It’s not all about paw prints and fur! This week’s blog looks into the main things your pet bird needs. Birds are unique and some pet birds need a special kind of understanding, in fact they demand it.
So often people can take on the ownership of a bird without fully understanding their needs and intelligence. Birds in captivity NEED a high level of attention and socialisation or they may work themselves into such a state that they can start to exhibit harmful behaviour to themselves or others.
If you’re a first time bird owner, you really should start off small and be prepared to spend a lot of time bird proofing and training. You should also take it upon yourself to look into the needs of your species. Do your research!
You’ll need to purchase 2 cages; and here’s why!
The main cage is where your pet bird will spend a majority of their days and nights. The second cage can be used as a travel cage when going to the vet and another place to keep your pet when cleaning out their main cage.
When choosing the main cage, shape and size are very important. The cage needs to be big enough to spread and flap their wings; the size exactly will depend on the bird. You must make sure that the bars are the appropriate width for your bird species otherwise your avian friend can get themselves into some trouble if a head or foot is caught. Rectangular shaped cages offer a sense of security for birds. Round cages are a no go!
Mild soaps can be used for food and water dishes. Don’t use insecticides and air fresheners as they can contain chemicals that can fatally harm your bird as their respiratory system is more dynamic and transports oxygen much more efficiently. More difficult messes will require something tougher, so an enzyme cleaner might be more appropriate.
Hot soapy water is enough to clean the cage and rinse thoroughly and let it dry before replacing toys and the perches.
Food and Water Dishes:
There are two types of dishes. Hoppers fit onto the cages and are a popular choice for most birds as it cuts down on evaporation of water and mess. It’s also quite safe as it’s harder for a bird to hurt themselves. The hopper is a more contained option for holding food and water but still requires cleaning every day.
A heavy ceramic bowl makes a great water dish if your bird likes to play with their food and water. Yes, this is a messier option and also will require cleaning every day. The bowl can be mounted on the sides of the cage.
In the warmer months is good to use both as they can never have too much water (as long as it isn’t too deep). You should also supply water for bathing in.
Pet Birds Need Toys:
Of course your pet bird needs toys! In their case the more they have to keep them occupied the better. Toys made of wood, cardboard, twisted paper and plastic are designed with different bird species in mind. There are also ‘preening and cuddly toys for birds that need something to snuggle against so again this is where your research comes into play.
Bird’s who’s natural habitat is thick with foliage, can easily be recreated by having lots of toys for them to hide in.
Perches and Ladders:
You should ideally provide your pet bird with a variety of perches to ensure their comfort. Make sure they’re wide enough that the bird’s toes don’t overlap when curling around them. Perches range from natural wood branch type, rope and wooden ladder (also available in plastic) and vary in widths (to Arthritis) so again choose wisely for the needs of its species and their size. You’ll also need a hard wood perch (or similar) for chewing.
Many bird species are social animals and will be much happier with another bird as a companion. You may consider getting two birds of the same gender; otherwise you could find yourself with a protective male bird stopping you from forming a bond with the female. Whilst opening your home to two birds may seem like twice the effort, you will be rewarded. Your pets will be happier and more content.