Birds make gentle but intriguing companions. They are small and therefore quite delicate when it comes to constitution and health. To keep them healthy, visit the avian vet regularly.
Birds are great for all ages of people. Some are quite social and want to interact with you. Others are content with socializing with their bird brethren. Either way they are beautiful to view and have around.
But, birds are not indestructible. They do get sick just like any other pet. When purchasing a pet bird, be aware of the three most deadly diseases that affect domesticated birds. Know the signs and symptoms so you can get treatment as quickly as possible.
Deadly Bird Diseases
1. Psittacosis – This is also referred to as “Parrot Fever.” It is often undetectable unless you pay attention to your bird’s habits. It is often associated with high stress levels in your bird. Just like humans, stress can weaken the immune system, making them more susceptible to disease. It is spread through infected feces. Treatment is with doxycycline but prevention is best. Signs exhibited are: lack of appetite, weight loss, breathing problems and dull colored droppings. Separate infected birds from healthy ones until the condition is fully treated. Birds can also transmit this condition to you. Without treatment, it can prove fatal in humans.
2. Pacheco’s Disease – This is a herpes virus that birds contract. It is often seen in cases where there are multiple birds living together. It is seen mostly in psittacine (parrot) species. This virus attacks the liver resulting in failure of the organ and death. Some signs include diarrhea, depression and weight loss. Stress can make your bird more susceptible to this condition. It is spread via infected droppings that can contaminate food and water. Treatment is with acyclovir, an antiviral. All birds living with the infected bird need to be treated to prevent death. After an outbreak, quarantine new birds so they are not at risk for the disease.
3. Newcastle Disease – This disease is one of the most highly contagious of all bird diseases. It is a viral disease with no known cure or method of treatment. Symptoms include: respiratory infection, paralysis, bloody diarrhea and twitching. It is believed to be prevalent in illegally imported birds. This bird disease can affect any and all domestic and wild birds including chickens and turkeys. This makes it a problem for the food industry if an outbreak occurs. When a case is found, all infected birds must be destroyed.
You can lower your bird’s chances of getting these diseases. Keep cages clean. Learn your bird’s normal routine so you can easily and quickly detect when they are not well. Visit the vet right away at the first sign of possible illness. Please check out Animal-World’s Bird Care page for more information on bird diseases.
Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Umbrella Cockatoo!
When I first started working at a pet store, they had an Umbrella Cockatoo, Cacatua alba named “Pierre.” He was the most loving and affectionate bird I have ever known – still to this day I have not met another bird like him. I believe he recognized me over time because eventually every time I would walk up to him he would start dancing and talking and displaying his head feathers. He would always come up on my hand and seemed to really look forward to me petting him. He was sold at some point in time and I really did miss him.
Cockatoos in general are known to make great pets. They are almost all loving and friendly birds, however they need to be given a lot of attention and “one-on-one” time. If you plan to purchase an Umbrella Cockatoo, then you MUST be prepared and willing to spend a great deal of time as their companion. They are very social, can learn to talk, and be taught to do all sorts of tricks. Many people provide play areas outside of their cage where the cockatoo can spend most of the day. They love this and it provides them with a a feeling of being part of the family and a feeling of freedom. In fact, if they are caged too often and/or not given adequate attention, they can turn into screamers. Generally this behavior starts because they feel lonely and neglected. However, screaming can be abated by most often by simply dedicating time and energy into being with your bird and making sure it feels comfortable in its daily surroundings.
Umbrella Cockatoos are one of the largest cockatoos, being all white with a crest of feathers on their heads. When these feathers are raised, it looks like an umbrella – hence the origin of their name! In the wild, they are found in central and northern Moluccas, Indonesia and Obi, Halmahera, Ternate, and Tidore. They can reach a foot in length when they are full-grown adults and this dictates the need for a fairly large cage.
The two main behavioral problems that come up frequently with cockatoos are their screeching habits (mentioned earlier) and the fact that they are prone to chewing their own feathers. They can become quite bald if this is allowed to go on. In order to prevent this you will need to give them plenty of daily attention and make sure they are let out of their cage for good periods of time. They do love to chew to keep their beaks in shape, so also provide them with plenty of chew toys.
Proper care, feeding, and housing is a must for these large birds. They should be provided with clean fresh water daily to make sure they don’t become sick. Fresh food including some fresh fruits and vegetables as well as a large hookbill seed mix should also be provided daily. They can often eat other foods that you may have around the house occasionally, such as cheese, eggs, and canned dog food. If kept alone, these cockatoos should be preened occasionally by their owners to help clear out feather sheaths. You should also probably keep their wings trimmed so that they cannot fly far and accidentally escape out through an open door or window. Their beaks and nails will continually grow as well, so these should be trimmed periodically if they are becoming too long.
Umbrella Cockatoos are considered wonderful pets in the bird world if you have the time to dedicate to them! If you would like to learn more about these particular cockatoos, check out Animal-World’s page on Umbrella Cockatoos!
Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.
Birds make great companions for someone who doesn’t want a major responsibility. Even with a bird, though, it is important to know when they are sick so that you can get them the proper treatment.
Birds are delicate animals. Their bodies have a small, lightweight bone structure which allows them to fly. Because they are so tiny, an illness can end their lives just like that.
Symptoms of Illness in pet birds
Talk to your veterinarian. They can help you to identify different symptoms of possible illness in your bird. It will require attentiveness on your part so that you know immediately when you need to take action.
A bird, just like a person, may respond to illness with either weight gain or weight loss. You would think it would be easy to tell with a bird but it is not always. Often, they will ruffle their feathers when there is a problem. This can hide weight loss.
A bird that consistently seems to be eating more than normal may have a parasite. Taking him to the vet could reveal that he has diabetes or that he just needs more nutrient intake because he has become more active, such as socializing with new birds in the flight cage.
Like we just stated ruffling of the feathers can hide weight loss. But, ruffled feathers can also indicate that there is some sort of respiratory problem going on with your pet bird.
When feathers begin to fall out, this can indicate that something serious is going on also. Molting is a part of a bird’s development and they will lose feathers. But with French molt, the bird loses its feathers that it needs to fly. It will recover but it can be a sign of stress in the bird’s life or serious illness.
Right above the beak are two tiny nostrils for the bird to breathe. This is what passes for his nose. If you notice that this area is red, runny or there is inflammation, your bird could be suffering from an infection of some sort. If they sneeze, it might indicate a cold, but even that can be caused by changes in his environment that you may need to pay attention to.
Bird eyes are vibrant and clear normally. Eyes that are cloudy or have discharge coming from them could indicate a problem with the respiratory system. Other problems are also indicted by cloudy eyes: psittacosis, muscle disorders or a problem with the nervous system.
The bird’s beak is quite useful. It cracks seeds and helps them vocalize. If you notice cracks in the beak or color changes, consult with your vet immediately. The problem could be poor nutrition, infection or injury sustained by the bird.
How is your pet bird feeling today? If you don’t know, check him out and get help for him immediately. Please also check out Animal-World’s Bird Care page!
African Grey Parrots
"Sharp as a tack… African Greys are renown for their talking ability! These noble birds are intelligent, handsome, and make loving and devoted companions!"
African Grey Parrots are excellent talkers – the best of the exotic birds, in fact!
African Grey Parrots have a great ability to learn to talk and because of this are very popular as pets. They are beautiful, interactive, inquisitive, and charming birds. They make very amusing companions and have wonderful personalities. They are very social birds and have high intelligence – which makes them ideal parrots for devoted owners… Read More
Types of Parrots
"Looking for a unique parrot? Great family pet birds. Bird guides for medium to small parrots that look fabulous, talk, and love to play!"
The Hawk-Headed Parrot is an example of only one of the many fun and amazing pet
There are several types of parrots, and you can most likely find one to suit whatever your needs be, whether an aviary bird, or simply a nice pet parrot companion! Total around the world, there are 372 identified parrot species. Most of them come from Central America, South America, and Australasia, however there are parrots that come from several other regions as well… Read More
"What pet’s blue in the face, and can sing the blues too? That’s right, it’s ME!"
The Blue-fronted Amazon is a huge talker and loves to be the center of attention!
The Blue-fronted Amazon Parrots (Amazona aestiva) are sociable birds and love to put on a show. They are very common Amazon parrots to be kept as pets and have been around for over 100 years. Once they hit adulthood, these birds become very attractive with beautiful coloring. Every bird develops it’s own coloring pattern on it’s feathers. It also lives over 40 years, with some of them actually making it to 100 in captivity! Read More
Amazon Parrots – Bird Guides
"Information and bird care galore for pet Amazons. Amazon Parrot bird guides for all types of Amazon birds!"
Amazon Parrots are amazing talkers and can make great companions!
The Amazon Parrots, simplified to Amazons, are one of the more common of the larger pet birds. These parrots belong to the Amazona genus and are medium to large in size. Originally they were just called Green Parrots. Most of them are green in color with various other colors on their tails, wings, and heads depending on the type. In proper environments they have a lifespan of around 50 years (or more)… Read More
Parakeets – Bird Guides
"Does your parakeet look like the one in the picture? If not, you may be asking "What the heck is a Parakeet?"… Find out here!
Parakeets make great pets – they are small, friendly, playful, and outgoing!
Parakeets are members of the parrot family. Their name actually means “long tail.” They are more on the small to medium size for parrots, with long and tapered tails, unlike other parrots who are stockier with more squared tails.
These birds have a lot of energy, and come in a variety of colors. They are naturally flock birds and therefore like to socialize with other birds as well as with people. Because of this and their love for attention, they make great pets and are a very popular bird. There are several types of parakeets available… Read More
The Featured Pet for this week is: The Grey Cockatiel!
Have you ever known anyone who owned a cockatiel, or seen one in pet stores? Chances are, you have! The Grey Cockatiel in particular is the most common variety of cockatiel available and is very popular as a pet bird. They are delightful birds and are very personable – not only are they sociable and somewhat easy to care for, but they are also well-known for their train-ability. If you are wanting a pet bird, cockatiels can be a great first choice.
Here is a funny story. When I was little, and before I really started to keep pets, I saw an ad in the paper for a cockatiel that came with a cage and all accessories. I got so excited and ran in to see my parents, telling them I just had to have this dog that was advertised! I thought that cockatiels were dogs, not birds! We all had a good laugh and I continued on my search for a pet.
Cockatiels are considered wonderful pet birds for many reasons. They are not generally very noisy, which is a big plus because many people stay away from pet birds due to their stereotype of being noisy. They are also hardy birds, relatively small, easy to breed, and can handle changes in their environments relatively well. They also fare well when they must be left alone for long periods of time with little to no interaction.
The Grey Cockatiel is the most common and is not a variation or mutation of the wild birds. In the wild, the Grey Cockatiels are the rule and their coloring is usually gray with white along the outside edges of the wings. Other variations are bred in captivity – such as the lutinos, pearls, cinnamons, etc. Cockatiels are considered parrots, which is indicated by their beak shape. However, they do have long tails, which is uncharacteristic for parrots and is more similar to the parakeets. They are not large birds either, only reaching 12 inches in length and weighing only 3 to 4 ounces.
Even though cockatiels are hardy birds, they still need an optimum environment to thrive. You will want to make sure they have a large enough cage that they can roam around in, or that they have a regular playpen or area that they are let out to during the day. Keep the playpen and cage areas clean and provide your cockatiel with plenty of fresh water and nutrient-rich food. Their food should consist of such things as nuts, fruits, vegetables, and seeds. Commercially prepared foods made specifically for cockatiels or small parrots generally work well and contain all the necessary vitamins and minerals they need. You may also want to supply them with a cuttle bone to keep their beaks strong and trimmed. Keeping a large dish of water at the bottom of their cage (and cleaning it regularly) encourages them to take baths, which they love! You will also want to trim their wings regularly – so that they don’t accidentally fly away through an open window or door.
One of the best attributes of cockatiels is their intelligence and ability to be trained! Cockatiels that have been handled since they were babies are generally very sociable and love attention and are easy to train. Younger ones (between 12-14 weeks) are the easiest to train. The most basic tricks include stepping up on your fingers and switching from hand to hand. After that is established, other neat tricks include whistling, ringing bells, climbing ladders, and spreading their wings on cue.
If you would like to learn more about keeping Grey Cockatiels as pets check out the Grey Cockatiel page!
Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.
Companion birds – including canaries, cockatiels, parakeets, lovebirds, cockatoos and African Grey parrots – are very popular pets. For the right pet owner, these birds can provide daily enjoyment, as well as companionship for many years. If you’ve ever thought about getting a companion bird for your household, how do you know which type is the best for you?
There are a number of different factors to consider.
1. What size pet can your household comfortably handle? Parakeets and canaries are small birds, and can be kept in relatively small homes and apartments. On the other hand, some types of cockatoos can be up to two feet tall and need significantly more space.
2. How much of an issue is noise? Some companion birds are more talkative than others. African Greys, for example, are a very popular parrot species and can develop vocabularies of hundreds of words or more – and they like to talk. Cockatiels, on the other hand, tend to be whistlers. If you live in an apartment building you may wish to consider a quieter type of bird.
3. How much “cuddling” do you want to do with your bird? Although much of this depends on each individual bird, there are some general differences between bird types. For example, cockatoos generally tend to be more “hands on” than African Greys.
4. Is this your first bird? If this is going to be your first time keeping a companion bird as a pet, consider a smaller and lower-maintenance breed such as a parakeet.
5. How much time are you going to be able to spend with your new bird on a regular basis? The more intelligent types of companion birds require more stimulation and direct interaction with you, so be honest about your lifestyle. If you’re rarely home, or travel often, then perhaps this isn’t the best type of pet for you.
6. What is your budget for your pet? Parakeets are inexpensive and can be found in many pet stores, while cockatoos are harder to find and may cost a thousand dollars or more. In addition, when you buy a companion bird you’ll be responsible not only for the cost of the bird, but also the cost of a cage, toys, and food for years to come – don’t forget to take these other costs into account.
7. How long are you willing to have the pet? Canaries generally live for up to ten years, while African Greys can sometimes live for 70 years.
8. How concerned are you with keeping control over your surroundings? Put another way, are you a “neat freak?” Companion birds can sometimes make a mess of their cage, and can sometimes be destructive when they are out of their cage, particularly the larger birds.
Consider all of these factors, and you might find the type of companion bird that will be a satisfying pet for years to come. To see more on how to choose the right bird for you, see the Choosing a Pet Bird page!