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Jan 25, 2008
Each season brings with it different situations which affect our pet birds. Winter brings a number of these, but it also brings the holiday season with its own potential hazards. Being aware of the possible problems can be a great help in preventing a tragedy.

WINTER HAZARDS And Your Bird

Fires In The Fireplace - Enjoy the warm glow of a winter fire. Just be sure to keep the yule logs and fire color additives away from your birds. They contain heavy metals such as such as arsenic, barium, lead and selenium. If ingested, they could cause heavy metal poisoning. Particles may also be included in the smoke. Even better, keep birds out of the room when you have a fire. Smoke is an irritant to us and surely is to our feathered friends.

Bathing - Turning on our furnaces often leads to dry air. Dry air can mean dry skin and dry breathing passages for our pet birds. Try to keep the humidity up near your birds. And be sure they can bathe frequently.

Drafts - It's cold out there. Check windows and doors for leaks. Birds can handle lower temperatures, but a cold draft can make your bird ill.

Teflon Heaters and Appliances - More and more manufacturers are using teflon in their appliances. These include heaters, lamps, teflon coated bulbs, irons, stove top burners, griddles, hair dryers, etc. When teflon is heated it gives off poisonous fumes which can quickly kill. Recent reports indicate that teflon fumes are generated at temperatures as low as 285 degrees. There have also been reports that using multiple appliances at the same time is additive and increases the amount of teflon fumes in the air.

Many of us use space heaters to warm those extra cold areas in our homes. In winter we also use more lamps and bulbs. And of course the windows are closed, reducing ventilation. Teflon fumes are carried on air currents, so a bird does not have to be in the room to be affected. Before you buy appliances, read the labels and purchase the non-teflon brands. Check the electrical appliances you already own. DON'T use teflon near your birds.

Halogen Lamps - Halogen lamps are very hot. A bird landing on one, can be burned. If you do use halogen lamps, be sure to supervise your birds when they are out.

Power Outages - For some of us winter storms can bring power outages. Plan for emergencies. How will you keep your birds warm, feed them and provide light if you lose power? In dire emergencies how will you evacuate your home? Inexpensive backup power supplies are available. Keep carriers, heating pads, prepared food packets and bottled water available for quick access.

PARTY TIME

This is the time for parties and for creating a special holiday atmosphere in our homes. Let's all celebrate, but remember a few safety precautions.

Incense and Candles - Scented candles, incense, carpet fresheners and air fresheners contain volatile oils which are poisonous to birds. You can enjoy your candlelight, but use unscented candles and supervise your birds when they are out. To give your home that holiday aroma, try boiling herbs such as cloves, mint or cinnamon.

Lots Of Cooking In The Kitchen - Check all the seldom used appliances you are going to use for teflon - the electric frying pan, wok, the bread maker, cake pans, hot food servers and warmers. If you must use them, BE CAREFUL! Don't let any of them overheat, be sure there is ventilation and keep your birds away. Also be aware that fumes from self cleaning ovens have killed birds. Hand clean your ovens with a safe product instead.

Holiday cooking is a time for lots of sauces, gravies and goodies - many cooking and being mixed at the same time. They will smell as good to your birds as they do to you. Watch out for inquisitive birds who will fly or jump into a pot or bowl of hot food or a container filled with liquid. Smaller birds can get trapped in a container of liquid and drown. Cover your pots while cooking. Be careful when using electrical mixers and beaters. And keep the drawers closed. A small bird can be trapped when an open drawer or cabinet door is shut. Better yet, this is not the best time to bring your pet bird into the kitchen with you.

Holiday Plants - Poinsettia plants, Christmas cactus, Holly berries and Mistletoe berries are dangerous to birds. Poinsettia stems have a milky sap which irritates eyes and the digestive tract. Holly tree berries also irritiate the gastrointestinal tract. Mistletoe berries are toxic.

Trees And Decorations - Keep your birds away from your Christmas tree as there are many ways that our feathered friends can be hurt from them. Do your best to make your tree bird safe.

Pine and fir trees are not toxic. However, the needles from pine trees and artificial trees are sharp and can cause trauma, if ingested. Cedar contains irritants and should not be used.

Decorations made of plastic such as some angel hair, tinsel, spray snow and ornaments are non-toxic. However, injesting pieces of them can cause blockage of the intestinal tract. Some angel hair is made of fiberglass which is very dangerous if eaten. If you use a spray-on decoration, keep your birds away while you spray. Some of the propellants contain freon.

Glass and metallic ornaments and lights hung on Christmas trees can be broken. The sharp edges can cause cuts, both externally and internally. Bubbling light fluid contains a toxic solvent which irritates eyes. Consider using wooden ornaments and edible garlands made of things like popcorn, cranberries or even colored paper. Electrical cords are another source of danger.

Avoid metallic wrapping papers which can contain heavy metals. Eating any kind of wrapping paper should be avoided to prevent the possibility of intestinal blockage.

Visitors - Holidays also mean visitors, activity, late nights and noise. Visitors may unknowingly feed your bird something toxic such as alcohol, coffee, avocado and chocolate. Watch for your birds reactions to individuals. Some may be frightening to them. If you think your birds may become stressed, then move their cages or playgyms to a quieter area. Take them out, when things are quiet and there are less people around.

Be prepared and both you and your pet birds will have a wonderful holiday season and a safe winter!
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Posted: Jan 25, 2008 2:33pm
Sep 9, 2007
Any organic flour which can be found in any health food store, or, if you are one of the lucky ones, in your grocery store. I like to mix my flours so that I have a combination of grain flour and legume flour.
1-1/4 cup flour
2-1/2 teaspoon baking powder (non-aluminum)
2 tablespoons Sucanat
2 eggs beaten
3/4 cup (6 ounces) organic oat, almond or hazelnut milk
3 tablespoons melted Red Palm or Coconut oil
1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or almond extract - optional
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon (depending on your preference) - optional
Small to medium acorn or butternut squash
Very generous handful of raw sesame seeds or raw hulled sunflower seeds - optional but very much appreciated by your feathereds
Generous handful of well rinsed uncooked quinoa - optional


Mix flour, baking powder, and any other dry ingredient until thoroughly mixed. Make a well in the center. Pour milk, eggs and extract into well and mix. Add melted oil. Make sure the oil is not hot. Add 1 small to medium acorn or butternut squash pulsed in your food processor. Mix well.

Cook in a lightly greased pan or griddle. I use extra virgin olive oil. Slightly lower heat than you would regular pancakes. This batter is very dense and most probably will not produce the tell-tale bubbles to let you know when to turn over. Depending on the ingredients, I cook approximately 5 to 7 or more minutes per side.

I do not like to substitute fruit juice for the milk, as the fruit juice tends to make the pancakes burn if not carefully watched.

You can experiment around and substitute raw fruits and veggies like broccoli, red or green bell peppers, apples, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, kale or collard greens or shredded coconut. I always pulse the veggies or apples using my food processor. Do not liquefy. Small chunks are very much appreciated. You can also put a peeled, quarter sized raw ginger root in your veggie or fruit when pulsing. Be careful not to overdo the ginger.

Be creative with your combinations, but always keep in mind that if the pancake does not taste good to you, it will not be welcomed by your parrot as they have very discriminating taste buds too
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Posted: Sep 9, 2007 11:30am
Sep 9, 2007

Raising parrots is much like raising children. In fact, children and parrots are very much alike in many ways. Both go through different stages in their lives. From babies they grow into toddlers, from toddlers to youngsters, from youngsters to adolescents, from adolescents to teens, and from teens to adults.

They each have mood swings, throw temper tantrums, are demanding, push their limits, break the rules, and can make you wonder why you wanted them in the first place. Children and birds can also be loving, sweet, want to snuggle, make you smile when you're sad, make you laugh when you want to cry, be your friend, give you a reason to get up in the morning, and make you wonder how you ever got along without them.

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Posted: Sep 9, 2007 11:28am
Aug 7, 2007
Social Behaviors: Conures are very friendly, peaceful birds. They live in flocks in the wild, and very seldom fight each other. Unless their my Sun and Green Cheek who hate each other because they don't want to share mum. Handling/Training: Always handle your pet conure gently. If a person is a afraid of a bird, the bird can sense this and it can make it impossible to develop a relationship. Never hit your bird or you will loose it's trust, probably forever. To train your pet, the first thing you should do is have it's wings clipped. A bathroom is a good area for working with your conure to train it. Be sure to cover the mirrors, have the windows closed and covered and the door closed. Place the conure on a perch. If it insists on flying off, pick it up and replace it on the perch until it becomes use to the perch and is comfortable with it. The next step is to take a second perch and gently push into your pet's chest to encourage it to step up on it. Sometimes offering a treat to coax it up on the perch as it reaches for the treat will help. Once it steps up without hesitation, you can then substitute your finger for the perch. If your conure tries to bite, you can blow on it and it will soon learn to behave. Always reward good behavior and each success with loving praise and a treat. Some treats are a cracker, fruit such as a piece of grape, or a nut. These are very bright birds and love learning tricks. Some of the tricks you can teach it to do are to play dead, lay on it's back, and even pick up objects and bring them to you. Your conure can also learn to talk with patience and persistence as well. For an extensive parrot training system that potentially turns your bird into a fun, loving companion as well as learning lots of cool trickls to entertain your visitors. Activities: Conures need a great deal of exercise, and all conures are chewers. They must have distractions to keep them from becoming bored and lonely when their friend is away. Gnawing and climbing are great activities for this. They will generally chew up anything wooden or like me coming home to chewed cords! Natural perches and fresh twigs from willow, elder, poplar, and hawthorn work well. Other great toys include bells, ropes, swings, untreated leather, chew toys and ladders. They love mirrors and shiny unbreakable objects. Exercise and play are important activities for the physical well being and psychological health of your conure, but remember, they also need 10 - 12 hours of rest per day. Potential Problems: Most conures are healthy, hardy birds. Kept under optimal conditions and fed a balanced diet, they are remarkably resistant to disease. As with all parrots, signs of illness to be aware of are ruffled plumage, resting often with their head tucked under their wing or rump, not eating, discharge from the nostrils or mouth, cloudy eyes, loose watery droppings, weight loss (chest bone starts sticking out), large water intake, labored breathing, opening and closing it's mouth, listlessness, perhaps sitting on the bottom of the cage, stops talking, and growths around the beak. Some of the common illnesses your conure could contract are Aspergillosis - respiratory infection, Candidiasis, cold and sinus inflammations, diarrhea, egg binding, egg pecking, eye infections, feather plucking, frostbite, goiter or thyroid gland enlargement, mites, Pacheco's Disease, psittacosis, Salmonella, worms. An ailing parrot should be taken to a avian veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment immediatly, before you bring home a exotic bird it is a god idea to find out where an avian vet is located from you. Behavior problems usually stem from something missing in the bird's environment. Cockatoos are particularly vulnerable to feather plucking because of their intense need for socializtion. Boredom, lack of trust, lack of interaction with other birds or people can lead to problems like biting, feather plucking, and screaming. Try to develop a bond of trust and spend time with your bird to help avoid these problems.
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Posted: Aug 7, 2007 6:04am
Aug 7, 2007
Care and feeding: The personal hygiene of your conure includes a morning bath to keep their plumage glossy and beautiful. Use either a flat earthenware dish that your bird can step into and use it's beak to throw water on itself, or spray your bird with a light mist of lukewarm water. It may very well open it's wings up to get a complete bath if you use the spraying method. There will be a lot of preening after it's bath! This is where your conure will reach with it's beak down to the oil gland at the end of it's body, using the oil to lubricate it's feathers and end up with a beautiful sheen. The wings should be kept trim if you want to discourage flight and to prevent the loss of your pet through an open window or door. Conures generally maintain their nails and beaks pretty well on their own through climbing and chewing. There are many mineral blocks, lava blocks, and other beak grooming items available at your pet store to help your bird keep it's beak in shape. However both the nails and the beak should be trimmed if they get overgrown. Conures are much more sedentary in captivity than in the wild so their diet should be somewhat restricted. In the wild they feed mainly on grass seeds, nuts, berries, fruits, flowers, buds, insects and grains. Foods available for Conures include formulated diets, either pelleted or extruded, seed only diets, and small parrot mixes which offer a mixture of both. There are pros and cons to feeding only a formulated diet as well as feeding only a seed diet. A formulated diet provides a good nutritional base so does not require the addition of vitamins, however it does not contain the phytonutrients antioxidant pigments that are found in vegetables, fruits, grains, and seeds. Phytonutrients are believed to boost the immune system, help a body to heal itself, and to prevent some diseases. Also conures can become bored with it due to the lack of variety. A seed only diet offers much more variety but requires additional vitamin and calcium supplements. Conures need not only nutritional requirements met but also variety for psychological enrichment. A conure's diet consisting of a good small parrot mix which is supplemented with various fruits, green foods, millet spray, and occasionally some mealworms is generally regarded as suitable. A cuttlebone, or gravel and oyster shell in a separate dish can be provided. Vitamins can be added to the drinking water or the food. Some of the supplemental foods include apples, grapes, many garden vegetables such as spinach, romanian lettuce, poppy, chickweed, dandelions, carrots, corn on the cob, peas, and sweet potatoes, peanuts, monkey chow, and even dog food. Do not feed avocado as it is toxic to birds! Additional proteins can be offered such as cottage cheese, yogart, hardboiled eggs, peanuts, and even dog food. Fresh water should be provided daily. Housing: A cage best suited for a conure must be large so the tail does not touch the bottom, and it has enough room for unrestricted movements. These birds are true acrobats and need to stretch. For a small size conure, a minimum of 24"x16"x20", and for the larger species, a minimum of 44"x26"x40". This will provide room for both horizontal exercise and vertical climbing. Provide two Perches, sized between 3/4" to 1". Place one up high for roosting and one low by the food, water, and gravel dishes. Natural perches from willow, poplar and fruit trees are good for the bird's feet and for it's beak. The gnawing it will do on the perches will also alleviate your pet's boredom. Place the cage where it will be away from harmful fumes and drafts. To provide you pet with a sense of security, you can cover the cage at night. Which in my case needs to be done or they scream for the lights to be turned off so they can go to bed. Maintenance: The basic cage care includes daily cleaning of the water and food dishes. Weekly you should wash all the perches and dirty toys. The floor should be lined with newspaper and changed daily, or covered with an absorbent bedding such as corn cobs or pine shavings and changed weekly. A total hosing down and disinfecting of an aviary should be done yearly, replacing anything that needs to be freshened, such as old dishes, toys and perches.
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Posted: Aug 7, 2007 5:58am
Aug 7, 2007

That girl has some nerve...Here is the deal on what you'll face if you adopt or buy a conure parrot. 

Lets see she likes to steal my food and drink.  Please watch what the birds eat NO CHOCOLATE!  Ohh if your give them soda, they'll be bouncing off the walls!  My little girl begs the most with Ice Cream... her little head is nodding so fast you can barely keep up.  She fluffs up those feathers and does the little hooky pookie dance.  Ignore her she'll nip just to get your attention and then literally pull the class away or food as seen in this picture taking the pancake.  Might need to have the wipes on hand birds make a huge mess with their food.



She hates the dark, last night I put her in the cage for quite time about 10PM all the lights were off in the apartment except my room.  Within a mere few minutes I felt a tug on the sheets.  I knew Irish was on her way up the bed, she perched ontop of my knee while I was reading.  My birds have open cages, so they’ll come and go at whim.  I guess she wasn’t ready for bed.  Many times if she’s cold she’ll bundle right in under my chin. 
 My little girl has a lot of spunk!  I’ll share more stories in the near future so you’ll need to stop back!
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Posted: Aug 7, 2007 5:26am
Apr 17, 2007
Several years ago well more like a decade ago, while in Florida we stopped at a pet shop and my younger brother feel in love with this cockatiel chick.  He bought the little lad and a cage all for $60.  Well it was a journey from there.  After taking the bird from warm Florida to bitter cold winter in Wisconsin on that long trek up norte...the bird donned the name ANGEL. 

We had Angel for 5 years which during that time, he was a strong-minded bird and very bright.  He was an excellent whistler, talker and loved the people’s shoulders but hated hands.  He perfected the "Andy Griffin Song", several Spanish style whistles and all the backyard birds' songs.  He also had a very nice vocabulary.  Unfortunately he was a dominate and independent bird except the days when the neighborhood hawk came to visit the outdoor bird feeders then his humans were his refuge.
 

During those 5 years the bird gave our family unlimited amount of joys.  One unforgettable moment was when my father was asleep in the living room recliner after a long day of student driving (summer).  Angel pranced up my father just to perch on his nose... Dad never woke up!  hum...
 

Unfortunately, an October day about 3 1/2 years ago brought our little Angel to wings of freedom.  Even though the day before his wings were clipped he managed to fly out our door.  My family spent 8 hours pursuing that cockatiel.   He saw us, we saw him but he just plain didn't want to come home.    We were heartbroken, and at 10:30PM hung up all hope of seeing our little friend alive.  Either the Predators or the Cold would be his dying fate.
 

.... Until 1 1/2 weeks ago
 

My father was driving with a student and somehow conversation was brought to discussing the family's pets.  Well turns out at that time some 3 1/2 years ago the family lived on the other side of my community of Valders and one day out of the blue a Cockatiel flew into their window to join the tiel they already had.  Ironic huh?  So my father pushed several poignant questions about the bird named "Buddy".  Conclusion was "Mr. Evans I do believe we have your bird!"  
 

Saturday, my family was reunited with our long lost friend the cockatiel Angel.  Although he is several years older he still has the same charm and vocabulary as the last day we saw him.  Our Angel has come home!
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Posted: Apr 17, 2007 6:33am
Apr 11, 2007

EXCERT FROM MY ARTICLE...In retrospect, St. Nazianz experienced a weather phenomenon known as a wind sheer containing a 100 mph downburst.  It was not a tornado.  (Too wide an area was affected.)  Huge, old trees were blown over or twisted into ragged toothpicks.   Forests were devastated across a nine mile wide strip over many miles between Lake Winnebago and Lake Michigan.   The St. Nazianz trailer court was gone.  Houses were completely moved off their foundations.  Roofs were ripped off.   The storm completely destroyed 50 barns in just Manitowoc County.  The first crop hay was obliterated.  In its wake, the storm left thousands of pounds of wood and metal debris scattered to the four winds over the length and breath of Manitowoc and Calumet County farm fields.   (Actually, the storm had traveled across the entire width of Wisconsin that day, hitting Omro and Oshkosh just 45 minutes before it hit us.  Too bad we weren’t given more of a warning!) 

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Posted: Apr 11, 2007 10:55am
Apr 4, 2007
1. If it's on the floor, it's mine!

2. If it is small enough to fit in my beak, it is mine!
(ie: your hair, earlobe and all Jewery)

3. If you have it and put it down for a second, it's mine!

4. If you have put it away where I can't reach it and I get to it, it's mine!

5. If you throw it in the bin because you don't want it, it's mine!

6. If it is something that I know that I shouldn't have, it's mine!
(ie: all sweets)

7. If it is on your plate and you look away for 1 second, it's mine!

8. The credit cards and cash you keep in your wallet if left laying around are mine

9. The souvenir that you bought on that holiday that you just came back from is mine!

10.That piece of cake/cookie you left on the chair while you went to the toilet is mine!

11. Those cables for your computer are mine!

12. That valuable piece of antique furniture is mine!

13. That pretty molding that goes around the big windows is mine! (compliments of a friend)

14. In fact, everything you own is mine!

Isn't it just great being a parrot, I get to chew everything up
!
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Posted: Apr 4, 2007 8:43am
Apr 4, 2007
Conures make delightful pets... because they are so affectionate and comical!

The conure is a remarkable bird, popular because of their beauty and intelligence. They are easily tamed and very social, quite active and they love to learn tricks. Most conures can learn a few words though their voices are high pitched and so what they are saying is often unclear. They are hardy birds that rarely get sick.

A single bird will tame quickly and soon learn new tricks. They like to preen and be preened, and just enjoy your company in general. Males and females make equally good pets.

1. They are not loud compared to other parrots although some species conures can be a little over active.
2. They are small birds with big bird personalities! They play just like a large parrot or macaw - they will use their feet to hold things, roll on their back to play or sleep. They love to wrestle with and then be scratched by their favorite human.
3. They are easy to feed and not as destructive as a large parrot.
4. They are easy to house with their ideal size they can use most cockatiel cages and they do not need the heavy bars of a more expensive cage.
5. Conures have oil glands that they use to preen their feathers and do not create the allergen dust found on cockatiels, cockatoos, and African Grey Parrots.
6. Besides their personality and ideal size, Conures can be found in many beautiful colors.
7. People with pets, especially seniors, have lower blood pressure, are happier, and livelonger lives.
8. Tame Conures are very interactive with people. They are bold and very personable but with their own individual personalities.
9. Sorry thats the End
10. Hope you Enjoyed it!
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Posted: Apr 4, 2007 7:38am

 

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