Posts tagged [Exotic Animals]




    • Increase humidity by allowing birds into the bathroom while showering, especially in the dry Highveld winters. Also, mist spray daily with decalcified water (ensure the environment is warm). Misting just before leaving keeps the birds busy for the first half hour after the owner has left, and reduces allergen load on the feathers. 

    • Correct dietary deficiencies. Converting the bird to a complete pelleted diet, supplemented with fresh fruit and vegetables, is recommended. 

    • Eliminate broad allergic irritants from the environment (cigarette smoke, perfumes, incense, and cleaning products, wash hands before handling birds as oily residues from hand creams etc can initiate picking). Remove birds from the kitchen as aerosolised oil droplets and overheated Teflon can be harmful. 

    • Ensure daily access to direct sunlight, unfiltered by a glass window (5 minutes at least). 

    • Ensure birds are getting enough sleep – they need at least 10 hours of darkness per night. Remember that birds often wake at the crack of dawn, and will stay awake till the whole family has gone to bed if kept in the family room. 

    • Ignore picking behaviour (prevent reinforcement of behaviour), reward the bird for alternative behaviours. 

    • Treat all wounds (never apply oil based products or products containing corticosteroids) 

    • Keep daily records – the amount of picking, time of day, food eaten that day, activities surrounding picking. 


    Read More  



    There are many avian species that are successfully kept as pets around the world, with the parrot and canary families being particularly popular. A critical component of good husbandry is the feeding of an appropriate diet to your bird.

    The following points will help you make the right choices:

    Do not perpetuate the myth that birds of the parrot family can survive on seeds alone. Many parrots will feed on seed only despite a variety of foods being offered, but a seed is very high in fat and low in many nutrients that your parrot really needs. We all know children who would eat sweets only despite a balanced diet being available! Commercially produced pellets are recommended, as these provide a better-balanced diet for birds of the parrot family. It is advisable to supplement fresh vegetables, a little fruit as a treat, a little seed and some nuts. A small amount of pasta, cheese or whole wheat bread can also be given.

    Chocolates and caffeine should be avoided completely, as should avocado and the seeds of the most commercially available fruit. Birds would never drink milk in the wild, and dairy products with high lactose levels will cause diarrhoea. These should be avoided. Cheese and yoghurt in moderation can be beneficial, by providing a good source of calcium.

    Sprouted seeds have a lower oil content and provide better nutrition for a bird than dry seeds. Seeds should be rinsed in fresh water and soaked overnight before being placed under a lamp, with paper towelling to keep them moist. The seeds should sprout within a couple of days, after which they can be rinsed and stored in the refrigerator.


    Wing clipping is the process of removing feathers on either one or both wings to hinder the bird’s ability to fly. This can be dangerous as it leads to a loss of control in flight, which could result in injuries to the wings or sternum of the bird during a crash landing. For this reason, some veterinarians prefer clipping both wings to allow for better control during flight, but a lighter bird may still be able to fly. It is very important that you do NOT just cut across the primary feathers, as this may cause feather plucking. It is recommended that you speak to your veterinarian who can recommend the most appropriate form of clipping for the type of bird that you keep.


    Read More