Beautiful and curious creatures, birds can fill your home with color and song. They often enjoy long lives, making them enduring companions for conscientious pet owners. To ensure that your bird remains content from its youth until its sunset years, explore our bird care tips and advice. Whether you’re just exploring the possibility of purchasing a bird or you’re a veteran bird owner, Petsway has the products you need to keep your feathered friend happy and healthy.
Bird Care Tips
Choosing the Right Bird
Before you commit to owning a bird, do your research and learn about the characteristics of the species that interests you. Explore websites dedicated to that type of bird, and consider reading an expert-recommended book about it. Caring for a bird is an enormous commitment, so you need to find one that complements your home, lifestyle, level of experience, and pet preferences.
For a bird with beautiful coloring that requires little maintenance, consider the zebra finch. If you want a bird that will frequently entertain you with its songs, a canary might be the right choice. Finally, if you want a bird that enjoys interacting with your family and friends, consider a budgie or cockatiel.
Regular Veterinarian Visits
Regular visits to the vet are essential for all birds kept as pets. When choosing a veterinarian, visit the American Animal Hospital Association’s website for a list of accredited vet practices in your area. In addition, if you know someone who takes great care of their birds’ health and welfare, consider asking for a recommendation. Not all general practitioners are comfortable with birds or knowledgeable about the care they require, so it is important that you find someone with the necessary qualifications and experience.
The first vet visit should occur soon after you acquire your bird. At this initial appointment, the veterinarian should perform a physical examination, recommend diagnostic and wellness tests, and determine your bird’s health status. In addition, the vet will likely discuss proper feeding, housing, grooming, and health care to ensure that you know how to keep your bird healthy. When you return for annual appointments, your vet should address health screenings as well as nutrition and weight management.
Handling Your Bird
Hold your bird very gently. Birds have fragile bones, so even the slightest pressure can cause a fracture if you’re not careful. Although you will need to hold your bird firmly for some tasks (like trimming nails and clipping wings), never squeeze its body. To prevent injury and stress and to establish a bond with your pet, teach your bird to “step up” onto your hand as soon as possible. Finally, teach young children to be gentle and kind when handling your feathered friend.
Housing Your Bird
To ensure that your bird can stretch its wings, buy the largest and most well-constructed cage that your budget will allow and your home will accommodate. Your bird should be able to fly a short distance within the cage. In addition, check that the spacing of the bars is close enough to prevent your bird from escaping. Once you find the perfect cage, use the following tips to make it comfortable for your bird:
- Position the cage in a warm, bright place within your home. To regulate the temperature and keep your bird comfortable, do not store the cage near direct sunlight, air conditioning vents, heating vents, radiators, or drafts.
- Add perches to the cage for comfort and interest. Ideally, you will choose a variety of perches, such as a wood perch, a rope perch, a wood ladder, and a swing.
- Birds love to play, so be sure to add some toys to your bird’s cage. For example, toys made of wood, twisted paper, cardboard, and plastic are fun for birds to chew and destroy. You can also find “preening” toys, which birds peck at and groom, and cuddle toys. Some bird toys feature mirrors, bright colors, and bells, which delight and entertain many birds.
- Clean the cage thoroughly once a week. Clean your birds’ toys as well, and check that they are damage free. Disinfect the entire cage monthly to remove dirt, grime, and bacteria.
- Consider placing a shallow dish of water at the bottom of your bird’s cage for bathing. Some birds also enjoy being sprayed gently with water. When giving your bird a spray bath, keep him or her away from drafts.
Your Bird’s Diet
In addition to seed or pelleted food formulated for your bird’s nutritional needs, you can offer your bird fresh fruits and vegetables each day. To satisfy your bird’s foraging instinct, consider wrapping pellet food or dried fruits/veggies in nontoxic paper, so that your bird must chew through the paper to reach the treat. You could also wrap the entire food dish in paper, so your bird must scratch or peck through the paper in order to eat.
Finally, remember to provide fresh, cold water for your bird. Change it out twice a day.