Things to consider when a bird joins your family
Avian Studios Expert Companion Bird Series Vol. 1
Comprehensive DVD Series created by world renown avian educators
to bring you the best information on bird care
Unfortunately, some people buy a bird on impulse and don't spend much, if any, time to learn what is necessary to provide a healthy, comfortable and enjoyable life for them. Below is a brief outline of some basic helpful hints that will help you give your bird a good life:
Provide Your Bird With a Quality Bird Cage
Be sure to provide safe, quality bird cages appropriate for your bird species. It is best to give your bird the largest environment that you can afford. Learn more about bird cages.
Spend Quality Time With Your Bird Everyday
Take your bird out of it's cage and interact with it. Let it get some exercise and stimulation on a gym or playstand.
Offer a Varied Diet
The bulk of your bird's diet should consist of a good quality pelleted food. These formulated diets contain the appropriate nutrients, vitamins and minerals the your bird requires. Due to modern nutritional science there is now available excellent pelleted diets formulated especially for certain species. Do you want to convert your bird to pellets? ... learn how. If your bird primarily eats a pelleted diet, it will need less supplmentation but will still require fresh foods, and some nuts and seeds, as treats. Fresh foods and treats also provide variety and visual stimulation birds. Suggested list of healthy fresh foods. DO NOT feed your bird: avocado (sometimes fatal to birds), chocolate (contains a chemical that can cause seizures and death), heavily salted or greasy foods, apple seeds (contain arsenic) or peach/nectarine/apricot or cherry pits.
Do Not Offer Hot Food
Caution is required when cooking foods for your bird. "Hot spots" in food can cause burns in a bird's oral cavity, esophagus and crop. Be especially cautious when cooking food in the microwave as heating is uneven and commonly produces "hot spots".
Grit Is Not Necessary For Most Parrots
Doves are birds that cannot remove the outer hull of a seed, and therefore, benefit from insoluble grit which helps to remove outer coating from the whole seed during the digestion process. Normal, healthy Psittacine (parrots/hookbills) and Passerine (canaries, finches, starling, mynahs) are able to remove the fibrous outer hull from seeds, thus do not require grit as a digestive aid. In some cases, grit may be required if a bird has pancreatic or digestive problems and may be offered only on the advice of a qualified avian veterinarian.
Soluble grit is mostly limestone (calcium carbonate) which is easily digested by acids in the proventriculus so there is little danger of it accumulating in the digestive system. Soluble grit is organic and includes oyster shell or cuttlebone and is provided to some birds as a source of calcium. Soluble grit does does little to aid in the digestion of seeds. There is some reason for caution in offering soluble grit due to some instances of heavy metal toxicity when originating from areas with polluted water.
Change Water Frequently
Water must be changed at least daily and more often if it becomes soiled with food or droppings. Don't use liquid powder or vitamins in water as the bird because the dosage cannot be controlled. The bird will not ingest enough to be useful and the water becomes fouled easily. The dosage cannot be controlled.
Do Not Use Sandpaper Perches
Sandpaper perches can irritate the feet and cause foot sores or worse. Place perches of various sizes in your bird's cage. Put the most comfortable perch up high for a night-time roost. The bird's opposing toes should not touch when the perch is grasped. If you want to offer your bird a pedicure-type perch to help keep his nails from becoming sharp this type of perch is the best.
Do Not Use Dangerous Litter in Cages
The safest covering for the bottom of your bird's cage are items such as packing paper, newspaper, paper towels, and computer paper and should be changed daily. Newspaper ink is not toxic. Litter products like sawdust, sand, corn cobs and walnut shells are unsafe due to accumulation bacteria and the fact that droppings cannot be monitored.
Do Not Use a Mite Disk or Insecticides Near Your Bird
It is normal for a bird to preen constantly. Preening is not an indication that your bird has mites. Mite disks or insecticides used in your bird's vicinity are dangerous to them.
Bathe Your Bird Once a Week
Use plain water to bathe your bird at least once a week. Many birds enjoy misting, even on a daily basis. You can take your bird into the shower with you (watch the water temperature so that it isn't too hot), or mist it with lukewarm water from a clean spray bottle (commercial Bird Misters have a very fine spray), or it can even splash around in a clean shallow bowl. The bird should be thoroughly dry by nightfall.
Keep Both Wings Trimmed At All Times
Both of your bird's wings should be kept timmed for safety. Trim them equally so the bird is well-balanced. Leaving 2-3 of the outside flight feathers may make the bird look more "normal" when the wings are folded, but if this is your choice use caution in doing so as the feathers are more vulnerable to damage. It is safer for the bird to have the all feathers trimmed to the same length. If you aren't familiar with how to trim wing feathers have a bird groomer or veterinarian provide instruction so that you cause no harm. When trimming wings be careful not to cut new feathers to short to avoid cutting into the growing part of a blood feather (a feather that is still growing), or to close to the adjoining contour feathers. Before taking your bird outside, test it's ability to fly by letting it land on a bed to be sure it cannot gain any height and won't injure itself by dropping to quickly to the ground. Having an experinced person show you the proper way to trim your birds wings will pay dividends.
Provide a Variety of Safe Bird Toys
Providing a stimulating environment by offering your bird a variety of safe toys will alleviate boredom and provide entertainment and exercise for your bird. All these things are necessary for a bird's well-being. Offer safe toys from reputable manufacturers and exercise care in constructing toys yourself. Make sure there are no small pieces to ingest or parts to get tangled in. If you have multiple birds rotate toys that are still in good condition among your flock. Here is a guide for selecting safe bird toys.
Birds Should Have At Least 10 Hours of Quality Sleep
Birds need lots of sleep ... at least 10 hours ... 10-12 hours is the rule. Their sleep time should be in a darkened area ... turn lights off or provide a night light if that is necessary for the bird to feel secure. It should be quiet and, if necessary, provide a sleeping cage if their regular cage is subjected to your late night activities. A bird cage cover can provide the appropriate environment, if needed.
Be Aware of What Your Bird Chews or Has Access To
Be careful of what your bird chews on and be sure it is non-toxic. Do not let your bird have access to anything on this List.
Never Leave a Bird Unattended Out Of It's Cage.
Do Not Use PTFE Coated Non-stick Cookware