Archive for November, 2009


New Free Issue of Good Bird Magazine

November 25, 2009

Early last year, Barbara Heidenreich was nice enough to offer readers of Best in Flock a free e-copy of her wonderful Good Bird Magazine. She redesigned her site recently and not only is she continuing to offer a free digital sample to followers of this blog, but she’s offering a newer issue. So even if you took advantage of the offer previously, you can now follow the updated link here to grab another free sample.

If you’ve never seen Good Bird Magazine, you’ll be impressed with the sheer volume of great info on parrot behavior and parrot training in each issue. Please check it out, and if you like it, be sure to subscribe to the print magazine.


To grab your copy of this free digital sample of GoodBird, please visit my previous post and follow the instructions on how to request your copy.

Related Links:



Beak Appetit Went Out of Business

November 14, 2009

According to their website, Beak Appetit has shut down due to economic pressures. Beak Appetit Gourmet Entrees are popular pre-made meals for parrots that are super easy to serve (just add water and boil for a few minutes) and come in a variety of appealing flavors. They are (were) a great way to offer some variety into your birds diet on those days when you just don’t have time to cook for them.

I think a bunch of stores probably have them on sale now because they are clearing the remaining inventory. But even if they aren’t discounted, this is probably your last chance to get your hands on this brand of cooked bird food.

Flavors include:

  • Cream of Tweet is a mix of bananas, dates, rice, raisins, and other grains.
  • Instant Nuts for Alfredo is made up of cous-cous, other grains, nuts, and vegetables in a cheese sauce.
  • Cinnamon Sunrise contains apples, coconut, raisins, cous-cous, and other grains.
  • Instant Calypso Spice is a combination of grains, nuts, fruits, vegetables, and exotic spices.
  • Caribbean Crunch contains grains, peas, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and Caribbean spices.
  • Cheese Teaser combines grains, vegetables, and nuts with an irresistible cheese taste.
  • Apple Carrot Harvest has apples, carrots, vegetables, and grains
  • Veggie Heaven contains carrots, red/green peppers, peas, broccoli, anise seed

There’s also a variety pack that includes the first six flavors of Beak Appetit so you can sample what your little beaks might have an appetite for.

For now, you can still get Beak Appetit at Drs. Foster and Smith. So hurry up and grab up your favorite flavors before they are all gone. Bon appetit!


The Importance of a Good Birdsitter

November 3, 2009

A recent, last-minute trip out of town reinforced my appreciation for my friends. Despite already dogsitting for one sick dog and some personal issues of their own, they graciously let me drop my birds off at their house when I had to rush out of town on a family emergency. When I came back a few days later, my birds were happy to get home, but none worse for wear.

Mika in her travel cage

Contrast that with two birdsitting horror stories I heard about. In one case, a young woman left her flock of small birds under a friend’s care and came to find two of them missing upon her return. It turns out they had died and the friend wigged out and refused to explain what happened. Eventually, she confessed that the two escaped out the door and she had to catch them with a net… the experience so stressed the birds out that one died from a heart attack and the other sustained critical injuries. The second story was not quite as tragic, but also disturbing. Another woman left her macaw with a friend and when she got the bird back home, it refused to eat its bird food and was getting aggressive when asked to go back in its cage — something it had never done before. Apparently the friend had fed the bird nothing but pancakes with syrup and allowed the bird to roam around the house unsupervised when the birdsitter was gone. Now the bird expected to be fed junk food and wasn’t used to his routine of mid-day cage time anymore.

Both these stories underscore that you can’t just leave your birds with just anybody… even if it’s someone who “likes” birds. You wouldn’t leave your children with someone who isn’t mature enough to talk to you if something goes wrong, or someone who blatantly disregards your instructions regarding their health and safety. For the same reasons, you shouldn’t leave your birds with people you can’t trust to follow your wishes regarding your birds’ well-being.

When leaving your bird with a birdsitter, at the very least you should provide clear directions about:

  • Your bird’s diet (what food it gets and how much, what kinds of treats and how often, what foods are NO-NO’s)
  • Important safety precautions (no chemicals, no teflon, etc)
  • Whether and how your bird is allowed out of its cage (e.g., never go outside with the bird!)
  • When and how to reach your avian vet/ Signs of illness

And you should be able to expect your bird sitter to follow those instructions. Ideally, your bird sitter also likes birds and will pay lots of attention to them.

Don't let your friends feed your bird junk food. Photo by shesaleo licensed under Creative Commons.

If none of your friends like or are comfortable around parrots, consider lining up some birdsitting resources before you run into a last-minute emergency; when you’re stressed out and in a hurry is not the best time to start interviewing sitters. Start looking now.

While pet-sitters who advertise through Craig’s List and similar online classifieds might be fine, you should also consider other sources, such as recommendations from people you trust. Remember, a dog-sitter isn’t necessarily qualified to take care of your birds.

Some ideas for where to find a good bird-sitter:

  • Your local bird club. If you’re a member of a club, you can get to know other people with whom you can trade bird sitting services. The advantage is that you may not need to pay anything if you trade and you have the advantage of picking people you know and like personally. Phoenix Landing, for example, has a list-serve for sharing information with its volunteers and adoptive families, which also includes a database of members who are available if fellow members need a bird sitter.
  • Your avian vet. Vets usually know of pet sitters who come recommended by their clients. Some also offer boarding services.

Keep in mind that anytime you board your birds where a lot of other birds are present, you run some risk of exposing them to avian diseases. How big of a risk depends on the situation and may or may not be a calculated risk worth taking.

So, do you have any bird sitting horror stories? Or do you (and your birds) love your bird sitter? If so, where did you go to find people to watch your birds when you’re out of town?