The Importance Of Record Keeping
Careful record keeping is part of the responsibility of the conscientious parrot conservator In the “Important Charts” (link) we have included samples of forms that we use in the aviary and in the shop. For new birds we recommend something similar to our Adult Bird Record. (Chart 1A) If this format is followed you will have all the essential information on each bird in a single record. The important items are band # or other means of ID, dates of start and completion of isolation and information about your birds initial Vet screening. Follow-up visits should also be documented and any results or findings noted. Be sure to note abnormal results and positive cultures including organisms identified and drugs used. This will help you track recurring infections and determine the effectiveness of treatment. Note the dates of any vaccinations given.
If you don’t have copies of your bird’s records including test results, ask your Vet for copies or ask to review your bird’s file and make notes for your records. Especially important are the results of the intake tests. See the chart on recommended initial tests for our suggestions. Keeping your own records puts you in control of your birds health history. It could prove invaluable when seeking a second opinion. In the “Important Charts” (link) section you will find several other forms which we use for monitoring the development of our chicks, keeping track of large numbers of birds’ Polyomavirus Vax dates and especially their weights.
Good periodic weight records are your most important tool in monitoring his or her general health status. We weigh all chicks daily through weaning and thereafter at least weekly for the first three months. We recommend weekly weighing of every bird.
Be sure to weigh the bird at the same time of the day, preferably first thing in the morning before breakfast. Weights can vary considerably during the day. Weights of an adult bird should not vary more than 2-3%. For example a typical African Grey weighing 450 grams should weigh roughly between 440 and 460 on any particular morning. A drop of weight greater than this should be investigated. This may mean checking the accuracy of your scale, reviewing previous weights, looking for trends and observing your bird carefully for other signs of illness. Whether you weigh weekly or daily, it is more important that you study your bird’s appearance , behavior, especially eating habits every day. By the time you notice that your bird is showing symptoms, he or she may have been ill for a week or more.
Whenever tests are performed on any member of my family, I remind them to ask for a copy of the lab results. The numbers and results should not be thought of as a deep secret which only your doctor understands and can interpret. People are reading more and becoming much more knowledgeable about their health and disease processes. We need to take the same approach with our feathered friend’s health