Angel Wings A monthly journal for human angels who make a positive difference in companion birds' lives.
A monthly journal for human angels who make a positive difference in companion birds' lives.
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Peter C. from New Jersey
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I strongly suggest using this really neat item I "discovered" while touring a local realtor's Open House. She had bought a roll of carpet protector that was different from any that I have found before. It's adhesive on one side, so it actually sticks to the carpet. I use this in the carpeted area of my bird room, so I can sweep up their occasional accidental food dish outcast. You can use a sponge mop on it and when you are tired of it, you peel it off and can either replace it with a shiny fresh batch of carpet protector, or you can go with the carpeting again! This really saves the carpet and it stays perfectly in place. You can even roll the heavy wrought iron cages over it to clean underneath. This item is just a clear, very thin protector, which looks like a large roll of Saran Wrap. The 100 foot roll, 2 feet wide, is only around $12 at hardware stores. It's sometimes called "Adhesive Carpet Protector" or "Plasticover".
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Our Fall 08 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 planning for our Spring 09 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:
Animal Lovers Pet Shop - Tomi Takemoto
Artistic Expressions - Bonnie Bruhn
Avian Antics Bird Toys - Doug & Shelly Wing
Calypso Parrot, The Gourmet Parrot & Nature Chest Bird Shop - Debra Morgan
Chloe's Custom Printing & Design - Wendy Klinke
Donna Dae - Cooka's Rainbow
Eastern Shore Antiques - Debra Edgington
Elizabeth Cirrotti - Cooka's Rainbow
George & Nancy Goulding
Goldenfeast Gourmet Pet Foods - Anne Collier
Jo Ann Diffee
Lori & Robert Nelsen
Margot Owen - Chocoversity
One of a Kind Jewelry - Marie Arleth
Peggy Kaye & La
PJ Publications & Gifts - Paula Fitzsimmons
Prize Parrots - Penny
Seed Factory - Teri Applegate
To all those that bid...we appreciate your support!
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Parrot Toy Angels "Flock" to Parrot Palooza
By Stacey Baker & Elizabeth Cirrotti
Angels along the East Coast flocked to Burlington, NJ to Bird Paradise, home of the annual Parrot Palooza, the weekend of October 18th and 19th. Parrot Toy Angels was well-represented by Nancy and George (North Carolina), Penny and Chuck (Connecticut), Elizabeth and Peter, Wendy, Dorothy, and soon-to-be Angel Donna (all from New Jersey), Margot (Long Island, NY) and Stacey and Sammi (Pennsylvania).
It was an exciting time, meeting other Angels and putting email addresses to faces! There were seminars, a BBQ lunch, shopping, and of course, plenty of beautiful birds. In the tent outside the store, there were bird clubs, rescues, including Arcadia Bird Sanctuary and Bailey Foundation, former PTA Projects, and PTA. Our table offered chances to win raffle baskets (see winners below) and we sold stainless steel buckets with foot toys to help raise funds. We were able to share "who" PTA is, "what" PTA does, "where" PTA sends toys, and "how" PTA does all of that (which made a great segue as to why folks should donate). Folks were greeted with smiles and stories and we were able to spread the word about PTA, while raising funds at the same time.
Before we knew it, it was 5:00PM on Saturday and it was time to go. We had to rest up for Sunday! Nancy and Penny staffed the table through the morning and Elizabeth and Stacey finished up the afternoon.
It was a wonderful fall weekend, spent with people who shared the same love for birds and of course, Parrot Toy Angels.
Our Raffle Winners
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Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar vs.|
Grape Seed Extract
My very own personal test and observations
By Shelly Wing
The benefits of raw, organic, unfiltered and unpasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) have long been praised. It is said to be a powerful weapon to aid against everything from hair loss to lowering cholesterol. Raw ACV contains malic acid which fights infections from bacteria and fungus. In addition, ACV contains acetic acid which lowers blood PH levels, thus creating an inhospitable intestinal environment for bacterial & fungal infections.
Grape Seed Extract has become very popular in recent times and seems to have many wonderful benefits. Grape seed extract has antioxidant compounds called procyanidolic oligomers (PCOs). Other sources of PCOs are berries, green and black teas and red wine. Grape Seed Extract is said to help with vascular disorders, lower blood pressure, ward off skin cancer and is valued as a topical astringent because of its anti-bacterial properties.
I have used ACV for years. A few drops in every birdie's water every other day, or a few drops in babies' handfeeding formula, one or two feedings a day. I dilute it 50/50 with distilled water and use it for flushing crops in babies experiencing 'slow crop'. I also use it as an anti-bacterial when sprouting for the birds. What I have found over the years is that I have no known issues with bacteria or fungus on sprouted seeds. ACV has worked perfectly every time as a crop wash and the incidence of E.Coli in my flock is minimal to non-existent. I attribute this to the vinegar.
I decided, however, to give the Grape Seed Extract a try. The first thing that struck me was the expense. If you only have one or two birds, this probably isn't an issue, however, since I live with 6 year round and have upwards of 30 youngsters at any given time from March through November...Well, you get the picture. A 32 ounce bottle of raw ACV is under $5.00, while a 2 ounce bottle of GSE is about $10.00. The GSE is concentrated and you use less, but this still does not negate the increased cost.
I used GSE in the water for soaking and rinsing sprouts as well as in the bird's water bowls. It seemed to work just as well as the ACV. After a few months and numerous bottles of GSE later, I decided to test the efficacy of both the GSE and the ACV when used for sprouting.
When I worked for a vet, we did our own cultures at the clinic, not just gram stains. Thus, I decided to conduct my own little tests. Note - this was not a controlled or in anyway a scientific test, but was conducted purely to satisfy my own curiosity. First I soaked sprout seed overnight in 3 separate jars. One jar contained filtered water only. One jar contained filtered water with 2 Tbs. of ACV, and the third jar contained filtered water with a few drops of GSE.
In the morning, I drained the water from each jar and took all three containers of "dirty" sprout water to work with me. Water from each container was swabbed onto petri dishes and placed in the incubator to see what would grow.
What I found, and had Dr.Wolf verify, follows:
The fact that 2 mold spores were found in the GSE water means nothing, other than a difference in water samples.
Conclusion - $5.00 for 32 oz. of Apple Cider Vinegar vs. $10.00 for 2 oz of GSE is a no brainer for me. My birds will continue to receive ACV in their drinking water and I will continue to use ACV to soak and rinse sprouts.
GSE is great stuff and I personally take it in capsule form as a daily supplement. I just find no advantage in using it to sprout over ACV, considering the cost.
In anticipation of questions:
Article originally appeared in the Avian Antics Aviary March 2002 Newsletter.
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Rikki will try and answer frequently asked questions here.
Rikki, I paid alot of money for a beautiful Manzanita play stand and my conure hates it. What did I do wrong?
Rikki, My mommy just brought home something called a kitten and won't let me play with it. Have you ever heard of kittens? Do you know why I can't play with it?
Rikki, My people keep putting all manner of red, green, yellow and orange things in my food dish and all I want is my seeds. How can I make them stop?
Rikki, I work all day and in the evening I'm busy with dinner and cleanup. When that is done, I let my bird out of the cage and we watch television together until I go to bed, sometimes late at night. I'm worried that she might not be getting enough sleep. What do you think?
Featured Fid ~ Scarlet Macaws
By Adriane Chernus
Considered the most beautiful of all the large macaws is the Scarlet Macaw. Scarlet Macaws are found from Mexico down into South America. Their weights can range from 900 grams to 1200 grams. Size averages about 31 inches long; give or take an inch.
Scarlets seem to be the most sensitive of the large macaws and can bond strongly to one person, so it is important to socialize them well and keep them that way. They are highly intelligent and have a good ability to talk. My observations with my Scarlet, Maxi, is they tend to have a pinching compulsion, so it is important to teach them not to bite. Maxi responds to me saying "Gentle" if she starts to pinch too hard. As babies, they will challenge you to see if they can "get you". Once they get an overreaction, they will go for it. So, one must be sure to not over react. I find that keeping a lower energy around my Scarlet tends to make for a happier bird. She loves one on one attention, but I have to also be careful to teach her to play on her own, which she does quite well.
Scarlets need a minimum 36 inch wide cage, but bigger is better so opt for the biggest cage. Stainless Steel is recommended for the bird that tends to chew the bars. Stimulating toys should be readily available at all times...wood to chew, shredding toys and various sized perches to keep their talons in shape.
A good hanging, climbing perch or net should be available for out of cage time, also with toys for play and as much out of cage time as can be allowed is recommended. Scarlets like to be "busy" birds, thus a climbing net is ideal.
Diet can consist of fresh veggies, a small amount of fruit (no more than 10% of the diet) and a good commercial pellet, plus bird bread or muffins and grains. While it is believed that macaws need a higher fat diet, make sure the fats are from "good" sources such as almonds or walnuts. A couple a day is enough.
From my experience, a Scarlet Macaw can make an awesome companion bird. They are loyal, affectionate and when raised properly are not biters, but they will pinch (love pinches. Maxi and I have been together for 11 years now and I thoroughly enjoy her and believe it or not she is my quietest bird!
Maxi trying to attack camera
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Saved by an Angel|
By Regina M. Jankowski
We love our companion parrots. If you are anything like me, you look forward all day long to the glorious moment you arrive home and greet the beak. But, does your companion parrot love you? Hmmm, good question. We all just assume they return the sentiment and during brief moments of doubt, wonder if it's out of necessity. Last night I found my answer.
I had a long day of grueling computer work combined with eating my weight in salty and fattening foods. Feeling sore and uncomfortable for reasons just stated, I decided I needed a really good stretch. I lay on my back, on the floor, to stretch my spine. Then my legs went up in the air and were stretched. My little cat, Princess Mia, joined in. She rolled around beside me while I laid there kicking my legs and flailing around like a child who had their video game repossessed. That's when it happened. A deep scream of alarm sounded and SWOOSH! Haley Deja'Too was off! She did fly-bys that were so close, she brushed my face twice. When Princess Mia was gone (this took a millisecond), Haley promptly landed. Crest erected, she peered at my face with pure concern showing. That's when I realized why she did what she did. It appeared that I was under attack and my beloved companion risked her own life to save mine.
I can honestly say, I have never been so moved nor felt so loved in my entire life. I praised and thanked Haley over and over as the gratitude swelled into a lump in my throat. I also realized how unbelievably blessed I am. Every time I feel down, Haley pulls me up. She can make me laugh when I'm so miserable. When I need support, love, understanding, a hug, or just someone to listen, she is always there to provide exactly what I need. When you're searching to fill a void or give thanks, don't forget to look to the one who knows you best, your companion parrot.
By Susan Kesler
Safety Committee Chairwoman
Parrot toys, with vibrantly colored wood pieces, are not only attractive to our human eyes, but may also entice parrots to play. Some birds don't care, but it's been my experience that most do play more with colored wood toys and some even have favorite colors.
So now we need to know what to use to color the wood. The most widely used colorant is Wilton's icing paste found in stores where cake decorating supplies are sold. Next in popularity is VitaCritter coloring, created specifically for coloring parrot toy parts. VitaCritter can be found online at www.parrottoyangels.com and other bird supply sites. Least liked, but inexpensive and easy to find, is the McCormick's food coloring found in the baking section of most grocery stores. Some toy makers mix their coloring with water and some use isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol. The advantage of using alcohol is that the mixture can be kept for much longer because bacteria cannot grow in alcohol and it disinfects the wood.
The ratio for mixing Wilton's icing paste and VitaCritter colorant is 1 oz. to 12 to 16 oz. of water or alcohol. To mix the Wilton's paste, place the jar of paste in 1 cup boiling water for a few minutes to soften the paste, then pour the softened paste into alcohol or water and shake vigorously.
The ratio for using McCormick's food coloring is 10 drops to 1 cup of water or alcohol. Coloring mixed with water will only last up to 3 days in the refrigerator, whereas coloring mixed with alcohol needs no refrigeration and will last up to 2 weeks.
Kool-aid, berry juice and vegetable juices are not recommended. Kool-aid has many undesirable ingredients and preservatives. Using the juices from foods may encourage our feathered friends to ingest the wood. So, play it safe and use the right coloring for your bird toys.
Berries vs. "Free" Radicals
By Lori M. Nelsen
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "The free-radical theory of aging states that organisms age because cells accumulate free radical damage over time. In general, a "free radical" is any atom or molecule that has a single unpaired electron in an outer shell."
Antioxidants protect cells from the harmful effects of free radicals created from oxygen as a part of normal metabolism. Pollution and cigarette smoke have been proven to increase the amount of free radical exposure. Antioxidants help to neutralize free radicals before they can damage cells and help promote the development of heart disease, cancer, cataracts, macular degeneration, arthritis and Alzheimer's disease in humans. Many of these aging diseases appear in our avian family members.
Antioxidants in foods exist as vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, selenium and natural plant chemicals such as flavonoids (tea), lycopene (tomatoes) and anthocyanins (berries). A Top 20 list of antioxidant foods was developed by nutrition scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture with the most advanced technologies available to calculate antioxidant levels in more than 100 different types of fruits, vegetables, berries, nuts and spices.
Even though the small red bean came out on top, there is not a lot of information on the antioxidant property of beans. Berries are better understood. The anthocyanins contribute a lot of the antioxidant activity in berries and give many berries their dark blue color. If you're looking for the best places to get antioxidants, look at the colors of the rainbow. You'll find lutein in some of the yellow pigments found in corn; orange can be the pigments from the carotenoid family that are found in cantaloupe, butternut squash and mango; red could come from things like lycopene, found in tomatoes and watermelon; then the darker colors -- the purples, blues, in berries.
Whether a food is eaten fresh, frozen, processed or cooked can also affect its antioxidant potency. Blueberries are best when eaten fresh. On the other hand, research has shown that gentle cooking raises the antioxidant power of tomatoes. Berries are so delicious that you would not consider them to be a medicine. They have been shown to help prevent age related brain problems and inhibit inflammation of the central nervous system. They have been shown to inhibit the mutation of precancerous cells. They also have anti-inflammatory properties and support and strengthen the immune system because their high antioxidant content neutralizes the free radicals, which left on their own, could have serious health consequences. A diet rich in fruit and vegetables, for both humans and avians, will ensure that the best antioxidants are available for the body to use.
You know, the longer I write these articles and do the research, the more I learn. One of the things that I am very sure of: If I ate the diet I prepare each day for Gonzo, with all of its sprouts, legumes, green veggies, orange veggies, berries, etc, I would be as healthy as he is.
Rocky and Trudy, 'Tiels|
By Wyspur Kallis
You have blind cockatiels? How do you take care of them? That is a question I am often asked by many people. Rocky and Trudy are my bonded pair of cockatiels. They were both surrendered to a rescue a few years back and placed together at the rescue and quickly bonded. Rocky has cataracts in both eyes and low vision and Trudy is completely blind. As shelter birds, their ages can only be guessed at around 20 years old. I was asked to take these two birds into my home by a very good friend of mine. Kathy Pietig, the Co-Founder of Midwest Avian Adoption and Rescue Services, who had these two cockatiels, needed to place them in a home where they could receive the special care that was needed. I take in and care for small birds with special needs and love doing it.
Visually impaired birds have difficulties walking on wire grates found in most cages. As a result of this problem, I have placed a product call Dri-Dek on the wire grates for them to walk on. Blind birds use their beak to guide them by touching the ground and objects around them as they shuffle their feet to avoid stumbling. Being birds, they also like to perch at night, so their perch must be low enough for them to climb onto. They live in a cage that is very long, providing them enough room to exercise as well as to accommodate their rather large ceramic food dishes that have to be placed on the bottom of the cage for easy access. They also need toys placed within reach as they like to play with them from time to time. Rocky is a very content bird that loves to be talked to and is a great singer too. Caring for these two cockatiels is work, but so very rewarding.
Special needs birds can live a very good life with the right care from someone who is willing to put the time, effort and love into keeping such wonderful pets. I am very blessed to have them in my life.
Rocky and Trudy
Little Reuben James
By Vicki Hartsfield
Little Reuben James was named after a very good friend of ours, Reuben Little, who is no longer with us on this earth, but waits just over the rainbow.
It was one of those rainy, cool summer nights in late summer. My husband, Wayne and I were in Gassville, Arkansas attending an auction. We left the motel in the rain, drove to the auction house and went inside. Just inside the door of the auction house was a cage containing the prettiest little green bird I had ever seen. I could not believe that someone would actually auction a bird off and subject him to the entire goings on there. It had been years since I had a bird in my life. My son, Robert, had a Sun Conure named Zoe at the time. I had thought about getting another bird, but ...? Oh, I wanted that little bird. Poor little guy in all that cigarette smoke, noise, having people stare at him and poke at him. I felt so bad for him. He was so forlorn looking.
Then the auction officially started and to my surprise and delight the little bird was the first thing auctioned off. Needless to say, I out bid the man that was bidding for him. Oh boy!! For $100 I got the sweetest little bird of my own. I grabbed him, covered him up with my jacket to keep him warm and dry and with everyone laughing at me, hurried to leave. I did just that. We went to the motel room where I talked to him and settled him down for the night. I covered him with a dry shirt I had brought along to wear the next day and then I went back to the auction. I actually got a round of applause when I returned. I met the lady who had been his previous owner. She told me his name was Kato and he was DNA sexed as a boy.
Reuben James, his new name, is a Green Check Conure, born on March 10th, 2001. That made him still just a baby. We brought Reuben home and he was and is a total delight. At first he would only get on me, step up, give sugars but now he thinks he is "Wayne’s baby". He says "Wayne’s baby" all the time. Reuben traveled with us for several years until we started having more fids come to live with us. He would ride on my shoulder or on the backseat of the car looking out. He loves everyone, especially women with long hair that he can snuggle in. Oh, he loves to cuddle and to take a shower with you. He will ride around the house inside your shirt all day, if you let him.
Much to my surprise, on July 3rd, 2006, my granddaughter said, "Grandma there is an egg in Reuben's cage!" "NO WAY". I thought she and Papa were pulling a prank on me. As it turned out, Reuben James, is a female! She ended up with 2 eggs and never has laid again, but that is fine. Reuben is still Reuben. We still call her a him. I really don't think he cares, as long as we let him "OUT" when he wants. Reuben can say mommy, Wayne, baby, out, gimme kiss, good night, drink, come here and has his own "electric blanket". He gets cold in the winter, in spite of the fact we have a heated house. So, he has a heating pad of his very own on top of his cage.
Little Reuben James
Dr. Brown's Secret Recipe|
By Terri Jones, Director
Arcadia Bird Sanctuary & Education Center
Perhaps the most controversial, at least one of the top three controversies in the bird world is what to feed your bird. There are several camps: all seed; all pellets; all natural; and those who provide some or all of these. We won't debate the virtues or vices of any of these. Today, I have a great recipe that provides the best of all worlds and almost more importantly, the birds EAT IT and LOVE IT!
I got this recipe from Dr. Cyndi Brown. One of the Amazons in Arcadia Bird Sanctuary had a stroke. We rushed Lucky in – she was right on the edge and no one expected her to make it through the night. Due to Dr. Brown's vigilance and skill, not only did Lucky pull through, she is a healthy bird again. The only residual effects are slight paralysis on her left side and there was a temporary inability to crack seed or eat hard food. Hence, Dr. Brown's secret recipe. She not only gave me the recipe, but sent Lucky home with several weeks supply.
As you read this, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, Lucky was dramatically underweight, so this recipe is high in carbohydrates. You can cut back on these for your birds. Second, it is not nutritionally complete. It is lacking trace minerals and some vitamins. So we add "Missing Link" to make it more complete.
Spinach - for iron and red blood cell production
Egg fried in Canola oil - for amino acid and omega fatty acids
Whole brown rice - carbohydrates
Pasta and orzo - carbohydrates
Oatmeal - carbohydrates
Wheat germ - for folic acid and niacin
Corn, Peas, Carrots, Green Beans and Garlic
Navy Beans - for protein
"Missing Link" - to provide trace minerals and vitamins. Do not mix in, but sprinkle on top of food when you serve it.
You can vary the amounts of each ingredient depending upon the number of birds you have and the needs of your birds. When I make this, I use a huge tub and make enough for almost 200 packets. You can make it in bulk, as it freezes well. I package the mix in snack bags. I put about a quarter cupful in each bag. I then put them in the freezer and take out a package as I need it. Either let it defrost or pop it in the microwave for a minute. Sprinkle on "Missing Link" and serve. If you use the microwave, be sure and mix it well before you give it to your bird so there are no hot spots.
Some final notes: This recipe is not written in stone. There were no fruits included because Lucky had a bacterial infection that fed on sugar. You can add either dried or fresh fruit to your mix. I left the garlic out of one batch and the birds didn't like it as much. I add pellets to my mix. I like pellets and feel better including those extra trace elements they provide. I use cockatiel and parakeet size.
I hope your birds enjoy this as much as mine do.
Thank you, Dr. Cyndi, for allowing Angel Wings to print this.
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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.
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