Merlin's Cage: The Tiel Station

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By: Gary Nash
Cockatiel: Merlin


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Directly from the Cage:

Out of the Nest




Cleaning & Other Procedures


    In addition to a well balanced diet, hygiene is also an important issue, to keep your bird healthy.

Aspects Covered:


Cleaning the Cage:
    The cage needs to be changed at least every 2 days, since birds constantly poop. The whole cage needs to be cleaned at least every weekend which involves cleaning the perches, toys, and cups. Basically its rinsing the cage.


Cage Bedding:
    Most cages feature a tray at the bottom, in which you can easily change the bedding you use.Kaytee Bedding Litter Newspaper or bedding litter sold in pet shops work well. I sometimes use the bedding litter, as it is easier to clean and empty out. Also, some birds do like to chew on the newspaper that you put at the bottom (I had that problem for a while), making a bigger mess. It all leads down to preference call.



Cleaning Perches, toys, and feeding cups:
    If the perches are made out of wood, try NOT to get them wet when cleaning. Damp perches can cause your bird to get sore feet and possibly other infections. Use a piece of sand paper to scrape off any poop or dirt on the wooden perches. Clean (well actually rinse) all toys, cups, and plastic perches well. Try not to use any type soap when cleaning, just water.


Cleaning the bird:
    You don't really have to worry about cleaning the bird, as the bird will basically clean itself. You can provide your bird with a bird bath, but don't ever force your bird to take a bath. Mites & Lice are another issue. If your bird has lice or mites, there are some sprays that you can use to treat them. But there are a few things you need to know about these sprays. First, not all sprays are bird safe. Some Mite repellents are toxic to birds and can even cause liver cancer. Never spray your bird on the head or near the eyes, nostrils, or beak. If you are going to use a spray to treat mites or lice, always talk to your vet to see what is ok to use, and always spray lightly on the wings and body feathers away from the head and away from the cage, food and water cups.
        Please check out this link for more information on Mites & Lice and how to treat it:

               Other Procedures


Wing Clipping:
   Wing clipping can be considered a way to protect your bird, but I feel that it can also be unfair to the bird. Birds love to fly, and this privilege should be something that shouldn't be taken away from the bird. Unless your in the process of taming or training the bird, then I feel that the bird should have at least one wing unclipped. However, that is how I feel, and its your choice if you want to do it or not. If you want to clip your bird's wing(s), be sure to consult your Vet or an experience person to learn the procedures. After you are sure of what to do, then you can clip them yourself. Be sure to keep a First Aid Kit with you in case your bird starts to bleed.

Note: I have opted to clip my bird's wings. Though I'm not really fond of the idea, past incidents have forced me to do it. I have lost a very special parakeet and even Merlin has taken off quite a few times, though I have managed to bring him back. I usually leave at least one wing unclipped. Again, its your call. If you can manage to provide a very safe environment and take extra precautions with your birds, then by all means leave the wings unclipped.


Claw Clipping:
There may be a time where the bird's claw will be too long. Normally, when one of my budgie's claw gets to long, I just take it to the local experienced breeders (the place where I got Merlin), and they will do the job. Wood perches help in keeping the nails at a good trim as well.
     Clipping the claw: Make sure you have good lighting around you. If you do, you will be able to see the vein in the claw. Have styptic powder with you in case bleeding was to occur. Cut the tip of each claw, or on the overgrown claw. Better yet, you can even file the nails. This procedure usually works and is better in preventing bleeding. Making sure that your bird's claw doesn't get to long is a must, because then, it will go to the point in which the bird will get caught in just about any material and cloth that it comes across to.


Beak Clipping:
      If you provide your bird with cuttlebone, and other chewing toys, then this shouldn't be a problem. However, if you do go into the point in which your bird's beak is too long, then clipping (trimming) the tip will have to do. Talk to your vet or a experience person for help on this procedure.


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