Keeping birds is an enormous pleasure. Many prospective bird owners do not realize that birds are not merely kept in a cage when you want a happy, healthy pet. It is a commitment just as any other pet and much like dogs, certain bird species form a bond with their humans especially when raised form a young age. Happy and friendly birds need plenty of handling and love, especially species like parrots. You must get a bird that suits your lifestyle and personality and not because it’s gorgeous.
Popular Birds as Pets
- Hyacinth Macaw
- Green-Cheeked Conure
- Hahn’s Macaw
Picking a Species
One thing that should not be taken lightly is the huge responsibility of keeping a bird. While different species require different care, there are general guidelines. You must do your research on different species though before committing to owning a bird.
A lot of people are drawn to gorgeous species like macaws, cockatoos, African Greys and Amazons. While they are trainable and coveted for their talking abilities, these species are demanding and challenging. A baby bird needs taming which is done through constant handling and hand-feeding.
Species for Beginners
When you want a bird that doesn’t require too much work or time and new to bird-owning, consider bird species like finches or canaries. If you have more time and a parrot lover without the additional work that they require, consider a species like cockatiels, Pionus parrots, lovebirds or parakeets. These are easy to tame and relatively quiet. Another sociable, quiet bird to consider is a pigeon or dove.
Pet Birds Bond with Their Owners
There is an abundance of bird species that are as intelligent as a child and they form a strong bond with owners. Your pet bird will be part of your family, and that is how a bird should feel, well-cared for and loved.
General Guidelines in Keeping Birds:
Cage – the cage must be adequate and large enough to give it plenty of space to climb, jump and fly about. This can be species specific so research what bird you are planning to purchase before buying the cage.
Toys – if you have a parrot-type species, make sure it has chewing and puzzle toys. Try a variety of toys to see what it likes. Always check the toys for hazards or damage that can entangle in their toes, etc. Most birds require stimulation that will curb behaviors like attempting to destroy their cage, plucking their feathers and excessive noise.
Clean Cage – spot clean and change paper daily. Every week you must give the perches and cage interior a good wipe down. Once a month, remove everything for a complete disinfect and clean. If your bird is messy, do it more often.
Give the bird freedom – again is this dependent on species and the time would also depend on species too. if you own a macaw or African Grey it must be several hours, while you can keep a tame cockatiel door open whenever it is awake, and you are home. Many bird owners give their birds freedom to roam the house and keep the cage for sleeping. When you do decide on this, make sure your house is hazard-free and free of other pets like dogs and cats.
A balanced diet – often is a birdseed mix not sufficient. Depending on species, provide fruits and vegetables, whole grains and formulated pellets. That’s why we stress that you do species-related research.
Be watchful for signs of anxiety or stress – you will learn to know the bird and notice a change in behavior even if it is a canary. Unusual screaming or plucking that isn’t normal are signs of distress. Often it would be obvious for reasons like unusual noises, a family member moved out or your schedule changes. If it is not the case, take it to the avian vet to check it out.
Regular interaction – while canaries and finches do not require much human interaction, it still needs your soothing voice. It is important though for doves and essential for all species parrot. Let the bird cuddle with you, play with it, whistle and talk to it. If it is a new addition to the household, just hang out near it while you work or read, etc. when you have a hectic schedule that does not allow for interaction, consider another bird or consider another species.
You get people keeping birds just to own pets but do not give them the time, love and attention they need. This is because they are under the misconception that birds are low-maintenance and do not take up time. You must interact with a bird and avoid keeping it caged up 24/7. Be a responsible pet keeper and give your bird the abundance of love and attention it deserves as well as a balanced diet and enjoy the abundance of joy it will bring you with its uniqueness and extraordinary intelligence.