Caring for your Feathered Friend

Diet- Seeds vs. Pellets: Seed diets are high in fat and low in the vitamins, minerals, and protein that birds need to stay healthy. Pelleted diets meet the nutritional needs of your bird. They contain the right balance of vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates and fats for healthy birds.

Water: It is important that your bird has access to clean water at all times. Water dishes need to be washed daily with soap; rinsing out dishes with water does not remove bacteria. Tubes or water bottles are difficult to clean thoroughly.

Housing-Cages: Provide your bird with the largest cage you can buy.  Powder-coated and stainless steel cages are the safest for birds. Galvanized wire cages, which are coated with zinc, can make your bird sick.

Perches: Wooden dowel perches can create painful worn spots on the bottom of your bird’s feet. Natural branches are best.

Keeping Your Bird’s Environment Clean: It is important for your bird’s health to keep his environment clean. The cage papers should be changed daily and the bottom of the cage should be washed thoroughly with soap to remove all debris, rinsed thoroughly and then disinfected. Use a 1:32 dilution of bleach and water. Be sure to thoroughly rinse away all traces or disinfectant before you return your bird to his cage.

Bathing Your Bird: Regular baths are important for the health of your bird’s feathers, skin, and sinuses. Birds should be bathed or showered a minimum of three times a week, even in the winter months. Some birds prefer baths, others prefer misting or showers.

Making Your Home “Bird Safe”: Many things in a household can be dangerous to your bird. It is important to make sure your home is “bird-proof” when you have a feathered companion.

Birds Like to “Fly”: Trauma is one of the most common causes of death in companion birds. A

flying bird can fly into a window or a mirror; out a door or window, into the toilet, a pot of boiling water or into a ceiling fan. If your bird spends time out of its cage, it must be supervised very closely!

Protect Your Bird from Airborne Toxins: Birds have a very sensitive respiratory system. Airborne toxins can cause illness or even death. Fumes from spray pesticides, wet paints, rug cleaners, wood smoke, air fresheners, incense, scented candles, hair spray, and perfume are toxic to birds. Cigarette smoke is also very toxic to birds. If you smell something strong, always move your bird to a well-ventilated area and then investigate the source.

Supervise Your Bird with Children and Pets: It is important to keep your bird away from cats, dogs and larger birds. Small children-bird interactions should be closely supervised.

Provide Your Bird with Safe Toys: Safe toys add to your bird’s quality of life by being a good source of fun and exercise. Avoid shiny metal toys that are not stainless steel and plastic toys that your bird is able to chew up. Wood and natural rope toys are ideal because they satisfy your bird’s needs to play as well as his need to chew.

Veterinary Care: Signs of sickness in birds can be subtle. A few common signs include: reduced appetite and activity level, sitting fluffed and sleeping more than usual, sneezing, yawning, regurgitating food or having diarrhea. When in doubt, call your veterinary clinic for advice.

Vacation Time…What Do I Do With My Bird?

Your pet bird needs fresh food and water, as well as human interaction, EVERY Day. If you go on vacation, have a friend or relative watch the bird at their house, or have someone visit your house daily to care for it, or leave it at a boarding facility.

Getting a bird is a big responsibility! If you do not have the time to see to your bird’s DAILY needs: checking it for illness and injury, providing mental stimulation, providing fresh food and water and you do not have anyone you can trust to do it for you when you are away; then bird ownership is not a good idea for you at this time.

“Without love we are birds with broken wings….”