In this post, I am going to look at how to care for a pet bird, as many people are unsure when they first bring their pet home.
How To Care For A Pet Bird
Looking after a pet bird is not difficult, but it helps to develop a set routine that your bird will come to recognize. If you uncover its cage in the morning and greet it with ‘good morning’ you will find the bird soon responds to you in a similar fashion.
Pet birds generally need to be fed once a day, preferably first thing in the morning. This is particularly important if you are supplying fresh food of any kind because birds are less likely to eat fruit or vegetables when they are just about to roost for the night, so fresh food offered then will effectively be wasted, as it will need to be removed in the morning before the leaves can wilt and go moldy.
Parrots live mostly on a seed diet, but there is nothing stopping you from supplementing their diet with fresh veggies and fruit.
If you fancy making your own homemade food, check this out.
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Positioning The Cage
The location of the birds’ cage in the room is important, especially for a new arrival, as you need to give it a sense of security and help it settle into its new surroundings.
It helps if the cage is kept at eye level, preferably in the corner of the room or along a wall, rather than in the center.
Never place a bird directly in front of a window or a door, as birds hate draughts and direct sun. Although many parrots do come from warmer parts of the world, they stay in the shade of the trees when the sun is at its hottest.
If you have young children, make sure that the cage is in a secure place. Make sure that children can’t climb up to the cage when unsupervised.
A cage stand is great and they normally have castors so that the cage can be moved around, but if a child pulls it over there could be dire consequences all around.
If you stay up late in the evenings it is a good idea to cover the cage at night. It is not recommended that you expose birds to more than 12 hours of light each day, as this can affect their molting cycle.
Don’t use a woolen cover otherwise, the bird may get caught up in it with its claws, but a sheet or towel should be fine.
Here are some great bird cages with stands that you can purchase online. Simply click on the pictures to find out more.
Make Sure The Room Is Safe
As it is important to let the bird out of its cage regularly to prevent it from becoming bored and to allow it to exercise, it is important that the room is bird safe.
Here are some ways to make the room bird safe:
- Draw the curtains to prevent the bird from trying to fly through the glass.
- Get rid of other pets from the room for instance it’s not a good idea to have your cat in the room when you let your bird out.
- Make sure you have no open fires going.
- Watch for live electrical cables as birds, especially parrots love to chew through them.
- Remove potentially dangerous/poisonous plants or ones with sharp spines like cacti.
- Move valuable ornaments that can be knocked over out the way.
- Close any open doors and windows.
Never leave your bird on its own in a room as there may be other unseen hazards like flaking paintwork.
It may be a good idea to either make or purchase a play stand for your bird to land on and keep it both safe and occupied.
Here again, are a few examples that can be ordered online. If you have a crafty person in the house, one can also be made.
Once the novelty of coming out of its cage subsides, a parrot will be quite content to rest on its play stand.
When you let your bird out for the first time let it come out on its own rather than remove it from its quarters, then there is more chance of it returning of its own accord. Although at first, you will need to be prepared to catch it to put it back inside.
For this reason it will help to hand train your bird. Follow the same routine each day and your bird will soon get to know when it is time to return and is likely to do so on its own.
If you find it difficult to catch, draw the curtains and get a torch. Wait for the bird to settle in a convenient place and move cautiously towards the bird with the torch switched on and you should be able to catch it easily in the dark.
How to care for a pet bird also involves cleaning the cage and food bowls. How often you clean the cage depends on the type of bird you own. For budgerigar’s for instance you probably only need to lift the covering off of the floor twice a week.
Mynahs on the other hand are very messy and the cage will need to be cleaned out every day.
For most other parrots every two to three days should be sufficient.
A weekly scrub of their food and water containers is good, and if messy fruit is fed, then food containers will need to be done every day. Make sure you don’t position perches above food containers.
Perches also need to be kept clean and be replaced from time to time when parrots chew through them.
There are many cage floor coverings available. Sand sheets are traditional for use with budgerigars and canaries and there are different sizes available to fit different cage sizes. Because these are expensive, some owners scrape off the droppings and reuse, only replacing with a new sheet once a week.
During breeding season birds normally like to shred the coverings.
Sand grit can also be used at the bottom of the cage, but the only problem with this is that the grit sticks to fruit when it falls on the ground.
I usually find a thick layer of newspaper works well and I just peel off a layer each day. Unfortunately, this also gets chewed up periodically.
So there you have it in a nutshell. How to care for a pet bird is not difficult, and I think that they are one of the easiest types of pets to care for.