Advice “For The Birds”

Have a bird? Considering a bird as a pet? Like all pets, birds have specific needs. Here are some of the basics!First of all, it’s really important that you get your bird from a reputable breeder that specializes in the species of bird you are interested in and make sure to never purchase a wild-caught bird, supporting a market that is both cruel to the bird and harmful to the ecosystem.

Keep in mind the commitment you make in bird ownership. They are social animals with strong bonds to their flock members. To maintain their mental health and happiness they need a lot of trust and interaction with their “human flock”. Do your homework on keeping your bird socially satisfied.

Contrary to common belief, birds should not be fed a seed-based diet. You may as well send them for fast-food; high fat, low nutrition! Like many of us satisfaction-driven eaters, they will also pick through a homemade diet and eat the “good stuff” which is usually NOT the nutrient-rich “stuff”. So make sure to get an organic, high-quality formulated or pelleted diet supplemented with fruits and vegetables high in vitamin A.

Just like humans, birds require sunlight for Vitamin D and calcium metabolism  (they need strong bones too)! Cage them outdoors at least three times a week or get them a full-spectrum light made for birds. They need a regular day and night light cycle – “let the sun shine in” in the morning and lights out, quiet time at night!

Why send a canary in a coal mine? Because birds have extremely sensitive respiratory symptoms. Cigarette smoke, wood smoke, aerosol cleaning products, hairspray, incense and generally any product you can smell in the air is potentially very dangerous to your bird. Over-heated Teflon/non-stick coating fumes are deadly! Other environmental dangers include carpet freshener powders, lead and zinc poisoning (they do love to chew!), pesticide residue on fruits/veggies and even avocados.

Keep their feathers shiny and their nasal passages clear by providing plenty of humidity. Think rain-forest! A fine-mist plant sprayer will provide a great shower. If your a fanatical cleaner you’re made for bird hygiene! Scrubbed food and water bowls and daily cleaning of a paper lined cage are a must!

Birds need check-ups too! So find a veterinarian that specializes in birds and can give you the knowledge you need to keep your bird companion singing happy and healthy!

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