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Bird Care

Course CodeBAG108
Fee CodeS1
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Study Bird Care

  • Enrol any time, study from anywhere, learn at your own pace
  • Build your knowledge and understanding of a wide variety of birds
  • A course for anyone with a passion for birds, amateur or professional

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Scope and Nature of Bird Care
    • Introduction
    • Selecting Birds to Keep
    • Bird Grooming
    • Bird Hygiene
    • Avian Terminology
  2. Breeds
    • Bird classification and breeds
    • Choosing a bird
    • Commonly kept birds
  3. Housing Birds
    • The Aviary
    • Minimum requirements for keeping birds
    • Providing Water, feeding and stimulation equipment
  4. Feed and Nutrition
    • Bird Feed
    • Feeding Birds
    • Supplying Water to Birds
    • Nutritional Needs
  5. Health Management
    • Caring for Sick Birds
    • Safety on the home
    • Transporting Birds
    • Common Bird Ailments
  6. Bird Behaviour and Training
    • Catching Birds
    • Restraining Birds
    • Bird Behaviour
    • Bird Training
  7. Breeding
    • Determining the Sex
    • Desexing
    • Bird Breeding
    • Animal Welfare
    • Reproduction
    • Neo-natal care
  8. Working in the Bird Industry
    • Pet trade
    • Breeding Birds
    • Showing Birds
    • Avian Health Care
    • Pigeon racing
    • Falconry
    • Zoos and Wildlife Parks
    • Avian tourism
    • Farming birds for meat, eggs, feathers or oils
    • Birds contributing to Pest Control
    • Bird manure for Fertiliser

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


How To Know a Bird is Sick?

Birds can get sick, but unless you tune yourself into regularly looking closely at the animal, it can be very easy for ill health to go unnoticed.

Signs that your bird might be ill include:

  • Beak – asymmetrical, scaly or overgrown
  • Face – growths, scaly skin, malformed nostrils, swollen eyes or deformed eye lid
  • Feathers – stains around the eye, nostril or other orifices
  • Appearance – thin or bony, or fluffed up
  • Behaviour – lethargic, quiet, agitated, listless, scratching or feather plucking, shivering
  • Breathing – laboured (birds do normally breath quite quickly)
  • Faeces – discoloured, runny, more or less frequent than normal
  • Location – squatting on the floor of a cage

If you are unsure, it is best to contact your local veterinarian for advice. 

It is important that you know your bird(s) individually in terms of their normal behaviour, health and eating habits.  If you see any change in these, or observe any of the signs above then your bird may be unwell.  If you have supplied a cuttlebone, observe whether it is being used properly.  Check whether the plumage is normal or ruffled?  Is there evidence of a good appetite, or is the bird listless?  Is the bird emaciated or weak?  If you are confident, gently handle and inspect the animal for abscesses, swellings or abnormalities of any kind.  If you find anything or make any abnormal observations then contact your vet.  A sick bird can die very suddenly.  As soon as you notice that a bird is sick you should isolate it from other birds and monitor its health and behaviour.

Temperature is vital and a sick bird should be kept warm, and you need to avoid sudden changes in temperature (if the temperature is high during the day then very cold at night this can be a problem), the temperature needs to be kept moderate.  Place sick birds in a warm environment for 24 hours: preferably 30 oC to 32oC. This warmth is easy to provide by placing an electric light globe directly under the floor of a cage, providing a constant heat source without illuminating the cage.  Ensure the bird cannot come into contact with the globe or does not overheat.  It is also essential to avoid any draughts.  Cover the cage with two or more layers of cloth on three sides.  Have a thermometer attached to the cage, or inside, and check the temperature to ensure excessive heating does not occur.  Provide lots of fresh water as birds under heated conditions will drink more.  Also ensure that fresh food is provided.

In this time, keep an eye on the droppings. White sheets of paper can be placed on the flooring of the aviary and this will help to visually examine the faeces better. In inflammatory intestinal conditions, droppings will be watery or pasty when mixed with urine. Where there is a temperature or infectious disease, droppings are often yellow, and with other diseases, the faeces may change from yellow to green, or be bloody in terminal cases. Where any of these things occur, the bird should be taken to the vet promptly.  Nectar and fruit eating birds have loose droppings normally. These should not be considered abnormal, so consult a veterinarian about any potential problems in these species.
Supportive therapy is essential when nursing a sick bird. Fluids should be given orally. Depending on the bird’s size, give 1 to 4 millimetres of glucose in water mixture five times daily (lemonade is ideal). In addition, give 2-3 drops of a vitamin/mineral tonic once daily.

If the bird gradually becomes better, and has had appropriate treatment or diagnosis from vet, then you can return the bird back to the aviary.  Before moving a bird back to an aviary, acclimatise it by gradually returning the temperature to normal over a period of at least six hours.

WORKING WITH BIRDS

After you finish this course your knowledge and understanding of birds will have grown considerably.

You will be more aware of the possibilities to work with birds and the complexities that might face you according to what birds you choose to work with, and the context you are dealing with them.

Graduates may choose to do things they never attempted before this course

....or they may continue to do things they were doing before - but better than they did before.