Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Long Weekends = Pet-Sitting

Holidays, long weekends and vacations mean good things for most people, but those words can send bird owners into a panic. "What will I do with the birds?" We're consumed with guilt about leaving them behind and assume that no one will be able to take care of them quite right.

I spent the July 4th weekend camping. That meant that Bixby needed a sitter. Luckily for me, I have a handy one in the neighborhood. We swap sitting services whenever a business trip or holiday pulls one of us away. I feel comfortable with her, because A) she's a bird owner and B) we go to the same vet, so I know her bird is healthy and vaccinated. A few weekends ago, I took care of her cockatiel. Bixby loved that 'tiel. I couldn't tell if he wanted to play with her or eat her, but he was VERY interested. He was hanging off of his cage trying to get her attention. Of course, I didn't let him anywhere close to her (his beak is way bigger!), but he enjoyed whistling at her and staring at her from across the room. She didn't even look at him twice.

If my pet-sitter is busy, I take Bixby to a bird boarder who has a state-of-the-art air filtration system and uses the diet that I specify. I also bring along the favorite toy of the hour as well as a perch, so he has the comforts of home.

I know he gets out of the cage time with both options, human interaction, and in some instances, other bird interaction. Of course, I still feel guilty and give him a nut as soon as I walk in the door, but I feel better knowing that Bixby's receiving quality care while I'm away.

Another option for those summer vacations ... take your pet along! A comfy carrier and fold-away cage can mean that your bird can accompany you on just about any type of trip.

What do you do with your birds while on vacation?

When we couldn't take him with us, my husband and I used to leave my conure with a couple we are good friends with - they were always around him, liked him and loved to have him out of the cage with them. They even took him for car rides, which is one of his favorite activities. But a couple of years ago he suddenly began acting aggressive with one of them and bit her whenever she came close to him. Out of respect for all involved, we started boarding our bird with the local avian vet. He gets lots of "people" time when he's with them, fresh fruit and veggies at dinner and other birds to talk to :)
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