Mastering the art of safe and non invasive restraint techniques for your companion bird is essential for proper grooming and emergency first aid procedures.
One of the most primary lessons in our Parrot Life Seminars is a demonstration on proper towel restraint for various species of birds. It’s also one of the crucial items avian caretakers need to know in the event of an emergency or for grooming and general health assessment. In previous post we’ve discussed how HARI fledglings are desensitized to towel by teaching them towel cradling.
Fledglings learn very quickly that their towel is “OK” which makes grooming or emergency handling a less stressful situation. Well, what about parrots that were not towel trained…that can be challenging for the both the bird and the novice handler. In the same manner we practice fire drills or other emergency procedures at home or at work, we do recommend that you practice towel restraint with birds long before an actual emergency arises. With regular practice on a method that is non invasive, your feathered buddy will soon learn that this is “OK” too! If you are uncomfortable at first, ask your avian veterinarian or an experienced bird friend to assist.
So let’s begin this first lesson in a step by step guideline for Towel Restraint, but first take a moment to understand the cautionary statement about preparing your bird for a towel restraint!
CAUTION: Care must be taken never to apply pressure on the body of the bird. The bird’s air sacs are found throughout the body. Many handlers fail to realize that compressing the lower body (above the hips) can be suffocating to the bird!
If the bird shows signs of hypoventilation (rapid breathing and signs of overheating), then release the bird immediately to resume at a later time. Overweight and inactive birds have lower tolerance to restraint and stress. The towel will restrict movement of your bird if it is tucked properly.
TIPS: overweight birds or birds unaccustomed to handling can be sprayed with water prior to towel restraint. This cools the body temperature and actually eases the “wrap” process.
1. Assemble your tools :
Towels: choose a towel material that does not slip or one that does not shred or unthread easily, as nails tend to get caught in the loops and lose threads.
For All Size Birds
Gel Pad ( A Gel-type Seat cushion is perfect as it protects the bird’s shoulder region when he’s lying on his back on the counter)
Spray mist bottle with room temperature water
Advisable for 2 people
2 Large towels (3 X the size of the bird with wings expanded)
Velcro strap for larger bird restraint
2 Hand size towel-
Small Velcro strap
2. Place the Gel Pad Cushion on counter top for padding. You can use a large towel if you don’t have a cushion.
3. Place Open Velcro strip on the pad about where the bird middle section would be once he’s on the Gel Pad. It doesn’t have to be perfectly placed-but rather ready.