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Home > Useful Articles >>Avian Flu update - July 2006

Avian Flu update - July 2006

July 2006 Article Current Events in The Bird Biz

Avian Flu Update

The bad news is, it looks like a cluster of cases reported in Indonesia were transmitted from person to person. The good news is, it was a very tight cluster and did not leave the family unit, members who were living together. And, it still has not entered this country. I interpret this to be great news for now. Why? Because it looks like this Flu virus is not long lived and is not as contagious as the media would like us to believe. For the media, “IF IT BLEEDS, IT LEADS” so good news about the Avian Flu will always be hidden on the inside third or fourth section of the paper whereas bad news about the Avian Flu will always be a headline. Remember people, don’t always believe what you read.

As well, just in case, as previously mentioned STAR ANISE contains acid shikimic, which is the active ingredient in Tamiflu, the only vaccine which is effective against the Avian Flu. Whole Star Anise is now available in better bird stores to be fed to your parrots (and wild birds) as a treat. It tastes like licorice, and most birds enjoy it very much. It is also known to build up immunities against all flu viruses, and the Chinese use it to support digestion and to prevent winter diseases (as well as using it in the preparation of Peking Duck). I know, the duck reference is inappropriate on some level.

Stainless Steel Update

We have had many people recently looking for stainless steel cages either because their bird has been diagnosed with metal toxicity, or because their bird has chewed through all other powder cages (removed the protective powder coating). When we explain that stainless steel can rust, most people are surprised and/or say that another store or manufacturer told them THEIR stainless steel is a better quality so it does rust. When you hear that, say thank you and hang up or walk away ASAP.

This is a lie. It is true that there are different qualities of stainless. To test, take a magnet and see if it sticks to the stainless cage. If not, it is a good quality. If it does stick, then you have a poor quality stainless steel. However, all stainless steel rusts, especially if it is outside on the ocean, or is not cleaned frequently. Difference is, the rust from stainless is not toxic to your bird, and a simply cleaning with the proper cleaner and/or the proper sandpaper will get your cage back to tip-top shape. Similar to the old chrome bumpers-if uncared for, they start corroding. But, with a little elbow grease and some Brasso, the chrome comes back to life.

Moths

This is moth season! All bird seeds contain moth larvae to some degree, and when the temperature starts rising, the moths start hatching. You can prevent this metamorphosis by keeping your food in a cool place (like the fridge) and not buying too much seed at once. If you do get an infestation, you can get moth traps – yes, they really work. They use a biochemical called a pheromone that female moths use to attract male moths. So, the male moths get tricked into the moth trap, and without males, there can be no more larvae. It takes a cycle or two, but these moth traps are your safest solution.

Hurricane Preparation

We highly recommend everyone research a place for your parrot BEFORE the next hurricane warning. Keep in mind that while in close quarters, your bird could potentially be exposed to sick birds. Psittacosis is the one disease we are concerned about. This disease, similar in form (but not transmission) to human Chlamydia, becomes active when birds are under stress. Once active, the organism sheds through the droppings and feather dander, and is easily picked up by nearby parrots. It is treatable, but can be fatal for baby parrots. It is for this reason that we focus on this particular test. We are not trying to make more money (you can get your parrot tested anywhere) but we are looking out for you so that when you bring us a healthy bird for boarding, you will pick up a healthy bird upon completion of the boarding period.

We call ourselves a “Clean” boarding facility, which means that prior to boarding all parrots must have a psittacosis (or parrot fever) test, and recommend you only board where this policy is in place.

Alternatively, if you do not intend on boarding your bird, please buy an appropriate carrier and/or travel cage so you may leave quickly if need be. We always run out of carriers and carrier cages after a storm threatens our area. As well, buy some nitrogen-flushed food and treats, and keep them in a cool place. Think ahead, for your bird’s sake.

That’s it for now. Go play with your bird!






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