Birds can make excellent household pets, but they do require care that differs from cats and dogs. Today, our Franklin vets discuss the level of care required for pet birds and what you can expect if you're looking to add one of these companions to your family.
Pet Bird General Care
Taking proper care of a pet bird is of the utmost importance if you want to keep them happy and healthy. Birds differ from cats and dogs when it comes to pet care, but they are not any more difficult to maintain.
A good bird owner will ensure that their feathery friend has a specific, healthy diet consisting of fresh food and water. Some species of birds require more exercise than others so be sure you have the time and space to provide adequate playtime with safe bird toys.
Keeping a bird's cage clean is also important as dirty cages can lead to a plethora of serious health problems in birds. Certain cleaning chores must be done every day to minimize your pet's risk of infection.
Some species of bird will require more attention than others. Some birds absolutely love socialization and interaction with their owners while others do like some time to themselves.
Make sure you have an exotic animal hospital within your area that can provide your pet with the proper avian care they deserve.
Pet Bird Diet
Traditional bird seed that you may see in a bird feeder is not an acceptable every-meal type of food for your pet bird. Think of that bird seed as greasy and unhealthy junk food (like fast food) that we humans eat.
Pelleted bird foods or often recommended. These specially formulated kibbles have all of the nutrients required for birds, mixed into a firm pellet (much like dry dog food and cat food). These pellets prevent your bird from picking out the bits she likes and leaving the rest behind ensuring they receive the proper level of nutrients they require. There are several brands and types of these foods that can be designed for certain species of birds depending on their needs.
Pet birds should be given a variety of fruits and vegetables including some of the following:
- Shredded Carrots
- Romaine Lettuce
- Snow Peas
Be sure to cut your bird's fruit and vegetables into appropriate pieces that are proportionate to your bird’s size and pose no risk of a choking hazard.
Interaction & Socialization
Understanding bird behavior in the wild is very important to understand their behavior as our companions. For instance, parrots are social animals in the wild. Your family is the flock for a pet bird, and it wants to be part of family activities. If a bird's owners are in one room and the bird is in its cage in another, the bird may scream to get the flock's (your) attention.
Most pet birds love social interaction so it is important for owners to ensure that they have enough time to spend with their pet(s) throughout the day.
Bird Cage & Environment
Typically, the larger the bird cage the better. Pet birds need plenty of room to stretch their wings and climb within their cage. A variety of stimulating bird toys that provide enrichment activities give these intelligent animals plenty of things to do. Finches and canaries enjoy flying throughout a cage, so a flight cage may be ideal, especially with multiple birds. Other birds require toys for chewing, while a finch or canary enjoys a bell or swing.
Your pet bird should spend as much time out of their cage as it would like. Birds need plenty of time to fly around freely during the day.