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At Home For the Holidays

Keep the flock safe & stress-free this season

By Barbara Nefer

It is important to keep your pet bird happy and safe, especially during the holidaysThe holiday season often means a revolving door of family and friends and long nights out socializing. While most of us look forward to the holidays, this time of year is often mixed with anxiety, or even dread. There always seems to be a rush of frenzied preparation and pressure to meet impossible standards. And, too often, we forget how holiday stress affects our birds.

Birds are like feathered sponges, absorbing the emotions around them and reacting accordingly. They share in your happiness and excitement, but they also pick up on negative feelings like stress, frustration and anger. When they’re in a tense atmosphere, they will react defensively. This can manifest itself in shutting down, acting out, agitation and even aggression.

Be aware of your own emotional state. It’s not healthy for you to be constantly stressed, so work on your own holiday self-defense plan. Make sure that your expectations are realistic, and don't over-commit yourself. Resist pressure from others to do more than you can do. By drawing firm boundaries, you’ll have the energy to take care of the important things instead of wasting it on anxiety. The calmer atmosphere will be healthier for your bird and for you.

**For the full article, pick up the December 2008 issue of BIRD TALK**

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