Having a bird as a pet can be a wonderful and rewarding experience. And as a bird owner, you want to make sure your bird has the best quality of life possible. In order to ensure that, though, you need to know how to properly care for your pet, including what type of attention, exercise, and food they need.
1 – Safe Exploration
While a cage is necessary to protect your bird at times, and to help them feel secure, it’s also very important that they enjoy plenty of quality time outside of the cage. Birds love to explore your home, and this type of activity keeps them stimulated in a positive way. But you do have to make sure that you house is safe for your bird as they investigate every little crack and crevice. One important thing to understand is that birds explore with their beaks, and so you don’t want there to be anything hazardous lying around that your bird could accidentally ingest. You also want to keep areas clear of plugs and wires so your bird doesn’t endanger himself by chewing on them.
2 – Proper Window Precautions
Windows and skylights are another danger for birds, since they don’t understand that they can’t fly through the glass and are likely to fly right into it at a high speed. One option to help prevent injury to your bird is to cover windows with blinds, curtains, or shades, or you may opt for window decals designed specifically for the purpose of deterring birds. Clipping your bird’s wings and nails will also help keep them from flying too fast or getting injured when they become caught or tangled in something.
3 – Appropriate Boundaries
Giving your bird the freedom to explore your house is essential to their well-being. But so too is a firm set of boundaries so they understand their relationship to you and the other members of your household. This begins with some basic training, just as you would use when building a relationship with a new dog. You want the bird to know that you are in charge so that they understand their place in the household and don’t try to take charge in various situations. Some basic training can also help you to build a stronger bond with your bird and help them feel secure by introducing structure into their daily routine.
4 – Type of Diet
Another element that will have a huge impact on your bird’s overall quality of life is the type of food you provide for them. While birds certainly love seeds, these can’t make up the bulk of a healthy diet for them. In fact, the best thing you can do for your bird when it comes to nutrition is to provide a wide variety of foods that cover all major food groups. Birds enjoy many types of fresh fruits and vegetables, and your vet can review specific recommendations.
Grains, beans, dairy products, and even poultry are also excellent sources of protein and other nutrients that your bird needs to live a long and healthy life. It may take some experimenting to find out exactly what foods your bird likes best, and you also may have to try different preparations. For instance, some birds are preferential to cooked vegetables, while others like them better raw. You do want to avoid giving your bird any foods that are high in fat, and seeds are fine as a treat or in moderation, but they should not make up the bulk of your bird’s daily food intake.
5 – Feeding Schedule
In addition to feeding your bird the right foods, you also have to set up a suitable feeding schedule to help your bird maintain healthy eating habits. This is especially important when offering your bird fresh foods because these can’t be left in the cage indefinitely. Some feel that it’s a good idea to feed your bird outside of his cage, as that may make him more comfortable and more likely to try new things.
Owning a bird is a very rewarding and enjoyable experience, but you need to know how to care for your bird properly to help them enjoy a long and happy life in your home. As with any type of pet, complete care for your bird includes plenty of diverse stimulation, a well-balanced diet, and a stable set of boundaries to help them to understand the social structure of the household. If you have these elements in place, you’ll go a long way towards ensuring that you and your bird enjoy many long years together.
Dr. Paul has a strong interest in avian and exotic animal medicine and surgery, as well as small animal internal medicine and surgery.
He has provided services for numerous breeders, kennels, aviaries, and mini zoos.