how to have a pet bird

Estimates say that more than 5 million households in the U.S. have pet birds. Birds come in an amazing variety of shapes, colors, and personalities. It is important to find the right bird that fits your personality and lifestyle. Some birds need a vast amount of attention and work, especially larger parrots, but even some smaller birds need a lot of love and handling in order to be happy and friendly.

There are many things you need to consider before you settle on a species, including the lifespan of the bird, the size of the cage it needs, foods it will require, the noise level of the bird, and the time and attention the species needs.

Caring for Pet Birds

Despite their smaller size compared to cats or dogs, birds still require special attention in order to live happy, healthy lives. Here are a few things to think about before getting a pet bird, whether through adoption or purchase. Â.

Preparing your home. Even though they usually reside in cages, birds enjoy being outside and spreading their wings. It is imperative that you guarantee a secure atmosphere by reducing any possible risks. Things that you can do include:

  • Cover electrical cords
  • Remove toxic plants
  • Avoid aerosol sprays and candles
  • Ensure your home is well-ventilated
  • Watch out for plywood and particleboard

Habitat. Birds of all sizes typically live in cages. You must provide a home that is the right size for the species you select. Larger birds like macaws and cockatoos require space to playfully flap their wings, while smaller birds like finches require enough room to fly. The cage should be sturdy and made from non-toxic materials. Neither your bird nor any other pets should be able to get inside of it. Â.

What birds eat. A healthy diet is essential for a healthy bird. Different types of birds have different nutritional needs. As granivores, for example, budgies and cockatiels consume seeds and grains. Sulfur-crested cockatoos are omnivores. Most pet stores carry specially prepared foods for your pet birds. Â.

Perches and toys. You’ll need perches and toys for your bird in addition to a cage, food, and water. Because they are intelligent animals, birds require a lot of mental stimulation. To keep their nails clipped, you’ll need clippers and liners for the bottom of their cage. Additionally, you might want to think about getting some styptic powder in case you cut their nails too short. You may also consider having your vet do the trimming.

Exercise and training. Bird toys can keep your feathered friend mentally stimulated. Their mental health and general well-being also depend on their interactions with you. You can exercise physically by letting your bird fly around. To prevent mishaps, make sure to close windows and turn off fans.

You can teach your bird tricks and basic commands. Parrots are among the birds that can even be trained to talk. Â.

Maintenance. Birds are not low-maintenance pets. They need fresh food and water every day. You should wash their bowls each time you change their food and water. Additionally, you must replace their liners on a weekly or more frequent basis.

Personality. Every species of bird has its own unique personality. Certain animals are gregarious and thrive best when they have one or more feathered friends. Others are more solitary creatures. Some people are devoted to and love only one human family member, while others relish everyone’s company.

Level of commitment. Â Birds require a lot of commitment. A bird cannot be left alone in its cage for the entire day. Birds need attention to keep them mentally stimulated and happy. Insufficient attention can cause them to become destructive and depressed. Bored birds may start to pluck their own feathers. Â.

Compatibility with children and other pets. Birds are delicate creatures. Small children who are too aggressive can hurt them. The bird may bite your child if it is afraid or injured. If you have other pets, particularly cats, you should exercise caution as well. Your other pets could inadvertently harm the bird, even if they just want to play with it. Â.

Good Beginner Species to Consider

When choosing a pet bird, beginners with limited time should think about species like finches or canaries. If you’re interested in parrots and have some extra time, you might want to look into cockatiels or parakeets, which are smaller members of the parrot family and are easy to tame if you get a young bird.

If you’re thinking about getting a bird for the first time, you should also think about lovebirds, pionus parrots, poicephalus parrots, parrotlets, Quaker parrots, and grey-cheeked parakeets. Furthermore, despite being underappreciated as pets, doves and pigeons can make excellent companions due to their quiet and gregarious nature.

how to have a pet bird

Before You Get a Bird

Before you decide which bird to welcome into your life, there are a few more things to think about:

Bird lifespan. Every species of bird has a different lifespan. Many smaller birds live 10 to 15 years. Bigger avians, like African grey parrots and macaws, have a lifespan of 50–70 years. They’re a long-term commitment. Â.

Cost of owning a bird. Depending on the kind, there are different upfront costs associated with bringing a bird into your house. While parrots can cost several thousand dollars, smaller birds are generally more affordable. You’ll also need:

  • A cage
  • Feeding bowls
  • Food
  • Cage liners
  • Perches
  • Toys

Unlike cats or dogs, birds might not require routine vet care, but you might need to take them in on occasion if they get sick or injured. Â.

Common illnesses. Despite your best efforts to maintain your bird’s happiness and health, illnesses can still strike. Some of the most common illnesses that affect birds include:

  • Goiter
  • Obesity
  • Internal parasites
  • Feather cysts
  • Air sac mites
  • StressÂ

Common illnesses vary by bird species. As soon as you notice anything off with your pet, you should take them to the vet.