Parrot Toy Angels: March 2009 Angel Wings
Parrot Toy Angels

Angel Wings

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

March 2009
Volume 4, Issue III

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In this month's issue:
    ParrotNutz Newsletter Special
    Angel Announcements
    Quicky Eggs & Veggies
    Paolo, the Amazon
    "So, you're getting a new bird"
    Basic H2
    A Very Special 'Odd Couple'
    Featured Fid ~ The Carolina Parakeet
    Teaching Parrots Tricks
    Rikki Sez
    Safety Today
    Peanuts, Recalls and Salmonella




Welcome

Colleen S. from Maryland

Angel Toys For Angels

Featured Toys for March

Ugly
Ugly
Large to X Large Birds

Fun Platter
Fun Platter
Small to Medium Birds

Bird Fun
Bird Fun
Small Birds


Check out all the
Angel Toys for Angels

now!


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Jade enjoying Plopz
Jade enjoying a Plopz

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♥ ♥ ♥





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

   

Beat the winter blues and give your birds a treat!
Parrot Toy Angels is pleased to announce the release of
"Polly Wants More Than A Cracker...A Parrot Owner's Cookbook".

Polly Wants More Than A Cracker

"Polly Wants More Than A Cracker" has over 75 recipes. Included are delicious recipes from Apple French Toast to Zucchini Squash Cakes and lots of tasty recipes in between. Our parrot owner's cookbook will be sure to please your parrot. If you already cook for your birds, add some new recipes and ideas to your collection. Not cooking for your birds already? There couldn't be a better time to begin!!

Order one today at www.parrottoyangels.com



NEW ON THE SITE:

♥  Foraging Systems
♥  St. Patty's Toys
♥  Easter Toys
♥ Large & XL Toys

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FEATHERED FUNNIES

How do you make a small fortune?
Start with a large fortune and buy a parrot!
Thank you Jim Pierce!

Supplier of the Month

Avian Antics Bird Toys

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Quicky Eggs & Veggies
By Toni Fortin

Large coffee mug sprayed with Olive Oil
1 egg (no shell)
Large sprinkling of oatmeal (regular, not instant)
1/4 carrot, shredded
1/2 cup frozen peas

Scramble egg in coffee mug sprayed with olive oil. Sprinkle in oatmeal. Add shredded carrot. Put peas in small strainer and run hot water over them to defrost. Blot dry. Cook in microwave on high power for 30 seconds. Stir, then cook for 30 more seconds. Add peas and mix all together. Let cool thoroughly before serving. Tails up!

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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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Paolo, the Amazon
By Dianne Barskey

Do you have a friend that gives you a special love, care and attention? I do.

Paolo is an Orange Wing Amazon parrot with striking red eyes, soft yellow feathers on his head, and orange and blue in his wings that makes him colorful. He measures only twelve inches from head to tail.

He remembers that he suffered cruelty. He thinks, "Is this how my life will always be?" His cage restricts his movements and he cannot leave its confines. He gets only seed to eat, can't he have some variety? The humans he lives with give him only water and seeds. They do not talk to him or show him that they love him. He wonders, "Is this how all humans are?"

His life takes a turn when his human family decides to move to Florida, so they find him a new home. One day, Sabrina comes to the house and she takes him away.

They go for a long drive. He is unsure of what is happening. The scenery is zipping by faster than he thinks it can. They arrive at Sabrina's house. He sees lots of trees before they enter the house. Sabrina takes Paolo inside and over thirty more birds squawk and talk from various perches in the basement bird room. He has never seen so many different birds, he is amazed. She must love birds.

Paolo hears Sabrina tell someone that he can go live with them because they contacted the family first. Jen comes to pick him up the following weekend. He is confused by the changes in his life. Jen and Paolo arrive at another house where there are ten birds making all different sounds. He is not sure about this because he has never been around other birds. He settles down for sleep.

The next morning Jen opens the door of his cage and leaves it open. He thinks, "What a different place this is!" Until now he was not happy. His new home allows him in and out of his cage as he pleases. He has a large cage that allows him to spread his wings and climb.

She gives him nice food and popcorn. Paolo discovers that he loves popcorn. He gets fresh fruit and veggies every day. His seed has lots of peanuts, sunflower seeds, and dried fruit in it.

Many humans feed their bird friends improper foods. Humans must research to find out what kind of food their bird needs. Seeds are not the only thing that birds eat. Humans like to have variety in what they eat, so do the birds in their lives. Paolo loves oranges, bananas, strawberries, and apples. Many birds love fresh fruit. Seeds do not give birds all the nutrients that they need to be healthy.

Paolo has many new friends now. There are little birds called parakeets, bigger ones called cockatiels, and another called a conure. They all chatter and play together. Jen gives them all head rubs and kisses when they want them. They know they have a forever home with her. They only stay in their cages and covered at night when the house goes to bed. They spend the day playing outside of their cages.

Paolo wants to teach people how to treat birds. They are not "throw-away" pets. They are a lifetime commitment because the birds often live longer than the humans they own. They need proper care. Cleaning and feeding takes time and effort. Paolo appreciates everything that his human, Jen, does for him.

He says, "Thank you." He loves to imitate a telephone. Sometimes he hurts his human's ears when he does that. He does not know that he hurts his family. He does not want to hurt them. He yells at the little birds when they try to take over his cage. Jen understands that he does not like to share, so she shoos the little birds away from his cage. Jen loves him no matter what he does, he can tell by how she talks to him and touches him.

Paolo slowly learns to trust again. Jen's patience with him gives him security. She gives him head scratches and the occasional kiss. She doesn't push him into doing more than he can handle. She treats him to extra peanuts. She appreciates the love that he shows her. He loves her, but is not sure how to show that love. He does not want pain. He cannot be sure yet that abuse will never occur again.

What can Paolo do? How can he reach humans to teach them about proper care of their bird friends? How can he reach out to humans? Can he reach children before they learn bad habits about birds? He is only a bird, after all.

He helps Jen realize that education is important, because so many birds are treated as he was. She wishes that she could have more birds in her home. Many birds need homes because their humans cannot keep them. The humans rationalize why they cannot keep their birds. They do not realize that the birds feel neglected and unloved.

Birds have moods much like humans. Birds cannot tell humans what is wrong or how they feel. They have no way to express their fear, except to bite and flap their wings. They use their beaks and tongues for exploration and defense. People have to learn to read the body language of the birds. Some birds suffer mental illnesses because they form an attachment to their humans and they do not understand why their humans are sending them away from them.

Paolo needs Jen to speak for him. He wants all of his bird relatives to have a life as his. Knowing that there are so many closeted in cages all the time is hard. Humans use cages meant for smaller birds than the ones that are in the cage.

Birds need showers often. Paolo is not overly fond of showers, but he needs them to help his skin stay moist and itch less. If he still lived in the rainforest, where his ancestors originated, he would get several showers every day. He would forage a variety of seeds, fruits, and grasses.

Care for our feathered friends requires a lot of work. There is trimming of wings to keep them safe and nails to keep them the proper length. Veterinarian visits are expensive. The proper food is expensive. If the humans love their birds, they will learn how to care for their friends properly.

Jen gives me special love, care and attention every day in every way!

♥ ♥ ♥

"So, you are getting a new bird"
By ParrotNutz

The very first order of business is: The New Bird Check Up

♥ A Physical Evaluation should be first. Your vet should check the bird from beak to vent...looking for any abnormalities of feathers, skin, toes, eyes, vent, etc. Birdie's weight should be recorded.

♥ Blood testing. A minimum would be an avian profile. In addition, I recommend protein electrophoresis, which gives a great view of how all the organs are functioning. All the avian vets I have spoken with say, it is far easier to save a sick bird if they have base line tests taken when the bird is healthy on record to compare to. An example....Tweety has seen Dr. Avian every year for the past 5 years and has always been in a certain blood work range. Tweety is not feeling quite right and this time when the blood results come back and are compared to years past, Dr. Avian sees changes in blood values. This goes a long way in helping diagnose Tweety's problem.

♥ Viral testing. Always get Chlamydia testing done. Some doctors will also recommend testing for beak and feather and polyoma. I say better safe than sorry.

♥ Cultures of poop and crop. These make sure there are no bacterial or fungal infections harboring in the new bird.

♥ Quarantine is of utmost importance. Why? Because even if your new bird checks out healthy, the stress of changing homes can lower the immune system. So, if your new bird is harboring anything, it would break out during this stressful period. True quarantine requires separate air space which most of us do not have. So the next best thing is to keep your new bird as far away from the bird room as possible. Feed and handle your new bird last after your regular flock. This will help reduce exposure. Thirty days quarantine is the minimum recommended, but sixty days would be best. Always wash your hands after handling your new bird.

Following these guidelines will insure that your new bird will have the best possible start in his or her new home.

Download your quarantine checklist from BirdChannel.com
Quarantine Checklist

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Basic H2 as a Cleaner
By Kim Perez

Basic H by Shaklee

Basic H2 is a concentrated super cleaning product made in the USA by Shaklee Products in Pleasanton, CA. The company itself deserves attention in that it has been conscientious about making the world a safer and healthier place since the introduction of their first biodegradable cleaning product nearly 50 years ago!

Basic H2 specifically has earned my respect. I use it all over the house - from kitchen to bird room! I use this to clean bird dishes, wash floors, clean cages, brooders and much more. It does an amazing job. There are no perfume-like odors and one bottle lasts literally years! A 16 oz. bottle of the super-concentrated formula mixes an incredible 48 gallons of cleaner.

One thing that impressed me enough to buy my initial bottle of this many years ago, (yes, I am on my third or fourth bottle now) was their print advertisement which was a goldfish swimming in Basic H. Their claim was that it was gentle enough for a fish to live in, yet powerful enough to clean all over your house. So I tried it and was I ever impressed! It works on the things that you get frustrated with and cannot find anything to work, such as hamburger sludge. (You know, when you make hamburger patties and you have that stuff on your hands? A drop or two of this and it is history.)

Shaklee used to make something called Basic I, which was a disinfectant and I used that mostly on counters and floors. They now make a wipe called Germ Off, which I also use and love! It kills E. coli and Salmonella and I use them on my counters and sinks.

I found that these products work well and keep my birds safe. I highly recommend them. You can find these and related products at www.shaklee.net.

(Please note that I am not a Shaklee employee and did not write this as an advertisement for them. They just have this wonderful product that I use daily.)

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A Very Special 'Odd Couple'
By Susana Emberg

Zena and ScruffyEvery morning I get to watch an interesting ritual. I uncover Zena and Scruffy and watch as Scruffy RUNS to the top of the cage and waits patiently for his mate, Zena, to slowly make her way up there as well. It takes her a lot more time to get there because Zena is 19 years old and has had badly messed up feet since she was a baby. Don't you DARE try to help her! No way! She insists on doing it herself and gets quite indignant if you try to help in any way. She's a dignified lady and can do it herself, thank you!

Once she finally makes it to the top, she rests for a minute, then leans over the edge of the cages and flaps her wings (what beautiful, well developed wings they are!) furiously for a minute or so then launches herself into the air. For the next 10 minutes, she flies figure 8's and laps around the room; occasionally landing on her favorite spots for a quick rest, then back to it.

The whole time she's flying, Scruffy perches excitedly on the edge of the cage watching her every move, never taking his eyes off of her, peeping joyfully, making the typical cockatiel "heart wings" and doing the wolf whistle now and then. It's obvious he loves her, but it's also obvious he'd LOVE to join her. But he can't. Scruffy can't fly. Scruffy is 9 years old and has NEVER flown. His wings were badly broken before he ever learned to fly.

ZenaWhen Zena is finally done with her morning flight, she lands on the cage top. Scruffy rushes over to give her kisses and a gentle preen then waits patiently for her to make her way back into the cage before joining her there for breakfast.

These two are inseparable. Zena "supervises" Scruff's, twice weekly, physical therapy and Scruffy tries to defend Zena when we have to trim her nails. They bathe together (although Zena relishes her baths, while Scruffy only seems to do them because she is), they eat together, they sleep cuddled up next to each other and surprisingly, they even manage to do the "wild thing" with gusto.

Who would imagine a bird that cannot fly, being in love with a bird that can barely walk, but flies beautifully. I feel my life is wonderfully enriched every day watching these two, to whom life has dealt some serious blows, to be able to overcome their problems and find life together. They are my very special 'Odd Couple'.

Zena's feet
Zena's Feet

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Featured Fid ~ The Carolina Parakeet
By George & Nancy Goulding

Carolina Parakeets The Carolina Parakeet [Conuropsis carolinensis] is an extinct parrot species that once inhabited much of the Eastern United States. It was declared extinct by the American Ornithologists Union in 1939.

Much of what is known about this bird is taken from observations and writings from 19th century experts who had extensive personal encounters with the bird. John James Audubon (1785-1851) studied the species extensively as did Alexander Wilson (1766-1813). According to Alexander Wilson in Wilson's American Ornithology with notes by Jardine, it was the only parrot species native to the United States. The Carolina Parakeet ranged throughout the Southern and Southeastern U.S., throughout the central U.S. from the Gulf of Mexico north to the Ohio River Valley and Great Lakes area and as far West as Nebraska. It was about 12 inches long with brilliant green, orange and yellow feathering. It inhabited forests and forest edges and favored such foods as fruits, seeds, plants and cockleburs ("sticker burs" to some of us).

The above painting (circa 1839?), by John James Audubon, shows several birds feeding together. This was typical of their flock behavior. The painting does not adequately illustrate their brilliant plumage, but the picture (below) shows actual colors. The picture shows a skin of a Carolina Parakeet in the Wiesbaden Museum in Germany. (The Photograph is by Fritz Geller-Grimm in 2005).

Carolina Parakeets

It is believed that the Carolina Parakeet has been extinct since the early 1900's. Sources disagree about when the last wild Carolina Parakeet disappeared, but most agree it was between 1904 and 1920. Since then there have been a few reports of sightings, but none has been substantiated, and it is believed that the sightings were of another species. It is well documented that the last known captive bird died in 1918 at the Cincinnati Zoo. The Carolina Parakeet is among several bird species known to have become extinct since the late 19th century due to the expansion and activities of humans. These include the Labrador Duck, Passenger Pigeon, Eskimo Curlew, Great Auk and others.

The Carolina Parakeet was monogamous and nested in tree cavities. They were gregarious birds that formed large flocks numbering in the hundreds. This particular trait, along with its fondness for apple seeds, fruit, corn and other grain crops, helped to hasten its extinction.

Farmers considered it a pest and killed the birds in large numbers. A curious trait that probably hastened its extinction was noted by both Alexander Wilson (above) and John James Audubon. Both men observed that when members of a flock were killed or wounded, the others flocked around the injured or dead bird refusing to leave it. This made the others easy targets for farmers trying to rid their fields of the birds. Audubon illustrated this behavior in the following quote from his personal account (circa 1840):
"the Parakeets are destroyed in great numbers, for whilst busily engaged in plucking off the fruits or tearing the grain from the stacks, the husbandman approaches them with perfect ease, and commits great slaughter among them. All the survivors rise, shriek, fly round about for a few minutes, and again alight on the very place of most imminent danger. The gun is kept at work; eight or ten, or even twenty, are killed at every discharge. The living birds, as if conscious of the death of their companions, sweep over their bodies, screaming as loud as ever, but still return to the stack to be shot at, until so few remain alive, that the farmer does not consider it worth his while to spend more of his ammunition".

Other factors influencing the demise of the Carolina Parakeet include demand for their brightly colored feathers for hats and the destruction of forest habitat.

A very entertaining personal record of John James Audubon's encounters with the Carolina Parakeet can be found at www.audubon.org/bird/boa/F28_G1a.html This record seems to have been written around the 1840's and it is interesting to note that even then Audubon makes reference to their "diminishing numbers":
"Our Parakeets are very rapidly diminishing in number; and in some districts, where twenty-five years ago they were plentiful, scarcely any are now to be seen".

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Teaching Parrots Tricks
By Shelly Wing
Avian Antics Bird Toys

Many people watch birds performing and wonder, "How do you teach them to do that?"

First, you must know your bird and know what motivates him/her. Is it food, a toy or something you do? For example Potato Chips motivate my Sara. Kisses motivate Stella. Almonds motivate Jazz. Bread motivates Carmen and a purple feather motivates Wilma.

Note: To avoid confusing your bird, only teach one trick at a time. Once your bird has learned the trick, practice it daily for a couple of weeks before moving on to the next trick.

Teaching your bird to Wave Bye-Bye. With the bird's motivation (treats) in hand, place the bird on a perch in a quiet room where there will be no interruptions. If your bird is treat motivated, establish training sessions when your bird is hungry, before breakfast, lunch and/or dinner.

Show your bird the treat then say, "wave bye-bye" and touch the bird's foot with your finger or move your hand so that your bird starts to step up. Do whatever you need to in order to get your bird to lift its foot. As soon as your bird lifts its foot, even the tiniest bit, praise profusely and give the treat. Make sure the treat is very small - just a bite. Keep repeating. Limit training sessions to 5 minutes and have as many training sessions as possible throughout the day. Once the bird consistently lifts his/her foot when you say, "wave" use your finger to push/pull the bird's foot up high into the air then praise and give the treat. Most birds learn this quickly and easily, within a week.

Teaching your bird to Shake Hands. Once your bird has learned to wave, teaching "Shake Hands" comes very easily. With treat in hand, put your bird on a perch in a quiet area without interruptions. Tell you bird, "Shake Hands" and move your finger toward his/her right foot, as if to step up. Most birds will lift their foot and grab your finger. Immediately praise and give the treat. Again, make sure the treat is very small - just a bite. Keep repeating. Limit training sessions to 5 minutes and have as many training sessions as possible throughout the day. Most birds learn this very quickly and easily and usually have it in a few days.

Teaching your bird Wings Up. Again, place your bird on a perch someplace quiet. Show him/her the treat and say, "Wings Up". Use the index fingers of both hands to move the bird's wings up. Praise and give treat. Continue until the bird begins to lift his/her wings without assistance. You can continue this training to include, "all the way" indicating you want the bird to put his/her wings all the way up. You can stop when the bird just lifts his/her wings a bit.

Birds react to "Wings Up" training in different ways. For instance, Sara raises her wings from her body, but does not unfold and extend them completely out. Stella, on the other hand, extends both of her wings completely upright to the fullest extent. Make sure the treat is very small - just a bite. Keep repeating. Limit training sessions to 5 minutes and have as many training sessions as possible throughout the day.

Enjoy and if you find yourself obsessed with teaching your parrot tricks, visit Amazon.com and type in Parrot Tricks. There you will find several good books on trick training parrots.

♥ ♥ ♥

Rikki Sez

Rikki will try and answer frequently asked questions here.

Rikki, I think I have a new brother or sister but mom won't let me see him. She says that he lives in "quar - en - teen", but I saw him yesterday in the other room in a cage. Is the cage "quar - en - teen"? Mommy says he got a check up. What is that for? Confused in the bird room and wondering if I have been bad.
Signed, Confused in NC

Dear Confused, No, you're a good bird. Mom just wants to make sure that your new friend is healthy, so she will be watching him for a while and taking him to the vets. She loves you and wants to make sure you are both all right. Have mom read you Nutz's article so you will understand.

♥ ♥ 

Rikki, My mommy took my favorite toy away today! I'm MAD. I just finally got it well broke in and arranged the way I like it. It had cool loose strings and pieces chewed up just the way I like. Now I gotta start all over again! Why does mommy take away my old toys?
Signed, Frustrated in WA

Dear Frustrated, Mommy loves you very much and wants to keep you safe. Toys with loose strings and chewed up pieces could be dangerous for you. You could get your leg or head caught in the strings and get badly hurt. You could cut yourself on broken pieces. Your safety is really important to your Mommy, so she makes sure you always have a lot of nice new safe toys in your cage.

♥ ♥ 

Rikki, I don't like winter! When mom and dad get home from work it's already dark. Can you tell them it's ok for me to come out and stay up later so I get some love and play time?
Signed, Lost in Darkness

Dear Lost, Your Mommy & Daddy have probably read lots of books saying you need your beauty feather sleep. Many birdies do. Some of us take Power Naps during the day and if mom and dad are working, they don't know we do this. What works for me is saying sweetly "hellooo" "hellooo". Then they come talk to me and see if I am really wanting to be out. They are used to me telling them when I am ready to go nite-nite though. Try that, and if it doesn't work, then rattle your crock and say "hey! Hellooo!!". It works for me. Birdies in the wild need lots of night sleep, but some of us in houses are more adaptable to our humans schedule. If it affects your health or behavior though, your parronts might enforce the night sleep rule. But go ahead and try it. Or try singing and playing in the dark and they might let you stay up an extra hour to welcome them home. The love and play time is at least as important to parrots well-being as adequate sleep.

♥ ♥ 



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

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Safety Today
By Susan Kesler
Safety Committee Chairwoman

   

Cotton and fleece snuggle toys are fast becoming a favorite toy for parronts to buy or make for their feathered companions. With this popularity come questions of safety, so I'd like to give you a few guidelines to look for when buying or making a snuggly for your parrot.

First, please make sure the fabric is 100% cotton, 100% cotton flannel or fleece. Whichever you use, it needs to be washed and dried before use to preshrink and remove any substances added at the factory or which it may have picked up enroute to your home.

If you are using cotton or cotton flannel, be sure it is cut on the bias or with pinking shears to minimize the amount of fraying. Fleece does not fray, but will stretch in one direction. I recommend cutting so the fabric does not stretch, but this is more of a personal preference not necessarily a safety issue.

The width of the strips that your snuggle toy is made from is not as important as the length, although they should be at least one half inch wide. The length of the strips should never be long enough to wrap around your bird's body. This is a much better guide than inches because there are so many different size birds.

And last but definitely not least, please do not put anything heavy on the ends of the fabric strips. This puts a weight on the bottom and will make it easier for the strips to tangle around a foot or head if your feathered friend gets to swinging on his snuggle toy trying to mimic a monkey.

I hope these little hints help your bird snuggle in and have sweet dreams.

♥ ♥ ♥
Peanuts, Recalls, and Salmonella
By Lori M. Nelsen

A 2007 salmonella outbreak at a ConAgra Foods plant in Sylvester, Georgia, resulted in a recall of Peter Pan peanut butter and sickened hundreds of people nationwide. The culprit later was identified as a leaky roof and a faulty sprinkler system that rained water down on peanuts after they had been through the roaster. The plant later underwent $20 million in renovations and reopened.

Currently, the FDA report on the Peanut Corp. of America outbreak notes twelve occasions on which salmonella contamination was detected on the company's products in 2007 and 2008. "After the firm retested the product and received a negative status, the product was shipped in interstate commerce," the FDA said of all twelve instances. Over 500 cases have been linked to this facility and eight deaths. After each positive salmonella test, the firm took no action to clean the plant. The FDA's plant inspection report also revealed a number of deficiencies, including evidence of cracks in the floor, live cockroaches, mold and water dripping from the ceiling in an area where finished products were stored. Inspectors noted that the plant lacked adequate facilities for hand washing and a sink in the peanut butter room was used interchangeably for cleaning hands, utensils and washing mops.

On January 23, 2009, the FDA confirmed that the source of the recent outbreak of illnesses caused by Salmonella typhimurium was peanut butter and peanut paste produced by the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) at its Blakely, Georgia, processing plant. Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have a decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Apparently well but infected animals can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

The Peanut Corp. of America's plant in Plainview, Texas, was identified as a potential source of salmonella after Colorado health officials found six cases that have the same genetic fingerprint as the salmonella cases linked to the Blakely, Georgia, plant. The Texas plant had operated for several years with NO license and NO government health inspections. Recent preliminary tests at the Texas plant showed possible signs of salmonella contamination, health officials said.

On February 20, 2009 PCA informed customers who received products from its Georgia or Texas plants not to distribute or further use those products and to contact the FDA regarding the proper disposition of recalled products and any other matters related to the recall via the FDA recall coordinators. The FDA and the Texas Department of State Health Services are working together to implement the PCA recall.

This is an ingredient-driven outbreak; that is, potentially contaminated ingredients affected many different products that were distributed through various channels and consumed in various settings. The recalled products made by PCA, such as peanut butter and peanut paste, are common ingredients in cookies, crackers, cereal, candy, ice cream, pet treats, and other foods. Consumers are advised to discard and not eat products or feed them to their pets or wild animals. To help consumers identify affected products, FDA has initiated a searchable database of recalled products that is updated daily or as additional recalls are identified. To date, more than 2,100 products in 17 categories have been voluntarily recalled by more than 200 companies, and the list continues to grow.

Certain pet foods and pet treats may contain peanut butter or peanut products, including dog and cat treats and bird food. Pets may get Salmonella infections from eating contaminated pet products affected by the recall of peanut butter and peanut-containing products. People may get Salmonella infections from handling contaminated pet products, contact with infected pets (i.e., contact with pet feces or the anus or hair around the anus of the pet), or from cleaning up after their infected pets. Moreover, it should be made clear to clients that they can still touch their pets and interact with them; but they need to take extra precaution not to come in contact with their pet's feces or areas around the anus of the pet.

Dogs, cats and birds can become ill due to a Salmonella infection and have diarrhea, fever, vomiting, decreased appetite, or abdominal pain; however, some dogs and cats may have a Salmonella infection, but can appear healthy and will not have diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. Like humans, some dogs and cats may not exhibit symptoms of salmonellosis but can be carriers and can infect other animals or humans. If you have a pet that is known to have eaten any of the products on the FDA recall list and you have concerns that the pet may have salmonellosis, you may want to bring the pet to your veterinarian. Questions and answers on the recall, testing of animals and pet products and suggested advice for veterinary clients are below.

FDA Tips for Preventing Foodborne Illness Associated with Pet Food and Pet Treats
FDA is informing consumers of steps they can take to help prevent foodborne illness, including Salmonella-related illness, when handling pet foods and treats. Pet food and treats, like many other types of foods, can be susceptible to harmful bacterial contamination. During calendar year 2007, 15 pet products have been recalled due to Salmonella contamination; however, to date none of these products have been directly linked to human illness.

Salmonella in pet foods and treats can cause serious infections in household pets, and, if there is cross contamination, in people too, especially children, the aged and people with compromised immune systems. Salmonella in pet food and treats can potentially be transferred to people ingesting or handling contaminated pet food and treats.

While the FDA has stepped up its efforts to minimize the incidence of foodborne illness associated with pet foods and treats, it's important that consumers be mindful of the potential risks. Pet owners and consumers can reduce the likelihood of infection from contaminated pet foods and treats by following some simple, safe handling instructions.

Buying Tips for Pet Food
Purchase products (canned or bagged) that are in good condition. No visible signs of damage to the packaging such as dents, tears, discolorations, etc.

Preparation Tips for Pet Food
Begin with clean hands. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with hot water and soap before and after handling pet foods and treats.

Wash pet food bowls, dishes and scooping utensils with soap and hot water after each use.

Do not use the pet's feeding bowl as a scooping utensil - use a clean, dedicated scoop, spoon or cup instead.

Dispose of old or spoiled pet food products in a safe manner (example: in a securely tied plastic bag in a covered trash receptacle).

Storage Tips for Pet Food
Refrigerate promptly or discard any unused, left-over wet pet food (cans, pouches, etc.). Refrigerating foods quickly keeps most harmful bacteria from growing and multiplying. Refrigerators should be set at 40 degrees F. The accuracy of the setting should be checked occasionally with a refrigerator thermometer.

Dry products should be stored in a cool, dry place--under 80 degrees F.

If possible, store dry pet food in its original bag inside a clean, dedicated plastic container with a lid, keeping the top of the bag folded closed.

Keep pets away from food storage and preparation areas.

Keep pets away from garbage and household trash.

The FDA does not advocate a raw meat, poultry or seafood diet for pets, but is stepping up its efforts to minimize the risk such foods pose to animal and human health because we understand that some people prefer to feed these types of diets to their pets. For the protection of both you and your pet, the FDA recommends you follow these instructions when handling or using raw meat, poultry or seafood, for use in a pet's diet:
♥ Keep raw meat and poultry products frozen until ready to use.
♥ Thaw in refrigerator or microwave.
♥ Keep raw food diets separate from other foods. Wash working surfaces, and all utensils (including cutting boards).

My Opinion
Please check your bags of wild bird food and suet against the FDA Recall List to make sure that you are using safe food for your outdoor birds and squirrels. Also, purchase your parrot food and handfeeding formula from a manufacturer or vendor that goes the extra mile by doing their own testing for safety of their products. You can check their websites or contact customer service for safety information.

Our thoughts go out to the pets and pet owners who have been affected as well as to veterinary health care teams involved in the treatment and care of them.

*All information provided by FDA and the FDA Veterinary Services.

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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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