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Taking Them Under Your Wing: Caring for Pet Birds

With their high intelligence, colorful appearance, and incredible social skills, birds can serve as great household pets, provided you know how to care for them. However, due to the misconception that they require less care than other pets, many end up neglecting some of their vital needs.

This can lead to frustration on the part of both the owner and the pet bird – with the latter developing bad habits like feather picking, screaming, and even biting as a result of the stress.

This is why you must do your research before getting a pet bird, especially as their care vary depending on the type of bird you get. Nevertheless, there are some things you can do that are common with each bird.

Consistency is key.

When it comes to pet birds, you must remain consistent with their care. Simply doing what you need when you feel like it will only lead to harm such as the aforementioned bad habits. Things like missing mealtimes, not interacting with them enough, and leaving them alone for long periods can lead to erratic behavior and bad habits.

Neglecting their needs in any way will only force them to find ways to adapt, and not necessarily in a way that’s healthy for either you or them.

Violence is never a good thing.

Like with any pet, resorting to violence or any type of aggression to discipline them will only be counterproductive. Doing things like throwing objects at them or their cage, aggressively grabbing them, or even hitting them will only result in them developing bad habits.

Instead of resorting to violent tactics or responses, it is generally advised that you ignore the bad behavior. Any response from your end can be interpreted as excitement, and they will generally repeat it because they think you like it.

Provide them with proper housing.

Due to their typically free nature, they need room to stretch and use their wings and tails, which is why their cages need to be as large as possible. Birds also thrive on interaction, which is why it also needs to be placed in a place with constant or heavy foot traffic.

As for the construction, it needs to be made with highly durable and non-toxic material and should be designed for easy cleaning. Their food and water bowls need to be stable as well to avoid spills. They will also need “rooms” or nests where they can retreat to whenever they need to.

Give them a well-balanced diet.

While the ideal diet varies depending on their type and size, the consensus among veterinarians is that a diet composing of 75% pellets with 25% vet-approved table food is the most ideal, although a 100% pellet diet is acceptable as well.

Seeds and nuts, while great as treats, shouldn’t be given as part of their regular diet and must be given in moderation. Always refill their water bowls – purified water is advised. Adding anything to their water should always be approved by a vet beforehand.

Keep them constantly stimulated and active.

Birds are used to the freedom afforded to them by the outdoors, so constantly keeping them in their cages is not advisable. They, like anyone, require proper exercise and activity to ensure their physical and mental well-being.

Using interactive toys and providing them with socialization will ensure that they don’t end up developing self-destructive habits.

Hygiene and proper grooming are essential.

By helping your pet bird engage in proper hygiene and grooming, this will prevent most environment-related illnesses and will help them feel invigorated and fresh. Bathing, in particular, is an activity that most birds love to engage in, and this can be encouraged by providing wide and shallow birdbaths.

Trimming their claws/nails may be done when they get too long and cause too much discomfort. When it comes to their feathers, don’t be alarmed if they start shedding as this process is a natural part of their grooming habits.

Molting, as it’s known, is the process of removing old feathers for new ones to replace them. Allow your pet to undergo the process by itself. You can check with your local veterinarian for your pet’s molting season and routine as it differs from species to species.

Regular visits to the vet are necessary.

Just like with other types of pets, regular visits to your local vet is a must and it should be done at least once a year. They will also need shots like vaccinations and deworming, and this is determined by your vet.

However, first, ensure that your vet is capable and qualified to handle birds, as not all veterinarians are knowledgeable or specialize in avian medicine.

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