Different bird species have different lifespans. Do your research before bringing a bird into your home. Be prepared for a commitment of ten or more years.
A bird’s cage should be a minimum of two wingspans wide so that the bird can stretch and flap its wings without hitting anything. Bigger is better, especially if you can’t provide your bird with daily time outside of its cage. A variety of perches and toys can help your bird stay physically and mentally active, but be sure not to overcrowd the cage.
Many species of birds are very smart and can be trained to do tricks. Some kinds of birds can even learn to speak. Training is a great way to bond with your bird, as well as provide it with exercise for its body and mind. Always be sure to handle your bird gently and safely.
Some birds may carry diseases that can affect humans, even if the bird shows no signs of illness. These diseases are uncommon due to federal restrictions on the importation of birds, but bird owners should still exercise caution. The spread of disease can be prevented with proper hygiene, including regular cage cleanings and washing your hands after handling your bird.
Different species of birds have unique nutritional requirements. Be sure to feed a diet that is complete and balanced for your bird. There are many commercial options available to meet your bird’s needs. Seed mixes are not necessarily the best choice because your bird can pick out only its favorite pieces and end up not eating a balanced diet overall. All birds need fresh, clean water.
- Lifespans of common pet birds:
- How to safely hold a bird:
- Basic bird care from The Humane Society Of The United States:
- Basic bird care from the Association of Avian Veterinarians
- More information about housing and cages for birds
- More information about bird behavior and training
- More information about diseases that can be spread by pet birds:
- More information about bird nutrition:
Unlike dogs and cats, birds are not commonly vaccinated. However, this does not mean that birds do not need routine vet check-ups. A yearly wellness exam can help you catch a disease before it becomes too serious. Regular exams can also help you and your vet know what is normal for your bird, in order to more easily recognize when something is abnormal. As with any animal, be sure to contact your vet if you suspect your bird may be ill or injured.
- Find an avian veterinarian
- What to expect at a routine exam
- Foods and plants that are toxic to birds:
- Hygiene and common disease warning signs:
Wing clipping is a controversial topic among bird owners. It is the practice of trimming a bird’s feathers to reduce its ability to fly. A bird with properly clipped wings can glide downwards, but will be unable to fly upwards or forwards for long distances. Because birds periodically grow new feathers, wing clipping is not a permanent procedure. It is not to be confused with pinioning, which is the amputation of part of a bird’s wing to permanently prevent flight.
Arguments in favor of wing clipping point out that, when done properly, it is a painless procedure with many benefits. Clipped birds may be easier to tame and may have a harder time getting into mischief outside of their cages. Opponents of wing clipping argue that birds need the natural behavior of flying to stay fit and escape dangerous situations, such as being chased by other pets.