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“Today I’m going to show you how to catch your bird and hold it in a towel. That’s always very important to be able to catch your bird because you may need to transport it to the Avian veterinarian. Or if your bird injures itself or gets out of his cage, you want to be able to handle your bird correctly so you don’t hurt it. It’s very important not to constrict the chest of the bird when you’re holding it.

And the reason for this is because they lift up their keel bone to breathe and that draws air into the air sacs which then is pushed through their lungs. So if they can’t lift up their keel to breathe because you’re holding them too tight around their chest, they won’t be able to breathe.

It’s very important when you are transporting your bird to the veterinarian or wherever you need to go with your bird that you use a carrier, something like this. Because it’s very important that they’re not one, flying around in the car, if you get in a car accident you’re going to lose your bird. But two, also, when you go into the veterinary clinic you need your bird to be protected. You don’t want him just sitting on your shoulder like this or inside your coat because there may be lots of other animals in the waiting area which may startle your bird and cause him to fly off your shoulder. And then your bird may become injured.

A good way to capture your bird in a towel is to have the towel already on the table and place your bird on top of it, right next to your body. And then very quickly you’re just going to cover him like that and then reach down and grab for his head. His head is right here and I’m holding him underneath his neck. And you can see that I’m not compressing his chest at all. And the only part that’s actually holding him is just my thumb and my forefinger, which is underneath his chin. And now you can examine him or put him back in his cage or put him in his carrier.

To hold Hermie, we used a large bath towel. But for smaller birds like parakeets or finches or cockatiels, I would use either a thinner hand towel like this. And what works really good for the really small birds is a really light dishcloth like this.

Expert Veterinary TV is an educational and informational Digital Streaming TV Show hosted by Brook-Falls Veterinary Hospital & Exotic Care, Inc.

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