Illustrated Articles

Behavior

  • A bird may bite out of fear or aggression. They may be protecting their territory or asserting their dominance. Screaming or loud vocalization is a natural way for wild parrots and other birds to communicate with each other in their flock environments. They will also scream if they are alarmed.

  • Feather loss occurs either because the bird is truly losing feathers or because the bird, or its cage-mate, is picking out its feathers. Feather-picking is often a behavioral problem, especially in the larger species of birds (such as cockatoos, macaws, and African gray parrots). However, feather loss and feather-picking can also be caused by diseases that result in irritation or pain for the bird, or damage to, or inappropriate growth of feathers. Your veterinarian may have to many perform several diagnostic tests to rule out potential causes. Treatment of feather loss depends on the cause. Feather loss and feather-picking are complicated problems; for specific advice, your bird should have a thorough work-up by a veterinarian familiar with birds.

  • Guinea pigs are generally hardy, healthy animals but are susceptible to certain diseases. They cannot make their own vitamin C and require supplementation or they may develop scurvy. Guinea pigs get various tumors, particularly skin and mammary tumors. Guinea pigs also get abscesses (accumulations of pus and bacteria) in lymph nodes, skin, muscles, teeth, bones, and internal organs. They are very prone to development of urinary calculi that form in the bladder, kidneys, or ureters which may become lodged, causing a life-threatening obstruction. In addition, guinea pigs often are affected by ringworm and can get fleas and lice. Barbering is a problem, usually associated with boredom, in which the guinea pig chews or barbers its own hair or the hair of its cage-mate. Pododermatitis, or bumblefoot, in which sores develop on the bottom of the feet from pressure, is common in overweight animals housed on wire-bottomed or dirty cages that abrade the feet.

  • It is common for owners to have their birds on their shoulders as they go about their day. We are left with our hands free and our little buddies get to spend part of the day with us. Although this seems like a wonderful idea, it is not appropriate in all situations or for all birds.

  • Contrary to popular belief, pet birds not raised with other birds typically bond to their owners and are unlikely to want to live with another new bird. If you feel your bird is lonely or bored, first consider providing more enrichment in the form of safe toys and entertainment. If you decide you want to introduce another bird into your household, be sure you are ready to take on the work of caring for more than one bird and be certain to introduce him slowly. All new birds should be checked by a veterinarian before exposing the original bird to a new one, and the new bird should be quarantined in a separate, isolated room within the house for 30-45 days. Some birds never accept new birds in their territories. Consult your veterinarian if you are experiencing problems.

  • There are many different behaviors witnessed by owners of birds that are associated with sexual maturity and hormone fluctuations. At certain times of the year birds are under the powerful influence of sex hormones and will behave instinctively in distinct ways you have not witnessed before.

  • There are many different behaviors witnessed by owners of birds that are associated with sexual maturity and hormone fluctuations. At certain times of the year, birds are under the powerful influence of sex hormones and will behave instinctively in distinct ways that you may not have witnessed before. The behaviors will vary with species and individuals.

  • It is very desirable to have a tame, affectionate and interactive bird as a family pet. Small birds such as finches and canaries may prove very difficult or challenging to befriend.