don’t pet birds on back

Are you planning on getting a pet bird? If so you are probably wondering if they like being pet and being in a cage, but the truth is, it depends on the type of bird you get and the bond you have with them. In this blog, our Westfield vets explain how you can pet a bird, and answer common questions asked by bird owners.

How to teach a bird to step up

Adopting a bird that is unfamiliar with the step-up cue or has not been trained in that manner will require you to start the training process over in order to teach them what you want them to do. You want the bird to understand how enjoyable and fulfilling it is to step up. This behavior is best taught outside of the cage. Your bird’s cage is their home, so touching it when it isn’t yet trusting you is an invasion of their personal space.

Here’s how to teach a bird to step up:

  • Let the bird hang out on top of the cage. In front of the bird, place your arm on the top of the cage. Don’t move your arm; just let it lie there. Repeat a few times until the bird becomes accustomed to your arm being in their area.
  • Next, use your other hand to give the bird its very favorite treat in a position that requires it to bend over your reclined arm. Move the treat farther away over time until the bird has to come up onto your arm to get it. Give them lots of praise and treats for doing this.
  • Repeat this lesson a few times before adding the “step up” cue. ”.
  • Lift the bird a couple of inches once it is completely at ease perched on your arm. This exercise should be continued until the bird steps up on cue.

Some birds are frightened by human hands. If so, you can educate your bird to step up onto a washcloth or towel.

It’s crucial that you take your time while completing these steps for training birds. You are destroying the trust you are establishing, so never hurry. Your bond with your bird will grow stronger when you give them the freedom to make decisions. And when you reward desired behaviors with positive reinforcement (e. g. , play, praise, and treats), you’ll probably discover that your bird wants to communicate with you.

Do Birds Like Being Pet?

This question doesn’t have a single, definitive yes or no response. Some birds prefer to spend time with their owners by playing games and just hanging out rather than being handled by them. Some birds, on the other hand, would gladly sit on your lap and receive light head scratches. For this reason, it’s critical to learn about your bird and what kinds of attention they prefer.

Avoid rubbing or petting your bird under its neck as this is a mating ritual that could cause them to perceive you as a possible mate or aggravate their sexual needs, particularly during their hormonal season. This is due to the fact that many birds have their sex organs under their wings and on their backs. Your bird may spit food at you, pluck feathers, and scream loudly if it believes that you are its mate. It may also become hostile and aggressive toward other birds in your home. If your bird is exhibiting these signs call your veterinarian.

Additionally, you should avoid handling or spending too much time with your bird in the beginning as this could lead to inflated expectations. Rather, after you and your bird have become accustomed to each other, spend as much private one-on-one time as possible with them when you first get them. Start this routine as soon as you adopt your new friend if, for instance, you can only spend an hour a day with your bird after you get home from work.

The following are the steps to safely and correctly pet your bird:

  • Pet your bird only on the head; avoid petting them anywhere below the neck. Most birds still prefer to be petted on the head and neck, even though their sexual organs aren’t located in the areas on their backs or under their wings.
  • To help your bird get to know you and begin to trust you, begin gently petting them at their beak. Proceed with extreme caution, especially at first, as they are likely not accustomed to being handled.
  • Pet them towards their beak, not their tail. Unlike other pets, most birds prefer to have their feathers touched.
  • You can progressively begin gently massaging the sides of your bird’s head, including the area just behind its beak and around its ears, if they are becoming at ease and comfortable with you touching them (but be careful around the eyes)
  • When your bird becomes more at ease, you can begin softly scratching under its beak and petting the back of its head (if they like it) But, as stated above do not go beneath their neck.
  • Be patient and gentle with your bird. It may take some time for birds to become accustomed to your touch and handling before they begin to trust you. But if you can win their trust and they get used to you, your bird can become a devoted and affectionate pet who loves hanging out with you.

Are Birds Happy in Cages?

Even though they value having a cage with enough food, water, toys, and a perch, birds don’t always enjoy being housed in cages. For your bird’s mental and physical development, you should be giving them enough time outside of their cage—at least a few hours each day.

Your bird will flourish even more when it is not in its cage if you are consistent about when and how long you let it outside.

Allowing your bird to spend prolonged amounts of time outside of its cage encourages exploration and helps it become acclimated to its new environment. Your bird may grow fearful if you don’t give them enough time outside of their cage or if you split up their free time into small periods.

Additionally, you must ensure that your birds receive the physical, mental, and social attention they require during the portion of their time spent with you outside of their cage. But, you are not required to stay with your bird the entire time that it is free to roam.

Make sure the area you are letting your bird out in is secure and birdproof before releasing them from their cage. Here’s how to make a room in your house bird proof:

  • Make sure the room you let them out in is one that they cannot escape.
  • When you let them go, make sure all of the windows and doors are shut.
  • Make sure all sharp objects and points are covered
  • Close all cabinets or cupboards they can get stuck in
  • Any curtains or blinds that could tangle your bird should be secured or removed.
  • Remove any toxic or poisonous plants they could ingest
  • Toys like swings, ladders, mirrors, and perches should be provided so they can play outside of the cage.
  • Keep all chemicals and cleaning supplies out of sight and reach.

Note: The advice in this post is not meant to be medical advice for pets; rather, it is meant to be informative. Please schedule a visit with your veterinarian so that they can accurately diagnose the condition of your pet.


What are the erogenous zones of birds?

Stop stroking your bird on its lower back, lower belly and beak, as those are erogenous zones. Stop giving kisses to your bird. If your bird rubs on you while looking mentally absent, it is probably masturbating.

Do birds like to lay on their back?

But birds don’t usually lie on their sides or backs when they sleep. In the daytime, when the sun is shining, you may see birds on the ground and sometimes on asphalt, lying on their sides.

Can I pet my cockatiels back?

In the wild, cockatiels will only preen each other on their heads. Preening their back and wings is considered sexual and will trigger unwanted hormones and nasty behaviour in your cockatiel. So to pet your bird properly, it’s best to only touch them on their head.

Where do birds not like to be pet?

The biggest thing to remember when you are finally getting your bird is that you should never pet your bird below the neck. Aside from it just not being the preference for pets, some birds actually include neck pets as part of their mating ritual which can make your companionship very difficult if you are doing this.