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Beaks, Bills, Face Knives, Beakers - whatever we want to call them, they are an integral part of our Hookbills! So, let's break the beak down into some understandable lessons:
A. Anatomy - What is a beak?
It is not "dead" material, like hair or fingernails - rather, it is a living organ, the tip of which contains a bundle of sensitive nerves. The beak itself consists of keratin (a protein called the ramphotheca) which covers bone (the premaxilla or upper beak and mandible or lower beak). Directly above the beak is the cere, which is the soft skin containing a parrot's nostrils. All parrots use their beak as an extra "hand," for climbing, exploring, tasting, sensing, etc. "Beaking" is a stage of developmental growth, where young parrots learn how to use their beaks for various tasks. It serves in the role of a number of tools, such as knife, hammer, chisel, anvil, can opener, etc., but all the while retaining a high degree of sensitivity.
B. Basics - So what do we do in dealing with our bird's
beaks on a daily basis?
Most birds love having their beaks touched and rubbed and it's a great way to bond with your parrot to touch and stroke his beak. It's important to set guidelines on appropriate beak use, using commands like "Gentle" to let your parrot know if he's using too much pressure. There's nothing wrong with letting your parrot "beak" gently and appropriately on your fingers. However, that beak can also be a deadly weapon, so be cautious about letting parrots shoulder perch. If a parrot is over stimulated, it's important to keep him down on your forearm or hand, in order to intervene on any aggressive behavior. I do not belong to the school that says "no beak on skin" - you simply need to set guidelines and pay attention to what's going on.
C. Care - To care for your bird's beak you need a
combination of good nutrition and proper toys.
Some beak deformities can occur from improper handfeeding techniques but they can also occur from congenital problems or dietary deficiencies. It's important to catch these problems early in order to correct them. Beak overgrowth can be a problem for parrots who don't have enough chewable perches and toys - it can also indicate problems with protein metabolism, or liver and kidney disease. I advocate cuttlebones, mineral blocks, grooming perches, and a variety of soft and hardwood toys to keep beaks in shape. Beak trimming should rarely be necessary for birds with good diets and lots of toys, but if needed, should consist of only gentle clipping and/or filing. NEVER let anyone use a Dremel tool on your parrot's beak (or nails) the high heat can cause nerve damage. By the same token, never let anyone talk you into beak trimming (or beak notching EVER) as a way to deal with biting. Behavior work can help with constant biting, but don't attempt to deal with it by disabling your parrot's beak.
Parrots use their beaks to eat, climb, play, show affection, and explore. All of this is natural and appropriate. Problems with beaks require help from an avian vet, nutritionist, or behaviorist, so it's important to pay attention to what's going on with your parrot's beak on a regular basis.
Your Parrot Place
Marilu Anderson, Bird Nutrition and Behavior Consultant, (503) 771-BIRD. Marilu is a regular contributor to the Your Parrot Place Newsletter. YourParrotPlace.com - Only the Best for Your Parrot!
140 pages! A compilation of parrot articles from 2000-2004.
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Miss Kitty. Meet Miss Kitty. She is an adult female domestic mix. she is spayed and microchipped and is current on her rabies vaccination. FYI: Call The Humane Society of Hobart at 219-942-0103 or stop in from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p ...
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Spook-Free Halloween Safety Tips For Your Pets
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Adoptable pets flown to Spokane and Seattle Washington from Lafayette on 'Wings of Rescue'
Wings of Rescue in conjunction with GreaterGood.org and Jackson Galaxy's #OperationHomewardBound and the ASPCA today flew 180 cats and dogs from Lafayette's Acadiana Animal Aid and Baton Rouge's CAA to Coeur d'Alene Idaho and Everett ...
Pets rescued from Hurricane Michael arrive in Seattle for adoption
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Everybody seems to “Walkin' the Dog,” to borrow the line from the rhythm-and-blues classic. There are now more pet-owning households then there are those with children, some 84.6 million strong as compared with 52.8 million with kids, or 41.4 ...
WWSB ABC 7
Pet owners will spend nearly half a billion on costumes this Halloween
WWSB ABC 7
“One of the biggest trends this year is the growth of spending on pet costumes,” said Phil Rist with Prosper Insights, the company that did the Halloween survey for NRF. “Out of the 31.3 million Americans planning to dress their pets in costumes ...
How all the fur babies are getting into Halloween this year
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Winter wellness tips for pets
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - Making sure animals are cared for during cold weather starts with providing basic needs including fresh water, food and shelter. Indoor animals need to be groomed well and have their hair kept longer than usual, if ...
Halloween: Fun for humans, potentially deadly for pets
Amber Padilla, a registered veterinary technician, says the controlled chaos of All Hallow's Eve – the costumes, lights and endless doorbell-ringing – can be too much for our furry family members. And, she says, all that candy can be dangerous for pets ...
Coos Bay World
Pets of the Week, Oct. 20
Coos Bay World
Fuzzy B is a beautiful, loving and playful 3- to 5-year-old spayed old Maine coon female She's not good with other cat, and hasn't been around dogs or kids, so best with adults and as the only pet. She must be inside only. Evaluation required. For ...
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