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Feeding / Re: What's your take on pellets?
« Last post by marinda on September 26, 2017, 10:08:46 AM »
Important information, thank you very much
Magazine / Re: February 2017
« Last post by marinda on September 26, 2017, 09:56:42 AM »
Thank you very much.
Products and Services / Molecular Diagnostic Services (Pty) Ltd
« Last post by Boegie on July 25, 2017, 01:26:25 PM »
Molecular Diagnostic Services (Pty) Ltd, (MDS) is a private laboratory based in Durban, South Africa and is also represented in Australia by MDSAustralia.

The company was started by Dr Denis York and has as its focus the use of the most advanced technologies to perform molecular and genetic analysis in the human and veterinary fields.

Our services include testing for

Infectious diseases,
Genetic mutations,
DNA Relationship testing (Paternity),
Personalised Wellness testing.
Our laboratory is accredited to ISO 17025:2005 and ISO 15189:2012

Our Wellness Division at MDS provides a personalized diagnostic service aimed at improving health and wellness. The main tests offered include the GenePro (range of genetic tests), ImuPro food hypersensitivity tests and IgE tests.
Magazine / Re: February 2017
« Last post by Boegie on January 09, 2017, 06:39:44 PM »
Or if you can't see the link, look below:
Magazine / February 2017
« Last post by Boegie on January 08, 2017, 12:41:24 PM »
Click on link below cover pic to download:
Introduction / Test
« Last post by Boegie on December 04, 2016, 05:50:29 PM »
World Wide Birds
Pet Birds / Tips for refinishing your pet's cage
« Last post by Boegie on November 25, 2016, 01:03:05 PM »
The following are tips for refinishing your pet's cage:

•   Clean the cage: Scrub the wire / bars thoroughly with a wire brush to clean the cage and remove any rust and loose zinc flakes, and then sand smooth by hand. If your cage is rusty, please refer to the belowfor tips on how to remove rust.

•   Spray with some fish oil and wait for it to dry. Expect it to be tacky. The fish oil will stop the cage from rusting again.

•   Select the paint: Look for paints that do not contain lead, zinc or chromate, are "high adhesion", formulated to bond with the metal surface, are hard-wearing, and are fast drying. Another suggestion is to look on the back of the paint can and see if it is safe for a human infant. There usually is a picture of a mom holding a child's hand somewhere on the can.

o   Avianweb Visitor Sara Fischer (6/2009) contacted a couple of manufacturers of commonly available paints (Krylon and RustOleum) and got the following responses:

o   RustOleum: "Let me first assure you that our products are lead free and are completely non-toxic when fully dry. We do have a few zinc-rich products, but these are boldly stated on the can that they are a zinc compound. I’m certain that our products would be safe for use with birds, as people frequently will paint birdcages with our enamels.

Just two concerns with the application:
   First, in order to ensure that the paint has fully cured, I would wait at least a 7-10 days, in good drying conditions, before exposing the animal(s) to the paint. Washing down the surface after a week is also a good idea, just to ensure that all the solvents are off the surface.
   Second, I would recommend that you do not use the metallic products. While they will be non-toxic as well, many of them have a leafing pigment in them, which can result in a metallic ruboff, even after the paint is dry. Thank you again for taking the time to contact us. We appreciate your confidence in Rust-Oleum products. If you need further assistance, please feel free to contact our Product Support Department at 1-800-782-3369 or through our web site, "

o   Krylon (DO NOT USE) responded as follows: " We do not recommend the application of our Krylon paint to anything but "decorative" birdcages that will not be occupied.   After speaking with several veterinarians and other bird  experts, we were advised that birds are extremely sensitive to low levels of materials for a very long time. Since we do not have any data to determine when the cage would be safe to occupy after off-gassing is complete, and we do not know which paint is considered "safe," we do not recommend our paints for application to birdcages after purchase."   Eric, Krylon Product Support

Also refer to this website for non-toxic, environmentally safe paints for use in bird rooms (not necessarily cages).

o   To be on the safe side, it's best to contact the manufacturer of any paint you want to work with and ask for bird safety.

•   While painting, be sure to move bird to a separate room and work in a well-ventilated area. It's best if you paint the cage outside, if possible.

•   Apply paint in a thin coat. If you're using a spray paint, be sure to hold a large piece of paper or cardboard behind the cage, moving it as you go, to act as a backdrop which catches the excess paint.

•   After painting the cage, wait a week or longer before using it. Solvent-based paints take time after initial drying to release the solvent vapors. NEVER cover a bird in a freshly painted cage.

This tip to help minimize paint chewing by birds:
Birds love to climb, and paint damage often occurs from birds' gripping the cage with their beak to assist them in climbing up the cage. Aviculturist Eb Cravens also once reported that, by wiring perches or appropriately-sized tree branches onto the inner sides of the wire enclosures, the birds will be encouraged to climb from place to place by gripping these with their beaks, so that they do not even touch the wire when climbing.

A recommendation from Palace Cages:
"Much of the cage industry today uses a "Powder Coat" system. They advertise it is easy to clean and super hard. It may be easier to clean but I don't use powder coat on my cages. The chip problem gets much worse with a very hard material. Powder coat is not paint. It is a thermoplastic. Chips will not break up and be more likely to cause intestinal blockages. It is also difficult to repair. It is melted on to the cage at appromately 300 degrees. Powder Coat can be less of a threat with some birds, but I don't recommend it for hook bills."

Rust Prevention:
Prevent indoor metal items from rusting by keeping their surfaces dry, dusting regularly and wiping down occasionally with a damp cloth. Dry immediately after wiping down.

Tips for Removing Rust:
•   Thoroughly clean the cage.

•   Rust needs to be removed as it is toxic to birds. To remove rust stains, choose one of the following instructions, per your preference and applicability:

o   Aluminum Foil: Lori Baratta suggested the following: ""[A] great way to remove rust from chrome in birdcages without doing them any harm is to dip small pieces of aluminum foil into water. The aluminum foil is softer than steel, so it will not scratch the surface. A byproduct of the process is that it produces a fine metal polishing compound that smoothes the chrome surface to a bright shine!”

o   Tea Bags: To remove rust from steel parts (whether it be cages or toy parts, the secret are ordinary tea bags. Boil about 1/2 liter of water and add about 4 or 5 tea bags. It should be a strong mix of tea. Stir well and let this brew for about 5 minutes and remove the bags. If you used tea leaves, strain the liquid. Let it cool down and then add the rusty steel parts fully submerging them in the liquid. The rust should come off after about 1 to 8 hours - depending on the amount of rust. Keep an eye on them and remove once the rust has dissolved. You will find that the steel parts have taken on a blue-greyish color after the soaking. It is easily rubbed off with very fine wire wool and oil. After this procedure, clean using your usual procedure. You will find that this procedure will not harm the item in any way; it doesn't affect brass and it actually delays further rusting.

o   Hairspray (pump style, not aerosol) will also remove rust. Spray - let soak for a moment, wipe off. Repeat if necessary. Do remove any birds from the cage and, in fact, the room while spraying and wash off any traces of hairspray before placing your bird back into the cage.

o   Wire Brillo Pad: Scrubbing the rust lightly with a wire brush or a wire brillo pad. Scrub hard enough to remove any rust flakes, but be careful not to scratch the paint (unless the rust is so bad that you'll have to repaint the cage). (Please use non-toxic paint!) Dipping the pad or brush in white vinegar might make this process easier.

o   Rusted Joints: If rust has developed in the cage joints, you may find it easier to disassemble the cage and work with smaller pieces.

o   Toxic Method that Work: The following tips work well, but care should be taken around birds! This is toxic stuff. It should be applied away from any pets or even family members and cleaned off carefully afterwards, before allowing yours pets anywhere near it:

   Lysol toilet bowl cleaner removes rust oftentimes on contact. All you need to do is wipe it off with a wet rag.Kerosene: If you see rust stains but no flakes, dip a very fine steel-wool pad into kerosene, and brush out the stains. Wear safety glasses and rubber gloves when handling kerosene, and work well away from open flames. Severe rust problems can be treated with naval jelly, which dissolves rust. Some products convert the rust into a primer so the metal can be painted later. (Please use non-toxic paint!)

o   To remove rust from carpets or other like material, use rubbing alcohol and a clean paper towel. Mix 1 part alcohol with 3 parts water. Put in a spray bottle. Spray the area and blot with paper towels. Repeat until the rust is gone. If no rubbing alcohol is available, you can saturate the spot with lemon juice, using a spray bottle, allow to remain for 5 minutes. To remove the lemon juice, mix one-third cup of white household vinegar with two-thirds cup of water and apply to stain. Blot with white towels. If this does not work, and it may not, call a professional. Most rust removers contain a very strong acid and are, therefore, not recommended for use by homeowners. PLEASE NOTE: HEATED vinegar emits toxic fumes similar to carbon dioxide. Bird owners have lost their pets by adding vinegar to their dishwashing cycle, or used it to clean coffee machines.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Every attempt has been made to ensure accuracy of the provided information. However, a listing on this, or connected, pages should not be construed as a recommendation or endorsement by AvianWeb.

Parrots / Q & A: “How to prevent obesity in amazon parrots?” - by Tony Silva
« Last post by Boegie on November 21, 2016, 03:44:10 PM »

Amazon parrots are gluttons. They will sit in front of their food bowl and eat until the food is done. This gluttony predisposes them to obesity, especially when they are fed a diet of fatty seeds (sunflower, safflower, hemp, etc) and nuts.  This obesity affects long term health and also fertility, as an obese bird may be unable to copulate, the fat in the abdominal cavity will put pressure on the gonads, deterring their full development, or, because health is compromised, they simply do not come into breeding condition. Monitoring the quality, volume and the fat content in the food and encouraging exercise are thus important.
The propensity of Amazon parrots towards obesity varies tremendously. This depends on the sedentary nature of the species and their size. As an example, the Yellow-lored Amazon Amazona xantholora rarely becomes overweight, as it is an active member of the genus. In contrast, the Yellow-naped (Amazona auropalliata) and Yellow-headed (Amazona oratrix) types can get overweight easily, as they are less inclined to fly and much more prone to climb. This active or sedentary nature not withstanding, I believe that all Amazons should be managed as a group that has a tendency to become overweight and the appropriate measures taken.
The guidelines we follow are simple:
1)Feed a low fat diet. We keep our Amazons outdoors in south Florida, where the climate is fairly benign. As a result, they do not need a high caloric intake in winter like they would in areas where the mercury declines. Because of this, we put them on a finch seed mix from November to January or February to induce weight loss should they have become fat during summer, when rich foods are given to encourage breeding; the cut off date depends on the species, as the Yellow-napes nest very early and the Caribbean species much later in the year. In cooler climates as soon as the deep of winter is over, the fat should be reduced to encourage shedding fat layers built to thermoregulate. I always recommend not feeding seed mixes rich in sunflower, safflower and hemp or nuts for obvious reasons; the exception is when they are sprouted, when hydrolysis coverts the fat in seeds to fatty acids and also more easily digestible nutrients. Instead we feed small seeds (millets of various types, wheat, buckwheat, oats, milo, etc) as a treat but keep the pairs on a pelleted mix, which comprises about 60% of the diet; the remaining 40% is made up primarily of vegetables and sprouting seeds.
2)Monitor food intake. There is a formula that a bird should consume about 10% of their body weight in food daily, but I have never relied on this calculation. This is because climate, age, level of activity and even breeding condition can all affect metabolism and consequently whether the food is used to add to the body weight or will be expended by normal bodily activities. Instead we feed enough so that the birds consume the entire amount in 15-20 minutes, then offer vegetables and a little fruit. We monitor the weight and increase or decrease the food that they get, reducing or increasing the amount fed. Pairs rearing young obviously receive much more food, as this is then used to feed the young. We never fill the bowl and let them eat and eat until they become so rotund that they roll across the cage.
3)Avoid feeding fruits, whose sugar content encourages the storage of body fat; instead feed vegetables, especially those rich in beta-carotene. These vegetables (carrot, pumpkin and sweet potatoes) are offered steamed, which breaks the fibers to give access to the important nutrients. We also use peas, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, cooked beets, hot peppers, fresh corn (horse corn, which is less sweet that the sugar packet sweet corn widely sold in many countries) and any other vegetable available at the grocer. The fruits we feed are heirloom varieties, which are low in sugar. We avoid feeding oranges, grapes and bananas, but do feed berries (especially those that are not very ripe, when the sugar content peaks), heirloom apples and an array of tropical fruit that we grow, which we feed long before they reach their peak in ripeness.
4)House pairs or groups in long flight cages (minimum 3.6 m, 12 ft) with perches at opposite ends to stimulate flying. Solid walls along the side can induce flying. By throwing enrichment away from the flock, one often encourages the birds to fly and reach the treat.
5)Provide enrichment to encourage activity that burns calories. Fresh branches, palm fronds, palm drupes, pinecones, split green coconuts and more can used to keep the birds busy for hours. This is important to burn energy and to encourage normal foraging behaviors.
6)Allow visualization of pairs until the commencement of the breeding season, as the males will often spend time displaying. This energy spent will induce gonadal development and is preferred over time spent at the food bowl. Once breeding commences, visualization should be blocked to prevent the hyper charged male from attacking his mate in his inability to initiate a fracas with the other male.
Insuring that a pair of Amazons is in proper condition is key to success, because a bird whose weight exceeds as little as 10% above the normal will be 31% less likely to produce viable eggs in data that we are amassing on a yearly basis. This data has shown why the effort to monitoring weight in Amazons is so vital to success.

Feeding / Re: Is parrot hand-rearing natural or ..... - by Tony Silva
« Last post by Boegie on November 03, 2016, 11:52:14 AM »
Tony Silva:
"To many, hand-reared birds develop unusual behaviors that make them unsuitable as future breeders. I have always disagreed with this claim and have felt that it is not the hand-rearing but the care given during and after hand-rearing that makes a bird understand first and foremost that it is a bird and not a feathered human. But to make a statement, I believe, one must have evidence. Here are two examples that have taken more than a decade of work: chicks that were successfully reared by parents that were hand-reared for three generations; in other words, the chicks´ parents, grandparents and great grandparents were hand-reared. The third generation hand-reared pairs displayed no aberrant behavior and successfully reared their young. The key is hand-rearing the young in a group, keeping them as a group and introducing them to enrichment from weaning to allow natural behaviors to develop.

Note: As someone will make a comment, I took the photo right after the old enrichment was removed and before the newly twice weekly load of enrichment was added to the cage, or the birds would have been busy chewing away and not allowed a good photograph."
Q & A: “How many clutches should a pair be allowed to produce per year?”

Parrots can be divided into categories depending on a number of characteristics. There are bonded and non-bonded species, species that undergo physical changes during breeding and those that display no visible morphological changes when nesting, and species that are strictly seasonal nesters and those that nest throughout the year. Captivity can play a role in the frequency of nesting, with species that have been bred multiple generations losing their seasonality and nesting almost continuously.

Let me dissect the subject of nesting frequency.

Most of the parrots nest in late winter and spring. This is due to increasing photoperiod and warming weather; the long winter will have passed and this along with a cline in the thermometer and daylight hours will have a stimulating effect, the birds visiting the nesting box, calling loudly, displaying, courtship feeding and mating. The species that are seasonal nesters include most of the Australian parrots, Galahs Eolophus roseicapillus and some other (but not all) Australian cockatoos, most conures (Psittacara, all but one Pyrrhura, Cyanoliseus, etc), Pionus parrots, Amazons and Asiatic parakeets, amongst others. The species that are continuous nesters tend to take a break during the coldest and hottest months. These species include Hawk-headed Parrots Deroptyus accipitrinus, Golden Conures Guaruba guarouba and most of the macaws.

A few species will nest throughout the year, irrespective of conditions. These include Eclectus Parrots Eclectus roratus, some cockatoos (namely the Umbrella Cacatua alba and Triton Cockatoos Cacatua galerita triton) and Sun Conures Aratinga solstitialis. The same continuous nesting habit can be seen in three fully domesticated groups—lovebirds, Cockatiels Nymphicus hollandicus and Budgerigars Melopsittacus undulatus. The Green-cheeked Conure Pyrrhura molinae is starting to display continuous breeding. When I bred this species years ago, they nested from late winter to spring and early summer. They stopped when the weather was very hot or cool. I kept them outdoors in south Florida. Today I have neighbors that have pairs housed in the same condition and four or five generations from my original stock. The Green-cheeks breed for them from late winter and into spring and throughout the summer, occasionally leading up to early winter. In other words they nest about 9-10 months out of the year compared to the previous generations that proved more seasonal and bred roughly 6 months out of the year.

How often should a pair of continuous nesters be allowed to breed in a year is an important question. When fed a nutritious, balanced diet, with sufficient calcium, vitamins and minerals, a hen can lay almost continuously. This constant laying barely saps her system (except briefly when calcium is taken from the blood, for example, to form the eggshell) when compared to the stamina drain that occurs when rearing young, which demand large amounts of food that the hen must first process (shell, chew, crush and ingest, then regurgitate). The male must also work assiduously to feed the hen and later also the chicks. Letting a pair nest continuously will thus be clearly detrimental. This will be evident in the pair´s bedraggled condition, in the smaller and smaller clutches with fewer hatches and in their slacking duties as parents. The chicks will become progressively smaller. This is why some breeders of Cockatiels that allow their pairs to nest continuously have chicks that progressively become smaller. I have seen Cockatiels in Asia that were no larger than a large Budgerigar and Budgerigars that were not much larger than a canary. They came from facilities that allowed them to nest non-stop.

Species that are seasonal nesters like Amazons, Asiatic parakeets, most Australian parrots and a large array of other species will rear one clutch per year. Only chicks are removed when very young will they produce a subsequent clutch. If the eggs are removed as they are laid, then two and occasionally three clutches will be produced. With these birds one does not need to worry about over breeding, as they have an internal control mechanism that makes them stop after a certain time.

Cockatiels, lovebirds, Budgerigars, Eclectus Parrots and Sun Conures, to mention the most common continuous nesters, should be allowed to rear two clutches per year, three in the case of Budgerigars. If the chicks of Cockatiels, Eclectus, lovebirds and Sun Conures are taken for hand-rearing once they are a few weeks old, then the pair can be allowed to produce at most three clutches per year. The birds should then be stopped from breeding. This can be achieved in lovebirds and Sun Conures by removing the nest, in Budgerigars and Cockatiels by separating the sexes and flocking them in same gender groups and in Eclectus Parrots by allowing the hen to incubate fake eggs; glass or plastic eggs work best, as they will not break as they become stale under the hen. We commonly control nesting in Eclectus Parrots with this strategy, as incubation does not pose the same demand on the hen as does chick rearing. I never remove the nest in Eclectus Parrots because the life biology of the female evolves around the nesting cavity.

Whenever I am asked about how many clutches a pair should be allowed to rear per year, I retort with another query: Would you like your pair to produce during 3-5 years or for much of their natural, long reproductive life, which is 15-35 years? The answer is always the latter, so control breeding and feeding the pairs the best diet possible should be the dogma of the breeder.

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