Parrot Toy Angels: July 2010 Angel Wings
Parrot Toy Angels

Angel Wings

A monthly journal for human angels who make a positive difference in companion birds' lives.

July 2010
Volume 5, Issue VII

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In this month's issue:
    Birdie Popsicles
    Spring Auction Acknowledgements
    Recycling, Angel Style
    Featured Fid ~ Moustache Parakeet
    Feathered Funnies
    Angel Tip
    Why Some Birds Pluck
    Get the Scoop on Poop
    Angel Tip
    Rikki Sez
    Hot Weather Care
    Bird Toy Safety
    Help Us
    Summer Time = Summer Heat
    Buffalo Gnats



Welcome
Debby D. from Arkansas
Angel Toys For Angels

July's Featured Toys

Chewin' Rattlin' Fun
Chewin' Rattlin' Fun
Medium to Large Birds

Patriotic Play
Patriotic Play
Small to Medium Birds

Squiggly Wiggly Chew
Squiggly Wiggly Chew
Small to Medium Birds


Check out all the
Angel Toys for Angels

now!


Birdie Popsicles
By Toni Fortin

Choose a variety of fruits and/or vegetables. Pick your bird's favorites. Watermelon, pineapple, peeled apple chunks, blueberries or melons are always a good choice.
Organic juice such as carrot, apple, whatever you have on hand.

Put in blender and whirl. Fill ice cube trays. When partially frozen add the popsicle sticks.

Guaranteed a tails-up on a warm summer day!!

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Bird Cages Galore

Why buy a Bird Cage from Bird Cages Galore?? Because we do not "just sell" top quality cages at reasonable prices, provide free shipping and a free toy with each cage; we offer first rate customer service and will answer your questions about most bird-related matters. Visit us on the web, browse our selection, join our discussion forum and sign up for our free Newsletter,
The Caged Bird Courier.

We are here to help, because we care about your bird!!

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WOW!  Lookie.... a PTA Coupon

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ANGEL ANNOUNCEMENTS
Watch for upcoming events, news, website updates, etc. here

Thank You

A heartfelt thank you to all our generous donators:

14 Karat Parrot
Avian Antics Bird Toys - Doug & Shelly Wing
Barbara WIlliams
Best Birdy Toys - Steve Letter & Joan Newman
Cooka's Rainbow
Delta Holder
Devi Tow
Dianne Barskey
Donna Dae
Elizabeth & Peter Cirrotti
Gail Armstrong
Goldenfeast Gourmet Pet Foods
Ilona Peterson
Jean O'Brien
Lori & Robert Nelsen
Maggie Wright
Nancy & George Goulding
Nikki Slade
Phoenix Foraging Rolls, LLC - Lucy Towbin
PJ Publications & Gifts - Paula Fitzsimmons
S.C. In NC
Shauna Roberts
Sherry Murray
Toni Fortin
Tri-State Pets Mfg. - Kim Perez
Verna & Peter Lucey
Vicki Hartsfield
Wyspur Kallis

To those that bid, we appreciate your support! Because of you, we are...

Making a difference...one bird at a time!

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Recycling, Angel Style
Almond Joy
By Wyspur Kallis

Shiloh enjoying her Almond Joy
Shiloh enjoying her
Almond Joy

Supplies you will need:
Scissors, small plain paper bag and an almond.

Almond Joy

Cut bag into three sections approximately 3 inches each.

Almond Joy

Place almond in center of paper and roll paper around the nut. Twist the ends to hold the nut inside.

Almond Joy

Now you have a handy treat for your feathered fid to enjoy.

Almond Joy

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Featured Fid ~ Moustache Parakeets
By Kim Perez

Moustache Parakeet

Moustache Parakeets, Psittacula alexandri, have eight subspecies and are found in a widespread area, ranging from Indonesia to South and Southeast Asia and to Java, where they are becoming very rare.

The moustache parakeet can range in size from 12 - 16" in length. Their weight can vary from 100 -140 grams. Moustache Parakeets They are very strikingly beautiful with their long thin tail and gorgeous coloration. On their backs and wings they are primarily green with a yellow-green patch on each wing. Their chests are pink, and their heads can be different colors -- from a purplish hue to green with an incandescent shine to them. There is the distinguishable 'moustache' around their neck and face and one more black band joining their eye to their cere on each side. The male's beak is orange and the female's beak is black. As babies, their colors are dull, and their beaks are all orange. When they reach 6 - 8 months of age, their beaks can turn black, and then when they are just over a year, the males will begin to change their beaks back to orange. Without having them DNA or surgically sexed, they are not sexually dimorphic until about 14 months of age.

These beautiful birds are equally intelligent and make great pets. They will talk and can talk well! They are not really screamers, but they have a few shrill calls! These birds, when hand-fed, have a tendency to remain tame and gentle their entire lives. Even parent raised moustache parakeets tend to be calm birds.

They are not difficult to breed, but they are picky about breeding. They nest in a tall grandfather clock style box, 10" square and 18" tall. They will lay an average of 3 eggs per clutch which hatch in 21 - 24 days. Their calm nature makes them good parents, and accepting of human interaction with the babies.

These are considered a cousin of the Ringneck, although they are less temperamental, less noisy, and they do not go through the teething phase known to ringnecks. They are both outgoing birds and can both make good pets, but with less effort given toward the moustache parakeet. They love toys and should be provided with a lot of them.

These birds can live 20 - 25 years or better with proper care and nutrition.

Moustache Parakeets...how pretty!

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FEATHERED FUNNIES

On the first day of creation, God created the parrot.
On the second day, God created man to serve the parrot.
On the third day, God created all the vegetables and nuts of the earth to serve as potential food for the parrot.
On the fourth day, God created honest toil so that man could labor for the good of the parrot.
On the fifth day, God created cables and ropes so that the parrot could chew through them.
On the sixth day, God created veterinary science to keep the parrot healthy and the man broke.
On the seventh day, God tried to rest, but He had to clean the parrot cages...

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Angel Tip
By Kim Perez

'Tis the season for those little bugs --- gnats and other ickies in the bird room when we are feeding the fresh produce.No-Pest Strip The product I like for killing them are the yellow bug strips inside the plastic holder. In the "old" days, they used to be Shell No-Pest Strips. Now I buy them from the manufacturer HotShot. I get them at our local Wal-Mart for about $5 each and they are wonderful. BUT, you do not want the birds to have direct access to them. They are safe in the room, but not for the birds to chew on. I like to put mine inside an empty cage in the bird room. This way, no loose birds can get to them. In larger rooms, you may need more than one, and I just put them on opposite sides of the room, inside empty cages. I find that these last for an entire season. I replace them around June of each year, or whenever I see my first gnat. I usually throw them out over the winter, when I know there won't be any new bugs!

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Why Some Birds Pluck
By Angel Savannah

My family has some birds who pluck themselves. The birds I am describing are those who pluck for apparently no reason. (We have some breeder birds who occasionally pluck some feathers from themselves or each other, but those I understand).

I have a Blue & Gold macaw who is a full frontal nudist. He came to me that way from a rescue. His background is a mystery, but he gets very agitated when he hears a man's low voice. It's easy enough to keep him away from the voices that upset him, and he is a very happy and spoiled bird.

I have an African Grey who was given to us because he was self-mutilating and constantly a bloody mess. There is nothing that we have found that upsets him. He plays with the toys we give him and talks to the other Greys in the room.

My Dad has a Blue & Gold macaw, from a different rescue, who is also a frontal nudist. She came that way and had been constantly scolded by the previous foster mom for putting her wings up. She wanders around the bottom of her cage and repeatedly yells, "Bad bird! No! Be quiet!" There is only one thing we have found makes her scream, and that's when my Dad (her favorite person) hugs anyone else. She is very jealous. It doesn't seem to have anything to do with her plucking though.

My Mom has a male Eclectus from a rescue. He had been put into a breeding situation after being a pet for 10 years. He plucked his entire front and back (but not his wings). He is now a single pet (but in our pet bird room with our other birds).

With all of these birds, we have tried many of the same things. We have tried soothing sprays, baths, sock buddies, flight suits, calming probiotics, and even hormone injections. The bottom line with unexplained pluckers in our home is that it tends to become a habit. Even if you can figure out the source, and if it has been removed, they may still pluck out of habit. Our pluckers go through periods of time when they allow their feathers to re-grow, only to go through another round of plucking. The self-mutilating Grey has the best success with hormone injections. He wears a bubble collar always, and can actually reach over it to bite his belly, but he leaves his skin alone when he has had his shot. These last about three months.

The theory behind the sock buddy is to leave it on long enough that the bird outgrows the habit of plucking. The theory is good, but does not take into consideration how intelligent some of our birds are. The habit doesn't always go away, even with time. For these birds, I think we sometimes just need to accept them the way they are and love them unconditionally.

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Get the Scoop on Poop!
By Jan Lewis

Poop aka droppings is not a subject we like to talk about but it is an important part of having companion birds. Poop is a fact of life. We've all been pooped on by our companion parrot at some time in our relationship. Poop can tell us about our bird's health and food choices. Changes in poop are often the first sign of illness in a bird. So I thought I would share with you a little about poop aka droppings to help get you started with the scoop on poop!

Three Parts to Poop:
1. Feces is the solid tubular part. The feces should be solid. Color will depend on the food eaten. Colored pellets along with the fruits and vegetables will color the poop/droppings. Feces should not have undigested material in them as this can indicate a health problem.
2. Urates are the white, chalky part of the poop/droppings. Color in the urates can indicate a health problem as well. Brown urates may indicate lead poisoning. Red urates or urine may indicate bleeding in the digestive tract.
3. Urine is the clear watery part of the poop/droppings. Any changes in color again mean a possible health problem which should be seen by an avian vet. Increased urine may occur when the bird eats more fruits which are higher in water content than most vegetables or if the bird is drinking more water or it can be a potential health problem.

Be observant and monitor your birds' poop/droppings. Get to know your bird's poop so that you can detect a potential problem and get treatment early on. Monitoring your birds' poop and weight regularly are good ways to catch a potential health problem early. If you notice any changes you may want to call your avian vet to talk about these changes. I hope this article will inspire you to learn more about poop aka droppings as well as monitor your birds' poop and weight regularly. Here's to good eating, good poop and good health!!

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Angel Tip
By Toni and Lori

Having trouble with seed moths?
Here's a helpful hint...Freeze seed for 48 hours then store bay leaves in with the seeds. It really works.

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Rikki Sez

Rikki will try and answer frequently asked questions here.

Rikki, My mom keeps putting these weird looking things in my food bowl that she calls veggies. I try to tell her I don't like them! Some of them are even frightening! Can you tell her to stop with those veggies? Fruits are good tasting but those veggies, no thanks. What can I do to get her to stop putting those veggies in my bowl?
Signed, Non-veggie Lover

Dear Non-veggie Lover, Your mom is only trying to help you learn to like those veggies! Veggies or vegetables are good for you and some even taste good. Veggies have important vitamins and minerals to help keep you healthy. Your mom wants you to be healthy and have a long life with her. Mom can incorporate them into some of your toys. Make a mash for you and you won't even know they're in there or grate those veggies into some yummy birdie bread. Before long you will be loving your veggies.

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Rikki, More and more birds are coming to our house. I try to invite them in but they are afraid to come in. I like making new friends! I would like to go out and make friends with them. Why won't mom let me go out and play with some new friends? Mom is always bringing her friends in.
Signed, Friendly Feathers

Dear Friendly Feathers, Your mom just wants to protect you from things that might hurt you outside. Those outside birds know about the outside dangers and their parents have taught them to be careful including being cautious when making friends. Talk to them from the safety of your cage and home. Or ask your mom to sit outside with you in a carrier or small cage while you chat with your friends in the trees. Also, those outside winds can often carry an inexperienced bird high up in the trees which can be a very scary place if you are not used to being outside. Even if you are a good flyer in your home it is really different flying outside. So chat with your friends in the safety of your cage or a carrier or even a flightsuit with your mom!

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Do you have a question for Rikki?
Please send it to The Editor at editor@parrottoyangels.org

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Hot Weather Care
By Sue Christie-Cox

Here in Australia, we have some hot weather and we have learnt how to deal with it over the years, but every now and again Mother Nature throws a good hot one at you. It's bad enough for us, but the birds can really suffer.

Birds have no sweat glands. They cool themselves by rapid respiration with their mouth open and by holding their wings just slightly out to the sides of their bodies to cool the inside of their wing web. Just like when they are sick, if you aren't careful you won't know your bird is suffering from the heat until it may be too late. If you do find a bird suffering from heat exposure, the first thing to do is to cool them. The quickest way to do this is to take a cool to tepid water soaked cloth and soak under their wings. Keep sponging this area until they are a little more comfortable. You may then dip the tail, feet and "undercarriage" of the bird into the water to continue to cool the bird. Never plunge them into cold water as the rapid changes of temperature will send them into shock.

Last Summer, a bird keeping friend told me of their oppressive heat in South Australia, over 50C degrees ( 122 - 123 degrees F ) for over a week and she asked for advice on how to protect her birds as well as she could from the heat. Here are some of my suggestions:
♥  Hot air rises, so add a couple of low down perches for the birds to sit on, on or near the floor.
♥ Put as many containers of water as possible in so there is always plenty to drink bathe or sit in. Check and refresh the bowls very regularly as the water will evaporate or will be splashed out with the birds bathing.
♥ Add some water-rich foods to their diets, apples, watermelon, celery, zucchini, and those sorts of foods so the birds get hydration from their foods as well. Feed these in the cooler parts of the day so they don't spoil.
♥ Soak your seeds; this will help get more liquids into the birds and is a much healthier way for feeding seed diets. The soaked/sprouted seeds are more nutritious for the birds and will give them a boost to get thru this weather.
♥ Make some ice cubes and float them in the water bowls. Fill a couple of containers with water and then freeze. This may keep the water a bit cooler and make sure there is fresh water in the bowls as it melts. Add a berry or piece of water rich fruit or vegetable to add to the birds' moisture intake.
♥ Move cages away from windows and place in a cool, shady spot in the house.
♥ Keep a spray bottle handy and mist often.
♥ Take care if the room is air conditioned, that your bird doesn’t get too cold. It is sometimes better to use an oscillating fan to move cooler air around the cage.

If your birds are in outdoor aviaries (as my friend's were) use the same tips as above but also:
♥ Provide some lower perches so the birds can stay away from the hot aviary roof.
♥ Hose down the aviaries as many times as practical.
♥ Hang "shade cloth" or sheeting to provide shade. Angle out the bottom to allow breezes to cool the aviary.
♥ Try not to use stainless or metal water and food containers as they will absorb the heat. Ceramics tend to stay cooler for longer.
♥ Change water often as bacteria will grow quickly in warm weather.
♥ Install a sprinkler/mister system which will cool an aviary down pretty quickly.
♥ Find an electrolyte style product suitable for birds and use that in their water bowls.

Now, while I hope you don't ever suffer through the same heat extremes as we do here in Australia, I do hope that some of these tips will help your birds be cool and comfortable this summer.

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Bird Toy Safety - Hardware
By Kim Perez

Split Key Ring

This month's safety subject is in response to a very large bird show I recently attended as a vendor, only to find several vendors at the show selling bird toys with unsafe parts. The worst offenders at this show were pieces made of brass. There were literally hundreds of different toys with brass bells, chain, o-rings and links. This is a tremendous wake-up call for all of us bird toy consumers! Just because a familiar name in bird toys offers something for sale, doesn't always mean it is safe. There were at least three vendors at this show whom I have seen in online stores and advertised in bird magazines. They were selling toys with unsafe hardware - brass hardware, as well as using key ring fasteners.

I hope you all know that key rings are not safe around birds. These have had innumerable reports of toenails getting caught. As for brass parts, any brass parts are unsafe. The metal is toxic to birds. You are going to be safe to buy toys with stainless steel and/or nickel plated steel parts. Both are safe for your birds, with the nickel plated steel being more affordable.

If you happen to buy any toy with an unsafe component, please make sure to remove it from the toy before giving it to your bird. You can quite inexpensively build up a small supply of nickel plated hardware to keep on hand for just such a situation. From well made toys, you can save the hardware when the toy is chewed up. It may seem a bit laborious to be constantly checking over every toy you buy for your bird, but please maintain your vigilance! Our birds' safety is well worth it.

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Help Us Help the Birds...

Our Angels generously donate their time making toys for our needy feathered friends. Quality toy-making supplies are expensive and shipping charges are outrageous. That's why we need your support to help keep us going. Every dollar amount, large or small, is gratefully accepted. Donations are tax deductible.

We also welcome donations of toymaking parts and supplies. A receipt will be issued for every donation. Contact us at Parrot Toy Info for further information on donating.

All donations tax deductible.

You can also help PTA by using GoodSearch, a search engine toolbar that's totally spyware free.
Every time you use it we get a penny...you can download it here:

GoodSearch: You Search...We Give!

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Summer Time = Summer Heat
By Lori M. Nelsen

It has finally turned summer. As the temperature begins to rise, so does the stress on the both feathered and human bodies. The need for hydration increases dramatically with the increase in temperature. Water is one of the essential nutrients to life. This nutrient can be provided in many different ways: plain tap water, bottled water, or feeding fruits and vegetables with high water content.

Fruits, in general, are traditionally considered to be cooling. Here is a peek into the water content of some popular produce that can help relieve the stress of heat. You can utilize this information for your parrot's hot weather food choices.

Fruit:
Apples 84%
Bananas 74%
Blueberries 84%
Cantaloupe 90%
Grapefruit 91%
Strawberries 92%
Watermelon 92%

Vegetables:
Carrots 84%
Green Peas 76%
Lettuce 96%
Spinach 92%
Zucchini 95%

In hot weather, freezing fruit such as grapes, sliced kiwis, sliced peaches, bananas and strawberries are a refreshing and hydrating snack for your feathered friend. These hydrating foods can be hung on a kabob in a cage, added to mash or floated in a water dish. A REMINDER: Remove a mashed or cooked diet after 2 hours during hot days. Provide fresh clean water several times each day.

Watch for signs of temperature-related distress in your bird: Panting or open mouth breathing, drooping wings, holding wings away from the body, weakness, and extended time on the bottom of the cage. By the time a parrot is panting, action must be taken immediately. To help cool your parrot quickly: mist lightly with a spray bottle and place an ice bag wrapped in a towel on the bottom of the cage. Get veterinary assistance immediately.

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Buffalo Gnats
The Threat to Birds

By George Goulding

Buffalo gnats are blood sucking flies from the Simuliidae family, and are also known as black flies or turkey gnats. They are similar in size to mosquitoes, but are dark, short, chunky, and humpbacked, with short legs; wing venation is distinctive. They do not appear to be a common problem for owners of exotic birds, but they can be a serious problem when encountered causing serious injury and/or death. They prey on humans, pets, exotic birds, livestock, and poultry. Like mosquitoes they are bloodsuckers. Like bees they sometimes attack in swarms. They are most abundant in the north temperate and sub arctic zones, but many species are found in tropical areas. There have been serious Buffalo Gnat problems reported in the midwest and southern U.S.

The bite of a Buffalo Gnat in humans causes the same annoying symptoms as a mosquito bite: pain, itching, and swelling. However, if the individual that is bitten is allergic, a single bite may warrant immediate medical attention, since such allergies can cause more serious complications. In 2007 according to University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Department of Animal Sciences, several poultry died and more than 40 people sought medical attention as a result of Buffalo Gnat attacks.

The concern for owners of birds is that these gnats can cause serious injury and death. Death can be due to anaphylactic shock, toxemia, blood loss, or suffocation when the flies are inhaled by the birds. This type of trauma is normally associated with swarming attacks. The bites of certain species are also responsible for causing leucocytozoonosis through transmission of certain blood protozoans belonging to the genus Leucocytozoon. These parasites reproduce in various organs, including liver, heart, brain, lung and spleen and can cause death, especially through heart failure when infecting the heart muscle.

Infections with Leucocytozoon (leucocytozoonosis) can range from slight malaise to fatal, but varies greatly with species and strain of the parasite and other factors. Acute outbreaks of leucocytozoonosis have been reported in chickens, turkeys, waterfowl, and a number of captive avian species throughout the world. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, the symptoms of infection include listlessness, anemia, leukocytosis, tachypnea, anorexia, and diarrhea with green droppings.

Peak season for Buffalo Gnats is April through June. Unlike mosquitoes (which prefer standing water), the eggs of the Buffalo Gnat are laid in running water such as creeks, streams, or irrigation supply and drainage systems. Eggs are laid on rocks, sticks, or floating vegetation, or are dropped into streams.

Fortunately, Buffalo Gnats or black flies do not appear to be a serious, widespread threat to caged birds housed indoors in this country. Nevertheless, owners should be wary of these insects, especially if birds are housed out of doors, and especially in areas of the Gulf Coast and Midwest where problems have been reported.

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This is the official newsletter of the Parrot Toy Angels. Members and subscribers are encouraged to submit articles/photographs for publication. PTA reserves the right to reject, edit, or use only portions of items submitted. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the PTA Editor, Directors, Officers, or the general membership.

Do you have a question or comment? Perhaps you have an idea for our newsletter, or simply want to share a story on how an Angel has touched your life. Drop us a line at: editor@parrottoyangels.org

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