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ORGANIC BEDDING is a DANGER...


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#1 Majj

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 08:43 AM

sad.gif

DANGER! ORGANIC BEDDING
Christine A. Cannon,DVM
The Northwest Bird Club
Aviculturists have a new headache to watch out for, Organic bedding. We've been seeing birds die of grit impactions for years now, as we slowly (but hopefully) get the information out to the bird-owning public. Now, we have new killers.

I had a breeder find her male Severe Macaw dead one morning. She had had the bird for about a year. He had sired 12 fertile eggs during that year and had been observed feeding his mate the evening before his death. Fortunately for us, the breeder is one of those who is willing to have necropsies done on her birds, so if there is anything to learn from a bird's death, we will. When we opened the bird's body we discovered that there were signs of bleeding into the bowel. The gizzard and proventriculus were both distended with bloody food and small corn cob bedding. There was so much cob in there that there was very little room for food. Like grit, the corn cob bedding was inert and stayed in the gizzard. Unlike grit, the stuff swelled. This bird had not had access to corn cob bedding for over a year.

Another notable necropsy was an Amazon that died suddenly. His proventriculus was thickened and his bowel, just past the gizzard, showed gross evidence of bleeding. His gizzard was FULL of walnut shell bedding. He had access to the bedding for a few hours, a month before death.

A survivor that had also only had two hours of access to walnut shell bedding was seen at the clinic for off and on eating and off and on depression for five days. Fecal content of the droppings was decreased and black in color. His urates (the whites) and urine (the clear liquid) were normal. The bird had been observed to be choking or trying to regurgitate and then vomit the evening before presentation.

Blood work indicated that the bird was fighting off an infection or inflammation. The history and physical indicated that he probably had a bowel obstruction. The owner declined X-rays and barium series and would not have opted for surgery if the problem was a tumor, so we attempted medical therapy. With laxatives and antibiotics, the bird started passing more volume feces in his droppings. It took more than 48 hours to get rid of bowel bleeding.

An 8 week old Senegal baby started to regurgitate and have variable crop emptying time. The next day, the baby passed bloody droppings. We started antibiotics and he improved for 24 hours. Then he started to pass walnut shell bedding in his droppings -- 3 to 6 pieces per dropping. He had been parent-raised for his first sixteen days.

His parents were in a cage over a tray of walnut shell bedding that was thought to be out of reach, due to a cage bottom grill. That is as close as the young one got to the bedding. After three days of treatment, he had a dropping containing about fifteen pieces of the bedding... and DIED.

So please, don't risk your bird's life. Not just babies eat cage bottom materials. Adults can, and do, as well. And birds of all ages can die from that behavior. So, NO WALNUT SHELL BEDDING, NO CORN COB BEDDING and NO KITTY LITTER. Plain old newspaper, paper towels, brown paper bags, etc., work just fine. You can see and evaluate daily droppings, catching any changes before the problem is overwhelming. Color, size, consistency and number of droppings are all VERY important. Sure, it's easier to keep clean if you only change bedding once a week or so, but who knows what's going on with the droppings if they can't see them?


#2 Andie Wan Kenobi

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 11:06 AM

That is great info! Thanks Majj! "Natural" is not always "good".

#3 Jillybean

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 11:08 AM

WOW! Thanks for the info! I just recently decided to take the COB litter out of the cage, now this is more the reason too!

Thanks again!

#4 debmcf

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 07:13 PM

OH MY GOSH!! I am using corn cob bedding--I SO MUCH APPRECIATE YOU GUYS--I am dumping that crap right this minute--I have used it since I brought Boomer home --fro about 3 months--I hope I have not hurt him!!!-I thought I was doing the best cleanest thing
gotta go dumpt it NOWWWW

#5 Dee

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Posted 29 April 2005 - 11:51 AM

Thanks Majj ... That was really interesting ..

#6 Sweetie38

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Posted 29 April 2005 - 03:43 PM

Thanks for posting that Majj! I am sure there are a ton of people on this site that don't know about the danagers of bedding in cages...... smile.gif

#7 Myste

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Posted 12 May 2005 - 03:26 PM

No more corn cob bedding for Paulie. I have trouble with her eating off the bottom of her cage.


Myste

#8 Uncle Zippy

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Posted 12 May 2005 - 07:52 PM

We use a cob type litter for our birds. This stuff is actually chicken feed in cob form. We only use it under the bird trees, not in cages. They only have access to it when they take a leap and wind up on the floor, and we're usually there right away when this happens. I was told its food grade and shouldn't pose a health problem. Is this the same stuff as in the article?
It's just soooo much easier to keep clean using this stuff. BUt of course health comes first. Thoughts?

#9 shellpointer

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Posted 13 May 2005 - 08:28 AM

Oh dear. For the last few days, Pepper has been eating out of my bowl of Wheatabix which is an organic cereal. I like it because it gets all mushey. Do you think that is dangerous for him?

#10 ~BettyK~

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Posted 13 May 2005 - 11:17 AM

The cerial its self won't hurt as long as it isn't high sugar...but the milk is not good for fids they can not digest it...I would try to give it dry..smile.gif

#11 Arlene

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Posted 14 May 2005 - 12:26 AM

QUOTE (Majj @ Apr 28 2005, 06:43 AM)
sad.gif
 
  DANGER! ORGANIC BEDDING
Christine A. Cannon,DVM
The Northwest Bird Club
Aviculturists have a new headache to watch out for, Organic bedding. We've been seeing birds die of grit impactions for years now, as we slowly (but hopefully) get the information out to the bird-owning public. Now, we have new killers.

I had a breeder find her male Severe Macaw dead one morning. She had had the bird for about a year. He had sired 12 fertile eggs during that year and had been observed feeding his mate the evening before his death. Fortunately for us, the breeder is one of those who is willing to have necropsies done on her birds, so if there is anything to learn from a bird's death, we will. When we opened the bird's body we discovered that there were signs of bleeding into the bowel. The gizzard and proventriculus were both distended with bloody food and small corn cob bedding. There was so much cob in there that there was very little room for food. Like grit, the corn cob bedding was inert and stayed in the gizzard. Unlike grit, the stuff swelled. This bird had not had access to corn cob bedding for over a year.

Another notable necropsy was an Amazon that died suddenly. His proventriculus was thickened and his bowel, just past the gizzard, showed gross evidence of bleeding. His gizzard was FULL of walnut shell bedding. He had access to the bedding for a few hours, a month before death.

A survivor that had also only had two hours of access to walnut shell bedding was seen at the clinic for off and on eating and off and on depression for five days. Fecal content of the droppings was decreased and black in color. His urates (the whites) and urine (the clear liquid) were normal. The bird had been observed to be choking or trying to regurgitate and then vomit the evening before presentation.

Blood work indicated that the bird was fighting off an infection or inflammation. The history and physical indicated that he probably had a bowel obstruction. The owner declined X-rays and barium series and would not have opted for surgery if the problem was a tumor, so we attempted medical therapy. With laxatives and antibiotics, the bird started passing more volume feces in his droppings. It took more than 48 hours to get rid of bowel bleeding.

An 8 week old Senegal baby started to regurgitate and have variable crop emptying time. The next day, the baby passed bloody droppings. We started antibiotics and he improved for 24 hours. Then he started to pass walnut shell bedding in his droppings -- 3 to 6 pieces per dropping. He had been parent-raised for his first sixteen days.

His parents were in a cage over a tray of walnut shell bedding that was thought to be out of reach, due to a cage bottom grill. That is as close as the young one got to the bedding. After three days of treatment, he had a dropping containing about fifteen pieces of the bedding... and DIED.

So please, don't risk your bird's life. Not just babies eat cage bottom materials. Adults can, and do, as well. And birds of all ages can die from that behavior. So, NO WALNUT SHELL BEDDING, NO CORN COB BEDDING and NO KITTY LITTER. Plain old newspaper, paper towels, brown paper bags, etc., work just fine. You can see and evaluate daily droppings, catching any changes before the problem is overwhelming. Color, size, consistency and number of droppings are all VERY important. Sure, it's easier to keep clean if you only change bedding once a week or so, but who knows what's going on with the droppings if they can't see them?


Well one more thing to worry about. The **** pet store said to use corncob in the bottom of the cage. I never saw my quaker eat any of it. There is at least an inch or more space between the bottom of the tray and the grid on top. Actually I didn't use it long, I had swtiched to paper on the bottom and then switched to paper on the grid after someone said the birds don't bother tearing it up. It works perfectly. I change it at least twice a day. Thank you Majj for this IMPORTANT info. Really appreciate it.

#12 Brody the Grey

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Posted 14 May 2005 - 12:53 AM

I never use the stuff. And I am glad I did not. Just plan newspaper for my boys.

#13 shellpointer

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Posted 14 May 2005 - 02:26 PM

QUOTE (petGroomer51 @ May 13 2005, 11:17 AM)
The cerial its self won't hurt as long as it isn't high sugar...but the milk is not good for fids they can not digest it...I would try to give it dry..smile.gif



Cool Whip is non dairy. Pepper loves it. What do you think about that?

#14 ~BettyK~

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Posted 14 May 2005 - 06:05 PM

Still have sugar...so be careful smile.gif

#15 Guest_lthompson1_*

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Posted 15 May 2005 - 10:24 PM

never used anything but paper on the bottom of the cage before, but yesterday I bought Wood Pellets, all purpose 100% nautral, made by Kaytee.

Any thoughts on this product???

#16 PacosMom

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Posted 16 May 2005 - 02:34 PM

I would be afraid of anything like this, unless there is no chance of contact at all with it. If he ingests it, it can still be hazardous, even if it's 100% natural.

Newspaper is still the safest, and least expensive. It's quick and easy to change daily, so no bacteria has a chance to grow, and the ink is known to retard the growth of bacteria, too.

When you purchase this type of product, you are often tempted to not clean it daily, allowing bacteria and mold to grow.

Just my opinion. I like using free papers, best.

#17 pepe

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 08:53 PM

What about peanut shells?

#18 Guest_lthompson1_*

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 09:30 PM

QUOTE (PacosMom @ May 16 2005, 02:34 PM)
I would be afraid of anything like this, unless there is no chance of contact at all with it. If he ingests it, it can still be hazardous, even if it's 100% natural.

Newspaper is still the safest, and least expensive. It's quick and easy to change daily, so no bacteria has a chance to grow, and the ink is known to retard the growth of bacteria, too.

When you purchase this type of product, you are often tempted to not clean it daily, allowing bacteria and mold to grow.

Just my opinion. I like using free papers, best.


I threw out the wood pellets. Not worth the chance. Thanks for the advise.

#19 ~BettyK~

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 10:05 PM

I use wood stove pellets for litter boxes it is the best litter I have ever used...one bag last me a month with 7 cats and after you remove all the poop and the pellets brake down to saw dust I put it in the gardens...smile.gif but not a good idea for birds...JMO

#20 Majj

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Posted 15 August 2005 - 07:58 PM

Bumping for newbys..