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Feathered Friends
by Jessica Turquette co-owner of Moab BARKery

Here at the Moab BARKery we have expanded our offerings to include all kinds of furry and feathered friends. This month’s topic has gone to the birds. From Parakeets to Macaws, Finches and Doves we offer maintenance diets for exotics as well as high quality seeds for wild birds. We have learned a lot about birds these last few years and we wanted to share some of the most interesting and insightful information we have gathered to help you make the best decisions about what will enrich your bird’s life.

Moab BarkeryIt all comes down to food really. There is a huge difference in what our local wild birds need to be fed versus what domesticated exotics need to be fed. The first big difference is that wild bird seed is a supplement diet, and often makes up a smaller portion of calories so the fat content can be greater in this feed. That’s why you see so many options that offer sunflower seeds, and millet for wild birds. They should be eating bugs, insects and berries, so what you feed is a high fat supplement.

Exotics on the other hand should be eating a very different diet. These birds tend to be big eaters so a diet that is high in fat can cause some serious health problems, especially if these birds become overweight. Even birds that eat a low quality diet and manage a healthy weight suffer when they eat a seed only diet. It is crucial that exotics get fresh vegetables and fruits, but it is also common for them to be addicted to seed, so switching them over to a healthier diet can be tricky. Some birds will literally starve before they will try a new food, so it is crucial that the switch is done slowly. A great tip for those birds that have been eating an all seed diet and you want to convert them to a high quality diet is to take the high quality pellet diet, grind it up and coat their usual seeds with the powder pellets. Include a few of the pellets with the coated seeds so they have to opportunity to try them. You can also sprout their favorite seeds and the meal goes from high fat low nutrition to low fat high nutrition. It’s also important to start offering fresh (and hopefully organic) vegetables and fruits with the pellet diet. Pesticides are very harmful to birds, so always wash everything thoroughly before feeding your birds, and pick organic whenever possible. Start with offerings options that the birds naturally like (usually its things like apples, grapes, corn), and slowly introduce greens like spinach, broccoli and Kale. There is a wide variety of fresh food that you can feed your exotic birds that will help them thrive and live a very long and full life. We offer a free list of suggested fruits and vegetables for your bird in the store.

There are also some very useful tips that can make a big difference in the quality of life for a domestic bird:

• Birds need 8 to 10 hours of quiet restful sleep, but don’t cover that cage (the idea came about when homes were drafty, well over 50 years ago). A covered cage can actually contribute to respiratory problems. A quiet and dark part of the house is better for rest.

• Provide UV light (and not just light through the window), birds need natural, full spectrum light to thrive. If you can’t take them outside safely get a bird light and leave it on 6 – 8 hours a day.

• Exercise you bird! Lots of dancing, climbing and flying if possible. Birds were meant to move.

• Never smoke around your bird, if you are a smoker consider doing it outside. Birds have air sacs instead of lungs. That means the chemicals from smoke are absorbed into their system much faster than a human (our lungs are our filters). That goes for a burned Teflon pan too! Burned Teflon is actually deadly to birds. Steer clear of Teflon if you are a forgetful cook.

• Offer natural wood perches in a variety of different sizes to ensure foot health. Offer natural wood toys as well that are dye free! Birds are sensitive to dyes and chemicals.

• Provide organic, unrefined, cold-pressed coconut oil. It is an incredible immune system booster.

• Remember to replace your birds cage if the paint is chipping off, paint chips are full of toxins. If you are replacing or purchasing a cage, please consider stainless steel, its toxin free!

Exotic birds and domestic birds alike are incredibly smart, loving companions that can live a very, very long and happy life. With excellent care, many exotics live as long as a person. There is no other companion to humans like a bird, and they deserve much love and respect. We hope that you learned something new about your feathered friends, and remember we are all about living better with your pet here at the Moab BARKery. Stop on by and have a squawk with us sometime.


Dog Friendly Walks/Hikes in the Moab Area
Trail or Walk Difficulty Length
(one way)
Proximity to Downtown
MillCreek Pathway
easy 1.1 miles Little to no driving
Starts at 100 S & 100 W
Portal Overlook (trailhead @ Jaycee Park) Hard 2.0 miles 25 min drive N on US-191 to W on Utah 279 (4.2 miles)
Moab Rim Hard 3.0 miles
(to hidden valley trail)
8 minute drive
2.6 miles down Kane Creek Blvd from US-191
Negro Bill Canyon
(aka William Grandstaff Canyon)
Moderate 2.0 miles 10 minute drive N on US-191 to W on Utah 128, 3 miles
Hunter Canyon Easy 2.0 miles 25 minute drive (mild off-road) 7.5 miles down Kane Creek Blvd from US-191
Corona Arch Trail Easy/Moderate 1.5 miles 25 minute drive N on US-191 to W Utah 279 (10 miles)
Hidden Valley
(trailhead at end of Angel Rock Rd)
Hard 2.0 miles 10 minute drive
S on US-191 3 miles to Angel Rock Rd
Hidden Valley
(trailhead at end of Angel Rock Rd)
Moderate 2.2 miles 35 minute drive
N on US-191 to Utah 128, then 21 miles

Moab BARKery Ad Moab BARKery website

To see past articles about animals, pets and their care check our archives.

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