Avian Care

Have Parrot – Will Travel!

By Avian Care, Holiday Concerns No Comments

Travelling with Parrots is relatively simple – but your & your family need to plan things well in advance.

Desensitization – this situation is simplified if you are going to drive with them in my experience. Typically, parrots travel very, very well-as long as you prepare them and, then yourself. Begin to desensitize them to their traveling “crate” as soon as you can.

Carrier choice – You need to place one or two perches across an appropriately sized plastic cat carrier. A simple “dowel” likely won’t do for proper grip so, finding Dragonwood or other perches through online bird stores that have more of a grip-texture that would be better for your birds. You’ll also need to place a towel in the bottom of the carrier and have extras with you on the road to change out daily. You can also purchase (online) appropriately sized stainless steel water and food bowls that will attach to the doorway of the kennel. I strongly recommend you do not use plastic bowls with birds like this-while you will think they may not destroy them-the moment you leave them unattended in the carrier and look elsewhere/take your eyes off of them- they usually will. also is an excellent company who makes carriers that are soft sided, easily secured, very easy to clean, mobile & light to carry. They already have perches in them with appropriate water bowls that come with them as well. However, they are little more expensive-if you do decide to purchase one of these for your bird – Ensure you get the stainless steel mesh and not the plastic mesh! While the latter is cheaper, for the same reasons noted above-stainless steel is better-the birds really have to try hard to get out of them. My Caique made easy work of chewing the plastic mesh once during a 20 minute commute to my practice with her – this was well after she was used to the carrier! Finally, Celltei carriers are also very convenient for travel-I move my birds exclusively in these carriers. Also- the company is very good about the occasional repair from one of my more robust parrots.

If you are traveling the winter or colder months – Celltie also makes fleece covers for the carriers that are absolutely perfect. If you don’t have towels over the carriers or have the ability to towel them-you will need to consider this depending on the length of time your on the road and in keeping with the birds 12 hour light cycle.

Tolerizing your bird to the carrier & travelling – Once you “desensitize” your bird by placing them in the carrier and rewarding them for perching, do some interactive enrichment as well and possibly even some foraging exercises which are “self-rewarding” activity for them to actually play in the carrier and get used to being in an enclosed space. And you increase the time in the carrier over days and weeks until your hundred percent comfortable that they are 100% comfortable in them or as best as they can be. Consider taking your bird on short day-trips for progressively longer times.

You’ll also need to bring bottled water with you and try not to change the brand while you’re traveling. You will also likely need to bring some form of suction cup perch also available online from various distributors so that you can have them perch at points in the hotel room or, more appropriately in the bathroom tub and if needed, you can shower them.

Ensure that you also bring their favorite food and treats but, you must be certain that every night they eat and drink well and try to keep them on their light cycle as much as possible. Of course you can leave some water and food in the carriers while you’re traveling.

Jeff Goodall, DVM

Owner/Medical Director
Sunnyview Animal Care
36 Duke Street, Unit #6
Bedford, Nova Scotia
B4A 2Z5

On the Loss of an ‘Exotic’ Pet & a Friend…

By Avian Care, Exotic Pet Concerns No Comments

June 18, 2011 – The worlds of our home, and our practice changed when Baby Benny Arrived from the Bedford Pets Unlimited Store.  Baby was a beautiful little ‘Black Headed Caique’ who loved the attention anyone would give her, and returned it in spades.  Baby had a ‘saw bill’ from an injury as a chick that required monthly beak trimming which she accepted very well – but she always had the look of ‘Jean Chretien’.  But forget ‘dremelling’ her nails or trimming her wings – she had much to say about that!  Baby worked so very well as a ‘teaching’ bird from myself and our staff at Sunnyview – there wasn’t much she would not tolerate or, at least accept.  Baby was our ‘ADD’ bird, as she rarely could sit still for more then moments, before getting into something, or someone’s hair – body surfing back and forth and squealing (or slightly nipping) at any attempt to get her out of the person’s hair…

The staff of the Bedford Pets Unlimited have always taken excellent care of their birds and, Baby was no exception – which is how we met, as she needed those beak trims so often.  For whatever reason, Baby & I got on well, and she would dance (moving side to side so fast as to make you nauseous watching her!) the moment I entered the store for attention.  Anyone who enjoyed birds enjoyed Baby – and when the store was kind enough to sell her to me, many would visit her in the practice.  A HUGE Thank you to Paige, Krista, and all other staff there for their support.  Baby was an impressive ambassador for anyone interested in the care of birds, as she allowed many to pick her up and would talk in her own way to them.  It is also because of Baby that I met an excellent mentor in Anna C. & for this, I will be always grateful.

December 11, 2011 – Hunter arrived from an abusive situation, and really only wanted attention from me from the moment she arrived, after being abandoned at another Pets Unlimited Store.  Hunter was a mess – no tail feathers, severely trimmed back wings, and she had likely pulled many of her chest feathers – she was so damaged that it was a challenge to figure out her exact subspecies.  Whomever had her prior to our relationship had fed her many different junk foods as for the first months of being with us, Hunter would almost ‘attack’ anyone that had pizza, chips, french fries, or ‘Doritos’ – and she was not impressed when she wouldn’t get what she wanted. It was a challenge finding a balanced diet that she would accept, let alone eating healthy fruits and vegetables – but we both learned.  Amazingly, she was potty trained from the previous care-givers, and she would perch on my shoulder for hours at a time with no accidents!

After a few months, her feathers started to come in, and she turned into a beautiful ‘Greater Jardine’, and with her feathers came a better ability to balance herself.  Like Baby Benny, she would travel back & forth to the practice with me – and either would be upset if they were not brought along.  However, Hunter’s ‘claim to fame’ was that she could clearly talk – though we did not know it at the time.  When she did speak, it was with the most eire whisper and, only when I was with her alone.  It was so un nerving until I figured out where & what was going on – I just never expected it.  After she become more comfortable, her talking was regular, she bobbed up and down to get my attention, went to work with me everyday in her carrier (as did Baby) and, never failed to make anyone smile.

Every day, rain or shine, summer or winter (with fleece covers on their ‘Celltie’ carriers) they were in the practice adding to the enjoyment of everyone!  I cannot say how often one of them made us smile during those times when things just were not great.


Well, late last November Hunter suddenly turned ill – loosing weight at a precipitous rate and what with the blood work, virus screening, Radiology (‘X-Rays’), fecal testing, and multiple on-line specialist consultations, where she was diagnosed with ‘Wasting Disease’ – she passed in our hands Feb 19th – we were holding her as she passed, telling her how beautiful she was, how much we would all miss her, how much she taught everyone she touched, that we loved her so very much…

About 7 days ago – while I was away of course – Baby started to slowly become more tired, less interactive, and went off her food somewhat.  When I returned, she was dancing side-to-side for me, ate a bit more, and was giving kisses by the truck-load.  I palpated her abdomen Tuesday evening thinking that she might be laying an egg – and I felt a tumour.  It was just as if once I felt it – she became aware of it.  I brought her into the practice Wednesday-past and, as we were X-Raying her – she just stopped – I was holding her as she passed, telling her how beautiful she was, how much we would all miss her, how much she taught everyone she touched, that we loved her so very much…

Both these wonderful souls were beyond the care abilities of anyone we knew – and we tried to find them!  Nothing is worse for any caregiver, owner, partner, or pet owner to know you have done the best for your friend, and there is nothing left to offer them.  All we can do is commune with them even more so – thats all that can be done.

I cannot understand how the loss of two creatures that barely would have weighed 450gm together, and lived in spaces less then 3-4 ft square would tear such immense holes in our hearts.  Only those people who have the patience to care for exotic pets – reptiles, birds, fish – you name it, can begin to understand.

To all of those clients (daresay friends) who have entrusted your pet (exotic or otherwise) to our care – Thank You.  Please know that the team at Sunnyview Animal Care give their all to your pet, and to you.  Please also know that when they pass – we have some intimate understanding of the loss you and your family are experiencing, we commiserate with all our clients.

Thank You Baby, Thank You Hunter – we miss you both so very very much.   The loss of two heartbeats in our lives is almost too much to bear at times.  The holes will never fill in completely, and thats the way it should be…