Bird owners are usually overlooked when it comes to pet tips. Birds are amazing creatures, intelligent, affectionate, fun, playful and very susceptible to shock from injury or relatively small changes in their environment. That’s why knowing how to keep your bird cool in a heat wave is an important part of bird care! So it’s a good idea to take a look at some of the things that can affect birds during the summer months. Here are some tips for keeping your pet bird healthy this summer.
Look out for the telltale signs of overheating.
If your bird is breathing through the mouth or panting, holding his wings away from his body, or is on the floor of the cage behaving in an anxious or stressed manner, these are all tell tale signs that your bird is starting to overheat. Veterinary sources claim that outdoor aviaries rarely produce heat problems in birds, but confined spaces like cars and closed rooms can be lethal. If your bird is overheated and suffering from heat exhaustion, he or she may exhibit the following signs.
- Holding the wings out from the body (beginning sign)
- Excessive panting (beginning sign)
- Agitation, pacing, and balance problems (later sign)
- Convulsions after falling from perch (late sign)
If this happens, take action by getting your bird to a vet as soon as possible. Before you get to the vet (or as someone else is driving you), sources recommend taking steps first to get the bird’s temperature down, such as giving a cool bath, using a fan, or spritzing the bird with water. Of course, the first thing you should do is get the bird out of the hot conditions and into a cooler area.
Mites and Other Pests
For pet birds, summer might be thought of as mite season. Mites can affect birds all year round, but the summer months are when bird mite infestations are most common, sources say. Use whatever mite preventative your veterinarian recommends, and watch for signs of mites: scratching, bare patches (especially around the tail), and black or red specks on or around your bird. Keep your bird’s cage very clean to prevent mites as well.
Bird mites tend to wander away from a vacated birds nest in late spring and early summer. They will then look for an appropriate host and frequently it is a person in the nearest house or apartment. To avoid being the recipient of these unwanted guests, remove bird feeders and birdhouses from the yard and trim tree limbs near the house. Be wary of birds nesting in nearby trees, and underneath window air conditioners. To remove a vacated nest; wear vinyl gloves, long pants and shirt, and place the nest in a sealed bag in the trash. Clothes should be removed and washed immediately. Spray around eaves and windows with an effective miticide.
Toxic Chemicals in Lawn and Garden
If you treat your yard, garden, or any part of your property with pesticides, weed killers, fungicides, and/or fertilizers, make sure your pet bird is well away from the area when you apply these substances. If you bring your bird outside, do not place him or her in the outdoor aviary or cage for at least a week, according to sources. You can certainly wait even longer, or better yet, don’t use chemicals on your lawn and garden that can harm your bird. You might prefer more natural options.