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A Happy Aviary

Any animal we take into our care has needs specific to its species and breed. This includes birds kept as pets in cages. The indoor aviary bird requires as much thought and care as any other pet. Commonly kept birds are budgies, canaries, finches, cockatiels and other parrots.

Aviary or cage birds are totally dependent upon us for their wellbeing. We need to ensure that their cage is set up in a warm place that is dry and without drafts. The larger the cage the more opportunity they have to exercise. Birds generally enjoy company, so company of their own kind is ideal. Some people form close bonds with birds, and parrots in particular can become very attached to their human. They may even be over-protective and aggressive when other people come too close. In this case, First Light® flower essences No 10 Starry Hibiscus, No 11 Chatham Island Geranium and No 12 Native Harebell could form part of a blend to help the bird relax the controls and feel more secure in him/herself and comfortable with other people being in close proximity. No 23 Lacebark can be added for the bird that panics easily, is fearful and appears to lose the plot.

To help avoid boredom, place objects in the cage which stimulate the bird to exercise or play, providing interest and a challenge. Being taken out of the cage and allowed to fly or move about in a safe area regularly will help reduce boredom and stress.

Various seeds form the bulk of the foods available to buy for caged birds. A few of the food products on the market are processed in some way, so it may be wise to research the ingredients. Nature provides many fresh greens, fruits and grass seeds and flowers, which are suitable and healthy for your bird. They will appreciate the variety and having to forage or work to get their food. For example, a broccoli head of flowers before it goes to seed is enjoyed by canaries and some budgies like silverbeet.

Budgies, cockatiels and other parrots can be trained to talk or imitate certain sounds. If you want to help the bird's learning then flower essences No 7 Mountain Parahebe, No 8 Matata and No 9 Koru can be part of a blend and put in the drinking water to assist with understanding and training. They may also be taught certain tricks. I had a budgie when I was very young who loved riding on a plastic white elephant on wheels. I pulled the elephant along the hallway with Joey chirping loudly while perched on its back. Birds can be very vocal when they are happy or excited.

Birds that have experienced loss of a favourite human or cagemate will benefit from No 37 King Fern and No 40 Silver Fern to assist with loss and grief. Grief in animals cannot be under-estimated. Crisis Support© is an excellent essence to have on hand for any upset or significant and stressful change in your bird's life. An accident such as the cage taking a tumble or a serious fright from a cat may be cause to use Crisis Support©.

If your bird does show signs of stress or appears to have behavioural issues, try to track his/her history in case something has happened in the past which may be causing pain or unhappiness. The appropriate flower essences may be given to address the issues in order to bring harmony and ease to your bird's life. Make sure all practical issues are attended to.

When making up a treatment bottle or blend for birds, I like to use 5 mls cider vinegar as the base, adding 20 mls spring water and then 3 drops of each chosen essence from the stock bottles. Brandy can be used, however, as the base. Put three drops in the drinking water once or twice daily. Change the water daily. Alternatively essences can be misted from a spray bottle around the cage lightly especially if using Crisis Support© in a distressed situation. In some cases you may be able to just put a couple of drops on the bird's beak.

— Marj Marks
Marj is a First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand registered practitioner and registered Veterinary Nurse. Marj can be contacted on 09 422 0177, 027 612 5256 or by email: