How to Take Care of a Bird

Pet bird in a cageBirds are very interesting creatures, which is exactly why it’s important to give your new bird enough attention to feel loved but not smother him or her. As easy as it might seem to spoil your new bird, spoiled birds tend to become unhappy, uncooperative members of your family that will end up only causing ruckus in your home. In order to develop happy and healthy birds as family pets, here are some easy to follow tips.

Establish boundaries

Just like any other animal, you need to teach your new pet what the boundaries are now that they’re living with you. Birds are very quick to adapt to new environments, but you need to make sure you teach them right off the bat what’s acceptable and what’s not. For example, when taking your bird out of the cage, teach them the step up rule to avoid any biting or nipping at your hands. This will in turn teach the bird that they have to behave this way with not only you but everyone else as well.

Prevent single bonding

Unfortunately this rule is pretty backwards compared to how you’d teach a dog that you’re his master. With a bird, single person bonding does help to establish a bond between you and the bird and decreases any fears between the bird and any human handlers, but it shouldn’t just be taught with a single person. Each caregiver in the family should have the opportunity to help your bird feel secure with all family members in order for the bird to feel comfortable with each and every one of you.

Be realistic with attention

CockatielSo you’re excited about your new bird and you want to spend as much time with it as possible, but this isn’t exactly a good indication of the future relationship with your bird. If you initially show your bird this much attention, they’ll get used to it and think it’s the norm. You want to be realistic with the amount of time you’ll be spending paying attention to the bird and do this from the very beginning in order to avoid giving any false expectations.

Develop a healthy diet

If you’re new to being a bird owner, you’ll learn quickly that food is one of the most abused sources of comfort and appeasement for birds. In order to help your bird grow healthy and lean, you need to be aware of the type of food your bird is eating and how much he’s consuming. Avoid spoiling your bird with too many seeds and other treats and you’ll be in the clear.

Bird-proof your home

213..365 | Birds > CatsJust like you have to prepare for any other pet, preparing the home for a new bird is imperative to ensure that nothing can get damaged in the process. Birds go off of visual, audio, and olfactory stimulation, but birds tend to use their mouths to explore and like to give everything a taste at least once. Before bringing your new bird home, put away any plants, toxic substances or anything that could prove to be harmful to your bird. Also, if possible, try to cover any electrical sockets or chords.

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on !

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Top 10 Pet-Friendly Cities in the US

It’s no secret that we love our pets, which is why today we want to highlight the best cities throughout the United States for having pets! From east coast to west, here are the best pet-friendly American cities.

Phoenix, Arizona

freakin' at the dog parkPhoenix is well known for their abundant sunshine, but did you know they have a plethora of pet stores, dog parks, and even an annual Halloween costume contest for pets? With six off-leash dog parks, 14 pet stores, over 270 veterinarians, and a variety of pet-themed events, it’s no wonder Phoenix, Arizona is one of the best US cities for owning a pet.

Sacramento, California

Redondo Beach Dog ParkOver to the west coast, Sacramento ranks at number nine on our list for pet-friendly cities. Having seven off-leash dog parks and four major pet stores is a good start, but there are also some fantastic pet-friendly events such as the annual Sacramento SPCA Doggy Dash-a 2k/5k walk and other big pet festivals. Some pet policies include mandatory spay-neuter law for dogs and cats and a permit number is required in all advertisements selling animals.

Fort Worth, Texas

DSC_6010aHave you ever heard of Barktoberfest? If you live near Fort Worth, Texas, chances are you have! With strict spay and neuter laws, this city isn’t messing around. This city includes four dog parks, six major pet stores, dog meet up grounds and dog park events. A pet policy in this city to note is that all female dogs and cats over the age of six months and male dogs and cats over the age of eight months have to be spayed or neutered unless the owner obtains an intact pet permit.

Charlotte, North Carolina

Dog Walk - ARLSRI Oct 2011-30Charlotte is not only a beautiful city, but it’s a fantastic place to spend with your favorite furry friend. Not only does this city love pets, but they also love volunteering. They have a total of eight dog parks, three major pet stores and 160 vets. Some great fundraising opportunities include Pet Palooza, where dog owners can do a fundraising walk or run a 5k with their pet as well as the Ties & Tails Gala.

Tucson, Arizona

North Domingo Baca Dog Park, Albuquerque, NMThis city has it all – 10 dog parks, nine major pet stores and over 200 veterinarians. It doesn’t end there! Some great pet-friendly events include The Puttin’ on the Dog Tucson Cover Dog Search, Chow Down for Hounds, Paws in the Plaza, Tails and Ales, Paws for the Holidays, and more.

Denver, Colorado

Dog 'n' I at the Summit.Denver is already well known for their outdoor activities, but chances are you didn’t know how seriously pet-friendly this city is. There are 28 dog parks, four major pet stores and about 220 vets. In a city that’s all about activity, there are so many pet-friendly events to keep your average pet-owner busy! This includes puppy preschool training classes, the canine festival and European market, and doggie meet ups!

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Dog Park 2/28/10Talk about a city full of events – Minneapolis is full of them for pets! The American Humane Society puts on three pet-friendly fundraising events each year in Minneapolis, as well as two formal dining events each year. There are 10 dog parks, plus five off-leash dog parks, and 200 veterinarians.

Seattle, Washington

Kermit at the Miyuki Dog ParkLove having options? Seattle, Washington has all the dog park options one needs. With 40 dog parks, you can visit a different one each day with your pet! They also have Put O Ween, the annual Halloween party that’s set specifically around your pet’s schedule!

Dallas, Texas

Pixie dog halloween costumeDallas has its southern charm, but it’s also a great place to have a pet! Some big pet-friendly events that occur there are the Christmas country dog events, walk wag and run event, Walk to Nowzad, and Barktoberfest. Dallas, Texas also has around 22 dog parks and seven major pet stores to cater to your dogs every need!

San Diego, California

Dog-on-the-Beach-at-Sunrise__64858Rounding out our list is this west coast city, which ranks as number one for a variety of reasons. Aside from it’s nine off-leash dog parks and dog-friendly beaches, this city includes 60+ pet-friendly hotels and over 50 dog-friendly restaurants as well. For San Diego, the city has many laws for the protection of animals, including rabies vaccination laws, enclosure laws and feeding and watering and sanitation requirement at kennels.

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on !

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Transfaunation in Dairy Cattle: What is it?

You may be thinking to yourself, “What the heck is transfaunation?” Or, perhaps you are already familiar with the term.  If you have experience with a large dairy farm, you probably already know.  I think a lot of us have seen cows (usually of the dairy variety) with windows into their abdomen at fairs and perhaps even at a farm you visited.  Though the idea of putting a window in the side of a cow is cool enough on its own, it does actually serve a purpose.  Before we explore that purpose, let me first explain a little about the stomach and the window.

The stomach of a cow is divided into four compartments.  The rumen is the largest of these compartments, and I mean large.  In a Holstein cow the rumen can hold over 40 gallons! The rumen can also be thought of as a holding and fermentation vat.  Being prey animals in the wild, evolution has designed cows to go out and eat as much food as possible while it is safe.  Obviously there isn’t time to properly chew your food if you are eating it as quickly as possible.  This is why we see cows chewing their “cud” almost constantly when they are relaxed.  They will regurgitate a wad of material from their rumen back into their mouths and chew it properly so that it can pass to the other stomach compartments and eventually into their intestines.  The environment inside the rumen is not very acidic like it is in most other species.  This is because the cow is constantly regurgitating the material and an acidic environment would injure their esophagus, and also because of the bacteria that live in the rumen and help break down the cow’s food.  A very acidic environment would kill off the bacterial colonies and the cow would not be able to properly digest her food.  So, what I really want you to take away from this whole paragraph is that the bacteria inside the rumen of cows is of utmost importance to their survival.  Got it? Good.

Now, the window.  A healthy cow is chosen by her owner to undergo this procedure and become the source of rumen material for any cow that may need it in her lifetime.  A veterinarian will cut into the abdominal wall of the cow and into the rumen, from there a plastic cannula is placed in the incision site.  This cannula is what holds the side of the abdomen open permanently.  A plastic screw-in plug is usually placed in the opening that can be removed whenever needed.  Cows recover well from the surgery and do not even notice their new accessory.

Ok, enough about all that.  What is transfaunation?! Transfaunation is the transfer of one cow’s digestive flora into another cow.  Digestive flora is the healthy bacteria, protozoa and fungi that live in the animal’s (all animals, yes, even humans!) digestive system and help break down food.  If a cow is sick, she will very often stop eating and/or drinking.  Or, if she has to be treated with antibiotics they can kill off the good and the bad bacteria in her system.  Yes, it’s important to get rid of the bad bacteria that are making her sick, however, when the good bacteria are also killed off it will inhibit her ability to digest food and absorb all the nutrients she needs.  For whatever reason a cow loses her healthy bacteria, it is imperative that she gets it back quickly or her health will continue to decline.  That is where our cannulated cow comes in to save the day, and possibly the life of her barn mate.  The farmer can simply reach into the rumen of the cannulated cow and take out some of the material in there.  He will then feed it to the sick cow (cows will eat just about anything), or if she is not eating, they can force it into her with a stomach tube.  This rumen material is filled with all the healthy microorganisms that our sick cow needs to have recolonize her rumen and make her a happy, healthy, milk producing cow again.  So you can see, the job of the cannulated cow is very important, and the procedure of transfaunation can save a life.

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Benefits of Adopting a Shelter Pet

take me home #2Considering a new pet? Look no further than your local animal shelter. There are plenty of shelters with a great selection of animals, including cats, dogs, birds, and other small animals. In fact, the animal you’re considering buying from your local pet store or breeder is probably waiting to be adopted in a nearby shelter.

Why adopt a shelter pet

Between 6 and 8 million pets end up in shelters each year, half of which, will never be adopted. The saddest part is that most pets end up homeless for circumstances beyond their control. These animals fall victim to a death, illness, divorce or a move that doesn’t include them. By adopting a shelter pet you are saving a life. Your new pet will be extremely appreciative of the life you’re giving them. Plus, your adoption fee will benefit other animals at the shelter. This fee is used to support the shelter’s community and help care for other homeless animals.

Cost effective

Adopting a pet from a shelter is highly cost-effective. The cost of getting an animal from a pet store or breeder can be very high, which can make it extremely hard for the average family to afford the animal. That doesn’t even include the pets’ first round of shots and to be spayed or neutered. These expenses can cost well over $100 within the first year of having the pet. Most animal shelters include the cost of first shots and spaying/neutering in the adoption fee. Depending on the age of the pet, adoption fees can range from $50 to $250 dollars.

Semi-trained pet

The majority of shelter pets come semi-trained. All cats will come litter-trained and most dogs will come somewhat potty trained. However, when the pet first comes home expect some mistakes due to the stress of moving and adjusting to a new place. Contrarily, getting a pet from another owner does not always guarantee that your pet will be potty trained. This can led to clean up and frustration for you. Many shelters rescue wonderful pets that are trained and family ready.

Socialized animalShelter dog looking friendly

Animals that spend time in a shelter are often socialized. Because animals are taken out of their cages for playtime they become comfortable with both volunteers and other animals. This allows the animal to adjust to different types of people and animals. In most circumstances, the shelter can tell you if the pet you’re looking at is good with children and other pets. When you get a pet from a breeder, it usually has only been around a select few people and pets.

At Ketchum, we are passionate about adopting pets. Therefore, if you’re thinking about getting a pet for your family, please consider the benefits of adopting a shelter animal. While pet stores and breeders may seem like the more advantageous option, rescuing a pet can be equally rewarding and perhaps a better fit for your family.

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on !

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