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 Bird Cage Portal's PET BIRD BUZZ Blog - About Pet Birds and Pet Bird Supplies
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A blog dedicated to the companion birds in your life!

Pet Bird BUZZ shares our thoughts and experiences of living with pet birds for over 25 years, along with comments about bird cages, bird supplies and accessories offered at BIRD CAGE PORTAL.  Pet Bird BUZZ is all about having a great relationship with pet birds and providing them with the best envirnoment and a great life!

Friday, February 12 2010
I've decided to get a harness for one of my caiques and have been researching the different types available. Having  discovered some information, I thought I would share with you as well!
Feather Tether
The second most popular harness available, the Feather Tether comes in many colors and sizes. The Feather Tether comes in one piece, but you are required to snap pieces together once on the bird. The disadvantages to this model include:
  • The harness surrounds the birds crop which can be unsafe
  • The D-clip used on the harness is a bit heavy and sits on the birds chest where he can easily access it to chew
  • Bird owners that have purchased the harness talk about it with mixed results. Some say that their bird uses it with no trouble, while others say their birds are afraid of it and they have not been able to use it successfully.
The Aviator Harness
This harness is by far one of the most talked about harness. Manufactured by Steve Hartman, who strongly believes in free flight, this harness was made to accomodate free flighted parrots. The harness is one piece making it easy to put on your bird. Along with the harness comes an instructional DVD, teaching how to properly acclimate your parrot to the harness and how to safely put the harness on. A suprising amount of owners report that they have tried previous versions of harnesses, particularly the Feather Tether, and having had no luck with them found the Aviator readily accepted by their bird. The Aviator harness does not use a snap clip with leash, like the Feather Tether, Bird Diaper, and Ortho Bird Harnesses do. Instead the leash consists of bungeed material so that if a bird were to fall or fly they would not get pulled back and hurt. Another positive note about this harness is that it is not made to sit around the birds crop like other brands are. This is much safer for the bird.
Bird Diaper
Unlike other smiliar products, this is actually not a harness at all. The Bird Diaper is made to keep your shoulder clean and your bird safe. Bird Diapers come in many different colors and sizes. Most bird owners report more trouble using the Bird Diaper because it is more restrictive then a harness, and some birds do not do well with it. Owners who have Bird Diapers with birds that will accept them say they enjoy Bird Diapers and feel the Diapers are not too restrictive on their birds, but do not use the Diapers for an extended length of time.
Ortho Bird Harness
Harness made by Ortho Bird. This harness resembles another popular harness, the Feather Tether. One noted flaw in the design is that the Ortho Bird harness sits around the birds crop. It appears to have multiple clips, which could pose a problem when trying to put the harness on the bird. Little information is available about the harness, other then from suppliers. The manufacturer's website is down, so no additional information is currently available. Unfortunately I could not tell much about this harness from the photo provided by suppliers, and could find no one that currently uses this harness.
Kaylor Bird Harness
Only available at Harness comes with woven tie rather then easy disconect clip. Said to have been available for around 15 years. Other than information on the fredbird website, little information was available about this harness. One interesting thing that I was reading in regards to the Kaylor Collar, as it is called, is that the manufacturers of the harness claim it can be left on for days without harming the bird or the birds feathers. I would not personally recommend anyone leaving a harness on their bird for any extended length of time, as there is always danger that the harness could get caught up in something, or rub and irritate skin and feathers. I could tell little about this harness from photos, and found no one currently using this model to interview.
When doing research on these harnesses, I discovered most claimed their harness had been made in conjuction with an avian veterinarian. Unfortunately no information about the vet was available so I was unable to interview the vet to find out more.
All of the above harnesses share two things in common: they are made out of sturdy, brightly colored nylon, and they may not accomodate small birds. The Feather Tether does not fit birds under 100 grams, as does the Ortho Bird Harness. The Kaylor Collar says it fits a bird as small as a cockatiel, but does not give a weight chart to go by. The Aviator Harness accomodates birds from 75 grams and up. Bird Diapers say they accomodate birds ranging from petite to colassal, but I was unable to find a weight chart to compare.
After doing this research, I have decided on an Aviator Harness for my caique. Previously we have tried a Feather Tether and my bird was deathly afraid of it. We got to the point where it could be put on, but he can easily slip out of it, even after I exchanged it for a smaller size. Seeing as how the Aviator compares to others in safety and quality it will be my choice for another harness attempt.
Posted by: Emily AT 11:36 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, January 03 2010
Are you considering buying a water bottle for your bird, but don't know what to look for? When buying a bottle for a parrot you must consider the following:
  • durability
  • safety
  • ease of use
  • size 
The size of the bottle is very important.  Consider the size of the bird and size of the beak in comparison to the size of the bottle and spout. You don't want the expense of a bottle that you later find out to be suited for a canary when your bird is an amazon! You also want to consider what the bottle is made of. The cheaper alternatives are made of plastic in varying ranges of thickness. While plastic bottles may be OK for smaller birds those with larger beaks are more apt to do serious damage to the bottle. The heavy duty glass bottles (that normally resemble old milk bottles) are best for birds larger then a budgie.
You also want to make sure that the spout is made of a bird safe material. Some of the cheaper bottles have plastic spouts. You do not want to risk your bird being able to bite right through the spout and flooding its cage. Look for bottles that are outfitted with stainless steel spouts.
Is the bottle easy to use? Some bottles appear to be ok, but the ball will stick or is hard to manipulate within the spout which will restrict water flow. Other bottles may be easy for the bird to use, but hard for the human to change out on a daily basis. Even though the water bottle holds more then your average water dish, make sure to change out the water on a daily basis.  So consider ease of use from your point of view.
  There are many brands of bottles to choose from but I've found Lixit to be the best. Lixit bottle are the most popular brand and for good reason. Their water bottles come outfitted with stainless steel parts and the bottles are heavy glass that will stand up to a lot of 'beaking'.  My birds each have a glass Lixit bottle and I am very pleased with them ... they are easy to clean, stand up well to large beaks, and do not leak. 
Even if your bird has a bottle as it's water source also consider giving your bird the traditional bowl as well. Since many birds are natural "soup makers" giving them a way to wet their food will prevent attempted "dunkings" in the spout of the bottle. There are also some species that backwash for sanitary reasons, like amazons, so having a bowl of water is important. I personally use both water bowls and dishes. My birds enjoy drinking out of the bottles and will dunk their food in the bowls but then go to the bottle to actually drink. Please remember to carry out the same sanitary precautions with a water bottle as you would a bowl.
Posted by: Emily AT 11:09 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, December 14 2009

As a bird owner, I’m sure you’ve had someone recommend that you place a cuttlebone in your birds cage. Perhaps you’ve seen it in the store and wondered what exactly is this strange, solid-yet-flaky substance? As far as you may be aware, it’s a good source of calcium.

Cuttlebone is indeed a bone. In fact, it is a hard, brittle internal structure found in cuttlefish (yes, they do exist!) The bone is composed primarily of calcium carbonate. If you have cuttlebone, you’ll notice how light it is and that it seems to have small ‘air holes’. This is because it is a chambered, gas filled shell that the fish uses as buoyancy control. In the past, cuttlebones have been used for numerous things such as: polishing powder, toothpaste, and antacids. Ever heard of sepia ink? That was a bi-product of cuttlefish as well. Like squid they expel a dark, almost black ink when threatened. Artists would gather this ink and use it for their paintings or drawings.

But lets back up for a second. What exactly is a cuttlefish? Is it a fish, a squid, or just a really creepy looking animal that floats aimlessly around the ocean? Cuttlefish are actually not technically fish. They are marine animals in the order of Sepiida, belonging to the Cephalopoda class. This class also includes the cuttlefish’s close cousins, squid, octopuses, and nautiluses. Cuttlefish are said to be more closely related to your common variety garden slug, then an actual fish!

Cuttlefish have an internal shell (the cuttlebone), large pupils, eight arms, and two tentacles furnished with sucker which they secure to their prey. What do they eat you may ask? Cuttlefish prey on mollusks, crabs, shrimp, fish, and even other cuttlefish. Their natural predators include: dolphins, sharks, fish, seals, and other cuttlefish.

Interestingly, there are few cuttlefish species that are actually native to American oceans, most of which are living in the southerwestern Pacific Ocean. It is said that in areas where there are many native cuttlefish species, a person walking the beach can collect cuttlebones that wash ashore.

Cuttlebone - 1 lb. box

Back to the bone

Cuttlebone can be purchased at your local pet store. Different sizes of cuttlebone come from different species of cuttlefish, but no worries they all have the same nutritional value! Cuttlebone is a very common way that pet owners get some calcium into their birds’ regular diet. Perhaps you have seen different colored cuttlebone in the store. Some companies flavor the cuttlebone and dye it hues of oranges, pinks, and greens in an attempt to make it more appealing and tasty. You may see different varieties of cuttlebone as well. Recently I’ve noticed that in addition to the dyed cuttlebone, companies have started incorporating a mineral block into the cuttlebone. I picked up a cuttlebone the other day that had a mineral block outer layer, and a cuttlebone inner layer.

White is the natural color of cuttlebone, and one you most commonly see in bulk bins at your local pet store. Cuttlebone is readily available, I’ve even found cuttlebone at a country feed store. It is easy to come across, and an inexpensive way to introduce calcium into your birds diet. 

Posted by: Emily AT 01:58 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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