parrot, pet care, bird care

Caring for your pet bird during the winter

Exotic birds are used to hot, tropical climates where there’s little fluctuation in temperature throughout the year. While Canada’s winters are known for being cold, dry and unpredictable, there are several steps you can take to make sure your feathered friend stays toasty warm and healthy this winter. Check out these tips from our blog Winter Care for Pet Birds.

parrot, pet care, bird care
photo credit: JDZ adon Lumix G9 via photopin (license)

Diet

Feeding your bird a vitamin-rich and varied diet throughout the year will help support your bird’s immune system during winter stress. This will help your bird fight off any infections it may incur during the colder months.

Cage placement

While your house may be well heated, there are likely some areas that tend to get drafty in the winter. Hold up a narrow strip of tissue paper next to your bird’s cage to check for drafts. You may need to relocate your bird’s cage to an area that’s protected from these cold drafts, while still ensuring your bird still has lots of warmth and light throughout the day. At night, you may also want to cover your bird’s cage to provide extra warmth and protection from possible drafts.

Heating – what not to use

Birds are not only vulnerable to cold air, but they also have very sensitive respiratory systems. Most electric and gas space heaters tend to be coated with chemicals that produce toxic fumes for birds. The smoke and fumes of fireplaces (both gas and wood) are also very harmful if inhaled by your pet bird.

Heating – what to use

If you’re concerned about finding a safe and consistent heating source for your bird this winter, you can discuss your heating options with your veterinarian or check with a pet store that specializes in exotic birds. There are several heat lamps on the market that are specially designed for birds that will safely produce heat but not light (to make sure the lamp doesn’t disrupt your bird’s avian sleep cycle).

Finally some winter “dos” for your pet bird

  • Do make sure your bird is kept away from dangerous items like electrical cables, heating elements, and hot bulbs. These items should also be kept a safe distance from any splashing water.
  • Do familiarize yourself with the signs of overheating. This can include panting, wings held away from the body and an extended neck. Your bird may also become lethargic and unresponsive.
  • Do watch for signs of skin and feather dryness in your bird. This can include an increase in feathers and dander in and around its cage or a dull or dusty appearance to its feathers. Consider using a bird-friendly humidifier or periodic misting, and talk to your veterinarian about ways to treat your pet’s dry feathers and skin.
  • Do consider a visit to your  veterinarian before the start of winter to make sure your bird is in good health and address any winter concerns you may have.

Following these tips, will ensure your pet stays happy and safe throughout the long winter months.

Jan 04, 2019
by Emily Cook
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