Hot Summer & Birds
by Naveed Ijaz
Keeping birds in Pakistan is an old hobby, but due to lack of access to valuable information, most of the fanciers make up the rules as they go along – but they have one problem in common: they all complain that a lot of birds die during the summer months and they could not find a way to stop this.
At the end of March I was getting worried about my budgerigars in view of the forthcoming hot summer. None of the fanciers or veterinarians from the UK, USA or Europe had experienced 48-50 degree Celsius (up to 122 degree Fahrenheit) temperatures so they were unable to offer much advice.
In my search I found a local distributor who advised me that a few fanciers are using Vetafarm’s Spark Electrovet in Pakistan for saving birds. After reading available material I purchased my first bottle of Electrolyte. It worked well on my birds till temperature reached 45 degree Celsius (113 degree Fahrenheit). As the temperature increased, my birds started to show signs of distress.
Things that I tried:
Other fanciers recommended using Green Net to protect birds from the heat, others used Desert Cooler, I thought about these options and made the following observations.
- With Green Net, I can reduce the heat which hits my aviary, but at the same time I am inviting ventilation problem as flow of fresh air in such hot weather is critical and this may cause more trouble to my birds. So I dropped this idea.
- Desert Cooler: The first possible problem is that the cooler can electrify the wired front of my cage if it starts raining. As I work full time it is not possible for me to go and switch off the cooler if it rains and I cannot install the desert cooler inside my aviary as it doesn’t work without a supply of fresh air. My birds may also chew its material which could be toxic to them. I had to drop this idea for another reason: in July – August when humidity crossed 70% level, desert cooler make things worst in this time.
Now I was looking for an idea which is not only effective but harmless as well. I discussed it with every one I could who have birds and nobody could assist me, as they too were looking for a solution.
A friend took me to a village. There I found an old man sitting under tree and smoking. After a little chit chat with him, I came to the point and the response I got was so simple and natural that I ended up scratching my head.
He said “Son, it’s very simple. We shower our mud floors with water as the hot air hits the floor. It produces coolness and a very lovely earthy smell which we love.”
For an unusual problem there was indeed an unusual solution. I made the hard mud floor a little softer in the way gardeners do. Then I watered my aviary and watched my birds from a distance. It was 47 degree Celsius (113 degree Fahrenheit) that day, when one of them fly down to drink water & did not fly back to his perch.
The bird stayed on the wet floor keeping his body close to wet mud floor. Other birds also started to get down and sat in the same way. It looked like they were all sleeping on the floor.
I went back into the aviary and to my delight noted that the temperature had fallen some 12 degree C closer to the floor. I was very pleased that I had found a way to save my birds from hot summer heat.
An old and apparently uneducated person taught me a lesson that finally gave my birds some relief. Now I have mud roof as well, but I have to de-worm my birds on quarterly basis after moving to mud flooring.
I have to use an appropriate anti-insecticide and anti-insect growth regulator after couple of months, which may be a cost and hassle to some, but it is part of my normal routine now.
Today, I have added a lot of home grown green plants in the aviaries. Currently I have almost 9 different types of plants which we also use in our kitchen so my family is also happy with this arrangement. I stopped buying greens from the bazaar as they use pesticides and other harmful chemicals.
Though people raised the concern that mud floors represent an open invitation to germs. I always respond that the death rate in my aviary is the lowest compared to other fanciers. I had zero casualties in the last summer.
About the Author:
I turned 34 in May 2006. I am married with a very naughty 15 months old kid. I am from Lahore, Pakistan.
I used to have pet type budgies in my school/college days but then gave them up. A few years ago, I decided to re-start my hobby again, keeping the same type of budgie that I used to raise. My initial aviary size, at that time, was 6ft deep, 14 ft wide & 6 ft high, three concrete walls & wired net front.
I ended up buying my first pair of budgies, which were YF Type II Sky Blue. I am now carrying world’s top most blood line.
In Pakistan, Exhibition Budgerigar is at immature level. A group of people decided to have dedicated society for this purpose. It was registered and announced in January 2006.
C/O Budgerigar Society of Pakistan
44-Ferozpur Road, Lahore, Pakistan, Postal Code: 54000
Email: naveed@ExhibitionBudgie.Com Phone: +92-321-4422502.