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Winter Storm Preparedness for Pet Birds

Caring for Exotic Birds During Blizzards and Ice Storms

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Extreme winter weather can paralyze entire communities and make it difficult for people to function -- let alone take care of creatures like exotic birds, who are built for living in places that are situated close to Earth's equator, with warm, temperate climates year round. What is a bird owner to do when faced with the threat of a big winter storm? As with most severe weather situations, preparation is key to surviving and thriving during the storm. At the first sign of an impending blizzard, ice storm, or other extreme winter weather, follow this checklist to make sure that you and your feathered friend are ready to take on anything that the storm can throw at you -- even if it's two feet of ice and snow!

Have a reliable heat source.

It goes without saying that parrots and other types of pet birds need to be kept warm. After all, most pet bird species come from tropical climates, so they have not evolved to be able to tolerate low temperatures. During blizzards and other types of winter storms, it is imperative that you are able to provide your bird with safe heating. If your home has central heat and air, then you and your pet should be fine unless you lose power during the storm. You may want to buy a generator as a safeguard for situations like these -- gas heaters and fireplaces can provide heat, but are not safe for birds due to the chemicals they release into the air. Heating with sources like these can actually cause greater health problems for your bird than being cold can.

Have an adequate supply of food.

When a winter storm hits, it can make it difficult to leave your house for several days, and in some cases, even up to a week. Therefore, it is important that you make sure that you have enough food on hand for your bird to last until you are able to leave again. Stock up on a good commercial seed and pellet mix and make sure that you have plenty of bird-safe fresh foods in your kitchen that you can supplement your bird's diet with. Variety is not only the "spice of life", it means essential vitamins and nutrients that can help your bird get through stressful, harsh conditions like extreme weather.

Protect your bird from drafts.

Drafts can literally mean death for an exotic bird, and according to many experts, are even more dangerous than exposing a bird to constant lowered temperatures. To prevent your bird from being exposed to drafts during a winter storm, you may want to relocate your pet's cage to a central part of your home, away from exterior doors and windows. You can also consider covering your bird's cage with a blanket at night and even during the day if necessary, to keep in precious heat.

Consider taking a trip.

If you are able to and you have enough notice that a big winter storm is coming, you may consider leaving town to stay with a friend, family member, or even at a hotel for a few days until the weather clears up. You can't be too careful when your bird's health is at risk, and if you are afraid that you may lose power and have no other way to provide adequate heating for your pet, skipping town for a little while may be your best best. If this is an option for you and your family, do what you can to make traveling with your bird as smooth a venture as possible. Having to evacuate your home is never fun, but when you do your best to make sure your bases are covered, it can do wonders in terms of reducing stress for all involved.
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