We are frequently being asked about alternative, natural and herbal treatment as well as cleaning options being suitable for the care and treatment of birds. Instead of repeatedly answering multiple individual questions, we have compiled the following blog post, which gives hopefully some useful examples. Please note that this list is not thought to be exhaustive.
Please note that all information provided in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your veterinary surgeon, physician, herbologist or other health care professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem. Please always consult with a veterinary surgeon or healthcare professional before starting any new supplements or diet, before taking or applying any new medication, or if you suspect that your animal patient or you might have a health problem.
It is important to note that medicinal plants contain powerful, pharmacologically active compounds, which means in other words that plants contain drugs. Like drugs, herbal remedies should be used with caution. While the right herb may help your bird, the wrong one may prove toxic. If in doubt, please check with your veterinary surgeon or an experienced herbologist before giving your bird any herbs or alternative treatments. At many occasions the right herbal treatment might be all your animal patient needs to get better. However, at other occasions herbs may rather be a useful supplement complimenting conventional treatments prescribed by veterinary surgeons.
We rescued jackdaw Saber as a juvenile bird in June 2014, after we managed to free him from his entanglement in an insufficiently deployed and damaged nylon bird net. We found him hanging head down on his leg whilst his wing was twisted and entangled in the loose strands of the damaged net. Saber must have been trapped in this position for a prolonged period of time, as he was very weak, barely responsive and in shock. Saber suffered severe soft tissue injuries to his left wing, a subluxated hock joint and a paralysis of the left foot caused by nerve damage.
Sparrow Malala came to us as a fledgling in July 2015. Unlike countless other nestlings and fledglings, Malala has been very lucky that she has been found alive after being attacked and severly injured by an unsupervised roaming pet cat. Only thanks to the swift response of the finder, Malala did survive her ordeal, which was avoidable and inflicted by the negligence of a pet cat owner.
Over the years we have been contacted repeatedly by rescuers and lay people, who were caring for corvids such as magpies, jackdaws and crows, and who observed that their foster birds showed difficulties with flying despite appearing otherwise fit and healthy. Some of these birds demonstrated abnormal flight feathers and showed an unusual or even abnormal behaviour not normally expected in wild birds. A closer assessment of the plumage showed quite quickly that these birds had been wing clipped.
What is feather or wing clipping, and why is this being done?
At this time of the year we are contacted on a daily basis by members of the public, who have found, rescued and raised a corvid fledgling, all with good intentions of course. If we are not being contacted at the very beginning of a rescue journey, mostly for advice about the diet of corvids, then it is usually at the point where people feel that their foster bird might be ready for release soon. Unfortunately, our advice is often a disappointment if not a shock to many of these hobby rescuers, as in most cases the desired immediate release is not an option, or at least not an option which gives the foster bird a sufficient chance of survival. We do understand that circumstances will differ greatly, and that expert help is not always at hand. Therefore it is also important that the rescuer understands, that the likelihood of survival will differ greatly as well, as corvids are not belonging to those bird families, which can be hand raised by their own and hard released immediately after they have fledged. There are of course certain ways to ensure that the rescue bird gets the best second chance he or she deserves. However, to achieve the best possible outcome, decisions should ideally be made before a bird is being hand raised without appropriate company.