Fun Things to do with your pet: Green Bean Test

One of my neighbors had a REALLY FAT golden retriever she adopted, that needed to be put on a diet, but even super-low-cal food wasn’t working, becuase Ella was still hungry and would open the cabinet to eat the whole bag.  Vet suggested that she needed a filler Food so she could feel full without the extra calories, and suggested canned green beans, which are mostly fiber and lean protein.

Ella fucking LOVES green beans.  She does a dance for them if you mention them.  Her ‘sibling’ the police academy washout shepherd, thinks she’s insane.

Even if your pet doesn’t like green beans*, offering them a canned green bean is inevitably HILARIOUS becuase they’ll either be thrilled or otherwise make strange faces.  Results so far:

Ella (golden retriever): Overjoyed.  gets up on her hind legs to dance without prompting.

Sampson (Black shepherd): Offended, yells until you give him REAL treats.

Cody (Gentleman shepherd): is concerned, becuase this is Obviously Not Food.  Gently takes it to be polite, leaves it out in the yard.

Minx (Domestic Shorthair cat): Smelly Toy Is Hilarious, batted under the couch.

Tiger (Really Fat Domestic Shorthair cat):  Total disgust, hissing and sulking in the Prosciutto box.  Came out and ate it later anyway.

Wanda (corn snake) we didn’t expect her to be interested but she spent like three minutes licking it.

Sadie AKA Marquis De Sade (Hyacinth Macaw)  ignored bean in favor of dumping can on the floor, sticking head in can and screaming.  Did not attempt to bite, which is Very Nice for her.

Arwen (Australian Kelpie): ate bean, waited until humans were out of the room to consume rest of the can, got costco-sized can stuck on face and pooped green for three days.  Regets nothing.

Empanada/Anderson Cooper/#3 (Plymouth Hens): Excited screaming, kickboxing tournament over possession of beans/can.  #3 was ultimately victorious, becuase She is Fattest.

Big Angus (scottish highland cow, I know, ironic): very polite and delicate acceptance of beans for appx 1700 lbs of beef, will now run full-tilt across pasture to meet me, which scared the crap out of me tbh.

Will post further updates as I am allowed to try.  

*Please always cionsult a vet before making any dietary changes or offering your pet new foods, but green beans are pretty safe for most pets you can keep in America

And because Henry is also an important part of our flock, I will share 10 facts about him as well!
…….
1. Henry’s name is a tribute to Rick’s late brother, Mac. There is a talking Linnie on YouTube named Henry and Mac was obsessed with his videos, so when Mac passed away and we brought home our new little one, we felt “Henry” was the perfect name to give him in memory.
2. Henry had been meant as a breeding bird, I reached out to his breeder to be waitlisted for a baby and she informed me she had a 1 year old cobalt male in need of a home. As he was not tame, she wanted an experienced home and thought we’d be a good fit, and so we adopted him.
3. Henry loves to sit on my head and preen me.
4. It took 8 months for Henry and Rick to bond, now they are inseparable.
5. Henry, much like Rick, has a love for hairband destruction.
6. Henry is timid but is more likely to try out a new toy than Rick.
7. His wings were clipped by the breeder when we got him, it took 6 months to grow them back out, now he zips around like a little fighter jet.
8. He is a BIG chewer, he will destroy anything he can get his little beak on.
9. Through Rick, he learned how to emulate the sounds his namesake makes and sounds EXACTLY like the bird in the videos.
10. He does NOT like our Red Couch, and is always horrified when he accidentally lands on it.

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The kea is the only alpine parrot on the planet, and is one of ten parrot species endemic to New Zealand.  It belongs to the same family as the precious moss potato, the kakapo, and the colourful kaka.  Its clownish nature is so well-known that a group of kea is called a circus!

Things People Don’t Tell You about Pet Birds

Here’s a list of things nobody told me before I got my bird.  You’re welcome to fact check and add your own experiences!  I hope this helps someone!

Possibly disturbing images of animal neglect below.

NEVER get a pet bird who lives alone a mirror for their cage.  They can choose their own reflection as a mate, which needless to say isn’t healthy and can be extremely sexually frustrating.  It’s much healthier to get even small birds foraging toys to entertain them.

BAD!

GOOD!

ALL birds need lots of social interaction if they’re going to remain mentally healthy!  This is especially important for birds that live in large groups in the wild like cockatoos, finches, and parakeets, but also true for “loner” birds like Senegals and African Greys.  Without the proper social interactions (hours a day with people or other birds) birds can get bored and pick up destructive habits like feather pulling, biting, and screaming, and even develop mental illnesses like depression or anxiety.  Yes, even parakeets.

Feather pulling removes a bird’s main way of staying warm, which can lead to life threatening things like hypothermia.

Parrot’s body temperatures are around 103 degrees Fahrenheit, much higher than humans, and largely thermoregulate through their feet.  Because of that and their small body size, they can get hyper or hypothermia fairly easily when compared to humans.  In hot months it’s important to provide them with a shallow dish of water they can cool off in, and in cold months, a heating pad or perch they can sit on to keep warm.  Parrots do best in a stable, relatively warm environment; while they can take slight changes, drastic changes in temperature can be very detrimental. Non-tropical/arid birds are a bit different from what I hear, so can’t really talk about them.

Parrot beaks constantly grow, so it’s important to provide lots of chewing fodder (I like to call them sacrifices) for your parrot to chew on or get their beaks trimmed by a professional.  

These can be hard calcium treats, wood, and other natural materials.  Some can be plastic but I wouldn’t recommend those as they can be swallowed and impede digestion or become a choking hazard.

Birds are prey animals!  They’re typically very nervous because they’ve been hardwired for centuries to be on the lookout for things that want to eat them.  They’ll get nervous around new things, strange noises, and new people.  They can learn to overcome some fears by careful desensitization, lots of social interaction, and a calm, careful owner.  It’s VERY important to keep them away from predatory animals (dogs, cats, etc.), as it can cause unnecessary stress on the animals.  If they absolutely have to interact, do so in a controlled environment and with one or both in separate carriers, cages, or pens.  Know your animals, pay careful attention to their body language, and be prepared to step in if either looks stressed or aggressive.

My parrot Apollo meeting my friend’s cat, the right way.

Just like humans, birds have dietary needs that must be met if they’re to remain healthy.  A few of the most important are Vitamin D (sunlight!), calcium (especially important in hens), and protein (required to grow healthy beaks, claws, and feathers).  The easiest ways to take care of the first two is to provide your bird with lots of sunlight (direct or indirect depends on the bird) and a constant supply of cuttlebones or calcium treats.  There are several different diet plans out there for all kinds of birds, but all agree that birds CANNOT live off nothing but seeds.  This can cause fatty liver disease and early death, even in otherwise healthy birds.  All parrots are usually fed a diet of pellets, fruits, and vegetables, but the ratios really depend on who you ask.

Here’s a few food pyramids for parrots:

Birds absolutely CANNOT be fed:

  • Avocados
  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Any greasy, salty chips/popcorn or any processed “human food” 
  • Dairy
  • Alcohol (I shouldn’t have to say this)
  • Apple seeds
  • Feel free to add on

Before you feed your bird ANYTHING, please look it up and make sure it’s safe!

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What is the strange dinosaur doing?

Source: http://instagram.com/himawari_the_googlyeyes

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Kea are known for being utterly fearless around humans. This can be both a blessing and a curse; on the one hand, many tourists fall in love with the kea’s comical antics.  On the other, this fearlessness combined with the parrot’s natural curiosity has led them to cause significant damage to property.  Kea have been known to rifle through clothes, open backpacks, strip windshield wipers and rubber sealant from cars.  They are also unrepentant thieves, flying away with anything that catches their fancy.  One kea flew through the open window of a camper van, making away with a bag containing $900 of a tourist’s money.  And a Scottish tourist got the shock of his life when a kea flew off with his passport!  The tourist in question stated: “My passport is somewhere out there in Fiordland. The kea’s probably using it for fraudulent claims or something. I’ll never look at a kea in the same way.”

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Anger birb strikes again

Source: http://instagram.com/himawari_the_googlyeyes