Bird and Exotic Animal Grooming
Your parrot or bunny (or any other exotic animal) needs special handling. Often groomers will try to reduce the stress by quickly restraining the animal and holding them tightly while they quickly get the grooming done. However, what we now know is that this can set up a panic situation for the animal. The flight or fight instinct kicks in. As the animal has more grooming experiences, he starts to anticipate that there will be a panic situation. Especially parrots can start to have panic attacks and even seizures from anticipating the stress. To reduce the stress, the animal needs gentle and empathetic handling, rather than doing the job more quickly.
When I am grooming, I will stop and let the animal regroup. I will stop for a moment when they give me the idea that they are upset. This gives the animal a little bit of control over the situation. We all feel more comfortable in situations that we have more control over. I talk to the animal and let them know what is going on. As much as possible, I try to get the animal's permission to go further. I draw on my background in animal behavior and training to work with the bird, rather than over powering him. I will often teach a parrot to "bite the towel" because they really want to bite SOMETHING and allowing them to do that will help them calm down. I have been grooming birds for over 30 years and I understand the special handling that is required. It may be too much to ask that the animal enjoy the experience, but it shouldn't be so stressful that the encounter endangers the animal's health and well-being.
I have a lot of experience with crooked beaks, and can often get them corrected to the point that the bird is able to maintain the corrections for gradually longer times between sessions. I may have suggestions for perches and cage arrangement to help the bird achieve this goal.
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