Most people know that dogs and cats can be microchipped to help recover lost pets, but did you know that your parrot can also be microchipped for identification?
Why microchip your parrot? The answer to that question really is a personal choice. If your bird is valuable monetarily it can help prove legal ownership if the bird is stolen. If your bird is emotionally valuable (as most are), then a lost pet can also be reunited with its family if found and turned in at an animal shelter, rescue, or veterinarian. Most of these facilities now have scanners for microchips.
Most domestically bred birds usually have leg bands for identification purposes which might include the hatch date, maybe the breeder's personal identification number, clutch group, and sometimes other pertinent information. If the breeder is aligned with a national association these band numbers may be registered in some instances. Often however these bands are more for the breeder's own personal records and are not registered on any database. Most bands may not provide sufficient information to reunite a lost bird with its human. Even if the band does contain good information, it's only valuable if the band remains on the bird. Often bands are removed due to leg injuries, or weight gain or age causing the band to be tighter than it should be. Bands can become entangled in toys, or caught even in cage bars and are removed sometimes to prevent accidents. If stolen, a band could be removed quickly by the thief.
If you are considering a microchip for your bird, a few things to consider are as follows.
Most veterinarians prefer birds weigh at least 100 grams to be microchipped. If your bird is smaller, you should discuss the pros and cons of a surgical insertion used on smaller birds.
Microchipping your parrot is actually a quick and simple procedure performed by your veterinarian without any anesthesia in most cases. By using a local numbing agent, the microchip can be injected painlessly into your bird. The microchip itself is only about the size of a grain of rice and each microchip has it's own unique identification number that is registered for your bird.
Costs may vary anywhere from $50 to $100 depending on the region where you live and your particular veterinarian.
There is more than one chip manufacturer and some only require a one-time registration fee while others may require a yearly fee to remain active in their database. The most important thing is to remember if you ever move or change your phone number you need to update your information online. Your vet's staff will usually set up the registration for you and explain how to access your information online.
There is no GPS component to microchips currently, but maybe it's in the future for our pets to help keep them safer than ever.
A quick read about Nigel the African Grey and his story of loss and recovery and a very happy ending. Read Nigel's Story
Click the link below to watch a short video of a Senegal being microchipped by an experienced avian veterinarian.
Above Photo source: science.howstuffworks.com