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Chicken Care Basics

Three chickens in the yard pecking crumbs of bread.

Chickens in your yard also eat a TON of bugs , including ticks and spiders

Keeping Chickens In Your Back Yard

  Author, Dorinne Whynott, Owner of Professional Pet Sitting Etc.

 

Keeping chickens is not only fun for you and your kids, but also an excellent way of turning waste into food. Your hens will provide you with eggs, and the process of raising chickens can be a fulfilling and entertaining hobby. Keeping chickens can be very easy with the right knowledge, setup and equipment. In this article, we are going to share with you how to go about keeping chickens in your back yard.

Before doing anything, make sure to check with your town hall.  Many cities and towns have strict ordinances about farm animals.  So, make sure that your town allows you to keep them in your area.

Housing

Chickens require a secure, clean and comfortable coop to rest and nest in. They need proper protection from the extreme weather, vermin and predators like foxes, bears, bobcats, dogs and cats. Unless you have prior experience building structures, you should consider buying a chicken coop. A proper coop is vital for your chicken’s health, therefore buy a coop that’s built by professionals. To set up the chicken coop, you will need to allocate adequate space in your backyard or garden based on the number of birds you intend to keep. Set the coop in a location where they can wake up to sunlight, but is safe from predators. The coop’s flooring can be covered with wood shavings, chopped cardboard or straw. Remember to make space for water and food in the coop.

Provide a run

Chickens generally require adequate space to safely run outside of their coop. Provide your birds with a well fenced area where they can get plenty of exercise and sunshine. You’ll need a run that’s at least 4 sq ft per chicken. Make sure the run is secure from predators, and is free of gaps and cracks where your chickens could slip through.

Provide a good roost

A roost is basically an area that’s 2 ft off the ground. You can use a wide plank or bar as your roost. The roost is very important to chickens, since it allows them to sit off the ground. It also helps protect them when the floor or ground is wet.

Provide a nesting area

Chickens require a nest where they can lay eggs. You can have several boxes all around the coop. The nest boxes should be large enough for the chickens to comfortably fit inside. You can mount the nest boxes on the cool side of chicken coop about a few feet off the floor/ground. Allow a nest box for every chicken. The nest’s bedding material can be straw or shavings, and should always be kept dry and clean. When the bedding material in the nest boxes becomes soiled with broken eggs or feces, you should pull out the soiled or wet parts, and then put in some fresh bedding materials. This will help keep your birds laying in the boxes, as well as making it easier to clean the eggs.

Coop Cleaning

Coops should be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized at least twice a year (or more). Make sure you remove everything from the chicken coop (including chickens), and then thoroughly wash down all of the surfaces with 1 part bleach to 10 parts of clean water. Rinse thoroughly and let dry.  Once dry, everything can be replaced.

Feeding

Chickens just like other animals require a well balanced diet. There are feeds which have been created which contain the right balance of nutrients, minerals and vitamins. If you want your birds to stay healthy and produce quality eggs, it’s best to feed them the specially formulated chicken feeds. They’re available as powdered mash or as pellets. A single chicken normally eats about 1/2 a cup of feed each day. Always measure out enough feed for your chickens, and then place it in the feeder. Ensure the feed you buy is suitable for the type of chickens you have. The feed manufacturers normally label their products accordingly; that is, suitable for layers, chickens or growers.

That said, it’s important to note that chickens need a variety of foods so as to produce quality and great tasting eggs. The best way of achieving this is by supplementing the feed with your kitchen food scraps. The food scraps provide adequate minerals and vitamins which are necessary for the chickens health. Leftover grains, fruits and vegetables are perfect for your chickens’ health.

Most kitchen food scraps are safe for chickens, however, there are some foods which shouldn’t be feed to chickens. Never feed your chicken raw potatoes, chocolate, rotting food, avocado, rhubarb, dried beans, peanuts, tomatoes, raw meat, coffee, and pepper.

You can also provide grit which aids in digestion and providing your birds with extra calcium. You can purchase grit online or even at your local livestock store.

Fresh Water

You should provide your birds with fresh, clean water at all times. Make sure the water container is free of debris and full of water whenever you happen to check on your birds. Add fresh water as needed, or replace any water that has been contaminated.

Collecting Eggs

You should collect eggs on a daily basis (preferably in the afternoon). Leaving the eggs in the nest boxes for a long period of time increases the risk of the birds damaging them and the eggs can also lose their freshness. If you find any broken eggs, you should immediately remove any egg shells and yolk. If there is any feces in the boxes, you should clean it out and replace the bedding material.

Cleaning Eggs

Eggs can at times be very dirty and should be cleaned. Do not use cold running water, instead wipe the eggs with a dry cloth. If the eggs have muck, you can use a warm wet cloth, a dry steel wool or even fine sandpaper.

Storing Eggs

Once you have collected and cleaned the eggs, it’s time to store them. Package the eggs in cartons, and put them in a refrigerator. Fresh eggs do not have to be stored in a refrigerator, but they’ll last much longer this way. When packaging, place the eggs with the pointy ends down and the blunt ends up. Remember to write down the collection date so that you know the actual age of each egg.

Some Precautions

-Always keep your chickens safe from vermin and predators. A solid fence outside your chickens’ coop can help keep your birds safe.

-Sweep the coop on a daily basis, and keep any leftover food off the floor/ground.
-Roosters are generally loud, so keep this in mind if you’ve neighbors nearby.
-Remove any sick chicken from the rest of flock, and talk to your vet.
-Treat your chickens as needed for pests like fleas, mites, and lice.

 

Happy Chicken Owning and fresh eggs for everyone!!

 

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If you liked this article, check out our other articles – Complete List Of Our Article and Videos

About the Owner and Professional Pet Sitting Etc

Dorinne Whynott, is a long time animal professional.  She is a successful business owner establishing one of the largest pet sitting companies in New Hampshire since 1990. Click to Read her complete History. 

Professional Pet Sitting Etc. is a leading business in the pet care field and continues to grow since 1990. It is an AWARD WINNING business, having been awarded the 2015 Best Pet Sitting , 2015 Best Dog Walker, Business of the Year Awards in 1996, 1997, 2006 and 2010.  It boasts 30+ amazing pet sitters on staff, over 3000 clients in 38 cities from Nashua to Concord, NH.  Hundreds of satisfied client testimonials can be found on their website and more 5 star reviews on their Facebook pageGoogle+ page and more.  They have sustained an A+ rating with the BBB, A rating with Angie’s List and are unmatched in the Pet Sitting Industry in New Hampshire.

Click Here for Professional Pet Sitting Etc Reviews, Testimonial and Awards

Click For a Complete List of all of our educational Blogs

Go to Professional Pet Sitting Etc. Website for more information on the best pet sitting company or click on New Client to contact us or register for dog walking or pet care.

Contact us by phone at 603-888-8088

Email Profpetsit@aol.com

Pet Sitting NH , Pet Sitting Nashua NH , Pet Care NH, Petsitternh, Petsittersnh, Professional pet sitter, pet sitters, professional pet sitting, pet sitting, pet sitter, professional pet services, professional pet sitters, pro pet sitting, pet sit, pet, puppy sitting

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This article can not be copied in part or in whole without specific written permission by the Author and Owner.

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Guinea Pig Basics

Guinea Pigs in a row, isolated on white

Guinea Pigs come in a variety of colors!!

Would You Consider A Guinea Pig ?

Author, Dorinne Whynott, Owner of Professional Pet Sitting Etc.

 

Guinea pigs, also known as cavies, are affectionate, social, gentle, and intelligent species which are easy to keep and often bond well with their owners. They’re popular pets especially for families because of their great temperaments. In this article, we are going to discuss how to properly care for a guinea pig as a pet, here are our Guinea Pig Basics.

Housing

Guinea pigs need a large predator proof cage, somewhere inside your home. For one guinea pig, the cage should have a space of no less than 7.5 sq ft, or 10.5 sq ft for 2 guinea pigs. However, a bigger cage is always better if you’ve enough space. The cage should have a solid bottom to protect your guinea pig’s fragile feet. Guinea pigs generally love hiding, so you can provide enrichment by placing things like cardboard houses, hide away castles, hay nests, and plastic tunnel pipes in the cage.

Bedding

Guinea pigs normally use the bathroom wherever and whenever they please so you will need bedding material that’s absorbent but does not cause any harm. The safest and best type of bedding is dust free hay or shredded paper. Don’t use softwood shavings like cedar or pine because their oils can be very unhealthy for the pet’s lungs.
Cage Placement

You need to find a safe location for your pet’s cage. You can place it where there’s high traffic, but not in direct sunlight. They must be placed in a draft free area. The best temperature range for guinea pigs to be comfortable is approximately 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Guinea pigs should be housed away from wood stoves, fireplaces and heating vents.

Cage Cleaning

Guinea pigs are relatively clean, so you should try to clean the cage from any soiled bedding daily. Remove the droppings, any uneaten food and scrap all the mess from the bottom of the cage. Thoroughly clean the cage, the water bottle, and replace the hay and shredded papers. The frequency of cleaning the cage generally depends on the type of bedding material used, and the number of guinea pigs you’ve got.

Feeding

High quality, fresh, dust free Timothy hay should always be available for the guinea pig to eat. Timothy hay maintains a healthy digestion while helping wear down the guinea pig’s teeth, thus preventing them from over growing, or getting misaligned and becoming uncomfortable or painful. Lack of good quality hay can actually lead to malocclusion and GI Stasis. Alfalfa hay should only be given as a treat.

Fresh Food

You can also feed your guinea pig fresh fruits and vegetables occasionally. Fruits and vegetables should make about 25% of the guinea pig’s diet. Fruits and vegetables which are good for your guinea pig include; apples, corn, carrots, green lettuce, zucchini, celery leaves, spinach, melons, papaya, grapefruit rinds, broccoli, kale, cucumber, carrots, parsley and tomatoes. Vegetables to avoid feeding your guinea pig include; iceberg lettuce, beet greens, potatoes, red leaves, rocket salads, cauliflower, and radishes. Also don’t feed caffeine, chocolate or alcohol as they can cause very serious medical conditions.

Fresh Clean Water

One of the most crucial elements of caring for a guinea pig is providing it with fresh, clean water at all times. You can provide water by using a clean water bottle that can be attached to the side of the cage. Another method is putting a water bowl in the cage. Remember to always keep your guinea pig’s water bottle or bowl clean and change the water on a daily basis.

Grooming

Grooming is an important part of the routine care of guinea pigs. That said, you should know that guinea pigs generally stay clean and rarely require baths. However, if you have to bathe you pet, it’s recommended you wash them gently with warm, clean water. Avoid getting water in your cavy’s ears, and gently dry your pet after bathing.

Brushing

It is recommended to regularly brush your guinea pig’s coat so as to remove any loose hairs, and lessen shedding. You can use a small, soft brush. When brushing your guinea pig, you can check for problems like sores and lice on the skin. The frequency of brushing will depend on just how long the guinea pig’s fur is, and whether he/she is shedding. Consult a vet or a groomer for advice on proper hair trimming if there is excessive hair or matting.

Nail Trimming

When the nails become too long, they should be trimmed. If you do not trim long nails, they will develop a retro curl which can dig painfully into your pet’s pads, causing twisting of paw bones. To avoid this, nail trimming should be done every few weeks. An ordinary nail clipper will work. Avoid cutting into the fleshy part of the nails; shine an additional light source (like a flashlight) behind the nail so you can see the beginning of the living/fleshy part. If you’re unsure about how to go about trimming the nails, then it’s best to consult a veterinarian or a professional groomer.

Exercise and Entertainment

Provide your guinea pig with some floor time every day, where they can freely and safely wander, run and play. This exercise time is important to your guinea pig’s happiness and health. Since guinea pigs like foraging, you can also provide your pet with toys which hide treats. You can buy appropriate toys or you can even make your very own toys out of oatmeal containers, boxes and more. Remember to always keep a watchful eye on your guinea pig when playing outside of their enclosure.

Handling and Attention

Guinea pigs are very friendly, cuddly and enjoy being held once they have acclimated to their new surroundings. When picking up your guinea pig, you should always use both of your hands. Place one hand across the shoulders with the thumb tucked behind the pet’s shoulder and the fingers wrapped around his/her ribs. Hold gently, but tightly enough to be fully secure without squeezing, and then put the other hand underneath the pet’s hindquarters for extra support. Frequent handling is great to your guinea pig’s happiness. You can talk to your guinea pig, cuddle, carry, and pet him/her as often as possible.

 

**********************************************************************************

If you liked this article, check out our other articles – Complete List Of Our Article and Videos

About the Owner and Professional Pet Sitting Etc

Dorinne Whynott, is a long time animal professional.  She is a successful business owner establishing one of the largest pet sitting companies in New Hampshire since 1990. Click to Read her complete History. 

Professional Pet Sitting Etc. is a leading business in the pet care field and continues to grow since 1990. It is an AWARD WINNING business, having been awarded the 2015 Best Pet Sitting , 2015 Best Dog Walker, Business of the Year Awards in 1996, 1997, 2006 and 2010.  It boasts 30+ amazing pet sitters on staff, over 3000 clients in 38 cities from Nashua to Concord, NH.  Hundreds of satisfied client testimonials can be found on their website and more 5 star reviews on their Facebook pageGoogle+ page and more.  They have sustained an A+ rating with the BBB, A rating with Angie’s List and are unmatched in the Pet Sitting Industry in New Hampshire.

Click Here for Professional Pet Sitting Etc Reviews, Testimonial and Awards

Click For a Complete List of all of our educational Blogs

Go to Professional Pet Sitting Etc. Website for more information on the best pet sitting company or click on New Client to contact us or register for dog walking or pet care.

Contact us by phone at 603-888-8088

Email Profpetsit@aol.com

Pet Sitting NH , Pet Sitting Nashua NH , Pet Care NH, Petsitternh, Petsittersnh, Professional pet sitter, pet sitters, professional pet sitting, pet sitting, pet sitter, professional pet services, professional pet sitters, pro pet sitting, pet sit, pet, puppy sitting

cat sitting, cat sitter, cat sitters, professional cat sitter

dog, dog sitting,  professional dog sitter, Dog walking new hampshire, dog sitter, Dog Walking NH, dog walking services, Dog Walker, Dog Walker NH

Professional Pet Sitting Etc Reviews and Testimonials

All rights reserved, copyright 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017

This article can not be copied in part or in whole without specific written permission by the Author and Owner.

Share

Rabbit Care Basics

Rabbits, Rabbits !!

Are You Thinking You May Want A Rabbit?

Author, Dorinne Whynott, Owner of Professional Pet Sitting Etc.

 

Rabbits make great house pets with wonderful personalities.  They easily adapt to an inside domestic lifestyle. In order to keep rabbits healthy and happy, they need special care. In this article, we are going to share with you how to properly care for your pet rabbit in our rabbit care basics.

Housing
Your rabbit needs an appropriately sized cage. For the average sized rabbit of about 8 pounds, you will need a cage that is at least 4 ft wide, 2 ft deep, and 2 ft tall. Your rabbit should be able to comfortably lay down, stretch out, jump, hop, and still have plenty of room for water, food and a litter box. Ideally, the cage should be about 5 times the actual size of your rabbit. The cage should be well ventilated, draft free, and protected from extreme temperatures.

Too many rabbits are in small cages for their entire life.  It is better to get a cage that is 2, 3, or 4 times the size above.  The bigger the cage, the more exercise and happier your rabbit will be.  Many rabbit owners have an area that is gated, rather than a cage.

If you will be housing your rabbit outside, make sure that the cage can withstand any wildlife intruders like fox, raccoon, bears, bobcats as well as dogs and cats. Most outside cages are up high off the ground with a wire bottom.  Make sure to place a wooden enclosed nesting box inside to not only keep your pet rabbit out of wind and rain but also a place to keep them safe from intruders trying to bite feet underneath or sides of the cage.  Pet rabbits should preferably be kept inside, where it is much safer and only let outside under supervision.

Bedding

You can line the bunny cage with absorbent bedding material like dust free hay, barley straw, or soft wood shavings. Rabbits generally like to make cozy nests, so try and fill the cage’s bottom with soft natural bedding material so as to keep your pet comfortable. During winter, you can add plenty of hay or barley straw to help insulate your rabbit’s habitat. You can also provide a hiding place in the rabbit’s cage. Rabbits are actually burrowing prey animals, therefore providing some hiding places such as cardboard boxes or logs, is great for their well being.

Cage Placement

Place the cage in a rabbit proof area (keep anything that is chewable out of the area – electrical cords, furniture, etc). Place the cage in an area that you do not mind sharing with safety in mind. Place the cage away from any extreme heat, and avoid placing the cage in the same room with any barking dogs or animals that will continually bother or harm your pet rabbit.  Rabbits are particularly sensitive to stress.

Cage Cleaning

All soiled litter (any urine or feces), Any uneaten food, fruits and vegetables should be removed every day. The cage should be thoroughly washed at least once a week after removing the bunny from the cage, and getting rid of old hay, wood shaving and leftover food. After cleaning the cage, fresh soft wood shavings or clean hay should then be placed inside it before returning the bunny to his/her’ home.

Rabbits can also be litter box trained!

Feeding

Most of a rabbit’s diet should be composed of Timothy hay (stay away from alfalfa hay, only give as a treat) which is rich in vitamin A and D, fiber, protein, calcium, and other nutrients. The fiber contained in Timothy hay is vital to promoting normal digestion, and also for prevention of hairballs. Moreover, the hay fiber helps wear down the bunny’s teeth. Fresh Timothy hay should be available to your rabbit at all times.  You can use a large hay feeder to help keep large amounts of hay off the floor, clean, dry and accessible.

Fresh Food

Supplement hay with fresh vegetables and fruits. You can try to feed your bunny a small amount of vegetables (or fruits) every day, about 1 or 2 handfuls. You can provide vegetables and fruits such as spinach, carrots, collards, turnip greens, mustard greens, celery, watercress, broccoli, apples and dandelion leaves.

Always make sure you wash the vegetables beforehand, and avoid feeding your bunny straight from the fridge since a chill can end up upsetting their stomach. Also make sure the vegetables have not been sprayed with any kind of poison or repellents. Any fruits and vegetables which aren’t eaten within 24 hours need to be discarded.

Vegetables which aren’t good for your rabbit include; corn, beans, iceberg lettuce, peas, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, beets and rhubarb. Also avoid feeding bamboo, grains, chocolate, bread, seeds, and meat.

Rabbit Pellets

You can offer your rabbit quality pellets, but in limited amounts. Uncontrolled feeding of a rabbit pellet diet may lead to obesity, liver disease, kidney disease, and chronic diarrhea which results from high concentration of carbohydrates and high calcium levels in the rabbit pellets. Make sure you get high quality pellets which are high in fiber.

Keep large bags of rabbit pellets stored in a cool, dry place to prevent spoilage. Never place any bagged pet food directly on concrete flooring, like in a garage or basement.  The concrete will draw out moisture and nutrients from the bottom of the bag, creating the lower portions to literally be useless.  Place all bagged pet food up about an inch or more from the concrete to prevent this.

Avoid pellets with nuts, grains and dried fruits.

Balanced Diet

Hay should constitute 80% of your bunny’s diet. The remainder should be fresh vegetables and fruits (15%) and rabbit pellets (5%).

Fresh Water

Besides a nutritious diet, your bunny needs plenty of fresh, clean water. Insufficient water can lead to serious health problems like bladder stones. Fresh, clean water should always be available, and be changed on a daily basis. You can put the water in a bottle or in a heavy crockery bowl that’s secured to the side of the rabbit’s cage so it doesn’t tip over.

Grooming

Grooming is part of normal health care routine of rabbits. Rabbits are very delicate animals and grooming should be done on a regular basis. That said, it’s important to note that bunnies do not need baths since they normally groom themselves just like cats. Grooming a rabbit includes; fur brushing, nail trimming and removal of any debris caught in your rabbit’s fur. Grooming can also include; cleaning the ears, eye areas, and teeth.

Brushing

Rabbits generally go through shedding cycles about 4 times a year. It is important to regularly brush your bunny so as to remove the excess fur. Otherwise, the rabbit might ingest it and suffer serious digestive issues. You can use a soft bristled brush to gently remove the fur at least every 3 days. When your bunny is shedding, more frequent brushing will be needed. Regular brushing will help remove hair that’s shedding, prevent hairballs, and will keep the long-haired bunnies from matting.

Nail Clipping

Regular nail clipping is important because excessively long nails are uncomfortable, may get snagged on things, or can curl into the rabbit’s paw. Allowing the nails to grow extremely long might also cause nail or toe injuries, foot injuries and gait issues. Check the rabbit’s nails at least once a week when you’re grooming, and trim them whenever necessary. You can ask your vet or rabbit groomer to show you how to properly clip the nails as you can easily cut through a blood vessel.

Teeth

A rabbit’s teeth grow throughout their entire lives, which makes dental problems a common occurrence.  Rabbits chew in order to maintain their teeth, so try and provide your rabbit with enough chewing sticks and material. Branches from trees like apple, willow, pear, and other untreated wood treats can help keep the rabbit’s teeth worn down. Avoid branches from trees which are chemically treated or which are close to any sources of pollution. Consult your veterinarian if you happen to notice any problem with your rabbit’s teeth. If they are too long or malformed, your veterinarian may have to trim them. Teeth that are too long or malformed can cause your rabbit to stop eating which will cause other health issues.  So, always check your pets.

Exercise and Attention

All rabbits need exercise, attention and proper stimulation in order to maintain their mental and physical well being. Rabbits are highly social pets who thrive on social interaction and attention. Majority of the rabbits are overtly affectionate, and tend to nuzzle and lick their owners/handlers. Take time to bond with your rabbit, and remember to be calm and gentle. If possible, talk to the bunny calmly and stroke him/her daily. This helps build a happy relationship which can be rewarding since rabbits are playful and curious animals, and will give out as much love as they receive.

You can also give your bunny some toys to play with.  Toys are a great way to exercise and interact with your bunny. You can toss a ball, some rabbits enjoy running after a moving object and some learn to bring it back to you!! You will also see your bunny playing with toys by themselves. Alternate the toys on a regular basis to keep them interested.

Handling

Rabbits have very fragile bones and should be handled with great care. Whenever you do need to lift up your bunny, the safest way to do it is by sliding one hand underneath the bunny’s body and in between the front legs, with the other arm around its’ hindquarters, supporting his body weight. You can then place the bunny against your body with his head toward your arm. Never lift a rabbit by his ears or by scruff of his neck. Remember to always put your bunny down gently, the hind legs 1st. If your rabbit struggles to get back down when lifted, you should lower yourself (along with the rabbit) close to the floor so as to prevent injury.

If you are thinking of getting a rabbit for your next pet, check out humane societies and shelters in your area.  Many are up for adoption.  Rabbits make great pets but as with any pet, please do your research.  Read as many things about care and requirements as you can find beforehand.  Talk with people who own or have owned rabbits.  Rabbits make great pets and we hope that this article gave you some insight.

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If you liked this article, check out our other articles – Complete List Of Our Article and Videos

About the Owner and Professional Pet Sitting Etc

Dorinne Whynott, is a long time animal professional.  She is a successful business owner establishing one of the largest pet sitting companies in New Hampshire since 1990. Click to Read her complete History. 

Professional Pet Sitting Etc. is a leading business in the pet care field and continues to grow since 1990. It is an AWARD WINNING business, having been awarded the 2015 Best Pet Sitting , 2015 Best Dog Walker, Business of the Year Awards in 1996, 1997, 2006 and 2010.  It boasts 30+ amazing pet sitters on staff, over 3000 clients in 38 cities from Nashua to Concord, NH.  Hundreds of satisfied client testimonials can be found on their website and more 5 star reviews on their Facebook pageGoogle+ page and more.  They have sustained an A+ rating with the BBB, A rating with Angie’s List and are unmatched in the Pet Sitting Industry in New Hampshire.

Click Here for Professional Pet Sitting Etc Reviews, Testimonial and Awards

Click For a Complete List of all of our educational Blogs

Go to Professional Pet Sitting Etc. Website for more information on the best pet sitting company or click on New Client to contact us or register for dog walking or pet care.

Contact us by phone at 603-888-8088

Email Profpetsit@aol.com

Pet Sitting NH , Pet Sitting Nashua NH , Pet Care NH, Petsitternh, Petsittersnh, Professional pet sitter, pet sitters, professional pet sitting, pet sitting, pet sitter, professional pet services, professional pet sitters, pro pet sitting, pet sit, pet, puppy sitting

cat sitting, cat sitter, cat sitters, professional cat sitter

dog, dog sitting,  professional dog sitter, Dog walking new hampshire, dog sitter, Dog Walking NH, dog walking services, Dog Walker, Dog Walker NH

Professional Pet Sitting Etc Reviews and Testimonials

All rights reserved, copyright 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017

This article can not be copied in part or in whole without specific written permission by the Author and Owner.

Share

Bird Care Basics

Lovebirds

Lovebirds

Ever Want to Own A Pet Bird?

  Author, Dorinne Whynott, Owner of Professional Pet Sitting Etc.

 

Pet birds are intelligent, affectionate and excellent companion animals, provided they are properly cared for. Taking good care of your pet bird makes them happy. You can do this with maintaining a clean cage, a friendly environment and a healthy lifestyle. Pet birds are not commonly susceptible to most parasites, and are among of the most affordable pets to maintain. That said, lets now take a look at how to properly take care of your pet bird.  Bird care basics are pretty easy.

Housing
First of all, you will want to get your pet bird a fairly big sized cage. Different bird breeds generally need differently sized cages. Make sure the cage is big enough to fully accommodate your pet bird. Most birds should be able to freely stretch and flap their wings without hitting the sides. The cage should also have adequate room for short flights. In addition to that, the cage should have bars which are less than 3/8 inches wide so that your pet bird will not get his/her head stuck between the bars. Since your pet bird will most likely spend a good amount of his/her time in the cage, you will want to design it for utmost comfort; you can add multiple perches of varying heights, along with toys for stimulation.

Cage Cleaning 
You should always keep the cage clean and hygienic. Clean the cage thoroughly at least once a week, including all perches and toys. You can place cage liners like paper towels, newspapers and paper bags on the floor of the cage to make cleaning up easier. Remember, do not use colored newspapers, as the ink can cause harm to the bird’s health.

Cage Placement
The cage should be placed in an area that’s draft free, well lit, but not in the direct sunlight. If you want to make your bird feel more comfortable and secure, you can place the cage against a wall, or at the corner of the room. Place the cage such that it’s at eye level for better social interaction.

Feeding
Pet birds require a proper, nutritionally balanced diet in order to lead a long and healthy life. A healthy diet for most of the birds can include; seeds, grains, fruits, vegetables and high quality, organic pellets.

Some of the fruits and vegetables you can feed your pet bird include –  corn, carrots, apples, broccoli, grapes, peas, bananas, yams, oranges, papayas, plums, cucumbers, mangos, and zucchini.

Never feed avocado, citrus fruits, garlic, onion, or chocolate as they might be highly toxic to the bird. That said, you should know that since bird diets vary from one species to the next, we advise consulting your veterinarian, or research the types of foods that are recommended for your particular type of bird. It’s essential you feed your bird food that is suitable for that specific species.

Fresh Water
All types of pet birds need to fresh water available at all times. Make sure the fresh water is at a temperature that your bird prefers. The water should be changed on a daily basis, and placed high to prevent it from getting dirty. If placed higher then feed dishes and most perches, the water may stay cleaner longer.

Grooming and Bathing your Pet bird

Bathing
Cleanliness is very important for a bird’s health and comfort. Water on the bird’s skin helps reduce the overall amount of dander, and adds the much needed moisture. Bathing promotes preening (feather grooming), which in turn promotes spreading of oils from oil glands, leading to a shinier, tighter, and more waterproof feathers. Bathing also helps a molting pet bird remove the itchy feather sheathes.

Some pet birds prefer being misted, while others prefer bathing. For the birds that like being misted, a squirt bottle may be set on mist and then aimed over the pet bird so that the water falls like mist. For those that prefer bathing, you can place a dish (with an inch or two of water), at the bottom of the bird cage. Remember to remove the dish after the bird has bathed. Never leave dirty water in the cage.

Trimming Wings
Trimming a pet bird’s wings prevents them from flying around nonstop. Birds have been known to fly into ceiling fans, pots of boiling water, into windows, among others. You need to take the responsibility to protect your bird and this includes trimming the wings. Wing trimming will help protect your bird against injuries, and can also prevent them from escaping. Wings can be trimmed by your vet or can be done at home. However, it is best to let your vet or a bird groomer trim the wings. You can carefully watch the vet trim the wings so that you can learn how to do it. A good trim will allow your pet bird exercise his/her muscles.

Nail Trimming
Overgrown nails usually make perching difficult for birds, and also increases the chances of scratching furniture and other things. Generally, nails are considered to be too long when the toe is elevated off the surface/ground when the bird’s feet are flat on the floor. Even the short nails might need to be blunted a little to remove any sharp points.

Before you embark on nail trimming your pet bird, you first need to familiarize yourself with the proper method of nail trimming. You can visit an experienced bird groomer, or you can have your veterinarian show you how to properly trim your bird’s nails. Having the nails trimmed by a bird groomer or a veterinarian will give you a good idea of just how short the nails need to be kept. After the vet’s trim, you can continue keeping them short with an every other week or every month nail trim.

Attention
You need to show your pet bird that you care. Whenever you are home, give him/her lots of attention, and make things interesting and fun. As mentioned earlier, you can add some bird toys to the cage. Bird toys are a great way to combat boredom and providing exercise for your bird.

Bird ownership can be very rewarding.  We hope you enjoy your bird for a lifetime!!

 

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