Emergency parrot first-aid

After an emergency occurs, is not the time to try to put together your first-aid kit. Being prepared is key for any emergency and the first step is to put together a first-aid kit. You can purchase first-aid kits for birds or build your own which is usually much cheaper. The list below shows the items that should be included in your first-aid kit.

  • Antibiotic powder and germicidal ointment (used to fight infection)
  • Blood stopper
  • Contact info for your vet (days, nights, weekdays, and weekends)
  • Corn Starch. Styptic powder, or Styptic pencil (used to stop bleeding) See warning below.
  • Cotton balls, cotton swabs, and Gauze squares
  • Flashlight
  • Honey or Karo Syrup (used to provide carbohydrates and energy)
  • Hydrogen Peroxide (used for cleaning wounds)
  • Infrared Lamp (250 watts – large birds) or Hospital Cage (small birds)
  • Nail Clippers
  • Needle-Nose pliers or sturdy tweezers
  • Pepto Bismol or Kaopectate (used for some cases of poisoning)
  • Pet carrier (used to transport your sick bird to the vet)
  • Plastic eyedropper (used for administering fluids and irrigating wounds with water)
  • Powdered Gatorade or Pedialyte (used to provide energy and electrolytes)
  • Roll of gauze for bandaging
  • Scissors
  • Surgical tape or Masking tape (used for taping bandages)
  • Towel for restraining your bird

The use for most of these items is obvious except for maybe the infrared lamp. Birds typically have a high metabolic rate. One of the first things that can happen with a sick bird is that it stops eating correctly. This can lead to a drop in body temperature and possibly hypothermia that can be deadly. The ideal temperature to nurse a sick bird is about (30C, 86F) which can be provided by the hospital cage or the infrared lamp. The infrared lamp should be a “dull-emitter” type that radiates heat and not light. Some people have also used heated blankets (with the cord carefully concealed) in the bottom of the cage or a heated blanket draped over part of the cage. It is important to drape it over only part of the cage. This will give the bird a place to get away from the heat if it wants to.

Before continuing, there are a few words of caution. The first word of caution is about styptic powder and styptic pencils. Some vet’s don’t recommend their use. Instead, they recommend a corn starch solution. Styptic pencils may cause feather, follicle, or eye damage. However, it may be acceptable to use the styptic pencil on a clipped nail. Secondly, masking tape is usually recommended because surgical tape tends to stick to feathers.

Be an informed parrot buyer

There are a lot of positive reasons for owning a parrot. They’re intelligent, responsive, perceptive, social, caring, entertaining, companions. If you’re reading this article then you probably already have a list of positive reasons for becoming a parrot owner. Owning pet birds is very popular in the US. According to the American Pet Products Manufacturing Association (APPMA) there are projected to be 17.3 Million pet birds in 6.4 million US households in next year. Birds are increasingly becoming family pets. However, they can be challenging and a handful for some people. This article will focus on the aspects of becoming a parrot owner that are often overlooked or ignored. “Ready, Informed, or Not?” that is the question. Purchasing a parrot for the first time will change your life. If you’re not ready to make some changes then you’re probably not ready to purchase a parrot.
I have one final word of caution before we continue. This article is written in general terms. Not all parrot breeds have all of the characteristics that are discussed in this article. And not all parrots even within a breed have the same characteristics. I will offer this disclaimer now instead of putting this disclaimer at every section in this article. Disclaimer – The discussions in the article are general and may not apply to all breeds and may not apply to all parrots within a specific breed. There are some great sources of information that specifically addresses each breed of parrot. I recommend that you read “Birds for Dummies” or “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Bird Care and Training” for an introductory coverage of the appearance and characteristics of different breeds of parrots. This article will focus on parrots in general but will occasionally point out some differences in breeds. Check for the “Heed the Breed” boxes in this article for breed specific information. There are also “Warbler Warning” boxes for specific warnings to consider. Finally there are “Parrot Parent” boxes which pose the key questions that you should answer before becoming a parrot owner.

Buyer Beware and Be Aware

It’s your responsibility not the seller’s to determine if you’re a good fit for a parrot. Most sellers are in the business to make money. The parrots needs and your needs are usually lower than money on the priority list. It’s your responsibility to do the research before purchasing a parrot. The parrot sellers are just one small source of information. Please don’t rely on the seller alone to make an informed decision. Reading this article is an excellent step toward becoming informed. There are some other excellent sources for doing your research listed in the “Selecting a breed” section later in this article.