April 10, 2015 Calgary Zoo

Birds wearing beer cozie slippers


Beer cozie slippers; they’re not just a fashion statement, but a creative way to care for animals here at the zoo.

What do you do when a bird injures its foot? Veterinarian Dr. Doug Whiteside prefers a certain method that not only helps heal the bird as quickly as possible, but also doubles as a fun bird accessory. In order to help the healing process along, the vets need a “bandage” that is able to get wet, dry quickly, but will still protect the foot. The beer cozie is perfect based on its shape for the webbed feet of a flamingo- the vets can medicate the bottom of the bird’s foot, and also protects the foot from the ground as it heals.

Dr. Whiteside has used this technique in flamingos for years and adapted it for the gentoo penguin from its use in flamingos. It was used successfully in 2013- with gentoo penguin Akemi. He claims the biggest challenge is making sure to use duct tape- so that they can’t take the cozie off! A unique workplace such as a zoo requires unique problem solving, for animals big and small.

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