Give Them A Weigh! - - - by Liz Davies (aka "Mom")


One morning I heard my husband carrying Laka down the stairs saying "Oh, I'm going to give the bird away!"  Half asleep to begin with, my eyes flew open... "WHAT!?!?!?" Of course, what he meant was "give the bird a weigh"!


Birds are good at hiding illnesses, so as good parronts, we have to be extra vigilant about checking the things that might give us a clue.  Things like "poo" quality and quantity, sudden unexplained behavioral changes, and weight all need to be monitored.

We weigh our birds early in the morning - before the first feeding.  That way we get an apples-to-apples number that we can reliably compare.  Otherwise we'd see wild fluctuations in weight caused by the bird's eating patterns.  For example, Laka might weigh 850g in the morning, but pick up 60 grams or so after chowing down.

We use a digital scale and a small "table top" perch. 
The box (left) is necessary because the perch is too large to fit
by itself on the scale.

None of the birds appreciate standing directly on the scale, so we have to devise a way for them to "perch".  We use a small tabletop perch (actually way too small for Laka's big feet, but for the 2-3 seconds we need her to stand on it, its' OK). 

We turn on the scale, put the box on, and then stand the perch on top.

The box acts as a platform for the perch, but leaves us a little room so we can see the scale's displays and reach the buttons.

The scale we use has a featuer that allows you to "set on zero". 
This is an important feature for weighing birds.

Once we get the perch on, we hit "on zero".  This makes the scale "ignore" the weight that is already on it.  That way we'll only get the bird's added weight from this point on.

The box acts as a platform for the perch, but leaves us a little room so we can see the scale's displays and reach the buttons.

When weighing Laka, we want to be sure we get all of her, including the tail feathers.  So we move the scale and all over to the edge of the table so her tail will hang down.  Otherwise her tail resting on the table will cause the scale to be off, and the weight display to "bounce around" as she shifts.

As you can see in this picture, Laka will stand on the small perch for a couple of seconds.  It's just long enough to get a reading.
There we go!  Notice that Laka's tail is up above the table.

After weight the birds, my husband records the weights on his PC.  If we see a declining trend or any unexplained drop, we know to be on the lookout (and possibly schedule a vet visit).  If we do go to the vet, we can take a long a printout of the bird's weight history for him to glance at - and we know he appreciates having that extra bit of information.