234 IDEAL HOME LIFE
in cracks, nail holes, or crevices, and their presence is betrayed upon close examination by minute white spottings. If unnoticed, they multiply rapidly and sap the strength of the bird by sucking its blood. When their presence is suspected, remove the bird temporarily and either clean the cage thoroughly with a solution of one ounce of commercial carbolic acid in a gallon of water, applied with a small brush, taking care to reach all crevices, or immerse the cage in boiling water, keeping it covered for several minutes. In addition, insect powder may be used as for the gray louse.
Where facilities for frequent bathing are offered and the cage is kept clean, there is usually little trouble with either mites or bird-lice. When a bird is sick and neglects its customary bathing, cleaning, and preening, it is surprising to see how rapidly these pests multiply. With care, however, they may be completely eradicated, though fresh outbreaks are liable to occur when new birds are brought in.
Care of Feet and Bill
As a canary grows old it will be noticed that its claws gtt long and catch on the perches and wires as it hops about the cage. In a state of nature the activities of the bird as it moves about on the ground or among twigs and limbs keep the claws properly worn down. Confined in a cage, the canary is less active; and while the rate of growth of the claws remains the same, they are subject to much less abrasion. It is necessary, therefore, to trim them with a pair of sharp scissors every few months. It is important to watch the condition of the claws carefully, as by catching they may cause a broken leg. In each claw a slender blood vessel extends well down toward the tip. This may be seen on close examination through the transparent sheath of the claw. In trimming, cut well beyond this canal, and take special care not to break the leg while handling the bird.
In cage birds the horny covering of the bill, as well as the claws, sometimes becomes distorted through growth without