|THE SECRETS BEHIND THOSE BEAUTIFUL FEATHERS!!|
Birds are unique
creatures for many reasons but one that is the most obvious is the fact
that they have feathers. After a bird is hatched,
their feathers are like a multitude of packages that will soon unwrap to reveal a glorious display of color!
Parrot feathers are a very beautiful and complex structure made up of four parts. The quill is the hollow end, the shaft is the long stem, and emanating from the shaft are the barbs, barbules and barbicels. The barbs are the strands coming from the shaft.The barbules and barbicels are small structures that act like a zipper to hold the feather together and give it strength.
Without feathers, birds would have no protection from heat, cold and water. Healthy and well groomed feathers act as insulation from extreme temperatures. Birds normally have high body temperature so the feathers help them maintain heat and stay warm. Parrots also use their feathers to show off. In the wild, a bird uses its feathers to impress potential mates. No wonder birds spend so much time preening. They have to look good!!!! And, of course, without feathers, birds would not have the ability of flight.
Healthy feathers are usually shiny, except in Cockatoos, African Greys, some Amazons, and Cockatiels. Feathers that have dark or discolored lines are usually a result of stress; possibly from illness, poor environment or malnutrition. Another sign of illness or malnutriton is a significant change in the feather color that is not the result of normal maturing. Seeking avian veterinary assistance is recommended in these situations.
A healthy parrot will preen their feathers many times a day to make sure they are clean. Preening is when a bird moves their beak through their feathers making them neat and clean. It similar to our combing or brushing our hair. Birds that fly know it is more difficult to fly with
dirty feathers as opposed to those that are well groomed.
Healthy parrots also go through molts. When feathers molt normally, an equal number are lost on both sides of the body. There are no bald patches and new pinfeathers are quickly seen. Birds continue to have the ability to fly in balance and old feathers protect the new blood-filled pinfeathers from damage and proper body temperature is maintained.
It does take considerable energy for a bird to molt and regenerate new feathers. Along with the energy it takes to raise babies, a bird's
nutritional and metabolic needs are greatest during a full molt. Molt is also a stressful period. Make sure a bird's environment is not excessively hot or cold. It is always important to maintain consistent household temperatures and if taking a parrot outside (with a carrier or harness), never expose them to extreme heat or cold.
Bathing or misting is especially important during the time of molt and make sure their nails are not overgrown because the bird will be
scratching itself as the itchy pin feathers mature.
Pair-bonded parrots groom each other and remove the new feather sheaths from their mate. However, you can assist your companion parrot by gently rolling these new head and neck feathers with your fingertips. Just make sure you wait until the pinfeathers are mature.
I have mentioned the importance of bathing or misting during molt. However, bathing and misting is VERY IMPORTANT all year round. I preferthe misters made for birds, as opposed to plant sprayers. The bird misters are much more gentle and do not have the typical red nozzle, which can be a danger sign to some species. Birds can also be taken into the shower by using a bird shower perch. Just remember to use room temperature water, as anything warmer will leach the oil from the feathers. Also, birds should be thoroughly misted or showered and given plenty of time to self dry. Do NOT use blow dryers or even towel dry. Birds have acces to neither in the wild :) And, blow dryers will only serve to defeat the purpose of the bathing. ---- And, lastly, bathing should be done early in the day. Waiting until late afternoon or evening will not give ample time for self drying and can be detrimental to a bird's health. REMEMBER - plain tap water or filtered water is best. I like to use Harrison's RAIN (a spray containing a small amount of aloe) immediately after my birds' bath.
A FABULOUS product I use every day is Avian Trio. It is a powdered whole food supplement that is safe to use with pellet based diets.
Otherwise, artifically manufactured vitamins with diets that contain pellets is vitamin overload. Avian Trio contains bee pollen, propolis
and royal jelly. Avian Trio contains a diverse supply of bioflavonoids,active enzymes and natural hormones. It is also a great source of free amino acids, essential fatty acids (including Omega 3), and carbohydrates. Every known vitamin is found in bee pollen. Over 25 trace minerals are also found in it and these minerals are naturally chelated so they are easily absorbed and assimilated.
Avian Trio's manufacturer is the only company that goes to the expense of keeping the pollen in cold storage - raw, unheated and unprocessed for freshness and nutritional integrity. It is the best human grade bee pollen product on the market.
Give the directed amount indicated on the jar. It is important to give a small amount of the maintenance dose and over a period of a week to ten days, build to the required daily amount. It should be given DAILY and put on something wet, it can stick to. After receiving the Avian Trio, immediately put it in the refrigerator.
I have been using Avian Trio with my own birds for well over 5 years. They are extremely healthy (I also provide them our Ultimate Blends and fresh fruit and vegetables daily) with incredible feathers. Any questions about any of the products mentioned in this article, please
visit our on-line store and or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
REMEMBER: a feather is a beautiful thing!
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