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Friday, March 27, 2009
Is A Vacation Possible?

By Linda Costello
Explore the diaries of daily life with large birds.

Linda's pet birds stay in extra-wide cages while she is away
(Click image to enlarge.)
While Linda is on her vacation, her birds will not get as much out-of-cage time as they are used to. But the macaws have double-wide macaw-sized cages to play in!

There's no doubt my birds can be loud, but their squawking usually doesn't go on for too long. And yes, they bite on occasion. But I've learned to read their body language, which helps me avoid being bitten. The noise doesn't bother me much, but I'm sure people with little bird experience find it hard sharing my feelings for pets that sometimes have been said to resemble a Tyrannosaurus Rex!

One thing that is a challenge is finding someone who is not afraid to watch them so we can take a vacation!  Luckily, I have a friend, Tina, who watches my parrots in exchange for watching hers. But I need at least two people to share the task. Big birds are a lot for one person to care for, especially for many as I have.

At the very least, one person needs to come to give fresh food and water, and another to feed them in the evening. Having someone come in around midday to change water and check on them is a also good idea. We are busily working out the details of the plans (that will most likely be in motion as you read this blog).

One bird sitter living in our home and spending the night (hopefully my friend Becky who lives nearby) eases my mind.

It has been 10 years since we last went away. I finally made airline reservations to visit family in Florida. I am already getting nervous about leaving the birds for 11 days. The date to leave is near so I've had my friends come to spend some time to observe the birds’ routine so that they all will be comfortable with each other while we are gone.

I worry that the birds will be unhappy because they won't have the out-of-cage time they are used to. But more time spent in their cages won't hurt them. In fact, I feel that it will keep them safe, especially since I was able to replace their regular macaw-sized cages with huge double macaw-sized ones recently. There are three huge cages with two macaws in each one...separated by a slide in partition that we had covered with plexi glass to protect toes from possibly being bitten.

I have prepared everything well in advance: each bird's daily serving of food is put together and sealed in a baggy, with the bird’s name and date written on it. Extra food and treats are set out and ready to be served. Stacks of newspapers have been placed near the cage.

Before we leave, we’re going to check of all their toys for wear and tear, and removed frayed or questionable ones. The birds even have a radio and/or TV that can be turned on for them during the day.

Vacations are hard to plan and carry out when you live with a bird; even harder when you have a flock. Naturally, I will still worry. After all, that's what I do best!  But, it can be done. I will let you know how it all went when I return.

Hope everyone has a happy Easter. When cooking, remember to keep your birds well away from the kitchen area, and avoid using anything containing non-stick coatings — that includes some tin foil and/or cooking bags that you use in the oven.

Speaking of Easter, here is a photo montage I made of one of my “Easter Birdies.”


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Is A Vacation Possible?

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Reader Comments

Good article! Have fun on vacation and try not to be like some bird owners we know that call 5 times a day to check on their birds! LOL
Tammy, Brilliant, OH
Posted: 4/7/2009 3:48:00 PM
Hope you have a great vacation! Love the montage of Easter!
Lin, Wintersville, OH
Posted: 4/4/2009 3:45:05 AM
I Love the Photo Video!! How cute.. Have a great vacation, It sounds like you have things well thought out,and some great friends, lucky you... i can tell you not to worry about them but that would be like talking to feathers!!!!! lol Have a great time. We all deserve a little bit of time away.
Barb, Green Bay, WI
Posted: 4/3/2009 7:17:49 AM
I visited my son in Maui and when I returned, my 14 year old cockapoo dog had passed away at the kennel. I visited my daughter in Chicago and when I returned, my pom-chi dog had tooth bites in his head at the kennel and I had to take him to the vet. My husband's mother left her pug dog with a preacher's wife and when she returned from vacation, her dog had passed away from winding her leash around a tree. I changed kennels, I leave my cellphone # and I provide written permission for vet care.
Elba, Bloomingdale, OH
Posted: 4/1/2009 12:07:04 PM
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