Pet Birds and Birds of Prey
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Give 5 examples of pet birds
- Budgergiar - Melopsittacus undulatesCockatiel - Nymphicus hollandicusAfrican grey parrot - Psittacus arithacus
- Senegal parrot
- Eclectus parrot
What are the different ways to determine the sex of a bird?
- External aspects in dimorphic birds e.g. male budgies have a blue top beak whereas females are brown/pink
- During endoscopy or laparoscopy (this is illegal in the UK if only performed for sexing purposes)
- DNA testing using either feathers or blood
What type of material should an aviary/cage be made out of? What materials should be avoided?
- Stainless steel or power coated wire should be used
- Galvanised materials should not be used as they can cause zinc toxicity
What are preferable: horizontal or vertical bars?
Horizontal bars as they allow the birds to climb
Where should an indoor aviary/cage be positioned and why?
It should be in a room where the bird can undergo 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. Birds need to have uninterrupted sleep or they will get stressed. The cage should not be placed in the kitchen as teflon is toxic to birds. Birds should not be exposed to smoke and air fresheners as they can cause feather plucking and respiratory problems
What type of perches should be provided for birds and why?
Tree branches as plastic perches will eventually cause inflammation of the feet. They must be fruit trees as any other type may be toxic. The diameter has to be big enough for the nails of the parrot not to touch each other.
Why do birds require UV light? Which species requires it in particular?
They need UV light for calcium absorption. African grey parrots really need UV light.
Why does placing a parrot next to the window not provide them with enough UV light?
As windows filter sunlight
What should you do if you have to leave a parrot alone?
You should always put the radio or television on, as they are not used to silence and being alone causes them stress.
Why should parrots never sit higher than the chest level of an owner?
In the wild the most important parrot in the flock sits on the highest branch so if they sit on top of the owners head/shoulder they believe they are the boss. The best way to stop bad behaviour in a parrot is to gently grab them and place them on the floor as this puts them in a low position in the flock.
Describe the diet of a healthy pet parrot
A pet parrot diet consists of completed formula with additional fruit and vegetables
Why is seed mix unacceptable when fed as the main component of the diet?
Sunflower seeds are high in fat and very palatable so the parrots tend to pick these out which leads to nutritional deficiencies.
What type of vitamin deficiency is common in birds on a seed mix diet?
Vitamin A deficiency
What condition is associated with lack of UV light or poor diet?
What are 34% of birds presented to clinics for?
Where are microchips placed in birds?
In the left pectoral muscle
Why is choosing the correct ring size in birds important?
If you choose the wrong ring size this can cause strangulation around the ankle and it will need to be removed under general anaesthetic
True or false: wing clipping is illegal in the UK?
False, but it is highly discouraged
Describe how to safely handle pet birds
The use of a towel or gloves is recommended for larger birds, whilst a small light towel is better for smaller birds. Always be sure to control the birds head when handling them. The best way to do this is place one hand around the head (either with your thumb under the mandible or the thumb and index finger holding both mandibles) and place the other hand around the feet to control the rest of the body and wings.
What are the two main groups of birds of prey?
Faliconiformes (hawks, falcons, eagles and vultures) and strigiformes (owls)
Which groups of birds of prey are diurnal/nocturnal?
Falconiformes are diurnal whist strigiformes are nocturnal
True or false: owls possess a crop?
Give 3 common uses of birds of prey
- Demonstration flying and education
- Pest control
- Airfield clearance
What are some of the most common types of birds of prey?
- Golden eagle
- Harris' hawk
- Peregrine falcon
True or false: in general, female birds of prey are larger than males?
What disease can birds of prey develop easily if they are provided with unsuitable perches?
What can birds of prey be tethered to?
Blocks (a solid perch with a padded top) or bows (a semicircular bar with a padded region)
True or false: falcons get all their water from their food?
False - this is an urban myth. All birds of prey should be provided with drinking and bathing water on a daily basis.
Describe the diet of a captive bird of prey
Birds of prey are carnivores. Various types of prey include: day old chicks, 3-4 week old chickens and rodents. For larger species, e.g. vultures, we can offer rabbits and hares. Prey can be offered fresh or frozen (defrosted) but they must be dead as it illegal to offer live animals as food in the UK. Food should be offered once a day or twice a day in small species.
What usually happens within 12 hours of birds of prey consuming a meal?
They will regurgitate the ingestible part of the prey. Monitoring casting is a good way to monitor the health of the bird.
Give examples of some equipment used in falconry
- Aylmeri (leather anklet)
- Jesse (leather strap)
- Swivel (metal ring between jesse and leash)
Describe how to safely handling a hooded raptor
Approach from behind with a towel. Place the towel around the body and wings. Control the feet placing the small and ring fingers around the legs.
How do you safely train a bird of prey to hunt?
Reduce its weight, tether the bird, encourage it to eat from your fist, encourage to fly to the fist for food, increase the training/distance e.g. using a lure.
How often does moulting occur in birds of prey?
Annually after the breeding season
Why do we sometimes collect feathers during moulting?
They are collected for impinge - when you remove a broken feather and replace them with one that was collected during moulting
Give three examples of common husbandry related pathologies
- Tip wing oedema
- Broken feathers
- Nutritional deficiencies
Where are microchips placed in birds of prey?
In the left pectoral muscles
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