Parrot Toy Angels: July 2011 Angel Wings
Parrot Toy Angels

Angel Wings

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

July 2011
Volume 6, Issue VII

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In this month's issue:
    Angel Announcements
    Spring Auction Acknowledgements
    Recycling, Angel Style
    Featured Fid ~ Jardine's Parrot
    Toy Safety: Aluminum Toy Parts
    Too Humid For Your Bird?
    Kashi Bars for Birds
    Rikki Sez
    My Parrots Eat What?
    Angel Tips
    Help Us





Welcome


Leigh Anne S.from Florida

Angel Toys For Angels

July's Featured Toys


Fan-tastic
Fan-tastic Red/Purple
Medium - Large Birds


Balls, Blocks & Rings
Balls, Blocks & Rings
Large - X-Large Birds


Fan-tastic
Fan-tastic Purple/Green
Medium - Large Birds


Check out all the
Angel Toys for Angels

now!


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



   

ON THE SITE:

♥   New Items  ♥



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Spring Auction Update:

Our Spring 2011 Auction was a great success! We raised much needed funds so we may continue doing what we do best...
Making a difference...
one bird at a time!


We're already hard at work planning for our Fall 2011 Auction. If there's anything you'd like to see offered, drop us an email. We'd really appreciate feedback also...what did you like, not like, what would you like to see more of, etc. Please let us know.



A heartfelt thank you to all our generous donators:

14 Karat Parrot
Animal Art Studio - Cathe Ottero
Avian Advantage - Dee Hayston
Avian Antics Bird Toys - Doug & Shelly Wing
Best Birdy Toys - Steve & Joan Letter
Birds in Hand - Ashley Dietrich
Bridget Wagenbach
Candace Kubczak
Chopper's Toys - Claudia & Chopper
Gail Armstrong
Ilona Peterson
Jo Ann Diffee Gallery
Jo Marie Ziegler
Lori & Bob Nelsen
Nikki Slade
PJ Publications & Gifts - Paula Fitzsimmons
Shauna Roberts
Toni Fortin
Verna & Peter Lucey
Vicki Hartsfield
Wyspur Kallis


To all those that bid...we appreciate your support!



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WOW!  Lookie.... a PTA Coupon



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Recycling, Angel Style
Cup Foraging Toy
By Wyspur Kallis

Cup Foraging Toy
Shiloh enjoying her Cup Foraging Toy


Supplies you will need:
Non-waxed paper cups in what ever size & amount you'd like
Vegetable tanned leather lace
Treats
Scissors


Cup Foraging Toy


Using scissors, make a small hole in the bottom of each cup.


Cup Foraging Toy


Tie a knot on one end of the vegetable tanned leather lace.


Cup Foraging Toy


Thread leather lace through bottom of cup. Place a treat in the cup. Add the next cup until you have all the cups strung onto the leather lace.


Cup Foraging Toy


When you've added all the cups with treats in them, you're ready to introduce this Cup Foraging Toy to your parrot. Enjoy!



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Featured Fid ~ Jardine's Parrot
By Steve Letter





The Jardine's parrot (Genus: Poicephalus Species: gulielmi) is a medium sized parrot that originates from Africa. There are three sub-species: the nominate gulielme, fantiensis, and massaicus. Their range depends on the sub species, but they are widespread in Africa, ranging from lowlands of the Congo River Basin (P.g. gulielmi) to Liberia and Ghana (P.g. fantiensis) to the mountain highlands of Mt. Kilimanjaro (P.g. massaicus). They are one of the few parrot species found above 10,000 feet. They have striking coloration variations with orange / red "crown," thighs, and forward wing edges. The exception is the Massaicus sub-species, which only has the crown (see photo). The rest of the bird is dark green, with dark scalloped feathers on the wings and back.


They range from 26 to 30 cm in length (about 11 inches) and weigh around 200 grams (about 7 ounces). For their size, they tend to be on the quieter side, although they can scream loudly when they want to. Their usual call is quite musical, almost songbird like. (Ironically, according to World Parrot Trust their call is high pitched and harsh and quite noisy in the wild). They are intelligent and love to do tricks. It is not unusual to find one lying on their back or rolling around on the bottom of their cage. They have very good speech capability, nearly as good as the African Grey and are very good at mimicking other birds.


If properly socialized and kept, they make outstanding companion birds. They are fairly even-tempered. They do not have the hormonal cycle behavioral issues many other birds have. They are capable of entertaining themselves, so they do not need the attention that birds (such as cockatoos and macaws) require. They are opportunistic eaters, primarily eating seeds, fruits and flowers, but they will eat almost any food available.


They are protected by the CITES treaty (listed as Least Concern by IUCN), although there is still an active illegal trade of these birds. They are not considered endangered but loss of habitat and continued wild capture is decreasing their numbers.


Jardines are also known as Red Fronted Parrots, Red Headed Parrots, Red Crowned Parrots, and Congo Red Headed Parrots.


Sources:
World Parrot Trust



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Toy Safety: Aluminum Toy Parts
By Kim Perez


There are so many metals out there to choose from when it comes to hardware to use on our birds' toys. Some are safe and some are not. Some are not exactly advisable to use, but if your bird doesn't obsessively chew on the hardware, you probably won't have to worry about it. How many of us really are willing to take that kind of a risk, though? I am not.


Aluminum hardware is widely available for our bird toys. It comes plain and colored in different ways. I buy aluminum wire for some of my smaller bird toys. The down side is that the wire is very soft and bends so easily. You cannot use it on heavier toys for the big birds. The wire can actually un-bend! The wire is really that soft.


I get several parts that are vacuum-coated, such as bells, quick links, and some wire. Some of these parts are steel and the rest are aluminum. Both are wonderful parts and the colors are very pretty and the birds love them.


You may wonder if safety is an issue with aluminum. There is some misinformation out there, and I have read and been told quite a bit of it over the years.


Aluminum is safe to use with your birds. It is what comprises much of our cookware and utensils. Being a food-safe item, it is also bird safe. This is one of the ways I determine whether other parts are safe to use around our birds. If they are safe for food products, they are safe for babies, and thus safe for birds - for the most part.


I think one of the only exceptions I have found to this rule is in coloring. Many people use food coloring for their toy parts, and when I scrutinized the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) for the different colors, I found that there was a high concentration of lead in the red food coloring. This is not such a big deal for people, or even for babies, but lead is something I try to shield my birds against, so I do not use food coloring on my toy parts.


If you are lucky enough to have a metallurgist in the family, it's simple to ask questions and learn. It can be very confusing otherwise, and the conflicting "information" out there does not make separating safe from unsafe an easy task. Merely googling some things really doesn't adequately answer your questions. This is one of those examples.


In researching the topic, I found that some people attribute the cause of Alzheimer's Disease to aluminum foil and pans because of a higher amount of aluminum found in their brains during autopsies. However, this has not been proven, and these accusations are minimized to mere suppositions. In many unrelated studies, however, the Food and Drug Administration has repeatedly found that there is nothing harmful in aluminum.



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Too Humid For Your Bird?
By Angel Savannah


Where I live in the Midwest, it can be extremely hot and humid this time of year. It is actually uncomfortable to breathe outdoors and people can hardly wait to get inside where it is air conditioned.


Birds are very different. They love and need humidity. The lowest recommended humidity level is around 40%. Most people think this is only for breeding birds to aid in hatching eggs. This is not completely true. Although humidity is helpful in the hatching of eggs, it is necessary for many other reasons.


Most parrots' natural habitats are lush and humid. It is extremely important that we replicate their habitat in these basic ways as closely as possible. High humidity levels encourage your parrot to preen, keeping their feathers shiny, healthy and clean. It keeps their skin moist and healthy, too. It is also very important to their ability to breathe. Unlike people, who may find it difficult to breathe in high humidity, it makes it easier for a parrot to breathe. Dry air sacs make breathing more uncomfortable for them, and can be at the root of breathing and other health problems.


For something that is so very important for our birds, you would imagine that providing a humid environment would be very tricky and maybe even difficult. Quite the opposite is true.


You can merely provide a basin in which to bathe. It seems like birds like bathing the most when you first put fresh cold water in their dishes. The bird will flap around in the basin, getting the humidity in their lungs and on their feathers and skin. I strongly recommend this water be changed daily, if not twice daily. The more frequent the water changes, the more you will encourage your birds to bathe.


Another way to increase the humidity in your birds' environment is by misting them. This puts an immediate surge of humidity into their air. You can do this several times a day for them. The only thing you will have to be aware of is whatever medium you use in the tray. You don't want any bedding to get moldy. So the more humid you keep the environment, the cleaner you will need to keep their tray.


Another way to keep the humidity at an acceptable level is to use a humidifier. This is something that will keep the humidity at a more consistent level and the humidifiers you find in the stores are reasonably priced and easy to use.


I recommend all of these ways to keep humidity up. I use a cold air humidifier in my bird room, give my birds their drinking water in large dishes and I spray them with a mister at least once a day. They are all very happy and healthy and their feathers look fabulous! Hopefully you can see in the photo of my Paulie (B&G Macaw) and Joey (CAG) how shiny their feathers are. My vet always comments on how beautiful they are.


Paulie & Joey
Paulie & Joey


Editor's note -- when using humidifiers, be sure to follow manufacturer's recommendations (as long as they are compatible with bird safety) on cleaning and filter maintenance. Most humidifiers need proper maintenance and cleaning to avoid health problems. Scum and film can build up inside humidifier tanks and are indications of bacteria and fungi which become airborne and can cause lung inflammation in humans, and more than likely in birds.



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Kashi Bars for Birds
By Toni Fortin


3 cups of Kashi Go Lean (original)
1 Tbsp. hulled millet
1 heaping cup of dried cantaloupe, crumbled**
10 dried figs (unsulphured), chopped small
1/4 cup almond butter (room temperature)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs beaten



In a large bowl, mix first 4 items. Using a large heavy spoon, add almond butter, applesauce and eggs. Be sure to mix well, coating everything.

Spray 11 x 7" glass pan with cooking spray. Press mixture in pan.


Optional: Sprinkle with sesame seeds.


Bake at 300 degrees for 25 minutes. This smells like heaven baking. Cool, cut or break into pieces.


Yield: 26 pieces


Store in the refrigerator or freeze.


**Cantaloupe can be dried in a dehydrator or purchased at a health food store.


Kashi Bars for Birds



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Rikki Sez

Rikki will try and answer frequently asked questions here.

Rikki, There's this awfully cold breeze blowing on me from a hole in the wall and it makes me shiver. How can I tell my Dad I don't like cold drafts?
Signed, Shivering

Dear Shivering, That cold breeze from the hole in the wall is coming from the air conditioner. Now this is serious and you are going to have to just fill your Dad in on this. Your Dad needs to move you away from the air vent, or to purchase one of those deflectors so the cold air isn't blowing directly on you. Drafts can be detrimental to your health. Drop in body temperature, respiratory infections, etc. No fun being sick, taking antibiotics, and having your nares sprayed with saline twice a day.

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Rikki, It is so hot in my cage, my water is hot, my feet are hot, there is no wind blowing. Would you please ask my Mum to give me some fresh cool water and a fan and to not let me be where the sun gets on me, it's too hot. I just wanna be cool. Could I have one of those Popsicle things to make me cool like my human brother gets?
Signed, Sweating in my feathers

Dear Sweating, Some one needs to tell Mum that you too can get over heated and sick from too much heat and sun. Mum can put a cover over one corner of your cage and add a couple of ice cubes to your water so it doesn't get hot (it is also fun to try to catch and grab the ice). Something else she might do depending on how big your cage is, hang a big basket that you could use as an umbrella and a bowl that you could splash in. Here are some birdie-approved popsicle recipes for you to enjoy:
Birdie Popsicles
Parrot Popsicles by Jack Quaker
Hope these ideas help you stay cool!

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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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My Parrot Eats What?
By Lori M. Nelsen


In 2001, I began feeding Shauna's Mash Diet. I was overwhelmed and confused about what was safe to feed and add to the mash to create a healthy diet. My sister, Lynn, and I developed a shopping list to help stave off the confusion. Because feeding Gonzo "Shauna's Mash Diet" became a natural part of our lives very quickly, I had not checked out my list in years. I thought that my "parrot grocery shopping list" might be a help for all you busy parronts out there. So print it off along with a copy of the 2011 EWGs Shoppers Clean 15 list and go shopping.


Click here for a printable version: Parrot Grocery Shopping List


Note: Approximate percentages can be adjusted for each species as well as individual needs. And please keep in mind that approximate percentages are just that, approximate. The amount of greens, orange foods, veggies etc. can be varied. I have, over the years, increased the amount of grains and legumes to about 65% of the diet. However, the grains/legumes are always prepared in a 2 to 1 ratio to create a complete amino acid profile. The grains can be soaked and cooked or sprouted, but the legumes have to be fully sprouted or cooked after soaking to help rid them of their anti nutrients.




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Angel Tips


♥ ♥ Separate your bananas when you get home from the store. If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster.


♥ ♥ Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating.
Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.


♥ ♥ From Sharon OConnor: I have been cooking for my birds for some years based on what I learned from the Feeding Feathers group. As health issues made it harder to deal with all the different types of grains and veggies, I discovered an easy way to see that the birds got good food and I could manage it. Kashi Pilaf is a blend of 7 grains plus sesame seeds and it cooks up like rice. I take a cup of frozen mixed veggies and whiz them in the blender to get them in smaller pieces then mix in with the warm kashi and let sit till cool and my birds love it. Sometimes I mix in minced fruit or fresh vegetables. I love it because it is a grain mixture base that I can easily prepare and vary as I like. Some grocery stores carry it, health food stores normally do. It is not expensive, I consider it my birdie fast food.


Got a tip? Send it to us at editor@parrottoyangels.org


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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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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.

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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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©  2008-2011 Parrot Toy Angels • P.O. Box 34372 • Houston, Texas  77234
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