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sweetpeamusic 10-04-2018 12:44 AM

How cold is too cold?
So, as some of you know I live in the Pacific Northwest, and since it's autumn it's been getting a little chillier (mid-fifties). I keep my room at a comfortable temperature for both of us (my test is if I can't be in short sleeves it's too cold for Nico). However, Nico absolutely LOVES to go on walks outside, especially to campus or to downtown where he meets new people and gets lots of attention.

My question is, how cold is too cold out for Nico in a flight suit? Is there any way I could keep him warmer so we could go out?

ChristaNL 10-04-2018 04:09 AM

Re: How cold is too cold?
It is not about the temperature in general (we've had reports of macaws on the other forum nesting in the snow ... ) it's about the changes.
(difference inside-outside)

The moment you have to put on a coat to keep yourself warm is the time you have to start keeping an eye on your bird.

(and maybe get him one as well ? the flightsuit/birddiaper people sell them it you cannot make one of your own ;) just getting them "a sweater" made of a sock will help a bit, go for windresistant material for really cold days )

They told me (in dutch, in normal centrigades ;) ) that a difference of more than 10 will be a significant stressor to the bird. (I am too lazy to convert it to your Fahrenheits)
But sometimes the temperature can read allright, but because of the wind / moisture it can really feel colder it's not an exact science!

and also: a bird that gets out daily f.e. with the dog (walking the same amount of time outside everyday) will be better trained to handle differences in temperature than one that gets out only once a week or month.

So just watch your bird -> he will let you know he is uncomfortable (maybe even burrowing in your clothes if he is *really* freezing)

LeslieA 10-04-2018 10:24 AM

Re: How cold is too cold?
(You can also ask, HOW HOT IS TOO HOT. )

If you want actual numbers, it's not going to happen and if someone gives you that, they're probably just making it up to satisfy you or trying to be the smartest one in the room.

Too many things influence HOW temperature is felt. What's coat-weather to one is shorts-weather to another! 2 examples, in Central America, people were putting on sweaters and freezing at 85F while I was in burning up in shorts. In ND, we were pulling off clothes at 14F wondering why it was so hot, while my mother 3 states down was wearing a coat at 60F.

I'm not as quite as kind as ChristaNL even. (I did the math!) My people taught me only a 15F wind chill difference at most.

I've never been successful with flightsuits but am willing to concede that I'm the problem.

Environment plays a big roll. If a bird lives in colder climates, it can take lower temperatures. If the bird experiences temperatures dropping slowly over time as compared to one time 75F and the next 40F, it's able to take lower temperatures. For example, mine were Southern birds suddenly in snow, ice and sub-zero temperatures. Not gonna happen. My fids stayed inside with the furnace turned up. When they had to go out, they were totally wrapped and placed in my coat.

A bird will physically let you know if it's cold. Watch it!

So, in closing, consider what your bird is used to, watch your bird's body language, and keep it to a maximum indoor-outdoor temperature change of 15F.

EllenD 10-04-2018 12:44 PM

Re: How cold is too cold?
I live in Central Pennsylvania, which has similar seasonal temps to the Pacific Northwest. We're starting to finally get out of the 60's-70's this week, due to horrible thunderstorms, and last night it got down into the high 40's here. Central PA is tough, because you have to run your AC during the day, and then you have to turn on your heat once the sun goes down in the spring and the fall...

As Noodles mentioned already, it's much more important to make sure that your bird doesn't just go from inside where it's 65-70 degrees to directly outside where it's 50-55 degrees, as this can cause a lot of stress and actually shock if the temp change is drastic enough...Think about it this way: Wild birds who live outside full-time are usually fine until the temp gets down into the high-30's to low 40's, essentially until it gets down near freezing. And that's because they are continually outside in the changing temperature, and experience it gradually, instead of a pet bird who is living inside most of the time in a temp range between the mid-60's and the low-70's, and that is suddenly exposed to a drastically colder temp all of a sudden. Birds are well insulated by their feathers and can live continually in very cold temperatures, even parrots...Take the Quaker Parrot for example, we have large, wild Quaker Parrot colonies here all over the Northeast US, in Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Ohio, etc. They live outside here full-time, all year long, and survive literal blizzards that dump feet of snow at one time. Yes, they build community nest complexes, but it's not like they have central heat, lol...

As far as taking your bird outside, flight suits in-general are not very protective and I wouldn't imagine that they add much warmth for your bird at all (unless you have a different type of flight-suit than I'm thinking of, as most of the ones I've seen are made from a polyester or rayon type of material, and they are extremely thin). So unless you have a flight-suit for your bird that is made out of a much warmer-than-normal material, such as fleece, wool, etc., and is much thicker than the average flight-suit, then I'm not sure that this is a solution. However, you can purchase special clothing/flight-suits that are actually made for cold weather, and as such are made from extremely warm, insulating material, and are much thicker than the typical flight-suit is (by definition, a "flight-suit" is made for them to be able to fly in, as as such they generally aren't very heavy/thick)...But then again, your bird's legs, feet, and most importantly his head are going to be still be exposed...And they are of-course going to lose the most heat through their head!

I think this is a "use your common-sense" type of situation. Again, birds are going to lose most of their heat through their heads, just like we do, so you certainly don't want to take him outside when it's down into the 40's or below without him being inside of a carrier that is covered. If you are just talking about taking him outside on your shoulder for a walk (I'm assuming you use the flight-suit like you would a harness, and he's attached to a leash, I hope), and the temperature is in the 50's or above, then he should be fine, as long as it's not raining and he doesn't get wet. If you have him outside for a walk in his flight-suit and he's constantly "fluffed-up", shaking, trying to cuddle/snuggle close against you, then he's too cold. But I've had my guys outside wearing only their Aviator Harnesses, sitting on my shoulder and walking around the neighborhood, in the woods, or going in the car with me and then out into stores, etc. when the temperature was as cold as at least 55 degrees with no problems at all. Just use your common sense and he'll be fine, and he'll certainly let you know if he's too cold.

LeslieA 10-04-2018 01:12 PM

Re: How cold is too cold?
EllenD, rather than quote your entire article, I'm just copying part of a sentence: "
As Noodles mentioned already,". Assumedly you're referring to a previous blog or post. I would (and guess others, too) be interested in reading it. Please provide me with a link to it.


noodles123 10-04-2018 05:37 PM

Re: How cold is too cold?
It am sure I said it at some point! In fact, I was about to say it again to the OP-then I saw that I had been quoted lol! I am not sure whether this is referencing a past post, but I stand by the quote that was attributed to me lol!

LeslieA 10-04-2018 07:32 PM

Re: How cold is too cold?

Originally Posted by noodles123 (Post 770979)
It am sure I said it at some point! In fact, I was about to say it again to the OP-then I saw that I had been quoted lol! I am not sure whether this is referencing a past post, but I stand by the quote that was attributed to me lol!

I'm just trying to get the link because, no doubt, more was said. So please, provide the link.

I reread that and started thinking, even below 30F here, birds are out and winters were subzero up in ND, (at least in my neck of the woods) and there were wildbirds out. How could that AND your statement be true? How did those wildbirds survive well below freezing?

noodles123 10-04-2018 08:14 PM

Re: How cold is too cold?
I have always based this question/answer on multiple components:
A) the swiftness of the change (fast=worse)
B) the feather quality of the bird (shabby=worse for the cold)
C)the native habitat of the bird's most recent relatives (wild)
D) the excess fat on the bird

Some birds are just better designed to handle certain temperatures---a penguin is not a robin, nor is a robin a cockatoo.

Gradual is key, but temperatures too high or low can hurt birds. In the wild, many birds would migrate due to weather changes and although this is often linked to food supply, temperature does make a difference..for instance, hummingbirds go into a sort of paralysis when temperatures drop (and those temperatures are not very cold compared to what other birds could handle). That having been said, some birds handle the cold much better...and the same could be said for the heat...

EllenD 10-05-2018 11:30 AM

Re: How cold is too cold?
I think I confused myself in that post, lol..I can't give you a good answer, other than I'm psychic and knew what Noodles was thinking...#VooDoo

Either way, I totally agree with Noodles, lol, and to answer your question of "How can BOTH be true?", it's just what Noodles stated directly above...There are many factors that effect their ability to survive below-freezing temps, and the largest one is how gradual the temperature change is over-time, versus just taking a bird who is used to living inside and taking them outside and putting them in an ambient temperature that is drastically different than what they have been living in.

This doesn't only apply to birds/parrots either, but to ALL warm-blooded creatures. You can't take an inside dog who only goes outside during the winter for short spurts to go to the bathroom and then goes right back inside, and suddenly decide that you want them to be an "outside dog" and suddenly chain them up outside during December and expect them to survive!!! A dog who lives outside 24/7, 365, in a region that has seasons that include a winter, will actually naturally develop not only much thicker fur, as well as a thick undercoat, but will also develop a large layer of fat as well, both usually start developing/growing in the early-mid fall season, as the ambient temperature starts to drop (and it's a "gradual" drop)...In contrast, a dog who lives inside full-time and only goes outside a few times a day for the bathroom does NOT develop a thick coat of fur or an undercoat, nor do they develop a thick fat layer. And this goes for any and all animals, including birds, who live outside all year round in a geographic region that goes through a cold, winter season.

****If I was to drive to NYC right now, in October, and catch one of the wild Quaker Parrots who live there all year round, bring it home, and put it side-by-side with my adult Quaker Parrot, the differences in not only their feathers and down, but also in their fat layer and overall body structure would be enormous and quite obvious visually...

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