The health of pet birds is a specialized area and resolving health problems can be difficult. Checking your bird’s health regularly is a key step in ensuring good welfare and preventing disease.
Sometimes, bird owners get overlooked when it comes to pet tips. But birds can suffer in hot weather, too. Although they have a body temperature that’s higher than humans’ – about 104 degrees Fahrenheit – they can still develop problems if overheated. 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.
1. Know the Signs
Many well-meaning bird owners will put their birds in sunlight since most birds are light-lovers. But direct sunlight can cause heat exhaustion and other problems, especially if it’s indoors. 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.
2. Mites and Other Pests
For dogs and cats, summer is flea and tick season. 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.
3. 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.