Leaving Birds Alone, Heart Attacks in Kakarikis


Letter

I just purchased a baby Kakriki which I will be getting when it is weaned, in about 2 months. I live in an apartment and go home on the weekends. I can't take the bird home as I have cats at my parents' residence. My question is, what do I do? Is it okay to leave the bird with food and water for two days a week? Also, I have read a lot about how extremely prone Kaks are to heart attacks. I don't want a bird that's going to die! How true is this?

Reply

A lot of people are against leaving their birds alone for any length of time. My birds are fairly used to change and my pets are usually breeders too so they can stand a little time without people around. When I lived up in Davis I drove down for the weekend on occation and left my birds. If this is going to be a routine the bird will become used to it and there shouldn't be any problems. Leave enough food and water to last several days. Kaks love to bath so make sure there are a couple water bowls (or a bowl and a bottle) because the splashing will make the water level get quickly. Also the cage should be large and filled with toys to keep your bird busy while you are gone. You can also try leaving the TV or radio on at quiet level to keep him company. If you have lots of windows light shouldn't be a problem. If your home is dark, however, leave a few lights on (enough so he can see but not so much that he can't sleep).

I've worked with birds for 10 years and I've never once seen a bird of ANY species have a heart attack. Kaks are normally very healthy birds. One thing that I personally have found them prone to is Aspergillosis. It's a fungus that is all around us and usually doesn't cause any problems aside from molding our bread. It can, however, infect our birds' delicate lungs if given the opportunity (moist, dirty cage or a severely stressed bird). I've only had two birds ever get aspergillosis and both were kaks. One bird had been boarded indoors at a not-so-clean friend's aviary and the other was a weaning chick (brooders, warm food and poopies make the perfect environment for asper). Just keep the cage clean, dry and well-ventilated and your bird should be safe from Aspergillosis. I've also heard that kaks get overheated easily (not unlikely considering the thick feathers) but I've never had a problem with any of my birds and heat, and I keep them outdoors in California. In the summer if it gets really hot and I just go out and spray down the aviaries with a hose.

Feisty Feathers
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