studies.

    There are well over 300 breeds of dogs, not including all the newer designer dogs being developed today. The breeds we see today however, are at most only a few hundred years old.

    The categorization of dogs differs slightly between breed registries. In the United States we usually follow the groupings as set by American Kennel Club (AKC). These groups are the herding dogs, working dogs, hound dogs, sporting dogs, non-sporting dogs, terrier dogs, toy dogs, and mixed dogs.

  2. Cats
    Cat BreedsCat Breeds

    The domestication of cats is believed to have started at least 8,000 years ago. This is indicated by a cat jawbone found on the island of Cyprus in 1983, which dates back to about 6000 B.C. The first record of domesticated cats is from about 3000 to 1450 B.C.

    The African wildcat Felis silvestris lybica is the ancestral subspecies from which domestic cats are descended. In Northern Africa, somewhere around 7000 to 5000 B.C., these small, tabby-striped wild felines arrived in human settlements and started the process of domestication. The domestic cat was first classified as Felis catus by Linnaeus in 1758, but can also be called by its subspecies name, Felis silvestris catus.

    Today there are not only the natural breed cats, but also hybrid cat breeds, cat breed mutations, and exotic cats.

  3. Horses
    Horses and PoniesHorses and Ponies

    The modern horse is the direct descendant of the Eohippus, which lived about 60 million years ago. Their domestication began around 4000 BC and is believed to have become widespread by 3000 BC.

    There are three types of horses, medium sized light breeds that originally evolved in the southern hemisphere, large heavy (draft) breeds that evolved in the northern hemisphere, and the shorter durable Pony breeds that evolved in both.

    The horse breeds can further be divided into three groups based on temperament; the light horses are the “hot bloods” known for speed and endurance, the heavy or draft horses and ponies are “cold bloods” used for heavy work, and the “warm bloods” are crosses between the two with a focus on riding.

    Today there are more than 300 breeds of horses, each developed for particular uses. There are also a number of wild horse populations, called “feral breeds”, in numerous countries around the world.

  4. Rabbits
    Pet RabbitsPet Rabbits

    Rabbits have been around for at least 3 to 4 million years. All domesticated rabbits are descended from the European Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus. This is the only species of rabbit which has ever been domesticated. They were first domesticated in Spain, but then became widely distributed by the seafaring Phoenicians. Still today wild European Rabbits can be found in countries all across the world.

    Rabbits have a great capacity to multiply themselves and so can be readily raised. They have been domesticated and used for many different purposes. Today there are at least 40 known breeds and around 130 varieties. There are also 10 or so varieties that are now extinct.

    Pet rabbits can be categorized into four broad groups; fancy breeds, lop breeds, fur breeds, and rex breeds.

  5. Canaries
    Canary VarietiesCanary Varieties

    All domestic canaries are descended from the Atlantic or Island Canary Serinus canaria. Since 1478, when the Spaniards conquered the Canary Islands, these canaries became favored for their beautiful song, coloration, and feathering.

    Today there are basically three breed types of domestic canary and numerous varieties in each breed and there are many mixed breeds. The breed types include: the Color Canary bred for various colors, the Song Canary bred for their song, and the Type Canary bred for distinct characteristics of shape, feathering.

    Some canary types that were popular at one time are no longer available, having made way for new varieties and the varieties that are currently popular.

  6. Goldfish
    Goldfish TypesGoldfish Types

    All the goldfish of today originated from Central Asia (Siberia). They are descendants of a wild carp fish known as the Prussian or Gibel Carp Carassius gibelio (syn: Carassius auratus gibelio).

    Goldfish are one of the first aquatic animals in recorded history to be kept as pets. They were originally developed in China, beginning somewhere between the years 265 – 420. They were then traded to Japan in the 1500’s, to Europe in the 1600’s, and to America by the 1800’s.

    The results of this century’s long endeavor are the wonderful goldfish varieties we see today. They have been developed for body shape and form, finnage, and a wide variety of beautiful colors. It is estimated that there are over 125 types of gold fish.

  7. Guinea Pigs
    Guinea Pig VarietiesGuinea Pig Varieties

    The Guinea Pig Cavia porcellus, is also called the “Cavy,” and is a species of rodent. The popular guinea pigs of today are believed to be the result of the hybridization of three closely related cavy species. They were domesticated between 9000 and 3000 B.C. by the Incas of Peru, and were used for their fur as well as used for food. English and Dutch slave traders took some of these guinea pigs to Guinea (thus the name “guinea”) and then to Europe, where they became popular pets.

    There are many breeds of guinea pig or cavy that have been developed to become very appealing pets. The English or American Short-haired, Abyssinian which has a rough-coat, and the Peruvian which has a long-coat, are the three “core” breed that the others were developed from. Today there are at least 13 recognized breeds, a number of unrecognized breeds, and many color varieties of each breed type.

  8. Pigeons and Doves
    Dove and Pigeon TypesDove and Pigeon Types

    All domestic pigeons and dove have come from a single species of wild pigeon, the Rock Dove Columba livia. There is no scientific separation between them, but in general the term ‘pigeon’ is usually applied to the larger species and ‘dove’ to the smaller species. They are generally recognized as one or the other by the common names given to them over the years.

    It is not known when these birds first became kept in captivity, but they have been bred and hybridized for various purposes for thousands of years. They have been crafted for specialized traits such as the homing instinct, aerial acrobatics, and unique feather structures. There are over 200 domesticated pigeon and dove breeds with at least 1250 varieties of these breeds.

There are all sorts of other animals that have also been developed through selective breeding. They include not only mammals, but also birds, aquatic species and reptiles. A lot of exciting new varieties being crafted today, yet they still represent only small a handful of animals when you consider the hundreds of thousands of species found throughout the Animal World.

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Photos and collage images provided courtesy of contributors on Dr. Jungle’s Pets and Animal Photos and Classroom Clipart.

Colorful Macaw enjoys the challenge of the race, and wins!

August 22, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Animal News, Pet Birds

What could be a more remarkable sight than a pretty Macaw in freeflight and her human friend racing down the road!

Imagine a bird companion that can actually do something as awesome as this; a pet that can go out in the world with its owner to flex and have fun.

This incredible antic, a race between bird and scooter riding man, took place about a month ago near Kolimbithres beach in Paros, Greece. The length of the race was about 3 miles (5 km). The goal, into the village for coffee!

First the Blue and Gold Macaw takes the lead, and then it’s neck and neck as the scooter races forward. But in the end, as they traverse the twists and turns, the colorful bird cheerfully squawks “hello” to her friend as she pulls ahead to lead rest of the race. It was not a fast race, as a Blue and Gold Macaw can fly between 27-30 mph, but it was a fun race.

See more MacawsPolo, a gorgeous Red Fronted Macaw in freeflight!

Keeping free flying pet parrots is not a new phenomenon; in fact it has gone on for hundreds of years. Before it became common practice to keep pet birds in cages they usually had free reign on their owner’s property. Today however, it is a more unusual sight, and is simply not a good practice for every owner.

As with all pet keeping situations, there are pros and cons to freeflight that must be considered carefully.

The parrot owner must be very dedicated and the parrots must be trained, as they are not automatically expert flyers. It can take anywhere from a few months of indoor work, to several years, before they are trained and ready for an excursion in the open. There must also be a place for them to fly that is relatively safe from predators and other dangers.

Darren contributed the above photo to Animal-World showing his lovely Red Fronted Macaw, Polo, in freeflight. He says he will free fly Polo indoors and outdoors, but strongly cautions, “This is done only with much training. Do not try this unless you know what you are doing.”

There are a small number of parrot owners that train their birds to fly freely. Most will chaperone their bird’s outdoor excursions, though a few let their birds fly without supervision. Then there are also those whose parrots are allowed a larger “free space.” This is provided by using aviary netting or walking them with a bird harness.

Owners who practice freeflight believe these birds enjoy a happier, healthier life than clipped birds and if flying is handled properly, danger can be avoided. It takes a very close relationship with a bird to train them for freeflight.

Darren’s close relationship with Polo is obvious from his remarks, “Polo is gorgeous, very loveable, and LOVES to lie on his back in my lap and play. He can be a little nippy, but not hard. He is not loud at all and LOVES attention. They are absolutely fantastic birds and a GREAT joy to have. He is AMAZING… ;)”

Ultimately it’s that very close relationship between keepers and their parrots that keeps the birds around!

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Parrot Cuisine, Food Facts Debunking the Fluff

August 15, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Birds

More about Hemingway and Calico MacawsCalico Macaw, Hemingway enjoying a nut! Photo courtesy Linda Poole

Fads and ideas about parrot nutrition and diet have come and gone, but modern avian nutritional research has helped to hone the best parrot cuisine known today!

A healthy parrot is a happy bird. It is interested in life, active and long-lived, but all that is dependent on a well balanced nutritional diet.

The best reward for large parrot owners is a bird that is a joy to be around. A happy parrot looks forward to interacting with you and being part of the family. They love the household routine and many also enjoy learning tricks and talking. Like all of us they love to live a good life, happy and contented with good health and glossy feathers.

Without well balanced nutrition however, a parrot’s good health will gradually decline and it simply will not enjoy a good life. It will gradually become susceptible to disease and illness and its total lifespan will shorten. Even worse, it will start becoming moody and temperamental. It will not want to participate with you or in the family’s activities because it simply won’t feel good or be energized.

It’s absolutely amazing what is found in a parrot’s diet. In the wild parrots will spend about 80% of their time foraging for food items. Although there are some variations from one species to the next, they have a huge variety of natural foods. They are known to eat everything from seeds, fruits, berries, nuts, flowers, nectar, roots, leaf buds and vegetable matter, to grains, palm nuts, corn and other cultivated crops, cultivated fruits, and even insects and their larvae.

Many parrots feed primarily from the tree tops while others feed mostly from lower lying bushes, and some parrots will also forage from the ground. There are many ways to provide optimal nutrition while also accommodating their innate feeding styles, natural behaviors and activities.

As parrots have become more popular as pets, research has made great advances in the knowledge of avian medicine and nutrition. In the early years, most parrots sold as pets were wild imported birds that had to be tamed, and the new owners would by “parrot food” to feed them, which was basically a dried seed diet. But it hasn’t taken long for people to realize that birds need much more, and that those from different areas had different dietary requirements.

Long gone are the days when a companion parrot’s diet was simply made up of a dried seed mix and maybe a nut, carrot, or a piece of fruit thrown in. Today so much more is known about their activities and what they eat in the wild, that it’s almost like a food frenzy going on.

Today parrot owners are having a lot more fun feeding their bird companions. Making cool meals and treats is very rewarding and becoming the norm. Chopping fresh salad combinations, sprouting beans and seeds, and cooking bean mixes all lend themselves to creativity and diversity. People are creating casseroles, grain bakes, homemade bird breads, crackers, cookies and more! Beyond providing a varied and nutritional diet, watching your feathered friend do a tail up dive into the foods you offer is wonderfully satisfying.

Types of parrot foods

Vegetables and fruits

Vegetables and fruits

The perfect parrot diet is still an unknown, especially since it differs somewhat between species. But today it is recognized that vegetables and fruits make up an essential part of a parrots diet. A variety of vegetables will guarantee a balance of essential nutrients, and both fresh and frozen “human” vegetables can work well. Fruits also provide nutrients, but some are high in sugar with less nutritional value.

Fresh foods do tend to spoil quickly. They also loose nutritional value over the time it takes to be shipped and stored before being offered for sale, so get them a fresh as possible. Try sprouting beans or other legumes. Sprouts are one of the best fresh foods you can offer, because they are living plants so are at the peak of their nutrient value

Parrot Seed Mix

Dried Seed Mixes

Almost every parrot species, whether from the arid Australian grasslands or the humid South American rain forests, will eat naturally occurring seeds. This is probably why in early days it was deemed a “no-brainer” to provide seed as a staple food. But like all foods in a parrot’s diet, there are pros and cons.

Dried seed pros:

  • Seeds are a great source of fiber, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B6, omega-3 fats and vitamin E. These are necessary nutrients in a parrot’s diet for healthy eyes, skin and feathers. They also help maintain brain function, nourish red blood cells, and fight inflammation.
  • Parrots love them! Parrots have a natural desire to forage, and seeds help satisfy a gathering and hulling behavior.
  • Foraging and hulling seeds is an involving activity, and can provide emotional satisfaction and comfort for the parrot.

Dried seed Cons:

  • The drawback of a seed only diet is that it is not nutritionally complete. Seeds are missing some crucial vitamins like vitamins A and D3, as they are also lacking in necessary minerals like calcium.
  • A seed diet is just too high in fat for the sedentary lifestyles of large companion parrots. It is fine to include the seed mixes in the diet of smaller birds, like parakeets and cockatiels, because there lifestyle is much more active than the larger parrots.
  • Commercial seed is unregulated and the types of seed used in mixes are often not found in the natural diet of a parrot.
  • The quality of commercial seed mixes is dubious, especially by the time it reaches the consumer. It can dry, brittle, and too old to retain nutritional quality.
  • Commercial seed is often highly fortified with vitamins of unknown quality. They may be synthetically manufactured, have little nutritional value, and mostly not absorbable
  • One of the biggest dietary problems with offering seeds is that Parrots like them so much that they will often ignore other offered foods, which leads to deficiencies
Pelleted Parrot Food

Pelleted Food

With the advances in avian nutrition, and the realization that seed wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, all sorts of interesting foods began to be offered. Many were very good and nutritious, but unfortunately parrots, like children, would eat what they liked and ignore the rest, so they still were not necessarily eating a balanced diet. In response researchers developed a formulated pelleted diet. Although containing most of the basic diet requirements, pellets may not be the total diet solution as they have their own drawbacks.

Pelleted diet pros:

  • Pellets contain more nutrients and have a better balance than a seed diet.
  • Parrots can be picky eaters, and pellets eliminate the deficits that result from a parrot’s desire to pick and choose.
  • There is no spoilage or bacterial growth with dry pellets.
  • They are convenient and easy.

Pelleted diet cons:

  • Pelleted diets don’t take into consideration the different requirements for parrots originating from different countries, so are not a total solution to a well balanced diet for all parrots.
  • The heat processing needed to extrude the pellets destroys many of the vitamins, so nutrients (supplements and manufactured vitamins) have to be added after the extrusion process.
  • Different brands of pelleted parrot foods may differ in quality.
  • Parrots are found to get bored with a pelleted diet, even those with dye added for visual stimulation.

Parrot treats and supplemental foods

  • Pasta, cooked grains and legumes
    Cooked whole wheat or vegetable pasta, all sorts of cooked beans, brown rice, and cooked barley are just some nutritious foods that parrots will enjoy. Cooked millet and quinoa are also great. Beans can even be prepared in advance and kept in the freezer to use later.
  • Nuts
    Nuts are a great source of protein and other nutrients, but also add fat to the diet. They are good for macaws to satisfy their chewing instinct and help prevent boredom. They provide the same entertainment for cockatoos and amazons but due to these types of birds needing a lower fat diet, nuts should be offered more sparingly.
  • Table foods
    Pet birds can be offered left over table foods. In general what is good for us is good for them, but with some exceptions. Stay away from avocado as the skin is toxic. Also avoid chocolate and anything with caffeine in it, like coffee, tea, and soda. Any vegetables, fruits, and berries can be offered. You can offer cooked foods too, as well as non-fatty meats like chicken, turkey, and fish. A once-a-week hardboiled egg is fine too.
  • Healthy parrot snacks
    Parrot snacks include commercial treats available at the pet store for parrots, but also all those wonderful concoctions you can make at home. There are all sorts of parrot recopies shared on the internet and fun to make. Homemade birdie breads, bird cookies, crackers and more, as well as commercial treats are nutritious snacks that parrots will delight in.

The key to a balanced parrot diet is variety. Many experts now believe the nutrients available in seeds can be provided through a more balanced diet with fresh vegetables, fruits, and grains.

It is suggested that dried seeds be offered as a treat a few times a week rather than as a daily staple. Pelleted diets may not be the total solution either, even though they are more nutritionally complete than a seed diet. Pellets can make up to about 50% of the parrots diet, with other foods being types that can be varied every day.

The best approach is to offer fresh nutrients daily and something more that the bird will like enough to eat!

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

5 Must-Have Things To Keep Your Pet Bird Comfortable and Healthy

March 11, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Birds

Animal-World's Bird Care - How to Take Care of a Pet Bird

Birds can be amazing pets!

Birds are very low maintenance. When keeping them as pets they take up little room, they are great at socializing, they are easily trained, and best of all… a pet bird can be beautiful to look at!

A happy bird will make a happy owner.

If you’re thinking about getting a bird there are a few easy ways to ensure they remain comfortable and healthy.

Here are the 5 must-haves that every pet bird needs:

See Bird cages at Real Smart

1 – A Nice Big and Airy Cage

Remember that birds are wild animals. They are used to the freedom of flying around and hunting for food. If you are going to enclose them make sure you invest in a good cage, which is the appropriate size for your bird.

Put the cage in an area out of direct sunlight but where your pet bird can see action, nature, and other living things. Although they are great socializers and will thrive on human contact, high traffic areas may be stressful for them, so keep them out of the traffic corridor.

2 – Plenty of Toys

It’s very important that your bird is entertained. Remember, they have nowhere to go so need to be stimulated throughout the day, especially when you’re not there to talk to them. If they get too bored they can develop behavioral problems such as screaming, plucking their feathers, and biting. Essential toys a bird should have are:

  • Foraging Toys: These allow your bird to work for their food like they would in the wild.
  • Chewing Toys: Chewing is a major part of a wild bird’s life and it is essential they can do this while caged.
  • Preening Toys: Preening toys such as rope will satisfy your bird’s needs and stop them plucking their own feathers.

3 – Exercise Equipment

Birds are animals that exercise a lot in the wild so exercise equipment inside their cage will keep them happy and entertained throughout the day. Swinging perches and ladders will not only instigate movement, they are very important for foot and muscle health. Perches that look like natural branches are the best choices, but be sure to get the correct thickness for your bird. Ladders and net climbing obstacles will be great for your pet birds play time and discovery. Also check on the latest innovation that could help your pet. It shouldn’t hurt to try new exercise thingies especially if they look promising.

4 – A Cozy Retreat

Make sure there is a nice place to go so that your bird can find solitude as they would in the wild. This is easily achieved with a bit of fabric on one corner. At nighttime, it’s always a good idea to cover the cage entirely to convey comfort and sleep time. You can also add a small birdhouse inside so the pet can go there anytime it feels like it.

5 – House Keeping

A clean bird cage is essential for your bird’s health and happiness. It’s an easy job to do and made even easier with pre cut cage liners. Changed daily, you will avoid unpleasant smells and bacteria on your cage floor. There are also non-toxic sprays which dissolve droppings, and remove stains and marks from your cage. A good example of this is Poop-Off. Also learn how frequently cleaning should be. The cage doesn’t have to be squeaky clean, because hay and some newspaper trimmings inside can create a nice forest-like atmosphere. But it will be helpful if wastes are removed from time to time.

Melianie Cho of Real Smart, works with pet care and has been working in a pet store for several years, where she advises customers on the best products for their pets. She is also a regular contributor in pet forums and blogs.

The Blue and Gold Macaw

July 29, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Featured Pets, Pet Birds

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Blue and Gold Macaw!

Ah, the “king” of large birds. I don’t know about you, but when I think of parrots, the Blue and Gold Macaw comes to mind first thing! This is one of the most popular large birds and stands out with its defining bold colors. If you are looking for an exceptionally intelligent parrot, I can guarantee that this macaw is a very good choice. My mother is a Certified Avian Specialist, and because of that I have had the privilege of working with and interacting with many of these birds. I have also had several family friends who have owned these macaws. They all seemed very attached to their owners and every single one was a great talker!

Blue and Gold Macaws are affectionate parrots and can fit in with an entire family or do just fine with only one owner. If well socialized they can also do well with other pets and other birds. They have great personalities and are very adaptable to most environments. You will find a great friend who loves to be with you and participate in any activity you wish him to. Blue and Gold Macaws are great talkers, learning up to 20 words or phrases. They also can learn to do a myriad of tricks and imitations.

The Blue and Gold Macaw

About the Blue and Gold Macaw

When did the Blue and Gold Macaw Ara ararauna first become known? Well, their native habitat extends over much of Central and South America, which is a huge area. Diverse habitats including open grasslands, woodlands, and rainforests all act as homes to these birds. The people who lived in these areas for sure were aware of the existence of these large macaws, however they were first described in 1758 by Linnaeus. They primarily live high up in trees and live in pairs or groups. For meals these macaws will all fly together in the morning and at sunset to go feed on fruits, seeds, and vegetables.

Blue and Gold Macaws are so named because of their colors, which consist of primarily blue and gold or yellow! They are one of the largest macaws, with only the Green-winged Macaws and the Hyacinths being larger. However, there is a larger variation of the Blue and Gold called the Bolivian Blue and Gold (found in Bolivia), which can sometimes rival the size of the Hyacinths. In general though, these birds can weigh over 2 pounds as adults, with a length of up to 35 inches and a wingspan of 45 inches. If you want a life-long companion, these parrots are a good choice because they can live upwards of 60 years!

A Blue and Gold Macaw as a Pet

Determining whether you want a Blue and Gold should be a very well thought out decision. Not only do these birds live a long time, but they also require a lot of attention and plenty of room. This can be expensive and time-consuming. Make sure you have the room to provide a large cage, and you may want to even consider putting the cage in it’s own room – as Macaws can get pretty loud! A playpen outside the cage is desirable as well. Your macaw will need sturdy perches and food and water dishes which can withstand being chewed on. Most parrots will appreciate new toys regularly as well. You will want to let your macaw out for at least a couple hours every day.

Caring for your Blue and Gold Macaw

The best staple food for this macaw is a commercially prepared seed and nut mix. They also enjoy eating with people and many of the things you eat can also be offered to your parrot. Many macaws like protein and will eat chicken. Avoid avocados and chocolate, as these contain toxins for birds. Offer them fresh water every day and clean out their dishes daily.

Taking good care of a macaw is the best way to prevent problems. To keep your macaw healthy you will want to:

  1. Give them lots of attention.
  2. Let them out of their cage daily for exercise and play time.
  3. Offer varied supplemental foods in addition to their seed mix.
  4. Clean out their food and water dishes daily.
  5. Give baths daily (to prevent dry feathers and chewing).
  6. Keep their beak and nails trimmed.
  7. Clip their wings to prevent them accidentally flying off.

Acquiring Your Blue and Gold

Blue and Gold Macaws are one of the most readily available macaws as well as one of the least expensive. Many people get hand-fed babies at bird farms. You should also have no problem finding one at a local pet store or online, either. You may even consider adopting an older bird who has been abandoned or lost their previous owner.

Are you a fan of the large parrots? What species is your favorite and what do you like about them?

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many pet articles and animal write-ups.

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Green-cheeked Conure!

May 27, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Featured Pets, Pet Birds

The Green-cheeked Conure

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Green-cheeked Conure!

Green-cheeked Conures are one of many conure species. They are essentially small parrots and appeal to many people! These birds are one of the more popular types of conures available. They have extremely cute personalities, which I can personally testify to! On more than one occasion I have seen someone come into the pet store and have their attention immediately captivated by one of these little guys. And, eventually, they end up taking the bird home!

Some reasons why the Green-cheeked Conure Pyrrhura molinae is more popular include being smaller and quieter than some other species of conures. They actually look almost identical the the Maroon-bellied Conures, except for having a reddish tinge on their upper tail feathers. Overall they have mostly green bodies with blue flight feathers and maroon colored tails. They also have purple on their bellies. As I mentioned above, these conures tend to be more quiet than other conure species, but that doesn’t mean they won’t still make noise! Make sure you can cope with some noise before choosing one of these birds for a pet. And even though they can make some noise, they are not known for great talking abilities.

Green-cheeked Conures originate in Bolivia but are bred and shipped to many other countries where they are kept as pets. In their natural habitats they are extremely social birds and love to hang out with other Green-cheeked Conures. They often sleep in groups and forage for food together. For this reason these birds often do very well bonding to their owners. They enjoy attention and will love being held and spending time with you. If you want more than one bird, they will generally be happy with another companion bird as well.

Caring and maintaining
these conures is practically the same as other birds of similar size and is not too difficult. They love big cages, so if you have the means, provide them with a large cage! Or plan on letting them out of their cage for long periods of time. A minimum size cage should measure 24”x16”x20”. Make sure to provide them with at least 2 perches inside their cage. Toys are a great addition as well. Providing a playpen area outside of the cage with perches and toys is also recommended. You will want to keep the cage away from drafts. Thoroughly cleaning out the cage once a week will keep it sanitary and prevent illness in your bird.

A good small parrot or conure mixture will work perfectly for feeding your Green-cheeked Conure. It has all the needed nutrition. Feel free to supplement regularly as well. Supplements could include many fruits and vegetables, including spinach, lettuce, carrots, apples, and grapes. They also will sometimes like dog food or monkey chow! Just make sure to never offer avocado, as it is poisonous for birds. Also provide a cuttlebone in the cage. This helps keep their beaks healthy and trimmed. Provide a water dish for drinking, and a larger dish in the bottom for them to take baths in. All dishes – food and water – should be cleaned out daily. If you want to let your conure out regularly, it is a very good idea to have his wings trimmed. This will keep him from accidentally escaping through an open door or window.

If you follow the minimum recommended care guidelines, you most likely will have a hardy and disease-resistant bird! Birds which have problems are generally those who are kept in unclean conditions and not fed a balanced diet or given any supplements. But even the best cared for birds will sometimes get sick. Watch out for ruffled feathers, diarrhea, sneezing and discharge from their noses, labored breathing, and behavioral changes. These could all indicate your Green-cheeked Conure is ill and not feeling well. Taking them to a veterinarian is usually the best course of action in these circumstances. Also, if your bird is stressed or not given enough attention, they can resort to feather plucking, biting, and/or screaming. These problems generally just indicate a need to pay more attention to your bird or to change their environment. For example, simply moving the cage to a different, quieter, room can dramatically reduce the stress your bird feels.

Green-cheeked Conures are usually readily available almost everywhere in the United States. If you are wanting to commit to one of these birds you should be able to acquire one from most pet stores or even look up breeders online. These birds are the perfect pet for many people! Check out the Guide to a Happy, Healthy Conure for more information on Conures in general!

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Society Finch!

March 3, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Featured Pets, Pet Birds

The Society Finch

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Society Finch!

Society Finches are another great, easy to care for, all-around great, small bird for beginners! Finches in general, are a great pet bird to just look at, listen to, and keep yourself entertained with. We had so many finches come through the pet store because people just loved them! They would be sold out regularly. I personally think the Society Finch is one of the prettiest finches available. Not only are they pretty, but they are very social and you can keep several of them together!

Finches are really good birds for beginners. The Society Finch Lonchura domestica is a very small, very hardy, very easy to care for, and inexpensive bird. Especially when you compare them to the care required for most larger birds. They are also called “society” finches for a reason – because they LOVE to be social! They do best when kept in groups of many birds and are not aggressive at all! Finches are not generally handled and are primarily just used to look at and listen to. They play and chirp together and are happy when they have several companions. These birds are also very good at breeding; you can easily end up with several babies if you have a large group of finches!

The exact background on these birds is not known. It is thought that the Japanese and Chinese probably developed them by specifically breeding a bird called the White-backed Munia, which is another type of finch. This happened at least 300 years ago and it is not 100% certain this is how they came to be, or the exact reasons of why they were bred. They are, however, completely domesticated birds and are not found in the wild. This makes them great as pets!

Society Finches are very small, reaching less than 5 inches when full grown. They also come in quite a mix of patterns from three basic color varieties. These varieties include white, white and fawn, and white and chocolate. They have also been developed to have crested forms, all solid colors, and tri-colored birds. Quite a variety to choose from!

Caring for these birds couldn’t be easier. Finch Care is easy enough in general. The first rule of thumb is: provide them with fresh food and fresh water every day! Food can consist of a purchased finch seed mix and green vegetables. To mix it up a bit or as a treat feel free to occasionally offer them apples, pears, and egg foods. Society Finches also need to ingest grit to help digest their food and to provide trace elements and minerals. You can purchase grit at a pet store as well and it can be provided in a separate dish or spread over the bottom of their cage where they can readily reach it. Offering cuttle bones is also a good idea. Cuttle bones give them needed calcium to keep their beaks strong and to keep their eggshells healthy during breeding.

Society Finches do enjoy baths so feel free to offer them a dish of water occasionally on the bottom of their cage where they can bathe. Be prepared to trim their nails if they become too long. If you give them rough perches they may need their nails trimmed rarely or never. But do keep an eye on them regardless.

Provide a roomy cage for several society finches. Keep the cage away from drafts and direct sunlight. Make sure to change out the paper and clean out the cage every few days. If you really want to go all out, you can set up an aviary for them. These finches do very well in aviaries! They love the room to fly and having many companion birds.

If you want to try your hand at bird breeding, Society Finches are a great bird to start with. They breed readily and easily. You can choose to breed just one pair, or have at least 3 or more pairs in the same space (to reduce territorial fighting). Make sure there are plenty of nesting spaces which are closed or at least partially closed. As I mentioned before, make sure you are feeding your finches properly and giving them cuttle bones to ensure their eggs and offspring will be healthy. Females will lay 4-6 eggs and will do all the sitting on them. The eggs hatch within 12 to 13 days and both the males and females will help to feed the young.

Society Finches are extremely hardy birds. If you take care of them, they will almost certainly thrive! Keep their cages clean, provide them with a proper diet, and you should have very healthy birds!

Read more on Society Finches if these little birds pique your interest! If you are a breeder or want to become one, then good luck! These are great birds!

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Double Yellow-headed Amazon!

January 13, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Featured Pets, Pet Birds

The Double Yellow-headed Amazon

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Double Yellow-headed Amazon!

Have you ever wondered what the most popular Amazon Parrot kept as a pet is? It is the Double Yellow-headed Amazon Parrot! With the Blue-fronted Amazon Parrot coming in close behind. When you are looking for a large parrot to keep as a pet, many people will steer you to the Double Yellow-headed Amazon Amazona oratrix. These Amazons are one of the best talkers and they can sing well too! At the pet store I worked at we always had at least one Double Yellow-headed and usually another less common type of Amazon as well, just to spruce things up a bit. We often got them as young babies and I helped hand-feed many of these youngsters! It was quite rewarding working with parrots at such a young age.

The Double Yellow-headed Amazon is a beautiful bird and a GREAT talker! That’s the main reason why people choose this one over others. They are very out-going and love to “cause a scene”! These Amazons love drama and will do all sorts of things to gain and keep their owners attention! This includes turning their head upside down, fanning out their tails, and dilating their pupils in and out very quickly. They should be handled and trained from a very young age to ensure they are tame and don’t get too rowdy. They are usually very social birds and love human companionship, but they also need down time where they can be alone and in their own space.

The Double Yellow-headed Amazons have been kept as pets for several hundred years now (pretty crazy to think about!), and they have definitely been favored. They were actually given a name and described for the first time in 1887 by Ridgeway. Other names they are known by include the Yellow-headed Amazon and the Yellow-headed Parrot. These Amazons originate from Central America and some coastal areas of Mexico. They inhabit regions such as forests and savannahs where there are plenty of nuts, seeds, berries, and other fruit. Usually they stay together as a flock or sometimes in pairs. The Double Yellow-headed Amazon is on the IUCN Red List for Endangered Species and is listed as Endangered (EN).

The care and feeding of these Amazons is like most other large parrots. They need a large enough cage where they can get around and stretch their wings. They should also have ample time outside their cage with a play area specifically for them. Their cage should be kept away from drafts, as birds in general are prone to respiratory illnesses. Give them plenty of perches and toys. You will probably find that switching out toys every month or so and giving them new ones will make your Amazon especially happy! Also, providing them with a rough or concrete perch can help tremendously in keeping their nails trimmed so that you don’t have to do it as often, or at all! Plan on trimming their wings periodically too. This will ensure they don’t get very far out an open door or window and become lost.

Give your Double Yellow-headed Amazon a wide and varied diet. Seed mixes or pellets bought at the store can be the bulk of their food. Feel free to give them plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables along with most other table foods from your meals. Some parrots like protein – such as chicken – as well. Give them clean, fresh water daily. You may want to provide a separate bowl or deep dish specifically for bathing. Amazons love bath time!

These Amazons rarely become ill if provided with a proper environment and are well-cared for. Some signs to look out for that they may be stressed or ill include: feather plucking, rasping, watery eyes, ruffled feathers, or moodiness. There are other signs too, so generally just keep an eye out for behaviors or appearances which vary from normal. If you suspect your bird is sick, definitely seek a veterinarian’s care.

If you are looking for an inquisitive, out-going, and fun-loving talking parrot, the Double Yellow-headed Amazon is certainly a good place to start!

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Red Factor Canary!

November 12, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Featured Pets, Pet Birds

The Hamster

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Red Factor Canary!

Canaries are unique little birds and there is a HUGE variety of them! You can choose from so many different types if a canary is a pet you want. I am going to focus on the Red Factor Canary Serinus canaria because they are one of my personal favorites. I think they are beautiful and I love to watch them. They are one of the popular canaries among enthusiasts and are bred specifically to bring out their color. They are entertaining birds and easy to care for.

Most canaries in general are known for their singing abilities. However the Red Factor Canary is known for its color rather than its singing. They are known as “color canaries” and are not bred to enhance singing or physical traits, but are bred to enhance their color. For hundreds of years canaries have been kept in captivity and each specific natural occurring type was bred. As time went on more and more colors were coming out while breeding. People began to think they could influence these colors and by the 1900’s color bred canaries started to emerge. Red Factor Canaries in particular started to emerge shortly after 1929, when a German geneticist came up with a theory. He believed a red colored canary could come out if Venezuelan Black Hooded Red Siskins were introduced into the breeding line. And sure enough, the first Red Factor emerged successfully by A.K. Gill in Britain. The Canary Colour Breeders Association began in 1947.

Many people keep canaries to show them, especially the Red Factor Canary. They are divided into two classes, the Lipochromes and the Melanins. And these classes are then divided into subclasses, frosts or non-frosts (depending on their color brightness), and hard or soft feathers. They are relatively small birds, reaching 5.5 inches.

On to the basics of care. These canaries are easy to care for. They need a roomy cage with different perches and maybe a swing. The easiest way to feed them is to give them prepared canary seed mixes found at any pet store. Give them fresh greens a couple times a week to supplement their diet and as a treat. Also make sure to provide a cuttlebone to help keep their beaks in shape and provide them with calcium. If you are concerned with keeping their red color intense, you should focus on feeding them color-enhancing foods. Three chemicals help enhance color: carotenoids, Canthaxanthin, and Beta-Carotene. Foods with these chemicals include beets, sweet potatoes, berries, cherries, squashes, and tomatoes. Some people also add tiny amounts of cayenne pepper and paprika. You can also buy prepared carotenoid concentrates to simply add to their regular food in the proper amounts.

Other routine maintenance activities include providing them with fresh water and fresh bath water (they love baths). Also trim their nails and keep their cage clean! Red Factor Canaries are also very social birds and so you may want to keep more than one together. If you want a good singer, it is best to keep a male by itself.

These canaries are more difficult to breed than other types. However, read up on these Breeding and Reproduction Guidelines for Canaries if you would like to try your hand at it.

As I noted before, these canaries are hardy and easy to keep. They should have few problems if taken care of properly. They are also readily available for purchase. They can usually be found at pet stores, online, from breeders, or even at bird shows and clubs.

Read more on Animal-World’s Red Factor Canary page!

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Diamond Dove!

September 23, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Featured Pets, Pet Birds

The Diamond Dove

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Diamond Dove!

Diamond Doves Geopelia cuneata are one of the most common doves kept as pets. People like them because of their beauty and their easy care requirements. My main exposure to them (other than through the pet store) was with a friend who bred them in her house. She had several doves, both Diamond Doves and Ringneck Doves. Breeding them and having them in her home was truly her passion!

The Ringneck Dove Streptopelia risoria, is larger and is actually the most popular pet dove. However the Diamond Dove comes in a close second! Diamond Doves are very easy to care for and are quite hardy. They are great for first-time bird keepers, for people who just want a low-maintenance bird, and for dove lovers! They are easy to breed as well, for those interested in breeding. They are generally considered a “domestic” bird because they are so widely bred and available in the pet market. But they also live in the wild and have no problems there.

The native home of the Diamond Dove is in Northern and Central Australia. Their natural habitat is in open grasslands and sparsely wooded areas near water. They can also be found near human populated areas such as parks and gardens. They are part of the popular “Turtle Dove” category and are fairly small birds. They are slightly larger than canaries and have very long tails. They live to be around 10 years old, which is a good lifespan for someone not looking for a lifetime commitment but who still wants a companion for a good time. These birds have white spots that look like diamonds on their gray backs and shoulders, hence their name “Diamond” dove. They have reddish eyes with a orbital red ring around them. Males tend to have darker coloring overall than the females. These doves can also come in a variation of colors such as silver, pied, cinnamon, and many others.

Dove care is relatively simple and easy. Most people keep them in a fairly large aviary but they can also be kept in a regular cage. These cages should be at least 18 inches square to give them enough space to move around in. Diamond doves are very hardy. They can be kept outside in cold conditions, but to keep them in optimum health a heat source should be provided. They can be fed a finch or parakeet food mix purchased at a pet store. As a supplement provide them with cuttlebones, grit, and occasional greens and spray millet. Doves are social birds and so you may want to consider keeping more than one together. They also get along well with other bird types, such as canaries and finches!

If you are interested in breeding doves, diamond doves are a good choice. They don’t breed quite as easily as Ringneck Doves, but they aren’t particularly difficult to breed, either. Provide them with a nest (dried twigs, grass, etc.) in a large enclosure or aviary and make sure you have both males and females. You can tell the difference in the sexes at about 6 months of age. Males have a larger orange ring around their eyes compared to females. The females will lay two eggs in the provided nest which will then hatch around 13-14 days later. When you notice they are weaned you will want to remove them from the cage so the parents don’t try to run them off.

To keep these birds healthy and free of problems, make sure to provide them a safe, dry, and clean environment. They are generally hardy birds if their basic needs are met!

Diamond Doves are easy and hardy birds to keep as pets as well as good breeders. For more information, Animal-World’s Diamond Dove page has everything you could want to know!

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

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