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About Birds

Many books and articles promote the virtues of birds being relatively maintenance free pet. Granted, a pair of zebra finches may not require as much time and energy that a dog might, but the maintenance that is required for keeping your bird a happy pet must not be overlooked.

Some birds, such a Parrots and Cockatiels require a regular time commitment to satisfy their emotional needs. Failure to do so can result in emotional distress leading to behavioural problems, and possibly, disease.

You might laugh at the prospect of a bird having emotional problems, but believe me you do not want to be the target of your angry parrot’s aggression. Imagine a two-year-old child throwing a temper tantrum – for 12 hours!

Nutrition

Man cannot live on bread alone. Likewise, bird cannot live on seed alone. While seeds are an important staple to your pet’s diet, they are relatively low in protein and some essential amino acids. Seed should make up about 60% of the diet. The other 40% should consist of protein sources such as egg, cheese, green leafy vegetables (spinach, romaine lettuce) and fruits (no more than 25%). You can supplement your bird’s seed diet with nutritionally balanced pellets and some liquid vitamin added to the water. Fresh water needs to be available for your pet at all times.

Housing

An all metal non-coated cage is the best choice for your bird. He will chew on the bars, as that is part of his play and general lifestyle. A metal cage is easier to keep clean and prohibit infestation of pests. Insects can hide underneath coatings and inside the wooden bars.

Inspect the cage to make sure he cannot place his head between the bars. Size of the cage depends on how large or small the bird, and how many you plan to house in each one. Each one must have sufficient room to stretch out and move around. Some birds will need to get all their flying and exercise INSIDE the cage, others can be let out during the day to exercise outside the cage.

A slide-out drawer bottom works better than one you have to dismantle the cage to clean out where he has messed. Cover the bottom with newspaper, sand or other similar materials to absorb urine etc. Change about every three days to insure cleanliness and prevent diseases from occurring. Make sure the cage sides have both vertical and horizontal bars. He will want to climb and needs adequate footholds.

Most cages come with perches. Replace with natural woods or branches (fruit trees, hazelnut, or willow). The more uneven and bumpy the branch, the better for the bird’s feet as it provides exercise for him, and keeps his nails trimmed. The ones with sandpaper have been linked to foot problems. Make certain the wood being used has not been treated with any chemicals before usage. Using branches also provides vitamins for your bird, as he will chew on them often. Replace as needed.

Another important part of his home furnishings must include cuttlebones. This provides him with calcium and other minerals he needs. He will also need a grit container. The grit acts as “teeth” to help grind up his food.

Determine if your bird will better benefit from a hanging feeder and water, or heavy containers placed on the cage floor bottom. If using bottom containers, place where droppings will not fall into them.

He may enjoy a small dish of water in his cage for bath time. A small flowerpot saucer works well. Depending on the size of the bird, even jar lids can be used. Place in the cage every few days for about half an hour. Do not leave in the cage all the time. Some birds like to be misted with spray. Try this a few times and see how your bird reacts. Do not mist him on cool days, as he may chill.

The cage should have places where toys can be attached for the bird’s amusement. Mirrors are more important to a solitary bird, but even a cage full will enjoy a mirror. He will enjoy singing and looking at himself. Bells, swings and ladders are other common toys you can purchase for your bird to play with. Don’t neglect this important part of his home, but don’t over-do it either. Too many toys take up his stretching area, and he may not be able to distinguish the separateness of all the items, thus not enjoying each individually as intended.

The pet shop will inform you if your bird needs nesting boxes, or “beds.” You do need to site your cage where the bird gets lots of interaction with the family. A bird that has been “sociable” all along is a better bird for training and enjoyment. Do not house his cage in a room where he will be lonely. Placement of the cage to avoid sudden appearances of anyone coming and going into the room is also recommended. Situate him where he receives some natural light to keep him healthy. Avoid drafty places and excessive heat. Some birds need to have their cages covered at night, others do not. Find out the individual needs of your bird.

Budgerigars As A Pet

Delightful, endearing characters, budgies are inexpensive, highly adaptable and easy to look after. When acquired young they are easy to tame and can be trained to talk. Budgies are justifiably the most popular cage birds the world over and are ideal pets for both young and old alike.

 

Profile

Native Origins
Australia

Species
Budgies are the smallest members of the parrot family. They have an attractive natural chatter, are good mimics and can become talented talkers.

Size/Lifespan
Size up to 7ins (18cm)
A Budgerigar's average life span is 7 – 10 years, although some individuals may live well into their teens.

Are Budgerigars A Good Pet For Children?
Budgerigars and inexpensive to buy and to keep. They tame readily when young and are entertaining and intelligent animals who are ideal for children and grown-ups alike.

10 Facts About Tarantulas

1. Female tarantulas can live 30 years or longer in the wild.
Female tarantulas are famously long-lived. Even in captivity, they've been known to live for over 20 years. Males, on the other hand, don't make it much beyond reaching sexual maturity, with a life span of just 5-10 years on average. In fact, males don't even molt once they reach maturity.

2. The largest tarantulas have a leg span of nearly 10 inches, or about the size of a dinner plate.
Even spider lovers might have trouble sitting still with a 10-inch tarantula headed toward them. Movie directors love to feature tarantulas in their horror flicks, which has given these big, fuzzy spiders an undeserved bad rap.

3. Tarantulas are quite docile and rarely bite people.
Many large predators would quickly make a meal of a tarantula, so they aren't too anxious to tangle with something as large as a person. And it wouldn't do a tarantula much good defensively to bite you, since its venom doesn't pack much of a punch. A tarantula bite is no worse than a bee sting in terms of toxicity.

4. Tarantulas defend themselves by throwing needle-like, barbed hairs at their attackers.
If a tarantula does feel threatened, it uses its hind legs to scrape barbed hairs from its abdomen and flings them in the direction of the threat. You'll know it if they hit you, too, because they cause a nasty, irritating rash. Some people may even suffer a serious allergic reaction as a result. The tarantula pays a price, too – it winds up with a noticeable bald spot on its belly.

5. Tarantulas ambush small prey at night, stealthily sneaking up on a potential meal and then pouncing!
Tarantulas don't use webs to capture prey, they do it the hard way – hunting on foot. Smaller tarantulas eat insects, while some of the larger species will hunt frogs, mice, and even birds. Like other spiders, tarantulas paralyze their prey with venom, then use digestive enzymes to turn the meal into a soupy liquid.

6. A fall can be fatal to a tarantula.
Tarantulas are rather thin-skinned creatures, particularly around the abdomen. Even a fall from a short height can cause a deadly rupture of the tarantula's exoskeleton. For this reason, handling a tarantula is never recommended. It's easy to get spooked, or even more likely, for the tarantula to get spooked. What would you do if a huge, hairy spider started squirming in your hand? You'd probably drop it, and quickly.

7. Tarantulas have retractable claws on each leg, like cats.
Since falls can be so dangerous for tarantulas, it's important for them to get a good grip when climbing. Though most tarantulas tend to stay on the ground, they sometimes climb trees or other objects. By extending special claws at the end of each leg, a tarantula can get a better grasp of whatever surface it is attempting to scale.

8. Though tarantulas don't spin webs, they do use silk.
Like all spiders, tarantulas produce silk, and they put this resource to use in clever ways. Females use silk to decorate the interiors of their burrows, which is thought to strengthen the earthen walls. Males weave a silken mat on which to lay their sperm. Females encase their eggs in a silken cocoon. Tarantulas also use silk trap lines near their burrows to alert them to potential prey, or to the approach of predators. Scientists recently discovered tarantulas can produce silk with their feet, in addition to using spinnerets as other spiders do.

9. Most tarantulas are seen wandering during the summer months, when males head out in search of females.
During the warmest months of the year, sexually mature males begin their quest to find a mate. Most tarantula encounters occur during this period, when males disregard their own safety and wander during daylight hours. Should he find a burrowing female, he'll tap the ground with his legs, politely announcing his presence. The courtship is quick, with the male quickly handing over his sperm and trying to escape. To the female, this suitor is a good source of much-needed protein; she'll often try to eat him once their marriage is consummated.

10. Tarantulas can regenerate lost legs.
Because tarantulas molt throughout their lives, replacing their exoskeletons as they grow, they have the ability to repair any damage they've sustained. Should a tarantula lose a leg, a new one will reappear as if by magic the next time it molts. Depending on the tarantula's age and the length of time before its next molt, the regenerated leg may not be quite as long as the one it lost. However, over successive molts the leg will gradually get longer until it reaches normal size again. Tarantulas will sometimes eat their detached legs as a way to recycle the protein.