Pet Bird Care – All You Need To Know

pet bird careIf you are lucky enough to own a pet bird, then you need to know all about pet bird care. Did you know that you can mess up your bird big time if you are not aware of the pitfalls that can occur?

Here are some pet bird care tips for you to become the best pet bird owner that you can possibly be. This pet bird care information applies to most pet birds in the parrot family.

Pet Bird Care

Your Bird’s Diet Is Very Important!

The main reason that your pet bird will become sick, or not live as long as it is supposed to, is because they are overfed on items with little or no nutritional value in them. Of course your pet bird will love to eat treats, but in the long run, some of these types of food will not provide enough adequate nutrients for your pet bird.

If you don’t feed your bird properly, it will suffer from deficiencies, which over the long term can lead to stress, illness and even death.

Do not be tempted to fill your bird up on seeds, peanuts, pasta, potatoes and grapes. This is a nutritionally inadequate diet. Your parrot will of course, eat all these items happily, but these types of foods will fill him and leave little room for the food items that he really should be eating.

Even if you do provide healthier choices in his bowl, he will automatically go for his favourite food first, and then he will be too full to eat the good stuff.

Your bird should be eating enough of a pelleted diet that has been scientifically formulated and carefully prepared to contain a good balance of vitamins, minerals, proteins and other trace elements need for proper health.

Here are some examples of good nutritional pellets that you can purchase online. Simply click on the picture to find out more:

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If your bird is not used to eating pellets, you will have a bit of a challenge to get him to eat them, as he will automatically go for the food he likes and is familiar with. You will need to train them to accept nutritional food items like pellets.

At the beginning of the day put fresh water and a bowl of pellets in his cage. You can also do this at night, as some parrots often like a bedtime snack or they start eating at dawn when you are still sleeping. This idea of only giving him pellets is to let him try the nutritious food while he has no choice.

Later when he has eaten some pellets you can offer him some more exciting food types again, which are also necessary for variety and interest.

When you give him seed, he will only eat a small amount so don’t give him more than a tablespoon, depending on his size. Add the seed to his pellets and once he has eaten the seed do not give him more for that day.

Offer your pet bird a variety of fruit and vegetables in a separate bowl. Do not give him too much or it will go to waste. A medium sized parrot only weighs about 500g, and his total daily food intake will probably not exceed about 50g.

Your little parrot will probably treat lots of his food like it is a toy. They usually love to mess by tearing and shredding the food into small pieces. Clean this out at night and give him some pellets for the evening.

As your parrot is your companion, he will love your attention often during the day, and so will his food bowls.

Sleep

If your pet bird does not get enough sleep it could result in a number of physical and physiological problems. This can include feather plucking and screaming.

A pet parrot will need between ten and twelve hours of sleep each day. Establish a good routine for your bird. Cover him up at night and leave him in a quiet place where he can rest undisturbed. When you wake him in the morning, remove the cloth and spend some time with him.

Bad Habits

Bad habits often take some time to develop, and pet bird owners need to be observant of any changes in their little friend’s behaviour.

People are often inclined to ignore their parrot’s behavioural problems and allow them to continue until someone forces them to do something about it. But if the problem has been going on for a while, there are no instant solutions.

The most important factor in the training of a well-behaved bird is consistency. Bad behaviour must never be rewarded with attention or tidbits or even a loud reprimand, as these things will encourage the bad behaviour to be repeated.

Let the bird know that you are his master. When you train him the first words he should learn are ‘up,’ ‘down,’ and ‘no.’ These commands he must obey without fail and you as his master need to insist on it.

One of the best ways to show him that he has done something wrong is by saying ‘No,’ and then putting him back in his cage and leaving the room. Because you are the centre of his world, by withholding yourself for a short period of time after your bird has behaved badly is the best way to let him know he has done something wrong.

After a little while go back and let him out of the cage and let him know that you have forgiven him. If he misbehaves again, do the above process again immediately.

Sometimes it will take him a while to associate the bad behaviour with the punishment, so it may take a few tries. Don’t give up too soon.

Remember to praise his good behaviour and remember any kind of interaction with your bird is interpreted by him as attention, so be very careful not to give him attention if he does something you don’t like.

Socialise Your Pet Bird

Remember that a parrot on a good diet and in good care can live many years and may even outlive you. This means that he may need to experience another owner and home sometime in his lifetime.

A well-socialised parrot will be able to cope with this transition better and it is your duty to make sure that his world does not fall apart if he has to go to a new home.

To socialise your bird, make sure that from young all the members of the family handle and spend time with him. Parrots need to learn to be polite to multiple people, even though he forms a special bond with just one of them. Because he has a special bond with you, it does not mean he should be biting everyone else.

If you live on your own, introduce your bird to visitors in a way that they do not pose a threat, but are a welcome addition to his daily routine.

This is normally not very easy to do, but parrots are social by nature, so it is doable.

Other Pet Bird Care Tips

To summarise, remember to:

  • Feed your bird correctly;
  • Make sure he gets enough sleep;
  • Stop the bad habits as soon as they start;
  • Don’t allow your bird to become a one-person bird.

Also:

  • Make sure he is kept out of drafts – these can be deadly;
  • Offer him a variety of toys like the ones below and circulate them;
  • Deworm him regularly;
  • Don’t feed him avo, sweets or alcohol.
  • Get him a decent sized cage that he can move around in.

Make sure to follow these pet bird care tips to ensure that your little pet leads a long and happy life.

8 Comments

  1. Hi Michel

    Thanks for the information on cockatiels and parrots. I grew up with a cockatiel and he lived to be about 20 years old. We didnt feed him anything but small seed and cuttle bone on the side of his cage. Is cuttle bone still ok for a cockatiel? I never thought about grapes. Are those ok to feed it as well? I loved that bird and we had trained it to say alot of words. They really are very intellegent. Thanks for a good article on these birds!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Robin. Yea cuttle fish is good for them. Grapes are also fine as long as not too many. They have tiny stomachs and need to have space to eat other nutritional food as well

  2. I’ve not had a bird as a pet yet, but am seriously considering it. I guess I’ve always thought birds wouldn’t exactly make a great pet, but maybe I’m wrong.

    How much care do the require? And can you tell me how long their life expectancy is?

    Your website is awesome! So informative. I’ve bookmarked so I can come back if we decide to get one!

    1. Birds are actually easier to care for than dogs, but love your attention, just as a dog would.

      The bigger the parrot the longer the life expectancy. Some large parrots can live to be 80. I had a cockatiel once that died when it was 25. It depends how well you care for their nutritional needs.

      Thank you for the comment Jackie.

  3. Hi!
    This is a great article; you have offered some good information. I don’t own a bird, but I have always wanted one. Your article has given me a good idea of how to start. I have always dreamed of having a bird and being able to teach him how to talk. One day maybe…

  4. I really enjoyed your article! I’ve never owned a pet bird but I was thinking of adopting one and so I’ve just been looking into tips on bird care. I was just wondering, which of these 3 formulas do you personally recommend and use for your bird(s)? Also you mention that parrots won’t get their nutritional value by eating simply fun items such as grapes and seed. Do you happen to know what they eat in the wild? I would assume a diet that as closely mimics this as possible is probably the best option?

    1. In the wild they eat a lot of fruit and seeds, but in captivity it is not always possible to get such fresh fruit, which is why a formulated and specialised pellet supplement is a great idea.

      Kaytee is a great brand, but on any pellets you buy, first check the label to make sure the pellets will offer your bird all the nutrients it needs. It is like us taking a multivitamin supplement to get what we don’t always get from our food.

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