Video:How to Safely Handle a Birdwith Lorelei Tibbetts
Unlike humans, bird do not have diaphragms, so it is important to handle them carefully. Learn how to pick up and hold your pet bird the right way, and it will become a pleasurable experience for you both.See Transcript
Transcript:How to Safely Handle a BirdHi, I'm Lorelei Tibbetts, and I'm a licensed veterinary technician. Today, Sam and I are going to teach you how to properly restrain your bird, in case you should ever need to give him medication, take him to the vet, or transfer him to a carrier of some kind.
Where to Hold the BirdThe first thing you really need to know about birds is that they don't have a diaphragm, so unlike mammals who have a diaphragm, who use the diaphragm to go up and down in order to get air in and out of their lungs, birds need to expand their chest forward and back in order to breathe. So, the most important thing to remember is you can't restrain their chest - otherwise, you could suffocate your bird.
The other thing to understand is that they have complete tracheal rings, again, unlike us who have cartilage in the front. So, they have a very strong trachea, where you can restrain them around the neck, fairly firmly without danger of hurting them.
Handle the Bird's HeadYou need to really control their head. Obviously they've got pretty sharp beaks, and if your bird is trying to bite you, which he probably will because he'll be scared while he's wrapped in a towel and doesn't know what's going on. You want to make sure that that beak is restrained and doesn't have the opportunity to bite you. In addition, you want to make sure that the wings are not able to be flailing about, so, they don't risk fracturing of bone. We can start by taking a bird, like Sam.
Desensitize the Bird to TowelsThe last thing you want to do is really terrify your bird by throwing a towel over them. A good idea would actually be to desensitize your bird to a towel. Let them step on it, let them play with it, this is a really good idea to try at home, so that maybe your bird won't be quite so fearful of the towel. So, once you've desensitized your bird to the towel, should even arise that you need to wrap your bird up. You want to gently take the towel and drape it over the bird, good bird.
Handle the Bird SafelySo, now you can see I have Sam's head restrained in between my fingers – I have my thumb and my middle finger holding his cheeks, and my top finger is right on top of his head. So, I have his head restrained really well. In addition, I'm letting Sam hold onto me so that he feels comfortable. A lot of times, if their legs are flailing around, they don't feel good, and that's scary for them. So, let him hold your hand. I've also got the towel holding his wings in so he's not flapping and he's not scared. And, obviously as I mentioned the most important thing, his chest is raising and falling he's breathing perfectly fine. He is not in any danger right now.
Create a Sense of ComfortIn addition to giving your bird a birdie picnic by feeding him his favorite treats while on a towel, you could also try playing games with him. Tug-O-War, you could drape a towel over him and make it fun. The goal is to create a positive association with the towel. Rather than always associating it with a negative experience. If you follow this advice, you can be confident that your bird will feel secure in your hands.
Thanks for watching, to learn more visit us on the Web, at About.com.