Is your bird a perch potato? He could be if he’s eating an unhealthy diet, not exercising enough, or just plain overeating at the buffet! And if that’s not enough, obesity in birds can lead to serious health problems that can easily remain undetected until it’s too late!
Feeding birds a diet rich in seeds, nuts, and fruits may seem like the right thing to do, but in reality they contribute significantly to obesity and arteriosclerosis in birds because the available seeds, nuts, and fruits in the United States are usually higher in fat and cholesterol than those from the birds’ natural habitats. Pet birds benefit greatly from eating a wide variety of foods, including formulated diets, legumes, beans, and vegetables, augmented by some seeds, nuts, and fruits. Of course dietary recommendations often vary with different species, and some birds may benefit from dietary supplements.
In their natural environment, birds spend their days flying free, foraging for food, and playing with natural objects, making it extremely unlikely to find an obese bird in nature! Pet bird owners can help their birds be healthier by combating obesity and its associated diseases with special toys and food containers that stimulate activity, requiring the bird to work a little to get their food. In addition to many commercially available toys, some homemade solutions are as simple as putting food in paper cups, paper towel rolls, papers, or cardboard and placing them around the enclosure which provides mental and physical activity, limits time at the buffet, and makes for a happy and healthier bird.
Give your bird the gift of a routine wellness visit with your avian veterinarian. An ounce of prevention goes a long way when it comes to keeping birds happy and healthy because they are especially adept at hiding any signs of illness until their disease is welladvanced, and often untreatable.
Once a bird has left his perch in favor of the cage-bottom, it’s often too late for medical miracles, but today there is much an avian veterinarian can do, both medically and surgically, for your pet bird when common, chronic diseases such as kidney and liver disease are detected in the early stages. In fact, routine visits to your avian veterinarian enable respiratory diseases, gastrointestinal disorders, and infections to be accurately diagnosed and treated before your bird becomes outwardly sick.
Pet birds that are stimulated by their environment and fed healthy diets tend to be happy birds that are less likely to have behavioral problems. Don’t wait until your bird is showing symptoms to make a visit with your avian veterinarian – your bird’s life could depend upon it.
Compliments of Dr. Heather Bowles, DVM Brookeville Animal Hospital 301-774-9698