Our pet birds depend on us for their safety and well-being, so it is important to be prepared should they need us to act quickly and decisively in the face of an emergency. No one wants to be in the midst of a natural disaster and realize they are not at all prepared. Take the time to put together an emergency plan and supplies for every possible situation, and you have a good chance of saving your birds in the face of even the gravest situation.The Home Preparedness List
Be sure to have these supplies on hand for any emergency, whether it be a fire, natural disaster, or bleeding injury. This list is more for pet bird owners. Breeders would have many other items on hand to deal with slow crops, dehydration, and other issues.
Styptic powder (for toenails, not skin)
Corn starch and household flour (bleeding skin/feathers)
Vet tape/gauze wrap
Towels for handling birds
Carriers for removal of birds
Emergency water supply
Emergency food supply
Survival blankets (these can supply warmth when there is no electricity)
Brooder/Hospital Cage (plastic reptile container will often work for most small to medium parrots)
Emergency Phone List
Blood Feather Emergency
This is an emergency no one wants to think about. Your bird is bleeding profusely and you can’t stop it. If you have a large parrot, it could be panicking and biting you.
What You Need: Corn starch or household flour to stop the bleeding, a towel for holding the bird, hemostats, needle-nosed pliers, and a good set of tweezers.
What To Do: If you can stop the bleeding with the corn starch or flour, great. Remember that styptic powder is only good on toenails–it burns on live tissue and will make it harder to handle your bird in this possibly life-threatening situation.
If you can stop the immediate bleeding emergency, then take the bird to the vet to remove the feather and assure that your bird is fine. Remember the bleeding can easily start again–the hollow shaft of the feather is like a hose and can cause serious blood loss should the bleeding start again without you realizing it.
If you need to get that feather out NOW, get a good grip on the broken feather with the pliers or tweezers (tweezers work best on small birds or small feathers). Give a good, deliberate pull to remove the feather from the base. Don’t twist or hesitate–quick and clean is best since you don’t want to break the feather close to the skin, which can make it very difficult to remove.
For larger parrots, you will need someone to towel the bird and handle it for you while you find the culprit and remove it. It is a good idea to have some people you know you can count on in such an emergency. Prepare them in advance for the possibility.
This brings us to the Bird Emergency Contact List. This is similar to the list parents put on the fridge for their babysitters. It should list your vet, a backup vet, poison control, and friends who have agreed to come over and help you should you need them to handle your bird. Remember, prepare them in advance for the job they might have to do so they are not nervous and hesitant when they actually have to prepare (This will also help you to know who should NOT be on your list because they will be too uncomfortable or fearful handling your bird. You want someone who is confident about helping.)
Tornado warnings, hurricane evacuations, earthquakes, fires! What do you do if you have seven birds and only two carriers? Don’t let this happen to you. Check in next week for our preparedness tips for fires and natural disasters.