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Vitamin Deficiencies in Exotic and Pet Birds

Vitamin Deficiencies in Exotic and Pet Birds

There are many opinions out there about bird nutrition and what compromises a healthy diet for pet birds

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.  Some experts recommend seed supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables, some will add pellets into the mix, and some recommend a diet of only pellets.  This can become confusing for pet bird owners.

Avian nutrition research is an ongoing process, and although the bird food industry has been instrumental in developing basic nutritional guidelines, new discoveries are always being made.  One fact that most experts agree on is that a diet that consists of seed only – especially the sunflower seeds and peanuts that many birds prefer – is not nutritionally complete and can result in a vitamin deficiency.  vitamin A deficiency is common in pet birds and often goes undiagnosed.

Preventing a vitamin deficiency can be tackled by feeding a formulated pellet diet, supplementing a seed diet with vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables, or by adding vitamin and mineral supplements to the bird’s diet.  Some supplements are designed to be added to the water dish, while other powdered vitamin supplements can be sprinkled over soft, fresh foods.

Some fresh foods that are rich in vitamins include dark, leafy greens such as kale, which contains vitamin A and calcium.  Broccoli is full of vitamins A, K, B2 and C, and birds often enjoy holding a stalk of broccoli while eating the florets.  Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and potassium.  Birds love mashed sweet potatoes and this is a great way to introduce this healthy food at a young age.

Why Attend a Pet Industry Trade Show?

Why Attend a Pet Industry Trade Show?

Wyld's Wingdom Trade Show BoothMaybe you think that the time, expense and energy needed to attend a trade show isn’t worth it.  But, what you may not realize is the wealth of information, education and connections that are available to trade show attendees.

Trade shows feature hundreds of exhibitors, showing off the very latest in pet products.  Taking in a trade show marketplace allows you to spot new trends, compare products and vendors and take advantage of special pricing that vendors make available to show attendees.  It’s also a great opportunity to build relationships with vendors and reps and find out what’s up and coming in the pet industry.

Education is another great benefit of attending a pet industry trade show.  Education programs and seminars are designed to offer attendees effective business strategies, as well as pet-related knowledge.  You can choose from topics such as Building your Mom & Pop business, Social Media Marketing, Blogging, Hiring Effective Employees, Merchandising and much more.

Networking at trade shows is not only fun but also a great way to make lasting contacts to grow your business.   You get to meet others with your passion for animals and the industry.  Consider attending a Pet Industry Trade Show  – it will give you renewed energy, new ideas and business skills and all of the resources you need to put some great business-building strategies in place for the year to come.

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Wyld’s Wingdom will be at SuperZoo 2016, Aug. 2-4, booth #2173  Stop by and say Hi!  We would love to see you!  If you can’t make a show this year visit www.wingdom.com.

Stocking a Great Bird Department

Stocking a Great Bird Department

As pet retailers, it’s important to fully stock your bird department to cover the basic needs of a wide variety of birds. Bird owners will initially need to purchase the basics for their new addition, but will purchase food, toys and accessories throughout the lifetime of their bird. Your bird department should feature new products as they are developed and reach the marketplace, in order to meet your customers’ demands. Bird owners are always on the lookout for new and exciting toys, treats and information that will keep their birds happy and healthy.

Tiel Scrollwork CageYour bird department should offer a selection of cages and carriers in sizes for small to large birds. A bird’s “home” is one of the most important basics for bird owners, and having various styles and sizes to choose from will attract bird owners from the start. Along with cages, you’ll want to offer bird perches and stands for all sizes and types of birds. Bird owners may be looking for acrylic, wood or rope perches or cage top stands.

Vitakraft Large Parrot Honey SticksFoods, treats and avian health products are repeat purchases that are vital to a successful bird department. You’ll want to have a selection of formulated diets, gourmet blends, seed, insects, soak & serve meals and hand feeding formulas, along with vitamins and supplements. Most bird owners love finding treats for their beloved birds, so stocking the latest in avian treats will make repeat purchases easy. The same goes for toys. We know that birds need a revolving supply of toys to challenge them and keep them interested. Your bird department should offer a variety of innovative and colorful toys to meet the needs of different bird species.

Parakeets - A Complete Pet Owner's ManualBooks, training aids and DVDs/CDs are also essential to round out your bird department. It’s important to be knowledgeable about caring for birds, and to have great resources to share with new bird owners. Educated bird owners know what’s needed to keep their bird happy and healthy, and will return to your well-stocked bird department on a regular basis to provide the very best for their pet.

The Benefits of a Clean Environment for Birds

The Benefits of a Clean Environment for Birds

Benefits of a Clean EnvironmentBirds stay healthy through a combination of a balanced diet, a happy psychological state and a clean environment.  Keeping a sanitary cage minimizes the bird’s exposure to potentially harmful bacteria, viruses and other potentially harmful organisms.  Routine cleaning of the bird’s cage should include washing water bottles/bowls and food bowls daily, especially those used for fresh foods.  Uneaten fresh foods should be removed from the cage before they start to deteriorate.  An extra water bottle and dishes can be kept so that the dirty one can be removed and replaced while it is being cleaned.   The cage bars and perches can be spot cleaned to remove droppings and food on a daily basis as well, with just a quick wipe with a rag and warm water. The cage and accessories, including bottom tray, perches and toys should be cleaned weekly.  Brushes specially designed for cleaning cages and water bottles can come in handy for removing stubborn residue.  Cleaning should be done by washing with a mild detergent and warm water, and then using a safe disinfectant recommended for bird cages and accessories.  All disinfectant should be rinsed off so that no residue is left.  This is also a good time to rotate the bird’s toys to avoid boredom and check toys to make sure they are still safe.

Lining the cage bottom with paper that can easily be changed on a daily basis keeps the bird’s exposure to potentially harmful organisms, droppings and spoiled food to a minimum.   Bird owners should also be careful to limit exposure to other birds that may have compromised health.

Helping bird owners understand that keeping a clean environment for their bird is the first step to preventative health is one of the best ways to educate your customers.  Providing a healthy, balanced diet and the right amount of stimulation and socialization for the bird adds to its overall health and well-being.

Healthy and Fun Additions to Your Bird’s Diet

Healthy and Fun Additions to Your Bird’s Diet

Providing your bird with a nutritionally balanced diet is of utmost importance.  Seed mixes and pellets form a great foundation for your bird’s diet, but birds benefit from a variety of other foods as well as enjoying the new flavors, colors and experiences that fresh foods bring.  You can feel free to add a variety of fruits and vegetables to the bird’s diet, such as lettuce, green beans, parsley, corn, broccoli, carrots and cauliflower.  Fruits that birds enjoy include apple chunks, banana, melon, mango, oranges and other citrus fruits, grapes, pineapple and berries.  Some types of birds can also eat “people” foods like low-fat yogurt, low-sugar cereals, and proteins like a little shredded chicken or turkey.   Birds also benefit from the protein in cooked legumes (but raw legumes can be toxic to birds, so be sure to cook beans thoroughly).

ChefAlfalfa sprouts are another good treat for birds, but be sure to wash any store-bought produce to remove traces of pesticides that may harm your bird.  Birds love nuts, but remember that they are fatty and birds that start selecting only the nuts to eat because they are tasty are not getting a balanced diet.  Plain popcorn, pasta and whole grain breads round out the list of nutritional foods you can add to the pet bird’s diet.

Of course, there are some foods that are harmful and should never be given to your bird.  These foods include apple seeds, avocado, caffeine, rhubarb, chocolate, alcohol, mushrooms, onions and excess salt.  Keeping these exceptions in mind, remember that generally any fresh foods that are healthy for people are enjoyed as part of a varied, balanced diet by birds.

How to Select the Right Sized Cage

How to Select the Right Sized Cage

Where a pet bird spends its time can have a huge impact on its well being.  Helping customers select the proper sized cage for the bird’s enjoyment and safety is the first step to keeping a happy and healthy bird.  A general rule of thumb is that for large birds, the interior living space of the cage should be at least 1.5 times the bird’s adult wingspan – in depth, width and height.  So, if a Sun Conure’s wing span will be 11 inches, the cage should be at least 18 inches wide, high and deep.  Of course, more space is always better for the bird, as long as the bars of the cage are appropriately spaced to avoid injury.  Some smaller birds benefit from a flight cage that will allow them to really move around.  Generally, having more space horizontally makes sense, as that allows more room for flight.

Does this cage make me look FAT???For small birds such as Finches, Parakeets and Lovebirds, bars should be spaced no more than 5/8” apart.  For medium birds such as Conures, Senegal Parrots, and Cockatiels bars spaced from ½” to 7/8” are appropriate.  Large birds such as African Greys, Amazon Parrots, Cockatoos and Macaws should have cage bars spaced from 3/4” to 1 3/8” apart.  Having properly spaced cage bars allows the bird to climb while reducing the risk of injury.

Having the right sized cage is important for birds, as they will spend much of their time eating, playing and observing life from their home.  You can also recommend play areas and perches for bird owners to set up in safe areas outside of the cage for additional stimulation, exercise and interaction.

Top Things Every Bird Department Should Know

Top Things Every Bird Department Should Know

Customer Service:

All employees are the face of a business and are key to molding a customer’s initial impression.

  • Keep an eye out for customers who look confused or are in need of help.  Being proactive will show customers you are ready and willing to serve them.
  • Make your customers feel welcome.  Smile and greet them when they come in.  Ask them questions and make them feel included in other conversations you may be having with fellow staff or other customers.
  • Listen to your customers.  Ask them questions and listen to what they have to say.  Hone in on their needs and wants and convey your desire to help them make the best decision possible when picking out a product or pet.
  • Customer service doesn’t stop when a customer has left the store.  Follow up with a customer by sending them a thank you note after a purchase, calling to see if the new product or bird they purchased is working out, or remembering their last purchase when they make a repeat visit.

Layout:

Make sure your store is well organized and easy to navigate.

Signage:

  • Proper aisle signage will help keep customers in the store longer and will help them navigate through your aisles.
  • Proper shelf and product signs will catch your customers’ eyes and will keep them informed on your products.
  • Make sure your signage is neat and easy to read as well as fresh and bold.

Displays:

  • Display related products by each other to remind customers of items they may have missed and suggest variations amongst a product family.
  • Put the items that are in high-demand and are fast-moving in your best display areas.  This suggests to customers that you have the products that they are looking for.
  • Be sure to take advantage of the display space at the checkout by placing last minute purchase products like toys, treats, and gift items there.
  • Change out your displays every week or two to give your store a fresh look and let your customers know you are on top of your game.

Cleanliness:

A customer may not remember a clean store, but they will most certainly remember a dirty one!  Keep your store clean and organized to ensure return customers.

  • Make sure your aisles are clear of clutter, your products are in the proper places on the shelves, and your pricing stickers and signage is up-to-date.
  • Pay special attention to floors, countertops, and other areas that are most frequently seen by customers.
  • Remove damaged items and return misplaced items to their proper place.
  • Dusty products indicate that product is old and unwanted.  Keep your products and shelves dust free.
  • Keep your displays and shelves fully stocked and well organized.  Have employs monitor this throughout the day depending on your stores’ busyness.
  • If you have birds (as well as other animals) in your store, their cleanliness and health will tell a lot about your store to your customers. Be sure to keep your animals healthy and well groomed and their cages and toys disinfected and clean.
  • A customer does not want to see or purchase an unhealthy bird.  Observe each bird daily and record its state of health and any changes in behavior.  Changes may be the first (and sometimes only) clue that a bird is sick or unhealthy.
  • Trash cans, whether containing a soda can or animal excrement should be out of site and smelling distance to your customers and should be emptied often to maintain a cleanly, healthy store.
  • Keep an eye on animals that are out of their cages (especially if you allow the public to bring in their pets) and be sure to clean and sanitize as needed.

Bird Education:

All employees should be properly educated on the different products you carry and the birds that the products benefit.  They should also be knowledgeable on the birds that are at your store.  Customers see you as an expert.  Make sure you are one to keep their business.

  • Employees should know the following key information about birds:  origin, growth rate, eventual size, age, gender, environmental needs, diet, and behavior.
  • Be as informative as possible when answering a customer’s questions.  Direct them to other resources (books, tip sheets, websites, etc.) to help aid them in their education.
  • It is alright to let a customer know you don’t know the answer to a question, but still provide them with assistance by following up with a co-worker or another reliable resource.

 

 

 

Helping Customers Choose Toys for Their Bird

Helping Customers Choose Toys for Their Bird

Just like every child needs toys, so do birds!  It’s important to let your customers know that toys aren’t just a fun extra for their bird, but are an essential part of creating a healthy environment for their bird.  Toys are especially vital for birds whose owners who spend time away from home working or with busy schedules.  Toys provide relief from boredom, important exercise and the stimulation needed to prevent certain behavioral and health problems.

Choosing a Bird ToyBird owners should consider what various toys have to offer, and make a variety of toys available to their bird.  Toys can offer sounds and colors, as well as textures that stimulate the mouth and feet.  Think of the difference between smooth, brightly colored plastic and a tough rope or wood blocks on a jingly metal chain.  A mirror with a bell attached can provide a bird with a “companion” to chatter to, as well as the stimulation of a ringing bell.  Various sized toys are appropriate for different types of birds, designed to withstand chewing and manipulation of larger or smaller birds.  Birds love to chew and pull things apart, so toys should be checked frequently for signs of wear or for missing pieces.  Toys also offer different degrees of puzzles or challenges.  Birds are intelligent and curious creatures and love mastering a variety of skills when playing with their toys.  Treat toys allow birds to work for their food, much as they would in the wild.

Once a bird owner has tried a number of different types of toys, they will start to get a feel for what their individual bird really enjoys.  Ask customers for feedback on various toys and find out what their bird likes and doesn’t like about specific toys, so you can offer anecdotal advice to other customers as well.

Proper Toys Can Prevent Problems in Pet Birds

Proper Toys Can Prevent Problems in Pet Birds

Pet birds are amazing creatures. Though most have never lived in the wild, they never lose the instinct and adaptation that wild birds use out of necessity. That’s why Wyld’s Wingdom strongly suggests stocking a wide variety of bird toys in your store.

Pet birds do not lose their natural instinct. In the wild, birds engage in activities such as foraging for food, swinging on vines and branches, stripping trees of their bark, and playing and conversing with other birds. This natural instinct doesn’t disappear in pet birds and without the proper stimulation, it can manifest itself through feather picking, acting out, and general boredom when they are not provided with engaging toys and adequate interaction.

According to Jim McKendry of Parrot Behavior & Enrichment Consultations (http://www.pbec.com.au),the main reasons why many pet birds (specifically parrots) seem to struggle to adapt are a “lack of flight, and lack of opportunities for stimulation and socialization with other parrots. Along with a lack of foraging opportunity, those deficiencies are often the key contributors to the development of many behavioral problems we deal with in companion parrots.”

114828 - Four Big Drawers

114828 - Four Big Drawers

While human interaction can alleviate much of the boredom, many bird owners do not have the time to interact with their birds as much as needed. But with the right toys, your bird can have hours of entertainment and stimulation to keep them happy and healthy. So provide your customers with a variety of toy options that cover a gamut of possible activities. Also express to your customers the importance of changing out their toys weekly to prevent boredom and to stimulate mental health.

Wyld’s Wingdom can provide you with a variety of bird toys for you to offer. Whether you are looking for chewing toys, foraging toy, exercise toys, comfort toys, preening toys, foot toys, or mechanical toys, we can provide you with what you need to help keep your customers’ birds energized and stimulated.

Wyld’s Wingdom‘s Social Media Advice

Wyld’s Wingdom‘s Social Media Advice

Wyld’s Wingdom is on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and You Tube. Are you?

The world of advertising is ever changing. And if you haven’t gotten on the social media bandwagon, your business may get left behind.

Social media, unlike traditional advertising, brings a personal edge to your marketing. What I mean by that is that, through social media, you become more than just a name to your audience; you become a person with whom they can interact. You can engage with your customers and not only brand yourself, but build a sense of trust and credibility. Plus, when you communicate with your social media audience, you are not only communicating with your followers, but you are also communicating with your followers’ followers. And a majority of that communication is going to be seen as a personal endorsement from your followers’ to their followers, helping you reach a whole new audience.

In addition to these benefits, social media will help you get a pulse on what your customers want. Social media makes it easy for customers to comment and give feedback, allowing you to see what it is that they like, don’t like, want, and don’t want. You can use this information to better your service, your products, and in turn, your business.

A sure sign of the role social media is taking in marketing is the recent launch of Google Plus for businesses. Similar to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media sites, Google Plus offers the advantages of communicating with your customers on a more personal level, getting to know their preferences, and getting a personal endorsement from your them. But Google Plus’s “+1” button is taking this endorsement to a new level. Google Plus melds together social media, its email system (gmail), AND its search engine so your business gets exposure, not only through your followers, but also through your email contacts AND anyone who sees your website come up in a Google search. If your website is properly encoded for SEO purposes and someone does a Google search using your keywords, your website could pop up and that person could see your Google Plus page and “+1” it, endorsing it to all of their followers and friends as well as Google itself! Google states, “+1’s from friends and contacts can be a useful signal to Google when determining the relevance of your page to a user’s query. This is just one of many signals Google may use to determine a page’s relevance and ranking.” (http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=1140194)

What exactly does this mean? Google itself is saying that having and using a Google Plus page will help increase your ranking on search engines. While Google Plus is going to be the major contributor to SEO, interacting on all of the different social media sites is going to benefit your SEO. The algorithms for SEO ranking is changing and is including more and more of the social media postings, so if you want a higher search engine ranking, you better jump into the social media world!

The benefits of using social media just keep growing and growing. And while using it may seem daunting to some people, it is becoming necessary to take on in order to grow your business.
To visit Wyld’s Wingdom’s social media pages, click on the following links:

http://twitter.com/#!/WyldsWingdom

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wylds-Wingdom/263216386005?sk=wall

https://plus.google.com/107660336971289572037/posts