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Your views on acclimatizing birds to the cold

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I have just recently started a course called "Parrot Studies and Behaviour"

 

Now one of the questions was about a birds body temperature, as I have been researching this, it has made me want to ask the question about acclimatizing birds before putting them outside. i.e. so many people have told me you can't put a bird outside in the winter if it has been used to living in doors? You should wait till late May when it gets warmer so the birds has all summer to acclimatize.

 

Now I have just learnt that birds have the ability to maintain a high and constant body temperature so now I would like to challenge what people say about acclimatizing birds.

 

I would be really interested to here your views, have I been wrong all along thinking birds should be acclimatized? :shock:

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I have never had an aviary but have always believed (from reading, listening to others etc) that indoor birds shouldn't be put out in aviaries in the colder months but should be kept inside until less harsh weather comes. Then they will be acclimatised by the following winter and so able to stay outside providing they have somewhere draught free and dry to roost.

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Birds have the ability to withstand most tempretures from very cold to very hot as they do regulate their body tempreture. However they cannot withstand extreme tempreture variations instantly. They need the time to acclimatise so that their downy feathers can feather up to withstand the cooler temps.

 

Putting an indoor bird straight outside in winter will cause hypothermia for the bird.

 

The best way to try and describe it is, if we work outside all year round we are far more able to withstand the colder and warmer weather. A person who works in a centraly heated building who is suddenly asked to go and spend the whole day outside in freezing weather will feel colder than the person who is used to it.

 

A bit of a ramble and I don't think I've explained it very well but I hope you get the gist.

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Now I have just learnt that birds have the ability to maintain a high and constant body temperature so now I would like to challenge what people say about acclimatizing birds.

What does your lecturer say? :)

I had understood that a healthy bird can regulate it's temperature very well. BUT I know? had understood? that indoors birds in warm temperatures have less downy feathers....so I would be interested to know too :)

 

I would like to put them outside on an autumn or winter day that feels cool, but "nice". Too worried to though!

We have fully feathered birds and slight plucker here..But i would not like to put either straight out into an aviary situation this time of year.

Will follow with interest :)

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I suppose I would liken it to first living with central heating and then suddenly none! You'd want to put on a lot more layers, unless you gradually turned your heating down instead of doing it all in one move!

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A bird used to being indoors would not be put into an outside, unheated, aviary until April/May(depending on your local weather conditions). Any warm-blooded animal can regulate its body temp to a greater or lesser degree whereas cold-blooded creatures such as reptiles cannot. However a bird used to indoors would not be acclimatised enough to bathe in a snow storm as my Amazons readily do!

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Now I have just learnt that birds have the ability to maintain a high and constant body temperature so now I would like to challenge what people say about acclimatizing birds.

Tory I know exactly which chapter you are at! Unfortunatly it come quite early on the courses as later you will discover there is a lot more to the subject than just temp control. Many factors play a part in natural living like the instinct to cover feet with body feathers to keep them from frost bite etc. Our house birds do not do this. They are domesticated for want of a better word and have lost a lot of the natural survival skills.

 

Having said that, I keep my birds far cooler than most as studies have taught me that it is much healthier. Equaly should a bird be unwell the use of heat has a great effect on recovery.

 

My featherless PBFD birds are a great example. Although kept warmer than the others they never show cold, but they eat at least twice what any other bird does. (edited to say) This is to maintain the energy used in body heat control.

 

My Avian is following research somewhere in the direction that their good health and longevity is somehow linked to the cooler lifestyle.

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Thanks to everyone for their views, I think this makes for a very interesting debate. A very interesting point from Krisjvv about birds loosing there natural instincts to keep warm.

 

I'm not so sure if birds develop more down or not to help keep them warmer?

 

I know birds to eat a lot more food when it's colder to help them generate the heat they need, I have aviary birds, and boy do they go through so much food in the winter months :)

 

As to asking my Tutor, I wanted to get your views first and it has been very interesting. I'm going to send her an email today but probably won't get a response till tomorrow, but will let you all know what the outcome is :D

 

Thanks!! :D

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Well I had a response from my tutor and basically we are still right in the fact that birds should be acclimatised otherwise it can lead to deaf. As long as a bird is put out by late spring or summer they can adjust.

 

They do not grow extra down feathers though, but learn to keep warm by fluffing up their feathers to keep a layer of warmer air in.

 

As for a bird loosing it's instinct to keep warm, she told me any bird should be ok as long as it had time to adjust through the summer months, given the right protection too, i.e. roof, side panels to stop wind chill etc. :D

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