sprouts, sprouting, first aid kits, cultures, emergencies, Pet Parrots exotic birds pets Pets parrot Parrot magazines articles ezines e-zines
Sprouting beans, birds first aid kits, do your own bird cultures - Pet bird care for parrots & exotic birds
sprouts, sprouting, first aid kits, cultures, emergencies, pet parrots exotic birds pets Pets parrot Parrot magazines articles ezines e-zines

Winged Wisdom Pet Bird Magazine, Pet Bird Ezine
Pet Bird
Magazine, Ezine

August 1996 Magazine
 * Topic I - The Avian First Aid Kit

One of the most important items a responsible bird owner should have is a special First Aid Kit just for your bird.

Having a well stocked avian First Aid kit handy can prepare you to handle minor emergencies yourself or enable you to stabilize your bird's condition while getting your bird to your avian veterinarian. A sturdy, medium sized, plastic or metal tool or tackle box makes an ideal Avian First Aid Kit. Decide before hand where you wish to keep this kit. Any easily remembered place....kitchen, bathroom or the bird room itself are good locations.

Write your regular avian veterinarian's name, address and telephone number taped in the lid of the First Aid Kit, along with at least one 24 hour emergency hospital, clinic or doctor's name and number. Also keep a copy of your bird's medical records, particularly any chronic diseases or recent injuries/illnesses the bird has been treated for in the kit.

Basic First Aid Kit
There are some "musts" for your kit. The following are items we suggest for inclusion in a Basic First Aid Kit, with a brief description of their uses.

Additional Supplies:
For those who are more experienced you may want to add:

Danger Signals and Emergencies
There are many problems which you should be prepared for. We do not intend to list them all. Any time a bird has any of the following symptoms: stops eating, sits fluffed on the bottom of his cage, is bleeding from mouth or vent, has uncontrollable bleeding, has runny eyes, can't breathe, sneezes with discharge, has diarrhea, has constipation (straining to defecate), has loss of balance, depression, lethargy....do not wait! Take your bird to the veterinarian!

Birds do not have much clotting agent in their blood. A broken blood feather, or a minor cut can be life threatening. The blood feather must be removed, or bleeding stopped by use of Quik-stop or a styptic pencil. If bleeding does not stop, apply pressure and rush the bird to the veterinarian.

A small Red Cross type first aid booklet may be kept in the avian First Aid Kit. An avian book with descriptions of first aid procedures may be even more handy.

For the more experienced bird owner, a copy of Avian Medicine; Principles and Applications by Ritchie, Harrison and Harrison, (1995), Wingers Publishing Inc. , which is considered the standard of avian veterinary care, is a "must" for the aviculturist's library.

Traveling and Carrying Your Bird
Even if you only are traveling an hour away, take your First Aid kit with you. Bring additional water and food. If your car breaks down, or worse, you are in an accident, the first aid kit and additional supplies may save your bird's life!

A safe, traveling cage or carrier is also necessary. Covering the carrier minimizes stress on the bird as well as keeping the bird out of drafts.

All bird owners need a brooder (a warm enclosed environment for a sick or injured bird.) If you can not go to the expense of a professional hospital brooder, a temporary one can be made using an aquarium with wire lid and heating pad. Line the aquarium with several layers of toweling. Cover that with paper towel (for ease of cleaning.) Set half to 3/4 of the aquarium over the heating pad set on "low" and pre-warm before placing the bird in the brooder. You want part of the aquarium OFF the heating pad, so if the bird feels too warm he has a cooler spot to get to. You will need an accurate thermometer to ascertain the temperature of the brooder. The interior of the aquarium should be between 85 to 95 degrees. A sick or injured bird cannot maintain its body temperature, so warmth, either to prevent shock, or to maintain a sick bird, is necessary. Place a small dish of water in a corner of the brooder to help maintain humidity. Cover the top, back and three sides with another sheet or towel, leaving at least part of the front uncovered for observation.

The question of antibiotics has been raised on many occasions. Should the bird owner administer antibiotics without having the bird seen by a veterinarian? The answer must be a resounding NO! The reason for this is that not every antibiotic can eliminate every bacteria. And, of course, antibiotics do not work on viruses. It is most important that the bird is seen, that blood work or cultures are done by the veterinarian before any antibiotics are given. Most antibiotics need to be taken for specific amounts of time, with varying dosages not only by weight of bird, but by species, since some birds are far more "sensitive" to drugs than others. Also, most veterinarians will wish to administer an anti-fungal medication along with the antibiotic. Avian internal systems are extraordinarily susceptible to yeast and fungal infections, which can sometimes do more harm than the original bacterial infection!

There are antibiotics available over the counter at pet stores. Do not use them. The most common antibiotic available "over the counter" is tetracycline which is of value in very few, and only very specific, avian illnesses. Tetracycline can cause severe fungal infection if not used with systemic anti-fungal drugs and should be avoided unless under veterinary care!

In closing.....

We are sure we have not covered every possible emergency which will arise. The suggestions we have made are based on our experiences as well as the experiences of other bird owners, breeders and avian professionals. We hope that in an emergency, the information we have provided you is helpful.

Copyright © 1996 Sybil Erden and Carol Highfill All rights reserved.

Table of Contents
 * Topic II - Toxins

 * Topic III - Growing Your Own Sprouts

Sprouting seeds, beans, peas and grains are a natural and healthy way to provide nutrition to your birds. In addition to being an excellent source of amino acids found in living plants, they provide variety in the diet (texture, color and taste) and can become favorites of many birds.

Sprouting is easy to do, once you've learned the procedure. And there are a large variety of grains, seeds, beans and peas that can be used.

You can buy beans, peas, and grains for sprouting from the bulk bins at the health food store or you can get special ones (they cost much more) intended for sprouting. I have found that the ones in the bulk bins sprout as well, at a significant reduction in price.

Some seeds, beans and peas for sprouting include:

Popcorn kernels are an excellent addition to the sprouting mix. They are a clean human quality corn product and sprout well and quickly.

Don't use any seeds intended for planting in your sprouting mix.

Don't sprout soybeans, lima beans or kidney beans. They have an enzyme that needs to be inactivated by heat.

Buy a sprouting jar from the health food store. "THE JAR" Seed Sprouter by Sprout Ease comes with 3 different plastic mesh tops and is affordable and easy to use. The different size holes in each top allow you to rinse everything from small seeds to sunflower seeds. I run the sprouting jars and the plastic screens in the dishwasher each time before I set the seeds to soaking.

Rinse the seeds in very hot water. Shake and rinse the seeds vigorously several times to knock off and rinse away any grime or other debris. Often the reason that sprouts spoil is that they aren't rinsed vigorously enough before set to soak.

Soak the sprout mix for 6 to 8 hours. Change the soaking water at least once unless soaking overnight refilling the jar with hot water after rinsing. Rinse with tepid water several times before serving in the morning. If the sprouts are soaked, rinsed, drained and set to sprout during the day, rinse them several times during the day with warm water. The seeds to be sprouted should not sit in water except when they are soaking. After rinsing, prop the jar at a 45 degree angle this will allow any of the water left in the jar to drain away but the seeds will still be moist. Gently shake the jar to spread the seeds out onto the side of the jar. Spreading them out will expose more surface to the air. You don't have to wait until the sprout tails start peeking out. By soaking, you have already begun the life cycle of the seed.

Once the mix sprouts, be very gentle when rinsing so that you don't damage the sprout tails. Serve them shorter rather than longer - when they get long, they can be bitter. About a quarter inch is a nice length for the sprouts. If they develop roots or leaves, don't feed them - they won't taste good.

If you have one medium to large bird, a third cup of a sprouting mix should be enough for a couple of meals. A heaping spoonful of sprouts can be mixed in with a slightly reduced portion of the regular breakfast.

Sprouts are a wonderful food for birds, especially for Amazons if they need to go on a diet.

Copyright © 1999 Bobbi Brinker and Winged Wisdom All rights reserved.
Table of Contents
 * Topic IV - Doing Your Own Cultures (Save Time and Money)

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Cockatoo parrot picture courtesy of Glasgow Enterprises