Tips for Pet Sitting Birds
The dog is still man’s best friend, and cats are a close second, but birds are moving up the popularity scale as pets in the U.S. Their popularity increased dramatically between 1980 and the early 1990s, and now the spike seems to be leveling out, with preference being given to well-raised domestic birds over imported ones whose rearing may be in question. With so many pet birds in the population, the need for sitters has increased. However, there are a few things to be aware of when caring for birds.over at this website pet sitting Charlotte.
Biology Of Birds
First, you need to realize that birds are very different from dogs and cats in a number of ways. For one thing, they process information differently. Dogs are very smell-oriented. They sniff you, and it’s the first thing they do when they meet new people or other dogs. Much of their worldview comes through their nose. Birds, on the other hand, are very visual. They have excellent eyesight and can see in color, something to be aware of when caring for them overnight, or in situations that may require a change of clothing. To a bird, a new shirt means a new person. They have relatively well developed hearing, and use various calls, songs and other noises to communicate with others in their group or mark their territories. They are also less sensitive to taste than humans or other animals, which explains how their diet can include things like dried hot peppers that would bring other pets, or humans, to tears.
It is important to understand that a bird in the wild lives life knowing that it is on something else’s menu, and their protective instincts have not changed because they lives in our homes now. Unlike our sleepy cats and dozy dogs, birds stay on the alert, and their reactions are to either fight off whatever threat they perceive, or to try and escape. Pet sitters need to keep this in mind when they try to trim the bird’s nails, for example. They should also take care in placing objects above the bird’s cage, as this can be seen as a threat, and may trigger unpleasant defensive behavior, such as screaming or biting. This also applies to rearranging household items, as the birds may react to new objects in their field of vision.
Playing Nicely With Others
If you plan to sit other pets along with birds, remember that cats and dogs are still a bird’s most common predators, so interactions between the species should be closely supervised at all times. It is possible for dogs, cats, and birds to get along reasonably well; however, this will take a great deal of time and patience. In addition to being a predator, cats also pose a serious health risk to birds. Bacteria found in cat saliva can kill a bird within 24 hours, so any scratch or bite, no matter how insignificant it may seem, requires immediate emergency treatment by a veterinarian.
Reptiles and rodents are also major health hazards for birds. Reptiles can carry the salmonella bacteria on their skin, so it is important to wash your hands after handling reptiles in your care to avoid transmitting the bacteria to the birds, as well as to other people. Rodent wastes contain bacteria that are not normally found in a bird’s natural environment, so a bird has little or no resistance to it. If ingested severe illness or death could result, so it is best to keep birds and rodents well apart.
You Can’t Be Too Careful
Finally, it is important to realize that a bird’s entire physiology is different than that of most of the pets we are familiar with. For one thing, there are fewer vaccines available to treat a number of major diseases that birds are prone to developing, and some diseases are more easily transmitted than others. If you are responsible for multiple birds, it may be a good idea to purchase a number of plain white t-shirts and use a separate shirt with each bird to avoid accidental contamination. When looking after a bird in your home, try to keep it separate from your other pets, or any birds you might own.
In order to be light enough to get airborne, a bird’s bones are hollow and it has a network of air sacs throughout his body. As a result, birds are highly sensitive to smoke and other fumes in the air, so be mindful of your use of perfume, cigarettes, or any other strong odors. Before caring for a bird, you must know how to properly hold and restrain a bird to avoid injuring it, or being harmed yourself. Holding a bird firmly around the middle of his body can cause it to die of suffocation, so if you must restrain one, it is advisable to wrap a towel loosely around the body first.