Avian (Bird) Husbandry & Grooming | Las Vegas, NV
Owning a pet bird is very different from taking care of any other sort of animal. Whilst you still need to be responsible for their environment, nutrition and preventative care to name just a few of your commitments, your feathered friend will have very different care requirements compared to less exotic pets. Unless you are an experienced avian expert, chances are that this highly rewarding experience will also be a huge learning curve.
One aspect of pet care, and in particular, bird care that is often overlooked in favor of more obvious responsibilities is husbandry and grooming. Whilst animals, including birds, do groom themselves to an extent, proper grooming carried out by an owner or trained professional is actually vital if your feathery pal is to stay in the best possible condition and health. Many owners prefer to leave this job to the professionals since the process often does require some restraint of your pet – something which can be quite tricky with just one pair of hands!
To help you understand more about appropriate care for your pet and ensure that you fulfill your responsibilities to the best of your ability, here is what you need to know about avian husbandry and grooming.
Basic Bird Husbandry
Husbandry refers to the care of animals, particularly those in captivity. Since birds require very different care to mammals, the following should be taken into consideration when you first become a proud parent to a feathery family member.
Aside from the cost of your bird, his habitat/cage will probably be your next biggest expense. Make sure that it is as big as possible with width more important than height. As a minimum, it should be twice the wingspan of your bird when his wings are fully extended. Choose paper towels or newspaper for the bottom substrate as these are easier to keep clean, and place food and water bowls for easy access and to minimize the risk of fecal contamination. Ensure that there is plenty of natural light, but access to shade should your bird need it.
Birds need a nutritionally-balanced diet in order to live a long and healthy life. Whilst there are lots of different feeds to choose from, our experienced avian veterinary team will be able to help you select the most appropriate diet for your feathered friend.
Birds are very intelligent creatures and it is important that you offer him enough mental stimulation so that he doesn’t become bored. This means a frequent rotation of toys to keep him interested. Choose these carefully, ensuring that there are no small parts that can be removed and present a choking hazard.
There are several different aspects of bird grooming. These include the following:
Birds claws are just as important as those of any cat or dog. Your bird will use them for both standing and grasping onto objects. However, if his claws grow too long, they could turn around and grow back into his feet. This can cause a great deal of pain, mobility problems and put her at risk of infection. This means that regular trimming is needed to keep them in check. Be careful not to cut them down to the quick. Instead, be sure to leave enough of a curve so that he can still grasp and perch.
All birds have beaks instead of regular mouths. Much like our fingernails, their beaks continue to grow for the duration of their lives, and this means that your bird’s beak will need to be constantly eroded to ensure that it doesn’t get too long and can continue to function properly. Most birds do manage to stay on top of their beak length without intervention, but there may be occasions whereby it is looking a little long or abnormal and, in this situation, you should arrange for it to be looked at by an avian vet. Beak trimming isn’t something that should be attempted by anyone other than a professional.
Wing trimming is something of a controversial practice and there are arguments both for and against the process. Trimming your bird’s wings can prevent some flight, which many owners prefer since it ensures greater safety for your feathered friend. However, it may not stop all flight and you should be aware of this when it comes to his environment. It is also important to bear in mind that flying is actually a great form of exercise and those birds that do get to enjoy regular flight is usually in better health than those that aren’t. After all, flying is natural.
Whether your bird is allowed to fly or not, trimming is usually essential to keep him in the best shape. The process is completely painless and not dissimilar to trimming a cat or dog’s fur or human hair. Your professional will talk you through what you can expect to happen. You will also be given advice about the importance of avoiding blood feathers. These are feathers that have dark-colored shafts that contain blood vessels. If these feathers are cut, serious bleeding will occur so this should be avoided at all costs.
If you are considering adopting a pet bird, our experienced and dedicated avian experts will be happy to answer any questions that you have or to give your new feathery companion his first wellness check. Contact the Flamingo Pet Clinic in Las Vegas, NV today to speak to us or to arrange an appointment 702-903-3200.