[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Whenever we feel stress—like falling off a ladder—our bodies
react in predictable ways—increased heart rate, rapid and shallow
breathing, and an adrenaline rush. Animals feel stress too, and it can
compromise their health and ability to thrive. That, in turn, can cost
producers money. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Researchers in the Livestock Behavior Research Unit in West
Lafayette, Indiana, study stress in poultry, swine, and cattle. In one study, research leader Donald C. Lay, Jr., used animal
restraint and stress-inducing hormone injections of sows as stressors.
He found that prenatal stress, the stress imposed on a pregnant animal,
resulted in widespread effects on the offspring. «Prenatal stress has been shown to have effects on the
behavior and physiology of many species, including monkeys, rats, guinea
pigs, goats, humans, and swine,» says Lay. «Research in our
lab has shown that prenatal stress, from restraint and stress hormone
injection of sows, caused offspring to have increased plasma cortisol levels in response to stress and less ability to heal a wound when
subjected to stress.» Cortisol is a glucocorticoid—a class of steroid hormones that
suppress the immune system. Cortisol can also raise blood pressure and
blood sugar levels. «Prenatal stress has been shown to cause an increase in fetal
cortisol, which may in turn impair immune function and increase the
maximum binding capacity of glucocorticoid receptors in the central
nervous system immediately after birth.» Pigs in social groups are known to form hierarchies. Sows at the
bottom of the hierarchy may produce litters of prenatally stressed
piglets. Lay and his colleagues have shown that the effects associated
with prenatal stress in swine, however, are not caused by cortisol
alone. They are continuing research to identify the other factors
involved. Treating Farm Animal Stress from the Inside Out Animal well-being can be improved and stress counteracted in farm
animals by enhancing their enteric health and immunity through dietary
supplements. In studies to reduce the negative health effects of a known
stressor—such as animal transport and handling—animal physiologist
Susan Eicher has shown that beta-glucan (a yeast cell-wall product) and
vitamin C supplements, fed together, can improve piglet health by
enhancing the animals’ growth and immune function after transport. In Eicher’s studies, piglets received diets supplemented with
beta-glucan alone, vitamin C alone, or both beta-glucan and vitamin C.
An unsupplemented diet was fed to piglets as a control. «Piglets receiving both vitamin C and beta-glucan had a
greater weight gain after weaning,» says Eicher. «We also
detected changes in the expression of immune-system communication
molecules called ‘cytokines’ in intestinal and liver
tissues.» Other animal species may also benefit from this
combination diet during stressful times, such as transport. This ARS nutritional supplemental combination was patented in 2005
and is licensed. The marketed product is presently used by calf
producers in Idaho, and they report a lower incidence of respiratory
problems. Reducing Stress—and Pain—of Birds’ Beak Trimming Beak trimming is a routine husbandry procedure used in the
commercial poultry industry—particularly in broiler breeders and laying
hens—to reduce injuries during confinement. During conventional beak trimming, one-third to one-half of the
beak is removed. A hot blade is normally used to cut and cauterize the
beaks of chicks. But the process can be painful to the birds, so
alternative methods are needed. Biologist Heng Wei Cheng has identified a better technique-infrared
laser—that can reduce pain and tissue damage. «Infrared lasers have been widely used for noninvasive
surgical procedures in human medicine and their results are reliable,
predictable, and reproducible,» says Cheng. «Infrared lasers
have recently been designed with the purpose of providing a less
painful, more precise beak-trimming method compared with conventional
beak trimming.» Infrared laser was compared to conventional beak trimming, and the
results are promising. «Our results indicate that while there was
no statistical difference in egg production or bird body weight between
the two beak-trim treatments, those birds treated with the infrared
method displayed superior feather condition and reduced aggression, even
though they had less of the beak removed,» says Cheng. «The
data show that infrared beak treatment may reduce the damage done by
feather pecking and provides a better alternative to conventional beak
trimming. Indeed, infrared trimming may provide a less invasive
alternative to conventional beak trimming without compromising
productivity.» These research efforts are just some of many projects of the
Livestock Behavior Research Unit that are aimed at improving existing
practices and inventing new practices that enhance animal well-being and
increase animal productivity.—By Sharon Durham, ARS. This research is part of Food Animal Production (#101) and Animal
Health (#103), two ARS national programs described at
www.nps.ars.usda.gov. Donald C. Lay is in the USDA-ARS Livestock Behavior Research Unit,
125 S. Russell Street, West Lafayette, IN47907; (765)494-4604,
don.[email protected]. COPYRIGHT 2010 U.S. Government Printing Office
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder. Copyright 2010 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. How to Trim a Bird’s Beak. Birds, especially the psittacine family, sometimes need their beaks trimmed. Although the process isn’t hard, it does take a little familiarity. Luckily, you can be trimming beaks with the best of them in no…
WikiHow, Trim a Bird’s Beak, wiki, how to articles, how to instructions, DIY, tips, howto, learn, how do I article
http://www.wikihow.com/Trim-a-Bird%27s-Beak Pets and Animals
Birds Birds, especially the psittacine family, sometimes need their beaks trimmed. Although the process isn’t hard, it does take a little familiarity. Luckily, you can be trimming beaks with the best of them in no time flat. Never trim a birds beak on your own.

A bird’s beak is made of a very strong material, but does have nerve endings and can actually bleed! Let a professional do it.

Find a professional.

If using a veterinarian, always make sure he or she is up to date on bird care.

Many under qualified vets actually still feel it is all right to use a dremel tool or other power tools to sand down the beak. The only reason any mechanical device should
be used to trim a bird’s beak is if the bird is in dire need of the trimming due to health issues.

Birds know best!

If allowing the bird to trim its own beak, simply give it something to trim it on! Birds in the wild constantly wipe their beaks and bite things. Buy a ‘cement’ perch from a pet store or online.

Place the cement perch in an area where the bird sits or plays every day, such as in front of the food/water bowls, or even their favorite spot to sleep or just chill out during the day.

Or, make sure the perch is in a spot where the bird has to grab onto it to climb up to a favorite spot, i.e. grabbing it with its beak and thus slowly wearing it down. Birds also use perches to wipe their beaks after eating. If they do this on a cement perch, they will keep their beak trim and healthy.

Be sure the bird is on a proper diet.

Bad diet is often one of the biggest causes for an overly long beak. Bird seed should be treated like candy (would you let your children eat candy 24-7?). Its nice in moderation (no more than 10% of everything the bird eats), but
make it a staple diet no matter what the pet stores or bird seed packagers say. All birds should have access to a high quality pellet at all times such as «Exact». They should also be given fresh fruits and veggies (more veggies than fruits) daily.
  • A cement perch may be expensive, but it lasts for years! You will rarely have to buy more than 2 or 3 in a birds lifetime (depending on the lifespan of the bird)
  • Birds should have a large variety of different perches. Hard, soft, various textures, etc. Many cages at the pet store only have thin wooden dowels for perches. These are nearly useless. Get rope perches, wooden branch perches, cement perches, etc.
  • As a plus, a cement perch also keeps a bird’s nails trim!
  • Different birds may have different dietary needs. Talk to your local breeder or other expert for information.
  • Sanding or trimming a birds beak is very traumatic and often very dangerous for a bird. Do it ONLY if there is an emergency health concern and only let a vet do it.

How to Tame Pigeons to Be out of Cage Permanently
How to Build a Simple Nest Box for Garden Birds
How to Look After Fully Grown Ducks
How to Clean a Birdcage

The REAL «Story of an Eagle»

This bizarre story has resurfaced on Facebook recently but it has been around for at least 8 years. In keeping with our policy of debunking totally incorrect animal photos and stories we offer you the truth about eagles. The original text of this recurring post is in quotes. Our factual responsesto each partare below them in bold.
eagle2 «THIS IS THE STORY OF AN EAGLE» «The Eagle has the longest life-span of its species. It can live up to 70 years»
First of all a species is one type of animal, like the bald eagle or golden eagle, so, are they referring to one particular, extra special, eagle within his particular species? But let’s assume they actually mean genus or family, in other words, eagles in general. Generally speaking, eagles live around 30 years in the wild. Sometimes they do live longer in captivity due to a consistent food supply, veterinarian care, and shelter from extreme weather. But 70 years is not common and even quite unlikely. «But to reach this age, the eagle must make a hard decision. In its 40th year…»
In other words… 10 years after it should already be dead. «…its long and flexible talons can no longer grab prey which serves as food. Its long and sharp beak becomes bent.»
«Its old, aged and heavy wings, due to their thick feathers, stick to its chest and make it difficult to fly.»(More on this later.) eagle1 «Then, the eagle is left with only two options: DIE or go through a painful process of CHANGE which lasts 150 days. The process requires that the eagle fly to a mountaintop and sit on its nest. There the eagle knocks its beak against a rock until it plucks it out. Then the eagle will wait for a new beak to grow back…»
An eagle’s beak is made of keratin, like human fingernails. Like our fingernails, an eagle’s beak is constantly growing. Eagles tear at tough foods and wipe their beaks against hard objects like branches or even rocks to keep them clean. This process also helps keep the beak in magnificent shape throughout an eagle’s entire life. The loss of a beak in the wild would be certain death to any bird of prey. «…and then it will pluck out its talons»
The talons are also made of keratin, like human fingernails. And so the talons too are constantly growing. Grabbing and killing prey keeps the talons sharp as well as prevents them from becoming too long. If they got soft, there would be something seriously wrong with the bird. The talons are what an eagle uses to catch food. To pluck them out would not only be extremely difficult and painful, but would also take away their ability to provide food for themselves. And, most importantly, when a raptor loses a talon in this fashion, it is possible it will not grow back and the loss of blood can be horrific. Therefore, it would die of starvation even if it survived the likely infection caused by «plucking out» its talons. eagle3 «When it’s new talons grow back, the eagle starts plucking its old, aged feathers.»
Birds naturally lose their feathers & regrow them in a process called molting. Eagles go through a molt roughly once a year throughout their lives. During a molt, old feathers naturally fall out and new ones grow in to take their place. There is no pulling of the feathers. Some bird species do lose most of their feathers at one time and are forced to hide until the grow back, but not raptors like eagles. Flight (wing and tail) feathers drop out one by one and are replaced one by one, not all at once so that the animal can continue to fly and catch food. Plus, jerking out its feathers could also cause permanent damage the feather follicle so no feather grows back. Without feathers, a bird is unable to fly. If they cannot fly they cannot hunt for food or escape predators that cross their path. Both cases would obviously lead to the death of the bird «And after 5 months, the eagle takes its famous flight of rebirth and lives for 30 more years.»
Again, they just don’t live that long. But, «flight of rebirth»? Maybe they are referring to the mythical phoenix? Since these eagle «facts» are all total myth it must be a phoenix they are talking about… eagle4 «Why is change needed? Many times, in order to survive we have to start a change process. We sometimes need to get rid of old memories, habits and other past traditions. Only freed from past burdens, can we take advantage of the present.»
We know the point of this thing was to be a lovely and inspirational story and we hate to rain on that parade. However, we feel we can just as easily be inspired by true stories about animals and should not need to make stuff up. Back

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