When your cat is outdoors, you might notice your pet picking up dead birds. This could be a sign of a number of things. For starters, it could be an indication of bird disease. Cats may also be attracted to bird parts, including the beak, gizzard, tail, and upper feathers. In some cases, cats might be infected with bird parasites or diseases. These symptoms can take time to develop. If you notice that your cat is eating dead birds, contact your vet.
Changing your cat’s feeding schedule and play activity can reduce bird killing
Several ways to reduce your cat’s ability to kill birds include changing its diet and play activity. Cats are natural hunters, and domestication of the species reduces their desire to kill birds. One way to reduce your cat’s hunting urges is to switch your cat from eating grain-based foods to meat-based foods. This will reduce your cat’s intake of plant-based protein, which will also help wildlife.
If your outdoor cat hunts birds, changing the time of day he eats will reduce his hunting activity. Cats are crepuscular animals, and they hunt during dusk and dawn. If you cannot keep your cat indoors during these times, it will still be able to hunt birds, and the change in feeding and play activity will help him adjust. Adding in some indoor cat grass and toys will help him transition.
If you want to decrease your cat’s killing of birds, you can try using a bell collar. Research has shown that cats that wear bell collars kill fewer birds. Bell collars don’t reduce mammal predation. They are often lost, so stock up on extra ones. The article was originally published in March 2021 and has been updated to reflect current research.
Avoid eating the beak, gizzard, tail and upper feathers
To avoid poisoning yourself, don’t eat the beak, gizzard and upper feathers of dead birds. The gizzard is a pouch in a bird’s lower abdomen that contains indigestible food. Birds use the gizzard to grind seeds, grit and small stones. The gizzard contains more muscle than meat and is therefore very tough and corrosive. The gizzard also contains mucus and an inactive precursor to pepsin, a protein enzyme that is needed to digest protein.
Avoid eating the beak
The beak of a dead bird is not an edible food. It may be contaminated with toxins or insects. It may also contain decomposed material from the bird’s diet. Moreover, the bird’s beak may be shaped differently from other beaks of other animals. Despite this, pet birds should be protected from consuming the beak of dead birds. This way, they will avoid painful and potentially harmful infections.
The cause of cannibalism is not always known. In some cases, birds have learned to eat the beaks of dead birds. Other times, this behaviour may be inherited. It should be part of the management program of the flock. However, there are several ways to prevent cannibalism in poultry. According to Phillip J. Clauer, poultry specialist at Penn State University and Dr. Gregory Martin, poultry specialist, beak trimming may cause neuromas.