Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Right Cage for a Pet Finch

Finches are small birds often kept as house pets.  Sadly some people make bad mistakes when selecting the cage for their finch. 

Today in the Animal Cabin, we feature an article by Georgina Dawes, who writes about the importance of selecting the right cage for pet finches.

"Whether you are breeding or taking in a bird as your pet, choose a shelter accordingly. There are two cages that you can provide for finches, a regular cage or an aviary.
If you have only one or two finches, then you have the option of using a regular cage but one that is spacious. The smallest that the cage should be is 12x18 inches, and that is recommended for only one finch; but it isn’t suggested that you have only one finch. These are birds that do better in pairs and with each other. They are not interactive with people only with other finches and that makes them happy. That is unless you raise one and take the time to finger train them. The more finches the merrier, but only in even numbers! At times if there is an odd number of finches, two of them will begin to pick on one that is either smaller, weaker or of the opposite gender. They will begin to de-feather them, and at times can kill the odd bird out.

The small cage should obtain everything that an aviary would: feeder, water cup a bath and perches. Make sure that the cage is in a room that is used often, and is at room temperature. Place the cage at eye level so that the finch can see everything that is going on their environment, and make sure that there is a constant air circulation. Finches are very sensitive to temperature and if the room is too hot or too cold they can catch an illness. It isn’t recommended that the cage is outside unless you have an aviary, or the spot where it’s at can be temperature controlled. Any degrees that is over 90 or any weather that is deliberately cold will can be very deadly. Take extra precaution!

art by Mark Gordon Brown

Aviaries are the best choice if you wish to have a group of finches together. Aviaries are very large cages for finches and are similar to the size of a walk in closet. These are most commonly used for breeding birds or for owners who purchase birds often. It’s easier for the finches to breed in these room-sized cages, because they don’t feel as constricted. In one you have more options: you can set up more greenery, more perches, more feeders and baths, and you can separate the birds within the aviary if you’d like. With one of these you are able to walk in to change their food and water. This makes it easier for you and it doesn’t alarm the birds.

In the aviary you can include multiple misters which makes keeping finches outside when it’s warm not as risky to them. If the weather is cold there are always heaters that you can buy for these and most of them come with a protective roof; keeping out rain and other bird feces. It’s essential that these come with a mesh covering, or you attach one to it. There are more insects and small critters that can crawl into the aviary outside of your house. Buy an aviary that fits your needs and your location’s common weather conditions.

Finches can be great pets for a single pet owner or a family. They are effective pets to have in apartments because they don’t make too much of a mess, and aren’t overly loud. Depending on which breed of the finch you purchase, some of them may sing more often than others. The Society finch is one of the breeds where only the male is vocal, and more often when he is mating. If you wish to have an extremely vibrant and colorful bird that sings more often, take a look at the Zebra finch (as in the drawing). Be sure you have time to provide the birds’ basic needs, then you won’t have any problems owning one. Cages, food, temperature, activity and bird interaction are the finches basic needs.

It is important that you know what the finch looks like when they aren’t feeling well. Their feathers tend to fall out, their eyes are droopy and they do not look attentive. It’s best to research or ask your doctor if your finch has odd behavior. It’s better to be safe than sorry! Enjoy the wild and lively birds for what they have to offer, and choose one that fits your personality; it’s not like you have hundreds to choose from!"

Article Source

Read also this article by Mark Gordon Brown, in regards to building a large starplate aviary.  You will need different wire for an aviary for finches, you will note Mark used stucco wire which is fine for large birds, but a finch can easily get through, however the design is excellent where weather allows such aviaries.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Pet Pigs

One of the most recent, trendy pets, is the pet pig. Make no mistake though, pigs are super smart pets, and should not be purchased on a whim. A pig is comparable to a dog in terms of intelligence so a person who thinks a dog is too much work for them, will not want to get a pet pig, in fact, some pig owners find the pig to be more demanding than a pet dog.

photo source

Pigs grow slowly, this sets the stage for some unscrupulous sellers who market small pigs telling the buyers the pigs do not get very big... two years later, however, the pig is big and the new owners are angry. Some breeders intentionally stunt a pigs growth through poor breeding practices and poor food early in life. Eventually these pigs either grow normally or they suffer from health problems because their outsides, and skeletal structure, stops growing, but their insides keep growing, causing a huge “pot belly” and sometimes resulting in considerable pain and discomfort for the animal.

Above is a pig that showed up in my yard one day, we found out from a neighbor that it's owner let it go and doesn't want it back - of course releasing an unwanted pet this way is illegal, it also goes to show that people need to think a lot more before getting a pet pig.

Pigs need to be fed pig food but can be given some people foods in addition, as such they are not cheap pets as some people might think.

Pigs need regular exercise or become bored and destructive, just like a dog would. They love to have mud baths and actually need these to keep their skin in good shape. They are curious and should be considered somewhat to be like having a child in the home.. they love to stick things in their mouth so a home must be “pig proof”. When outside pigs need shelter from the sun, and cold weather.

Pet pigs can live 10 to 15 years, which is a serious consideration when getting a pet. Anyone thinking about getting a pet pig should do more thorough research including checking to be sure they are legal as pets in a specific area.  As well it is a good idea to check into the different breeds and to only buy from a reputable breeder.

More Links on Pigs!