Bird Cage Cleaning 411
By Wyld’s Wingdom
As lively and engaging pets,birds require much human attention to thrive. From affection to stimulation and conversation,owning a pet bird comes with responsibilities. One of these many roles is to ensure a safe and healthy environment and this means maintaining a clean birdcage including play stands,accessories,and perches. A great approach to the upkeep that comes with bird ownership is to create a daily and weekly cage-cleaning schedule to tackle the tasks at hand efficiently and thoroughly to help keep yourself organized and your bird’s environment in the best shape.
Keeping a daily eye on your bird’s environment not only helps you keep a comfortable space for your pet but also is a great way to relay important information about your bird’s habits. By observing how much your bird is eating or if there are excess droppings or feathers,you can deduce if your bird is healthy or is facing any worrying issues. Additionally,monitoring toys on a regular basis helps you know when to replace worn items and can help avoid potential health complications from ingesting broken plastic.
When it comes to the cleaning tasks,it is recommended to replace the liner of your cage each day. Regular black and white newspaper is best as it allows for an easy palette to read droppings on. Not to mention that color ink can pose hazardous for many birds. Many people find it is convenient to stack several layers of newsprint on top one of the other to simply remove the soiled layer as fit throughout the day.
Food and water dishes also need frequent attention. Consider purchasing two or more sets to allow you more flexibility when it comes to cleaning. Stainless steel or high impact plastic dishes can easily be washed with hot soapy water and thoroughly dried before being disinfected to help maintain a healthy eating and drinking area that is free of droppings or crusted food matter.
Each week,depending on your specific bird and cage set up,it is recommended to perform the larger cleaning tasks such as emptying your bird’s cage completely and washing with hot soapy water. After a thorough rinse,let it dry completely before finishing off with a disinfectant. There are many bird-safe disinfectants on the market that can help facilitate an easier clean. All walls,flooring,and bars should be scrubbed clear of any materials that your bird may have flung against them including droppings or foodstuffs. Enlisting the help of sandpaper or an old toothbrush may be necessary for a big mess.
Attention also needs to go towards cleaning all large toys and accessories. They can be placed in a hot soapy bath while you work on the cage. A common dishwashing detergent can aid at removing seeds and droppings as well as sandpaper for the more difficult items. All toys and accessories also need to receive a disinfecting treatment and to dry completely before being placed back into the cage.
As pet bird owners,it is your responsibility to make your bird’s environment a safe and happy place. A major part of this is keeping a clean and sanitized cage! Wyld’s Wingdom carries a number of products to help with cage cleaning. Check out the selection at www.wingdom.com.
How Much Natural Light Does Your Pet Bird Need?
By Wyld’s Wingdom
Humans aren’t the only species that require natural light to live a happy life. In fact,direct sunlight or full-spectrum bulb lighting is integral to the health and wellness of all pet birds.
On a day-to-day basis,light helps promote your bird’s natural circadian rhythms and can contribute to more restful sleep. In turn,better sleep can boost immune function,reduce exhaustion,and help keep anxiety or stress levels at bay. On a larger scale,seasonal light exposure can help promote various metabolic processes and trigger physical and behavior changes associated with breeding,molting,and sleeping. Much like humans,lack of exposure to light can lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SADS),a condition similar to depression,when lacking in vitamin D3,which is derived from direct exposure to the sun.
What Kind Of Light
Exposure to natural and unfiltered sunlight is best which means taking your bird outside,however since this is not always an option,the next best thing is a full-spectrum bulb that emits simulated natural sunlight including ultraviolet rays. It is important to note that simply sitting your bird in a window will not work since light filtered through glass or plastic loses the necessary wavelengths.
Vitamin D3 Deficiencies
If missing proper exposure,there are many common health problems associated with a vitamin D3 deficiencies in birds including:
- Breeding or reproduction issues such as soft shell eggs or egg binding problems. This is due to lack of calcium and the inability to produce the right elements for a strong egg.
- Physical abnormalities associated with vitamin D3 deficiencies like excessive feather plucking,overgrown beaks,splayed legs,and possible seizures.
- Cancer is also a result of lacking vitamin D since it helps reduce the growth of new blood vessels and can allow dormant tumors to turn cancerous. This self-destruction of mutated cells can be prevented with higher levels of vitamin D.
So How Much Light?
Although many breeds of birds have their own requirement when it comes to how much light is needed,a good rule of thumb is 12 hours of daylight contrasted with 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness. Talk to your bird’s veterinarian about your routine and what adjustments you should make throughout the course of a year to ensure your bird receives enough exposure to the sun. www.wingdom.com
Pet Bird Body Language
By Wyld’s Wingdom
As a complex species,the many ways birds communicate can be fascinating to observe. When it comes to pet birds,learning how to interpret body language is a key path to getting closer with your pet. Much like people,different moods and emotions accompany different movements that can deliver interesting insight into the world of your bird. Several key areas to pay attention to include:
Like cats and dogs,a bird’s tail is a great tool for expression. Whether to communicate happiness,aggression,or something else,watch your bird’s tail for movement. Tail wagging is an indicator of contentedness and tail bobbing,especially after exercise is a form of recovery for your bird.
Unique to birds,different flips and flaps of wings are ways that birds communicate with each other and with you. This category takes time to understand your individual bird’s movements but wing flapping can indicate pain,anger,or trying to get your attention.
After an extremely interactive period of play,your bird may feign a weakness in the foot or leg region as a way to resist the end of a play session. Other specific breeds,like cockatoos are also known to use feet tapping as a way to establish dominance.
As a tool for preening and eating,your bird’s beak is integral to survival. From foraging to grooming and play,this part of your bird is also a way for them to communicate. Single beak clicks indicate happiness or may be a way to greet you as you enter their space while a rapid series of clicks may warn you to stay away.
One interesting fact about birds is that they can control the dilation of their pupils depending on their mood. Observing this body characteristic may deliver valuable information about what state your bird is in. For example,pupil flashing,that is the growing and shrinking of the pupil may indicate a state of agitation or excitement.
Although far from comprehensive,this list details several great areas for you to focus on to gain insight into your bird’s world. Likewise your bird can also learn to read your intentions by observing your postures. Just one of the many reasons why pet bird ownership is such a rich and rewarding experience.
Top Holiday Gift Ideas for Pet Birds and Their Owners
By Wyld’s Wingdom
Pet bird ownership can be a rich and rewarding experience. As highly intelligent and capable creatures,birds make excellent companions providing both affection and love while also reducing stress and encouraging relaxation at home. This holiday season,take the time to nurture your relationship with your pet bird by investing in a special gift that can bring you closer to your pet.
With a multitude of bird toys on the market today,it can be overwhelming trying to select the right fit for you and your bird. A few of the tried and trusted standby toys help engage avian behaviors found in the wild and are sure to elicit interest to stimulate your bird’s mind. Several most common toys include:
- Foraging toys that mentally and physically engage your bird by recreating a foraging environment in their cage.
- Puzzle toys are great educational options that can occupy your bird’s time and help stimulate their minds.
- Preening toys can help keep your bird’s feathers healthy while offering them something to do.
- Shreddables are a collection of toys that help satisfy your bird’s urge to chew.
- Plastic toys include a wide range of fun options that slide,spin,and squeak to perform various activities. This category boasts a range of fun and educational items that can help keep your bird occupied and active.
Gifts for Owners
An often-overlooked category in light of the many toys available for your bird includes educational information and items that can help you be a better bird owner. To nurture and develop your lifelong relationship with your bird,there are several excellent gift ideas that can help you learn and explore your breed of bird and how to go about cultivating a positive and rewarding companionship. From books to videos,training aids are great options to inform and educate pet bird owners on the finer points of basic avian care to advanced bird training methods.
As complex creatures,birds make great pets that can understand and intuit human behaviors. To make the most of this relationship,close attention and mutual respect is key in raising a happy and healthy bird. Take a look at Wyld’s Wingdom’s Holiday Collection here: http://www.wingdom.com/products/holiday-toys
Bird Bath Tips:Good Habits
In their natural environments,birds keep themselves clean by finding puddles of water,splashing around in a river or stream,playing in wet morning dew,or getting caught in the rain. A quick hop about in a small amount of water is all it takes for a bird to get clean. In captivity however,bird bathing habits are a bit of a different story. The captivity of pet birds means that you,as owner are responsible for providing the proper bathing environment or else your pet bird may suffer from dry skin and lackluster plumage.
To create the perfect birdbath at home,we recommend the following suggestions:
- Simply purchase a misting spray bottle and give your bird a few sprays for a quick freshwater rinse. Note that there are several excellent commercial sprays on the market to help with dry skin conditions,soften plumage,and neutralize odors. Remember to avoid spraying any water directly into your bird’s face!
- Never use soap. Soap can include harsh chemicals that can negatively affect your bird’s skin and feathers. Instead,stick to just water or a commercial spray.
- Lukewarm water is the best temperature for your bird’s body. Ensure that the room is warm to avoid chilling your pet after bath and leave enough time for them to completely dry before it’s time to go to bed. Larger birds may allow you to gently dry them with a soft towel by rubbing in the direction that the feathers go.
- Supervision is important when bathing your bird. Strong water streams and cold water temperatures can be dangerous so be vigilant and pay attention. If filling a sink,you only need a few inches to represent a small puddle of water for your bird’s cleansing needs.
- Don’t force it. Some birds absolutely love bathing and will happily hop to every day while others make it a special occasion. For starters,offer a bath at least twice a week and see how they react. You can tailor your schedule from there!
- Since birds are highly susceptible to germs,if bathing in the sink,be sure to completely clean your sink with a mild and unscented soap. You should once again clean the area thoroughly after you are through bathing your bird for the health and safety of your household.
- If you find yourself in a situation where your bird gets into a sticky substance that will not come off with just water,talk to your veterinarian about options to preserve the health of your pet!
As a natural activity,the regular bathing of your bird can encourage preening,remove unwanted dirt from feathers and lead to a happier and more contented pet! Plus,it’s a great social exercise for you and your pet.
For more information about Wyld’s Wingdom please contact us at 800.366.9953 or www.wingdom.com.
Keys to Boosting Community Involvement for Retail Pet Stores
By Wyld’s Wingdom
As a destination for numerous different items of care for a range of household pets,retail pet stores are places that people with hearts gather. To help turn this involvement towards your greater local community,here are a few tips for setting up a successful marketing plan and harnessing the power of caring for the greater good.
When it comes to successful businesses and giving back,the first step is to establish an effective and imaginative marketing strategy. Consider your audience and include tech savvy options such as starting a blog,conducting an ongoing email newsletter,or creating and maintaining an ongoing social media presence.
Once you’ve set yourself up for engaging with customers,veterinarians,groomers,local shelters,other pet businesses and enthusiasts,building a strong network is an excellent way to strengthen and widen your reach. Developing this network by attending events,cross-pollinating customers,and establishing mutually beneficial relationships within the pet industry can help set the stage for community involvement.
Consider setting up events that showcase that you are a caring business. For example,start an online and in-store campaign requesting donations of pet food or supplies for a local shelter or rescue group. Another great way of getting involved is to set a day where a percentage of sales goes to a worthy cause of support for an animal hospital or other likeable institution. These types of activities can help rally the community and boost support. You can raise awareness and build contributions by using your network and ongoing marketing campaigns!
Be the Source of Info
For great information,teach your clients and community to look to you. By creating original content,providing key information,offering specials,and more,let your clients know that you are the go-to source for good information when it comes to their loving animals.
With a mission to bring the community together to help those that are less fortunate,your store can be a contributor to increasing local well-being. Once you establish a precedent of giving and create a regular group of patrons and volunteers interested in furthering the goal of community involvement,it’s amazing how much of a difference you can make!
For more information about Wyld’s Wingdom please contact us at 800.366.9953 or www.wingdom.com. Pets In The Classroom can be reached at www.petsintheclassroom.org.
How to Encourage Foraging for Pet Birds
As essential components of natural bird behavior,foraging and play are two fundamental categories of instinctive behaviors that are integral to a bird’s happy life. Since wild birds spend a great deal of time seeking food,shelter,and water,birds in captivity need to be able to use their skill sets in order to feel satisfied and avoid negative bird behaviors.
For birds,foraging is the act of searching for and discovering food not readily available. This process engages both physical and mental skills and can occupy a good portion of your bird’s day. One benefit that stems from recreating this act for pet birds includes alleviating boredom and other behavioral problems by presenting fun challenges and obstacles through exercise and activity reminiscent of a bird’s natural habitat. Another benefit of encouraging foraging for your feathered friend is that this process promotes the use of your bird’s beak and feet to strengthen physical aspects and stimulate problem-solving skills that require a physical finesse.
Several examples of setting your pet bird up for foraging success include:
- Wrapping food pieces inside other items like lettuce,other green leaves,or in a safe material like a coffee filter then tying with twine,rope,or tape can aid in the act of discovery and present time-absorbing challenges for your bird to find the food reward hidden inside.
- Another great way to encourage foraging is by hiding or covering regular the areas where your bird usually eats with unusual items that present challenges. For example,place a paper towel on top of their regular food dish to add that extra layer of fun and problem-solving to get to the food source.
- Hanging items from cages is third way to have you bird keep an eye out for unexpected food opportunities. This can be done with fruit and twine as well as toys meant for this exact purpose.
- And finally,toys! There are many different commercial pet bird toys available on the market that can help your bird enjoy interactive fun by encouraging foraging for rewards while enticing physical and mental stimulation.
As a critical component,playtime for birds is part of what makes birds such fun,entertaining,and interactive companions. Encouraging natural skills through foraging behaviors and time spent with stimulating toys can promote instinctual behaviors that are part of a happy and healthy lifestyle for any captive bird.
Wyld’s Wingdom carries a variety of bird foraging toys. Contact Wyld’s Wingdom for more information on wholesale orders. Phone: 757.858.8090 or Toll Free: 800.366.9953.
Tips to Prep Your Pet Bird for Fall
With the cooler temperatures and less daylight,the end of summer is often a relief to you but it’s important to consider how these changes impact your pet bird. To help prepare your bird for a new season,there are several things you can do to ensure the health and happiness of your pet!
As the leaves start to change,now is the best time to take advantage of the warm temperatures and to allow your bird to revel in the natural UV rays from the sun. Since most birds are native to tropical environments or else migrate away from winter-heavy environments,sunlight is an essential component to their health. To prepare for the lack of daylight hours and the minimal exposure to UV rays,investing in a broad spectrum UV light to shine on their cage for at least 6 hours a day during the winter months is an excellent tool to keep your bird happy and healthy through the new season.
When the seasons shift,it’s possible that you will notice new and potentially unwanted behaviors in your bird. Examples include aggressive behavior,chewing,and an uptick in vocalization can all be attributed to stress levels from the changes in weather. To help keep your pet mentally and physically occupied,new toys,perches,and wooden chew toys can provide stimulation and the necessary opportunities for play and excitement.
With the reliance on furnaces and heaters as the weather turns downright chilly,these bursts of warm,dry air and accompanying spores and dust can be particularly hard on your bird’s respiratory system. To properly prepare for fall and winter,you should clean all air filters,run a humidifier,and keep your bird away from any of the vent openings. Look out for any debris in your bird’s nares (nostrils) and watch for tail bobbing that accompanies each breath as this is a sign that something could be wrong with your pet bird’s respiratory tract.
One other task you should perform to prep your bird for fall is a big clean. Since with cooler weather,it can be harder to remove your bird from their cage to do necessary cleaning duties,now is the time to do an intense cleaning and get into all of the hidden corners of your bird’s cage. Since many birds are encouraged to molt with the onset of cooler temperatures and shorter daylight hours,dander may be a big part of what you need to clean out!
The Importance of Dietary Differences Among Birds
A balanced and nutritious diet is key in helping your pet bird live a long and healthy life. In fact,the ideal avian diet is comprised of much more than just birdseed. Depending on the type of bird you own,you should discuss their needs with your veterinarian to provide the right building blocks for health and wellness.
When it comes to different types of bird diets,there are five main categories of primary diets each with their own nutritional recommendations:
- Granivore – Primary diet of grains and seeds
- Frugivore – Primary diet of mostly fruits and flowers with some additional nuts and seeds
- Florivore – Primary diet of seeds,fruits,nuts,bark,roots,and berries
- Omnivore – Primary diet of seeds,fruits,insects,and invertebrates
- Nectarivore – Primary diet of nectar,pollen,and some insects and seeds
Since in the wild birds have access to a great diversity of food,it is important to recreate this component for any pet bird. Luckily on the market today there are many formulated base diet options available. These excellent food choices often come in the form of pellets,crumbles,nuggets,or cakes and make up approximately 65 to 80% of your bird’s diet.
Fruits and Veggies
As great snacks to enhance your bird’s eating habits and to keep things interesting,there are a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables to incorporate into your bird’s daily life. As a source of vitamin and minerals,you should shoot for an additional 15 to 30% of your bird’s daily diet to fall into the vegetable category and another 5% to fruit. Be sure to wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly and remove any pits or seeds before offering to your bird to prevent health complications. Several great vegetable offerings include carrots,radishes,kale,tomatoes,broccoli,corn,and cucumber. For fruit,look to fun items such as peaches,pears,cherries,berries,apples,kiwi,and mango to provide new exciting flavors for your bird.
The Do Not Feed List
Just like other pets,there are several types of foods you should avoid giving to your bird due to their ability to cause health complications. The “no list” includes items such as high-fat junk foods,chocolate,alcohol,table salt,avocados,apple seeds or fruit pits,onions and mushrooms. If you are unsure about something that you’d like to offer your bird,do your research and talk to a veterinarian to maintain the health of your bird.
Tips for Pet Retailers to Prepare for the Holiday Season
With the biggest season of spending on the horizon,now is the appropriate time to get a head of the game. In order to get your ducks in a row to maximize holiday business,here are several noteworthy tips to prepare your retail store for the season of merriment (and not to mention Black Friday and Cyber Monday!).
Prep Your Team
In the fast paced and comparison shopping market that is today’s economy,you need to anticipate your customer base’s needs. Tackling this through education enables your employees to have knowledge about products and creates a better shopping experience for your clientele. Not to mention a refresher course on return policies,price matching,and product guarantees means that each and every transaction is a confident one complete with stellar customer service.
With new technology on the market,getting mobile can mean your employees are no longer stuck behind a counter tethered to a register. With Smartphone and tablet technology your staff can perform point-of-sale procedures where the customer needs them. This includes being able to empower your employees with the ability to refer to videos,product reviews,and other items at the touch of a few buttons. As a result it can help your team make better sales and engage your customers with a multi-sensory shopping experience.
Not only can setting up the expectation for bonuses,commission,and contests help inspire your team,it can create a fun and festive environment where everyone steps up their game to meet the holiday demands. Bring up the subject now and entice your employees with the future knowledge that you appreciate their hard work and will reward their efforts.
Now is also a great time to solicit feedback from your employees on how to merchandise the store. Since they are on the ground floor,having your staff contribute creative ideas is a great way to get everyone involved!
We know it’s only July but there’s no time like the present to start your holiday strategy in order to make the most of the coming holiday season!