Bird Scouts: Be Prepared!

Southern California is beset by wildfires and firestorms. We have awesome first responders, and it’s rare that anyone who follows their directions comes to harm. Understandably, human lives are placed higher than those of pets and other animals. So it is up to us, the caretakers, to ensure the safety of our companions in an emergency.

The first step is to have a plan. Know where you will meet other family members following the onset of a disaster. Know who will evacuate the birds, cats, dogs, etc. Do not expect someone else to take that on unless they know in advance you expect them to do so. Also verify that they are able to do so.

I clearly remember the two times in my life when fires came close enough to my home that I could see the flames. Even when not threatened by actual flames, the ash and smoke are a consideration for aviary birds and outdoor pets. Evacuation could be the best answer. Again, have a plan. Have friends and relatives on alert where you can easily transport your pets for safety.

This means, of course, that you need to have the means to transport your birds, cats, dogs, lizards, horses, emus, etc. A secure travel cage or crate for each bird or group of birds is a must. Towels, blankets, sheets, anything that can cover the cage for warmth or to reduce stress should be included. And you need a vehicle large enough to carry all these crates. Keep all these carriers together, in plastic bags, if practical, to keep clean.

You should have the following items packed for an emergency:
Bottled water, a gallon per animal per day for humans, two or three days for small pets and birds.
First aid kits (see below for Avian kit) for people and pets.
Food for a week. Canned goods for people, dog and/or cat food, seeds or pellets for birds.
Trail mix for quick energy, made of nuts, dried fruit, crackers, no chocolate.
Protein bars and shakes
Spray bottle to treat stress and heat related illnesses.
Dehydrated fruits and vegetables, canned fruits and vegetables (low or no sodium).

Every six months, have an emergency drill, go over your plans, eat all the food, drink all the water, and replace with fresh supplies. Your birds will love this part of it. But put them in their crates or carriers so they are used to the thing. And since you might not be the only one packing them up in an emergency, label the carriers so helpers know what to do.

This link is to the Center for Disease Control, and has a lot more information on things like battery operated radios and taking medicine along for yourself if needed. There is also good information here at First aid kits for people, cats, and dogs are readily available commercially. For your birds, you may need to put one together.

Your Avian First Aid Kit should include:
Clean towel to wrap and secure your bird.
Hemostats and tweezers. Available at WalMart.
Needle-nose pliers for removing blood feathers.
Nail clippers.
Disinfectant. White vinegar works and is less dangerous to transport.
Cotton Swabs.
Styptic Powder.
Betadyne or Hydogen Peroxide.
Gauze pads.
Tape and Vet wrap.
Sterile or bottled water.
Pedialyte for rehydrating stressed birds.
Rescue Remedy to calm stressed birds. The spray works best for birds.

Be prepared, so you can relax and enjoy your companions. Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursday.


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