centres, and even grocery stores and bulk food places. Unfortunately, this is an area where there are very few, if any regula- tions on what is packaged and sold for birds. Under- standably,

many people

shop based on price but in most cases, the cheap- est bird seed can be a waste of your money and maybe even harmful to you or the birds.


When I first became in

birds many

years ago, I started the same way most people did. I bought a standard wooden feeder and a basic wild bird mix. The results were not exactly great but I thought that’s just the way it is. My feeder was full of House Sparrows which were bullies to all the other birds, seed was spilled all over the place, and the feeder required filling at least a couple times a day if not more. At the end of ev- ery winter I had a mountain of seed under the feeder and cleanup was not pleasant. This mess brought me some furry, rather than feathered friends that were not invit- ed to this seed party. To top it off, I could never clean the ground perfectly so what was left behind started to grow, and grow, and GROW! It was at this point I became a certified unintentional gardener. After a few winters of this disastrous situation,

A seedy mess – where’s your bird seed coming from? W

ild bird products are found al- most anywhere these days, from hardware stores to gardening

Sherrie Versluis Feathered Friends

I decided there had to be a better way. I started to research feeding wild birds which flourished to the point of owning The Pre- ferred Perch. Thankfully those messy days are over and my birds and I could not be happier. When it comes to bird feed, most think the more variety in the mix the better. This is not the case. Mixes contain as much as 80% fillers which no backyard bird will eat. Fillers include grains like barley, wheat, oats, milo, and corn. These fillers have good weight to them and make up the ma- jority of what you get in a bag. The amount of edible seed is minimal and this is what causes birds to scatter. They are digging for some-

thing to eat. Most of the low quality seed mixes are made up of ingredients that were not up to standards for other uses, such as human use. Sometimes you will find a mix that contains peanuts which seems like a bonus but this can be a problem to you and the birds. Peanuts and corn can sometimes have a mold called Aspergillus flavis and this mold produces a potent carcinogen called Aflatoxin. Eating anything that contains Aspergillus flavis can be very harmful and can even cause death. It was discovered in 1960, when 100,000 turkeys died in England after eating peanut meal that was contaminated with the mold. Sometimes peanuts and even corn that have the asper-

Why you should vaccinate your pet

Wenchao Zheng

and prevent infectious disease in animals, including dogs and cats. Vaccines play a crucial role in veterinary preventive med- icine and in the reduction in the risk of human exposure to zoonotic disease. Your veterinarian should ensure that you are in- formed of, and understand the risk factors associated with infectious disease, as well as the benefits and any associated risks of vaccination. • Vaccines play an important role in


both animal and human health and wel- fare. • Vaccines registered for use in Canada

have been tested for safety and efficacy and can be administered with confidence when used in accordance with label instructions and veterinary advice. • Adverse effects, if any, should be re-

ported. • Vaccine protocols including anti- gen selection and re-vaccination intervals should be individualized, based on geo- graphic location, in-door or out-door ac- tivity, pet health status, pet age and vac- cination history. 1. Vaccines play an important role in animal and human health by: a) protecting animals from infectious diseases; b) protecting human health in the case of vaccinating animals for zoonotic dis- eases, e.g., rabies; c) contributing to animal health and

welfare by helping to control disease and thereby reducing disease suffering and mortality; and d) helping to reduce the need for anti-

microbials and associated risks from the development of antimicrobial resistance, eg. canine bordetella. 2. In Canada, veterinary biologics, in- cluding vaccines, are regulated by the Ca-

November 2018

he Canadian Veterinary Medical Association) supports the use of vaccines by veterinarians to control

nadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Vaccines registered for use in Canada have been tested for purity, potency, safety and efficacy when used in the target species according to the manufacturer's label rec- ommendations.

Manufacturers’ instruc-

tions should be carefully followed. In all cases, the volume of vaccine administered is determined by the what is required to produce a proper immune response in the patient and should not be adjusted based on the size of the patient (e.g., smaller dogs require the same volume of vaccine as larger dogs). 3. The vaccination needs of every pa- tient should be assessed regularly by a vet- erinarian as part of a comprehensive pre- ventative health care strategy. The decision to administer a particular vaccine should be based on a risk assessment that consid- ers the likelihood of exposure to a disease agent, transmissibility of disease in ques- tion, the health status on the patient(s), severity of the disease, health status of the pet and age of the pet. 4. Measurement of serum antibody ti-

tres may provide baseline information to monitor immunity, and help veterinarians in advising their clients about vaccination decisions. (Titres may not always be pre- dictive of an individual patient’s immune status, and results may vary among tests, and between laboratories.) 5. The use of vaccines is associated with

certain risks, including adverse reactions. Most adverse reactions are transient, mild, and occur infrequently. Your veterinarian should make you aware of both the po- tential risks, as well as the benefits of vac- cination. 6. Even if vaccination for a pet is not in-

dicated due to health status or age, annual or bi-annual physical exam is needed. Pets age faster, one year for a dog or cat equals five to seven years for human. If you would like more information, please call (204)-586-3334 or visit Animal Hospi- tal of Manitoba at 995 Main Street, Win- nipeg R2W 3P8.

gillus are used in poor quality seed mixes. In appearance, the tainted products may appear darker in color, are shrivelled look- ing, or have a dust-like coating on them. Basically,

if the seeds don’t look good

enough for you to eat, they are probably not good for anything to eat. Sadly, there is no regulations in the wild bird industry of what is acceptable or not for food. This means that seeds or nuts that are not ap- proved for any other industry can be sold to wild bird companies to produce inex- pensive seed mixes commonly sold in de- partment stores. Another problem with messes around

birdfeeders is the potential to spread dis- eases among wild birds. Mycoplasmal con- junctivitis is a parasitic bacterium that can take a real toll on songbirds especially the finch family. Symptoms include inflamed eyes, discharge around eyes and nasal area, fluffed up feathers, and the birds may sit for prolonged periods breathing heavily around birdfeeders. They also are quite easy to catch as they can be very lethargic. Conjunctivitis is primarily a respiratory in- fection, but once a bird is infected it can spread to other birds through their feces or the discharge left behind at feeders. Clean

Gillian Aldous Podiatry

Podiatry treatments available Monday to Friday in the office, home visits arranged:

• Difficult to cut, thickened, ingrown, fungal nails • Callus, hard skin, corns • Warts • Diabetic advice and assessment

• Biomechanical assessments and orthotics dispensing if needed

• Advice on footwear Blue Cross coverage accepted

Suite 320, 1600 Ness Avenue, Winnipeg Phone: 204-504-8986 | Email:

your feeders 3-4 times a year with a solu- tion of water and vinegar or with a small amount of bleach and a drop of dish soap. If you have had a sick bird at your feeders call The Wildlife Haven so they may treat the bird. Then be sure to disinfect your feeders. To get the best results at your feed- ing station, use only one food per feeder such as Black oil sunflower or use a qual- ity mix that does not contain fillers. If the mix has all edible products in it then even what falls on the ground will be eaten by ground-feeding birds, squirrels, or rabbits. Consider using a shelled mix so there are no shells and everything will be eaten. Us- ing a tube feeder rather than a hopper will reduce seed spillage and most have the op- tion of attaching a tray. The tray serves as a seed catcher which really helps in keeping it clean. Making the right choices in your feeders but especially in the feed, will make all the difference in your success in attract- ing and feeding birds throughout the year. When spring comes, your cleanup will be minimal and you won’t be picking weeds for the rest of the season. Happy birding! Sherrie Versluis owns the Preferred Perch and is an avid birder.

IF YOU ARE A SENIOR. . . . . . You should consider having the following in place


The preparation of a will may seem like a daunting task, however, it is essential to ensure that your property is disposed of according to your wishes upon your death. If you pass away without a valid will, the law states what is to happen to your estate.

Power of Attorney A power of attorney is a document which appoints an individual to handle your affairs in the event you become mentally incapable of making your own decisions. Nothing prevents you from continuing to make your own decisions while you are still competent. A power of attorney is an extremely valuable document to have in place in case anything happens to you which affects your mental ability, such as a stroke, coma or dementia.

Health Care Directive (Living Will) A health care directive, commonly called a living will, is a document which appoints an individual to make decisions with regard to your health care only, while you are alive but unable to express your decisions yourself. This document is distinct from a power of attorney and deals only with health care decisions such as whether life sustaining treat- ments, such as CPR or blood transfusion, should be continued or withdrawn.

Standard Fees*

Last Will and Testament Power of Attorney

Health Care Directive * plus GST and PST - Rates are per person.

Home and hospital visits are also available $250.00* (includes both meetings) *plus GST and PST

TACIUM VINCENT & ASSOCIATES 206 St. Mary’s Road, Winnipeg, MB R2H 1J3 DAVID G. VINCENT (204) 989-4236 21

$225.00 $175.00 $ 75.00

Seniors $200.00 $150.00 $ 50.00

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