Christmas and company coiming|
By Dick Ivy, Yorktown, Va.
Ho, ho, ho could be woe, woe, woe for your birds this holiday season unless you take precautions and do some plan- ning.
A favorite Christmas plant, Poinsettia leaves and flowers, are poisonous to birds that eat them. Holly berries are a no-no as are Jerusalem cherry berries and mistletoe. There's much of Virginia juniper poisonous, as are yew needles and seed.
So is the tinsel that hangs on your tree, and die glass balls and home made tree decorations with jewelry are pretty -- and pretty dangerous if the bird cracks one with his beak or nibbles off a jewel. And so are the pretty ribbons and tile little color- ful glass trinkets which hang from them.
If you want to be Santa and bring your pets toys, give them rope, wood and untreated rawhide chews. Avoid hard plastics.
Trying out new non-stickware given for Christmas pres- entsl, Be careful. Fumes from cooking without a liquid in the pan can produce deadly vapors for birds (won't do you any good either). Make a gift of stainless steel or glassware for cooking this yeat. Plan to clean non-stick self-cleaning ovens in the warm spring, summer or fall when you can move the birds and open the doors and windows and use fans. In the winter, move the bird to a friends house.
Make sure, if you heat with kerosene, that the fumes can be vented to outside areas or have a high ceiling. Malfunction- ing heaters should be fixed (need a new wick?) or scrapped and replaced. Keep them handy, however, should the electricity go off for days or hours.
Signs of poisoning are heavy breathing, cough, diarrhea, vomiting, unusual thirst, tremors, or your bird doesn't eat. In The Parrot In Health and Sickness* by Bonnie Doane of Chicago, there's a section on what to do in poisoning cases when NO VET IS AVAILABLE. There is a recipe using egg- white and activated charcoal.
Did you know you could give artificial respiration to your parrot? If he stops breathing, give mouth-to-NOSE resuscita- tion. If he is in shock, his feet will be cold. Handle the bird carefully and keep the bird quiet and warm, and call the vet you are on your way.
FINDING A VET before a problem is far better than at the crisis. Remember, Christmas and New Year's are holidays for vets too. Ask your vet for the nearest emergency clinic he/she recommends, just in case.
*#119.$24.95 plus s&h, even on magor credit car5d form Avian Publications, 1653 Briardale Rd, NE, Minneapolis, MN 55432. 1-800-577-BIRD (2473). What a nice Christmas present of your bird. You can read it to him.
When your birds are on display for your guests