HEALTH and SAFETY
* Find a good AVIAN vet. Dog and cat vets are not adequately trained to treat birds. Check www.aav.org for a vet near you. Since birds are prey animals, they do not show sickness until they are very ill. Try to visit the vet every year for a routine visit, and lab work regularly as well.
* Invest in a small, gram scale and weigh your bird weekly at the same time of day. A 5-10% or gradual drop in weight could signify a problem.
* Keep emergency supplies on-hand, a travel carrier ready for emergencies, and make sure bird-sitters know how to call your vet. Keeping a pillowcase under a chair cushion can make a great emergency carrier if the situation is urgent.
* Feather health involves access to regular bathing or showers, a quality diet comprised of a wide variety of wholesome foods, and lots of activities to keep that brilliant bird brain challenged and the body busy.
* Make sure your bird has access to 10-12 hours of sleep in a quiet area away from the TV and other family activities.
* Be aware of dangers such as ceiling fans; open doors; Teflon pans; chemical sprays, cleaning agents and perfumes; dangerous plants; and other pets.
* Avoid toxic foods such as chocolate, caffeine, sugar, greasy foods, avocado, liquor and all junk food in general.
* Learn to read your bird’s droppings to help track potential health problems. Avoid using bedding materials like corncob in the cage, these can be serious sources of bacteria.