Recently, on our way back home from an appointment on another island, we ran into some boat trouble. As we chugged our way slowly towards home at a snail’s pace on one engine, my frustration with myself and my lack of preparation grew. Not only did I not have anyone capable of taking care of the Three-Cans’ afternoon/bedtime needs should we not make it back in time, this incident also forced me to think of the big picture and see in glaring detail how I had not set our toucans up for success in the event of our unavoidable absence. Should anything happen to me and/or David or in the event of an emergency that would take us away from home unexpectedly, I now understand how imperative it is that I have a simple way to communicate the needs of our birds so that they do not have to suffer unnecessarily as a result.
Patty, one of the informative bloggers over at our favorite birdie site Bird Tricks, did an excellent post called Planning For Your Bird’s Future. In it, she details out the importance of making arrangements for your bird’s placement and care should you no longer be available. This provided the perfect inspiration for me to get organized, leading to my newly completed Toucan Care Guide.
I have made both a digital and physical version to be as easily accessible as possible. The physical binder is placed in the area where we prepare the toucans’ food and store their toys in an obvious spot for anyone looking. I have separated the binder into the following sections:
– General Info which includes facts about the Toco toucan species, our Toucan Rules, FAQs about our Three-Cans, and a personality profile for Paz, Paco, & Pepe each.
– Diet which includes the daily food portions we feed, a Food Preparation guide, notes on toucan diet research I have done, a Low-Iron Food Guide, and a description of the two pellet diets we feed, including supplier contact information.
– Care which includes our birds’ daily schedule and our Cage Cleaning Procedure.
– Enrichment which includes past toy orders, a guide on making acceptable toys & food foraging options for the Three-Cans, and our toy rotation procedures and safety rules.
– Training which includes the tricks/behaviors I work on with the toucans, training notes from research I have done, and links for finding helpful answers to training questions.
– Resources which includes a list of emergency contacts (ie. our numbers, vet numbers, etc.), the birds’ CITES immigration paperwork, useful toucan website links, and lists of toxic/non-toxic plants and woods.
I realize my tendency to be a bit long-winded and anal-retentive when it comes to my Three-Can’s care, so my biggest challenge was making this guide as simple, yet thorough, as possible. I feel like this was time well-spent not only for the (hopefully unlikely) event of an emergency, but also for training any future bird sitters, as we hope to find a few suitable options soon.