September 16, 2011
General tips for proper housing of your pet bird

  • Birds with unknown histories should not be placed in cages with birds already living in the household until they have been quarantined for an appropriate length of time. Consult with your veterinarian about the recommended quarantine period. The cage should be set up with appropriate food and water in advance of bringing the bird home.{{more}} Initially, feed your bird the same food that was fed by the seller. Any food changes should be made gradually.
  • The cage should be designed for easy removal of dishes and droppings and be free from hazards such as cleaning fumes or cooking odors that can sicken a bird. Cages should be placed away from drafts, and at eye level or higher so your bird will feel more secure. Perches should allow maximum horizontal flight, be sized appropriately for the bird’s feet, and provide good footing. Nest containers are important for multiple birds, especially finches.

When you acquire a pet, you accept responsibility for the health and welfare of another living thing. You are also responsible for your pet’s impact on your family, friends, and community. A pet will be part of your life for many years. Invest the time and effort necessary to make your years together happy ones. When you choose a pet, you are promising to care for it for its entire life. Choose wisely, keep your promise, and enjoy one of life’s most rewarding experiences! The best reason for obtaining a pet bird is a desire to bring an intelligent, sensitive animal into the household. Once you have prepared yourself and your home for a companion bird, you are on your way to enjoying an amazing relationship. Your bird-owning experience will be most enjoyable if you carefully consider which bird best suits your family, home, and lifestyle. Unfulfilled expectations are a leading cause of pet relinquishment, so invest the time and effort to ensure the years with your pet bird are happy ones.

What’s special about birds?

Humans have been fascinated by birds for centuries, with a variety of species kept as companion animals in cultures around the world. They can make wonderful additions to households, especially if there is limited space or family members are allergic to other animals.

What are you looking for in a pet bird?

How many?

Most people obtain pet birds for companionship. Having just one bird increases the odds that it will bond with and be responsive to its owner. Some birds, such as canaries, appear to do best when kept singly. Other birds, such as finches, are happiest living in small groups.

Training a bird to talk

Prospective bird owners are often interested in birds that can learn to talk, but choosing a bird solely on that basis may not be realistic as some birds may not respond to your efforts at training. With patience, however, some pet birds learn to speak a variety of words and phrases. Some parakeets (budgies) and cockatiels will learn to talk, while African Grey and Yellow-naped Amazon parrots can potentially develop an extended vocabulary.


Pet birds come in many sizes-ranging from finches with a wing span of just a few inches, to macaws whose wing span can be up to four feet. Bird feather hues range from natural grays, yellows, reds, and greens to unusual color combinations resulting from selective breeding.

Life span

When considering a bird as a pet, remember that the life spans of birds vary widely. Parakeets live an average of six years, but can live as long as 18 years. Cockatiels live five years on average, but many have lived for more than 30 years. Finches live an average of four to five years, but life spans of three times that have been documented. Even canaries that live an average of eight years have been reported to live for 20 years. Recorded life spans for larger birds (e.g., parrots, macaws, cockatoos) range from 20 years to more than 100 years!

(To be continued next week . . . .)

For further information, contact: Dr. Collin Boyle
Unique Animal Care Co. Ltd.
Tel: 456 4981