September 23, 2011
Pet Birds continued…


Birds have a variety of personality traits. Parakeets make excellent pet birds as they can be kept singly, in pairs, or in small groups in a flight cage. Parakeets are friendly and relatively easy to tame if obtained when young.{{more}}

Cockatiels are usually active and cheerful birds. Small to medium-sized parrots such as conures and large parrots like Amazons, African Greys, macaws, and cockatoos have unique personalities that require more time and effort by their owners to ensure their social and behavioral needs are met. Young, weaned birds are frequently easily tamed and trained. Some suggest that if a person is interested in a large parrot, he/she should get a smaller parrot as a “starter bird” to learn about their needs and behavior. However, a responsible bird owner doesn’t assume that these smaller birds will require less skill, knowledge, and commitment.

What are the special needs of birds?

Whatever species of bird you consider, it is important to learn about its daily needs. Both a bird’s physical and behavioral needs must be met. For instance, hook-billed birds (e.g., budgies, parrots), regardless of size, need to chew. Some species can become aggressive and their beaks can inflict serious injuries. Some birds bond strongly to their owners and become stressed when left alone, so ensuring their welfare may be difficult. While some birds appear to want constant companionship and enjoy being handled, others, such as canaries and finches, may react negatively to being handled. With such diverse behaviors, it makes good sense for a prospective bird owner to locate a veterinarian in the community and ask for advice on recommending a species of bird to complement his or her lifestyle.

Does a bird fit your lifestyle?

Although a caged bird may appear to be a low maintenance pet, this is definitely not the case – all birds need regular care and attention. If cleanliness is a priority for you, a bird may not make a good pet. Birds will drop feathers, dust, and food from their cages, and generally cannot be housetrained. If you live in an apartment, a caged bird might make noises that could bother your neighbors. Most birds do not respond well to being left alone for long periods of time, and finding someone to care for your bird when you travel could pose a challenge. Finally, consider that birds with long life spans could outlive you.

Who will care for your bird?

Before welcoming a companion bird into your household, you and your family must commit to being good owners. Although children should be involved in caring for the family’s bird, it is unrealistic to expect them to be solely responsible for its welfare. An adult must be willing and able to supervise the bird’s care to ensure its physical and behavioral needs are consistently being met.

Can you afford a bird?

The price of a small bird may be minimal when compared to the costs of housing, feeding, accessories, and veterinary care. Larger birds usually come with a higher price tag, with some species costing several thousand dollars.

What should you look for in a healthy bird?

There are some physical features that you should look at when deciding whether or not to purchase a particular bird. For example: the bird’s eyes should be bright and clear and there should be no discharges from the eyes or nostrils; its feathers should be in good condition, clean (free of droppings), and never ruffled or puffed up; and legs, feet, and toes should not be excessively scaly. Birds that appear sleepy should also be avoided, as this may indicate illness.

Preparing for your bird

All breeds of birds need a balanced diet (an all-seed diet is not balanced), clean water, suitable caging, appropriate light, proper sanitation. Some birds may also need to have their wing feathers clipped periodically. If you are considering a pet bird, it may help to first consult a veterinarian for guidance on selecting and caring for your pet.

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