You may think that owning a pet won’t be much of a problem, or that the difficulty of their care and/or management depends on the species and breed. While this is slightly true, it depends on the time you invest in them, regardless of their species, they should and must be treated following some basic rules such as; good nutrition, proper care, attention, and of course, love. This doesn’t mean that you will treat your bird like you would with another pet, so we advise and encourage you to educate yourself on the matter before you get a wonderful and exotic bird.
Get to know your bird
Becoming the best bird owner will depend on how much attention you pay to your new feathered friend. Take advantage of the training and playtime so the two of you can get to know each other. Remember that the birdcage doesn’t mean that they will remain inside of it all the time, so you must acknowledge his phycological needs, placing the cage where it suits best to your bird. Invest time understanding his behavior in the wild so you can adapt your home the best way you can for your caged bird to keep it happy and healthy, even more so if you plan on getting multiple bird species.
For example. birds love to play and are very curious but for small birds such as canaries that are better inside the cage, you must get the appropriate toys for the species. You can use toys as an “entertainment therapy”, to encourage exercise, occupying their minds, or as a diversion. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you must strictly acquire fancy gear, you could use something as simple as a three-branch with leaves or even the cardboard roller from a toilet paper.
If you are planning on taking your bird out of its cage, make sure he is well trained and calm to avoid any unnecessary accidents. Furthermore, keep off the birdcage from places like the bathroom or the kitchen, where it’s exposed to chemicals, frequent change in temperature and humidity, machines, or biohazard objects that could be dangerous for the bird or making it uncomfortable for everyone. If you are thinking of setting your pet free on a different room of the house be extra careful by keeping doors and windows closed, avoid if possible ceiling fans.
In case you own more pets such as cats or dogs with your new companion bird, it is better if they interact with each other from an early age so that, not only do they get used living together but not to hurt one another. Especially if your feathered fellow claims that he taw a puddy-tat.
Bird cage and Housing
The size of the cage will vary of the species of your bird, your house, and his natural or wild behavior, so make sure you adapt it the best way you can. This would allow your pet bird to open its wings freely and could have some room to move. Furthermore, the cage should resist any harm that can be made by the bird, the substrate should be well separated and out of reach of your pet to ensure your birds care since it’s an area that’s easily contaminated by bacteria and fungus. Use plain cage liner paper over sawdust, sand, kitty litter, or anything related to these things for better control of droppings. Place the water bowl at the opposite end of the food, so whenever your pet bird eats or drinks water it will take some effort and exercise to travel between each one. An avian veterinarian or a regular veterinarian can help with these and many other doubts you may have on any matter.
Find a place with a proper air current, that also has proper sunlight with an available shadow.
Choosing the right nutrition
So far, I´ve talked mostly about attention and management, but this isn’t the only need of your bird companion, ensuring a right and balanced diet, as you should with any other animal, is an important and critical matter when it comes to overall health. A wild bird usually eats what it finds or people usually feed them with various types of seeds, only this type of food tends to get messy so it’s better and easier to feed them with pellets or commercial formulated diets as the main food. For the rest of the diet, you can use fruits and vegetables as treats or meals. Your pet bird species will determine the amount and type of food to use, so be sure to ask your veterinarian for the proper diet that your bird needs, and make sure to base the diet with 75% of concentrated food and 25% of quality and healthy food for your new bird.
Some people may choose to feed their pets with homemade food, which isn’t a bad idea, and it’s not wrong at all. The problem with this is that normally the diet many owners use won’t cover completely your pet bird needs nutritionally. Before exploring recipes for your pet’s diet, you should consult with a professional or a veterinarian so he can guide you through the right path. Even the smallest of details could make the difference with food, so you should pick the best set of bowls that helps you with the diets presentation. A deep bowl won’t make the food look as attractive to your bird, a wider one will help you keep it interest it on whatever you use to feed him.
Having a pet in your family isn’t always about fun and playing games with it, so its highly advised that you keep everything as clean as you can to avoid getting an infected bird or that any other family member gets a disease. It all comes down to how everyone at home works together on this matter. You must keep the cage as fresh as you can, this not only will allow you to check if your pet it’s eating correctly but also taking away anything that gets dropped on the cage floor, keeping an eye on your bird’s droppings as it can help you out determine if he gets a disease or any change on his behavior. In case he needs medical attention, these little things will help your veterinarian understanding the situation as a whole. Think about it as if it was your bathroom, change the floors padding daily, the same way clean the cage floor itself weekly, and a deeper cleaning monthly on the cage or any other place your bird rest or spends its time.
Using 2 sets of bowls for water and food will ensure that he always has a clean dish to eat from, avoiding any smells or leftovers that may keep him away from his food. I bet you wouldn’t like to eat on an unwashed dish.
After all of this, you may think this is a daunting task for a beginner, but I´ll promise you that if you cover the basics of bird care, no matter the species, you´ll become a great pet bird owner.
The Amazon parrot is one of the most popular pet birds, but if it makes you feel more comfortable you could start with a smaller bird such as conure or canary, so it won’t so overwhelming everything I´ve told you about their care and management as your first caged bird. Also, you could go with more traditional and yet exotic birds like a cockatiel, being part of a wide parrot species these beautiful creatures will surely give you the time of your life whit their great personality. Although they aren’t much of a child’s pet due to all of the care requirements and lifespan, any companion parrots make a good family pet birds.
Pet birds are unique and special in their way, pick the one that suits you best and also some advice from an avian veterinarian or a bird enthusiast about your bird specifically.
Here we have a few names that we recommend you to check if looking for any pet birds or any specific species. For small ones, you could look for a parrotlet or budgie, also known as a parakeet. For a parrot species, there´s the cockatoo, macaw, and African grey parrot.
Just be sure to follow every line up that was explained here and for anything an avian expert has to say for a specific species. Experience with pet birds may give you what you need to help any professionals or avian centers with the endangered species.
I hope you find this pet birds guide useful and if you think I´ve missed something please let me know in the comment section below.
And remember, Polly wants its cracker.
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