Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wild Bird Questions: Hummingbirds

What feeders work the best to attract hummingbirds? What should be placed in these feeders? What food should be avoided? How often should the hummingbird food be changed?
Feeders that work to attract hummingbirds the best are those that are made with lots of red colored parts, as hummingbirds associate the color red with their natural food, nectar, that they get from flowers. So, the brighter red a feeder is, the better it will work at attracting hummingbirds.

Sugar water, whether sold as hummingbird nectar or made at home should be placed in these feeders. The advantage of the prepackaged hummingbird nectar is that it will, in many cases, include other ingredients, such as vitamins, to give a more balanced diet than just plain sugar water would.

The food that should be avoided in hummingbird feeders are the mixtures that have been colored red. Although the color attracts the hummingbirds, it also means that the red dye must be broke down constantly by the birds internal organs which can cause damage over time. It is best to use a clear solution and have the feeder itself be red. Hummingbird food should be changed at least every other day in cooler weather and everyday in hot weather or the food will go bad. Hummingbirds will not go to feeders if the food is not fresh.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Ear Mites - What are they & What you can do about them

Ear mites are small parasites that can't be seen with the naked eye. However, they usually cause a coffee colored crud in the ear and are very itchy to the pet. Ear mites are extremely contagious, so if you have a pet with ear mites, it is best to keep it away from your other pets. This includes cats, dogs, hamsters, ferrets, rabbits, gerbils, etc. Most pets will scratch their ears or shake their head very frequently if they have ear mites. Unfortunately, ear mites can also live on other parts of the body on your pet as well.
If you suspect your pet has ear mites, it is best to first clean your pet's ears with a pet ear cleaner. There are many common pet cleaners that help aid in killing the mites. Be sure to choose a cleaner with an insectidide or else it will not kill the mites. It is generally a good idea to use to cleaner for at least 4 weeks, as this is the usual life cycle of an ear mite. Make sure you wash your pet in a flea & tick shampoo, especially the feet and tail, as this is where most ear mites reside when not in the ear. Although ear mites are contagious to other pets, humans do not have to worry about getting these bugs on them. Be sure to check with your vet if you are not sure if your pet has ear mites.