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Happy Kritters Aviary | Bakersfield, CA
Phone: (661) 663-0739 or (805) 458 6230
Email: Bigmamabch@aol.com

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Basic Care

Once you have your new bird, assuming you have already bought a cage, you will need to prepare the cage before you can put your bird inside. The first thing you need to do is sterilize the cage. Obviously, if the cage has been used, one would assume that it be cleaned. What many people don't realize, however, is that even a new cage must be sterilized as well. This is because all cages are shipped in boxes, many of which contain dirt and other unknown substances which can be harmful to your bird's health.

The easiest and most effective cleanser is comprised of a mixed solution containing a 1/2 cup of ordinary Clorox bleach (Do not use Clorox Ultra 2!! It contains lye which cannot be rinsed and will kill your bird.) and 1 gallon of water. Soak the entire cage in this solution and let it set for approximately 5 minutes. The feeders and perches must also be cleaned. Rinse thoroughly (IMPORTANT!). If done properly, you should not be able to detect any odor of bleach on the cage or its contents. This precaution is important because all hookbills use their beaks to climb and move about their cage. This means that their tongues are constantly "tasting" any and all substances on the cage. By performing this procedure prior to placing your bird in its new environment, you are ensuring that your bird is safe.

Now that you have brought home this wonderful little creature, you must further safeguard its new environment. There are many dangers hidden within our normal daily routines that can make our birds very ill or even cause death. First, you can no longer burn scented candles, potpourri, inscense, or use air fresheners, including plug-ins. These products contain chemicals that will burn your bird's lungs and kill them. Other hazards include: mirrors and windows (birds will fly into them and break wings, blood feathers, or even their necks), open doors (they may try to fly away or can get caught between a closing door and be crushed), operating ceiling fans, toilet bowls with the lid open (can cause drowning if your bird lands in it), open pots of water on the stove (hot or cold), dish water in the sink, hot stove burners, and so on.

Try to remember that when you are cooking, the safest place for your bird to be is in its cage. Some other threats to your bird include Teflon pans and ironing boards. When heated to a temperature of 500 degrees, an odorless poisonous gas is emitted into the air that will kill your bird. Self cleaning ovens also give off a poisonous gas. When it's time to run that self cleaning oven, try to do it on a nice day so that your bird can be outside or gone with you somewhere.

There are other things you can do to ensure the safety of your new pet. For instance, clipping your bird's wings is, in most situations, one of the best things you can do. However, there is at least one situation where you should keep your bird flighted -- if there are dogs or cats in the house that might endanger the safety of your bird simply by following their instincts. It's possible that your sweet cat or cute puppy might play a little too rough, causing injury or even death to your bird. So, keeping your bird's wing unclipped will allow it to fly away from this type of situation. On the other hand, if you do not have any dogs or cats, then clipping your bird's wings would be crucial to it's safety, especially if the bird is free to roam about the room. There are many household items which could cause injury to your pet if it is allowed free flight, not to mention the damage some of the larger birds can do to your home.

Don't let your bird be a casualty. Judge the situation objectively and clip your bird's wings when necessary. I know, from experience, how badly it hurts to see your beloved pet fly out that door never to be seen by you again.

Cover your bird at night with a light blanket or sheet but leave a night light on. I cover 3 sides of my cages, allowing light in. This helps avoid night frights, which can hurt your bird if he breaks a blood feather while you are asleep and unable to help him. If at all possible, keep your bird on a regular schedule. For example, make bedtime be at 8pm. This is better for your bird and better for you. Avoid drafts, which can cause respiratory infections. Give your bird as much sunlight as possible, but avoid direct sunlight when indoors. Your windows act as magnifying glasses which can intensify exposure to heat. And when inside or outside, be sure to give him a shaded area to retreat to if he get too warm.

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