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The Complete Pet Bird Owner’s Handbook - Book Review

Guest Author - Mavis Metcalf

by Gary A. Gallerstein D.V.M.

As the title indicates, this book is “complete”. Dr. Gallerstein starts off with a chapter to really make a person think about whether a pet bird would be right for you. If the answer to this is “yes”, he then goes on to help you decide which bird you should be looking for – age, size, noise level, how to pick a healthy bird, etc.

He gives a brief description of several types of birds, indicating where they live in the wild, their size, noise level, age at maturity, activity level, playfulness, destructiveness, cuddliness, talking potential, biting potential and whether they are good for first-time bird owners. He also gives the potential life span for these birds.

Dr. Gallerstein then talks about bringing your new bird home. He gives some excellent examples of the “do’s and the don’ts” to help a bird owner introduce a new bird into the household. He talks about what causes stress & how to reduce stress as well as the daily care and the weekly care required for this bird and a few time saving tips to help you out.

The chapter on proper caging & furnishings provides plenty of information to help you make a decision about what is required for birds ranging from finches, canaries & budgies to the macaws. There is even a shopping list provided so that you don’t forget anything when you go to the pet supply store to pick out your bird’s accessories.

The nutrition chapter covers information for new bird owners as well as experienced bird owners. Dr. Gallerstein explains what should be fed to your bird as well as why so you will have a good reason to start making changes in your bird’s diet, if you haven’t been following this advice. This chapter ends with some wonderful recipes.

At some point, you are going to have to hold your bird and the chapter on bird restraint explains how to do this for the various sized birds. Dr. Gallerstein then moves nicely into the chapter on grooming with detailed pictures to help with his descriptions.

Safety for your bird is important & information is provided regarding young children, other pets (including other birds) and household dangers. Everyone wants a well-behaved parrot and Dr. Gallerstein leads both new & experienced parrot owners through some very informative suggestions and ideas.

The chapter titled Avian Anatomy and Physiology has extremely interesting information including colour photographs of normal and not so normal parrot droppings.

Home Physicals and Veterinary Care are both chapters that provide information for experienced pet bird owners as well as the new bird owner and should really be read more than once to help you remember all the important information in it.

Another valuable chapter is titled Medical Emergencies and it starts off with a list indicating which emergencies are life threatening, which require veterinary attention within the day & which can wait until the next day for treatment. Each of the emergencies is then discussed in more detail throughout the chapter.

The Complete Pet Bird Owner's Handbook (Revised Edition) by Dr. Gary A. Gallerstein

The Complete Pet Bird Owner’s Handbook is available from Avian Publications. It is written by Gary A. Gallerstein D.V.M. with chapters by Julie Rach, Pat Mulloy R.V.T, Charisse Davidson D.V.M, Stacy Stephens D.V.M and with illustrations by Nicole Perretta.

This is an excellent book for both new and experienced bird owners that I highly recommend.
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