Are Remote Controls Poisonous to Birds ?

Parrot eating remote control
If you have a small bird like a cockatiel, all you have to do is flip your remotes over and they can’t get to the buttons.
For larger birds you need to get them out of the bird site. We all get a lot of chuckles telling stories about how I birds nibbled on the remote buttons. Generally speaking, they like the buttons because they see you play with the buttons so they want to play with “your” toys.

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Why AviCalm Works for Feather Plucking Birds

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We discovered the benefits of theanine ( which is the active ingredient in Avicalm) by accident while researching natural sedatives on the web. Studies had been taking place in Japan regarding the use of L-theanine for general stress control and PMS symptom reduction in adult humans, on children with ADD and cats and dogs exhibiting aggressive and obsessive-compulsive disorders. The results of the studies had been promising so we decided to research further and found out some interesting things about green tea, theanine and stress control.

Scientists in Japan, where there is a large population of green tea drinkers, were puzzled over why people who drank copious amounts of this stuff (even though it contains large amounts of caffeine) were relaxed and not jittery after drinking several cups. After several years of research they isolated the compound that provided this relaxation and found it to be an amino acid, which they named L-theanine.
L-theanine has been found to directly stimulates the production of alpha brain waves. These brain waves are associated with awake, yet relaxed, state in humans (and animals)., And this is why birds who are on Avicalm are not in a druggie, foggy stupor that are calmer and less stressed. This state can lead to less biting, less plucking and less overall aggressive behavior.
After we conducted our research, we decided to try it on our birds. On a typical rainy, cold Thanksgiving weekend while the birds were having screaming fits over the fog banks. They saw drifting by their Windows. We decided to try it on our birds. We gave them a dose on their food in an hour later we heard nothing. So much nothing that we ran into the bird room, wondering what was wrong. We didn’t find anything wrong, except for room full of content quiet birds. It was our first quiet Thanksgiving weekend in 20 years.
.We also found through our research that our Avicalm can calm down birds enough to help them stop rather plucking., Especially one used in conjunction with Featheriffic. The lectithin in Featheriffic! boost the effectiveness of the Avicalm in the B vitamins, flax and amino acids in the Featheriffic! helps grow back feathers.
The best way to administer human grade AviCalm is with the Featheriffic! on food. Even better is to double the dose of the Avicalm for the first week and then returned to the regular dose after seven days. We have birds here that will eat the Avicalm right out of the palms of our hands.
Less effective is adding it to your birds water as you cannot effectively control and monitor intake., But if your bird will not accept Avicalm and or Featheriffic on their food and adding it to their water bowl is acceptable, if less beneficial alternative
Janelle Crandell at Avitech
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What Customers Say
“Janelle, I will send you pictures of the mutilated Goffin’s that I wrote you about. Mango is feathered and wound free. She is even growing feathers on her back and legs that have been naked for years. She has been on the products (AviCalm & Featheriffic) since we took her in in January.” Rose – CA
“My lovebird was plucking and mutilating and I put him on your AviCalm and he stopped and now he is fully feathered. I also tried the AviCalm on two of my male pet African Greys who were becoming aggressive towards each other. They settled down immediately and acted like best friends again. I love your products!” Shari – Florida

Does My Male Cockatiel Need a Bird Friend?

2 Platinum Lutino Cockatiels
Hello… love your posts. Question…we have a male cockateil. He’s about 9 – 10 years old. He’s happy, healthy, and very cool. I think he need a bird friend though. Do you recommend another cockateil. Thanks much. It’s so nice to have an expert to ask.

Hi MaryAnn – thank you for the kind words. It’s important to remember that currently you and others in your family are your cockatiels, “flock” by introducing a new bird into the family you may lose your current bird as a “pet” it also depends upon how much interaction you have with your bird. We have a lone cockatiel that we’ve only had for six months, but she’s with us all the time, including coming to work with us daily so she’s quite happy. If youy bird is alone for long work days, then yes, perhaps a second bird may be in order again. There’s no predicting the outcome of the relationship

Thank you so much for your advice. PB is very social. He used to be out of his cage a lot at my daughters. She had dogs that liked him and would never harm him. I can’t say that about one of the dogs here. She’s always stalking birds outside. She seems to like PB. Once when he had one of the nightscare fits she went over to his cage and literally seemed to be telling him he was okay. Anyway, long story short, my daughter divorced and we ended up with PB. He sings, he barks like a dog, gets them all stirred up and I actually think at this point he thinks he’s one of them. He’s in the living room and we are in this room a lot, me, since I write I’m the room 10-12 hours a day. 
I guess since I know dogs like other dogs around and horses are herd animals that I thought he might like a friend. Thank you again for your advice.

Have a Bird? Will You Accept My Challenge?

Windy City Parrot is located in the geographical center of the City of Chicago in the neighborhood known as Ukrainian Village (about 3 miles from downtown Chicago). Catherine and I live about 2000 feet from the Birdie Boutique so one of us walks to work every day (usually her).

Because I am the late riser I’m the one who usually takes Popcorn to work in a backpack bird carrier, quite handy for walking with a bird. Dogs are in an integral part of families and it’s apparent in our neighborhood. Also apparent is the lack of training many dogs have.
Humans are usually talking on their cell phones while the dogs are pulling them wherever the shadow of a squirrel is seen. Many times when I pass a dog walker I have to wait for the retractable leash to shorten so I know which side of the sidewalk to pass on.
In the 70s and 80s I was a Musher with a couple of sled dog teams, showing Malamutes and Huskies as well. In the 80s and 90s I bred a dozen or more champion Standard Poodles. I understand the importance of a trained pet that respects the binding relationship between human and animal regardless of species.
I read lots of bird related Facebook threads with 40,000 engaged fans (THANK YOU!). I read about all the reasons we clip our birds wings which makes me pause and ask “how much effort are we making to train our birds with serious one-on-one time?” The biggest objection people have to keeping their birds flighted is “I don’t want the bird to have an accident by flying into a wall or a window and breaking it’s neck.”

Many of us know or know someone who’s been through driver education with a teenager. You’d be considered a heretic if you had a teenage driver who is ready to start driving and you simply handed them the keys with no practice. They’re guaranteed to have an accident, very quickly. If you’ve ever though about moving forward with having a flighted bird think of it as teaching a student driver – it’ll be rough at first but in a few weeks merging onto the interstate will no longer be a white knuckler.
Flighted Bird Rule Number Two: Teach your bird where landing zones are in each room. Have them fly to the target multiple times. Focus on one target for two or three days or however long it takes. This way when they fly into a room from a different room they know where to expect to land and will adjust the flight path
Assuming you’re confident that the bird can in fact fly again start by introducing your bird to a designated landing zone by gently tossing the bird from 1 foot away and increase the distance daily. Include the bird’s main cage as a landing zone as well. Birds not used to flight can crash chest first into the wall of the cage at high speed, but from a foot away they can land with one flap making the necessary adjustments, keeping the body vertical enabling them to know they need to extend their feet using them to grab the bars and not to use their chest as an airbag. If you’re lucky enough to have a cage with some sort of landing door or play area atop the cage, so much the better. If not consider a single bolt on perch or a landing platform on the outside of the cage if no intuitive landing place is available on the cage.
This second objection to having a flighted bird in the house is “I don’t want the bird to escape and fly out the door” So this isn’t a problem with dogs or cats right? Every new dog or cat that enters a household instinctively knows not to run out and run away when a door is open – NOT!
Flighted Bird Rule Number One: Always know where your bird is in the house. If I lose track of where Popcorn is, I whistle. She whistles back. We repeat the mutual whistle and what we have created is a form of low tech birdie Doppler Radar If she’s not on a designated landing area I put her on my finger, move her to a designated landing area and let her chomp a piece of millet the moment her feet touch the proper landing area (any high value treat will work) 
When Popcorn is at work with us, she remains in the cage because the front door opens a lot.
She can’t fly away if she’s in the cage. At home she is rarely in the cage until it’s birdie bedtime. Both our front and back door have vestibules. Even so we will both verbally acknowledge the birds precise location before any entry door is open in the house – SOP (standard operating procedure). It’s not hard.
Here’s my challenge: Would you consider, as it gets closer to wing clipping time (wings start creating lift) , make a plan to set up one or two landing zones in your home? Schedule it. We’re talking 10 to 15 minutes a day people. That’s all you need to start. 
Think about the fun you’ll have when the bird to flies to you and lands on your shoulder or hand. I’m starting to do that with Popcorn using a clicker and a tiny bit of a millet spray that I keep in my left hand rewarding her with the click and some millet spray when she lands on my right shoulder. It’s been a week and she’s got it right once. She’s becoming a great little flyer.
Simple Home Preparation Tips: The tops of the shower rods in the bathroom or bedroom closet doors are favorites of birds because of the height and the thickness of the rod or door. Those two factors combined make it ideal for a birds-eye-view. 
Keep a “poop towel” handy for the shower rod. Pooping down the front or the inside of a closet door is more of a problem.. For protection you can fold a long piece of cardboard or couple of sheets of news paper over the top the door to shield and collect poop. Or have a playstand in the room. Another alternative is to hang a single bungee from the ceiling with an inexpensive swag hook
We’re privileged enough to have these remarkable creatures in our lives, but we don’t always take advantage of this relationship. Birds are smart. One of Catherine’s favorite sayings is “big bird, big brain” referring to Macaws, Cockatoos. African Greys, Eclectus, but on the flipside I’ve seen highly trained Budgies. Many small birds including finches and budgies can be trained.
If you don’t know how to start, try clicker training. Here’s a blog post I wrote last year at this time laying out the simple argument that a three dollars investment can be life-changing
Let me leave you with this this visual. Since ever having been kept as caged birds, Budgies have been treated like “disposable” pets. Five dollar birds, fed poor diets, living in spartan cages. Potential life spans of 10 or 15 years ( I knew of a 26 year old keet) end up being 2. “They’re messy” “they won’t sit on my finger” “they can’t talk.”
Proper nutrition, well thought out cage environment and a little daily one-on-one time will take the relationship with your bird(s) to a higher level even with parakeets. I can promise you after watching this video your respect for these incredible little birds will soar. BTW all these birds are flighted!
Mitch Rezman
CMO Windy City Parrot

The Unintended Consequences of Living with Wings & Beaks

budgie on branch another budgie flying towards first budgie


It’s no secret I’m in favor of leaving birds flighted, especially now that I have Popcorn following me around the apartment in the morning as we get ready for work, a subject I speak about in this blog post.

I designated this past Friday as “Free Flight Friday” on Facebook and asked the following question:

“In spite of being prey animals, parrots have a great deal of confidence in the wild.

They have the absolute perfect defense – flight.

Read moreThe Unintended Consequences of Living with Wings & Beaks

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