Sunday, November 25, 2007

PDD Birds Need Homes

I received the following email recently from Mary-Jo Meyer at Milo's Ranch, an exotic bird rescue and sanctuary in southern Florida.

"Our focus has been on the rescue, study, and treatment of PDD infected birds. After nearly ten years, we have been forced to close our doors due to the lack of funding. We are in desperate need of homes for approximately 50 (fifty) exposed and/or infected birds. I understand your rescue consists of physically healthy birds, however we are at the end of our rope and I refuse to allow euthanasia to be the solution. So we are alerting everyone we can."

I wrote a reply to Mary-Jo asking for details on the birds so that I can help spread the word to get these birds rehomed. PLEASE pass this around to anyone and everyone you know so that these birds can live out their natural lives in a safe environment.

"All the birds are in my personal care right now. We had to down-size from 12.5 acres to 1.25 which could become tricky if the neighbors become impatient. I've compiled a list of the birds. There are also 7 cockatoos who are now in the care of a horse rescue. I'm not sure if they'll be staying there. They may also be added to the list. All of the birds listed here have been biopsied positive for PDD or have been exposed. None of them have shown any signs of illness in a number of years. They live in various flights. I would prefer they stay that way, however if I can identify who loves who best, I would be willing to separate them into pairs or small groups.

Marty - wild caught blue and gold macaw. Plucked over most of her body. She has head, tail and wing feathers. Doesn't mind being in the house and taking treats out of your hand, just don't try to touch her. Has her own 5x7 walk in (approx).

Kojak - red fronted macaw. He is missing the right wing, plucked, has wing and tail feathers. Wild-caught, doesn't mind people being around, but would probably prefer to live with a VERY mellow female. Has same type cage as Marty.

Savanna - red lored amazon. May be suitable as a pet with alot of patience. She was an abused bird.

Baby - Mexican red headed amazon. May be suitable as a pet with alot of patience. Her left leg turns out, but has no trouble perching. Prefers men.

Larry & Moe - Quakers. They are nest mates and should stay together.

KC (Nanday conure) and Max (Quaker) - Bonded, should stay together.

Baby through Max live together. The little guys enjoy each other. I don't think Baby could care less)

15 to 20 quakers, various conures, and 3 cockatiels. All live together in an aviary. A few have wing issues and 1 mitred conure is blind, but does well as long as the food is always in the same place.

No Name (Mealy amazon) and Bo (Bodini amazon). Have recently bonded in the aviary. Would like to keep them together.

Aspen (Major Mitchell's) and Willow (Medium Sulphur crested). Aspen is OLD and blind and can't fly. Willow lost her top beak to mate aggression. They live in a 4x4x6(ish) alone. Willow needs her pellets ground and gets cockatiel seed. Must stay together. Cage included.

Nasty (orange winged amazon). Lives up to his name. I believe he is wild caught. Has done well in this mixed aviary, but doesn't get along with every bird.

If someone were willing to take the whole group that includes Nasty, the Mealy and Bo, quakers, conures and tiels, the aviary (approximately 10x10x8tall) would be included.

Please either contact Mary-Jo Meyer at or myself (Irena) at if you can help in ANY way at all. Please help.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Feathers Bird Clinic Question of the Day

What treatments are available for a feather picking umbrella cockatoo? The bird has been vet checked. I've tried about everything, except a collar, which I wouldn't do unless the bird was mutilating. Bach flower essences and aloe vera did not help.

Dr. Karen Becker's Answer:
Unfortunately, feather picking is one of the most frustrating syndromes for avian veterinarians and owners alike. You mentioned your bird was "vet checked", which is important. There are a variety of reasons birds feather pick and we can't always assume it's behavioral in origin. It's important you know your bird is free from diseases, including PBFD (psittacine beak and feather disease) and Chlamydia (psittacosis). It's also important your veterinarian does bloodwork to make sure internal organ funciton is normal. A Giardia parasite test should also be a part of the work-up. After this comprehensive vet check your veterinarian may conclude the picking is more of an emotional issue, which means there are no physical abnormalities causing the behavior
At this point it's important to evaluate the bird's environment and diet. Were there any abnormal circumstances surrounding the start of your bird's picking? A family member leaving for college, a divorce or death of another bird? Was the cage moved to a different spot in the home? A new baby? Many people don't realize that birds will pick up on the general stress level in the home. If you are stressed, angry or hostile your bird knows it.
Is the bird eating wholesome, living foods? Are fresh fruits and veggies a daily part of the diet? A pelleted (preferably organic, dye-free) diet is imperative. Is the bird allowed to eat junk food? Dairy and meats? A balanced diet is not only important to maintain normal physical well-being but very important when the body must repair itself or produce new plumage. Consider adding a source of essential fatty acids, such as red palm oil or coconut oil, if the bird has been consuming seeds. Also consider a full spectrum (UV) light.
Once the diet and environment has been evaluated (and all controllable factors corrected), it's time to consider all the treatment options. Traditionally, avian vets have used human psychotropic drugs, tricyclic anti-depressants, antihistamines or hormones to help alleviate the urge to chew. Depending on the reason and severity of the case these medications may be minimally to significantly effective. Downsides include drowsiness and lethargy as well as potential internal organ changes, including liver and kidney enzyme elevations. Sometimes owners don't see any side effects, but also don't see any improvement. Some owners and veterinarians are not willing to use these medications because of the potential side effects.
Some drug-free options we use at Natural Pet Animal Hospital include aquapuncture, herbal therapy, homeopathy and flower essence therapy. Aquapuncture involves injecting tiny blips of vitamin B12 at acupuncture points known to balance emotions and promote a sense of well-being...the Chinese call these "Shen" points. I used this technique on my own Timneh after I rescued her. She required 8 treatments one week apart. That was 4 years ago. She had been pick-free since then...until April 26th! That week she was in the middle of a moult. It must have itched something fierce. I awoke on the 26th to find a cage full of chewed new and covert feathers. I was shocked and quite dismayed. I gave her an aquapuncture treatment that day and included points for itchy skin. She has not picked since...but her tattered appearance is there until the next moult!
We also use calming herbs like St. Johns Wart, L-theanine, Passion Flower, Hops, and Valerian to take the edge off of stressed birds. Dosing is always consult an avian vet before supplying these herbs to your birds. Homeopathy is a wonderful, natural way of encouraging your bird to become more emotionally balanced. Homeopathic remedies are dispensed based on your bird's unique symptoms, so you need to work with a homeopathic practitioner..
You mentioned you tried Bach flower essences. I have had some good luck using flower essences, but they need to be selected and prepared correctly. Did you work with a Bach flower therapist? I have not heard many success stories about people adding Rescue Remedy to their bird's water and, in turn, improving their bird's feather picking condition. However, I have seen first hand the wonderful effects of accurately assessing a bird's condition according to Edward Bach's methods. Then blending, storing and dispensing essences correctly to achieve the desired effect.
The most difficult question: which therapy will work best in your bird's case? Would a combination of drugs and herbs be most beneficial? These are questions that are best addressed with the help of your vet. The most important thing is to be understanding about your bird's condition. Don't become irritated or upset. After all...our feathered friends never become frustrated with how we look!

Reference: Dr. Karen Becker runs Feathers Bird Clinic within Natural Pet Animal Hospital located in Bourbonnais, Illinois. She also happens to be SNOWBALL's avian veterinarian of several years.

Monday, November 12, 2007

"Rescue Me"

In one year's time, Bird Lovers Only Rescue Service Inc. had adopted out approximately 200 birds. We've had very sweet and tame birds relinquished here, but we've also had some hard luck cases which were here for quite some time before they were considered adoptable. There was a handful whose trust we had to earn and it wasn't easy. But each and every one of those hard luck cases were eventually adopted. And we thank the wonderful people who opened up their hearts and homes to them to continue where we left off.

This video is a tribute to those birds who are now in their wonderful new homes as well as the birds who are still waiting for the 'right family' to come along and love them unconditionally. Sometimes I wonder...did I rescue Snowball or did Snowball rescue me? Maybe it's a little of both.

Irena Schulz
Founder and President of Bird Lovers Only Rescue Service, Incorporated
Author of "Rescue Me"

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Animal Planet

Animal Planet will be out to film at Bird Lovers Only Rescue Inc on Thursday, November 15th. We will keep you informed regarding the air date.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Respiratory Emergencies


  1. Clinical signs: open-mouthed breathing, exaggerated respiratory effort, tail bobbing, change or loss of voice or song, wheezing.
  2. Etiology includes the following: Primary respiratory diseases such as bacterial, fungal, parasitic, chlamydial, and mycoplasmal infections; toxins, foreign bodies, trauma, neoplasia; Extrarespiratory diseases such as organomegaly (thyroid, hepatic, renal, gonadal), oral masses, coelomic fluid, cardiovascular disease, neoplasia.
  3. Diagnosis includes the following: Thorough history and observation of patient and; Minimum database which includes CBC, Chemistry panel, Radiographs, and Abdominocentesis (if fluid is present)
  4. Therapy is based on the diagnosis; it may include oxygen therapy (oxygen case, intubation of air sacs) and fluid and nutritional support.

Reference: "Manual of Avian Medicine" by Glenn H. Olsen and Susan E. Orosz

New Snowball video on uTube

There has been a new video created by DBD International using footage of Snowball and the rescue.

Please check out this video at

Thank you to David Brier, President and Creative Director at DBD International for helping to further our efforts in making the public more aware of rescue birds and the increased need for experienced and educated bird owners to open up their hearts and homes to them.