Would you believe that the majority of health problems in birds are due to poor husbandry? Husbandry is the basic care provided to animals, such as diet and living conditions. If you've ever considered owning a bird as a pet, you may want to take a look at some of these very basic tips on caring for them. Following these bird care tips can help your pet bird live a long and healthy life.
|Pineapple Green Cheek Conure|
|Bird Seed Mix|
Yes, the package of seed mix has some pellets in it and says it's a nutritionally complete diet. Truth is your bird probably isn't going to willingly eat the pellets in the mix. Seeds are very high in fat and deficient in many vitamins and minerals. If you could choose between a cupcake or a salad, you'd probably choose the cupcake.
The label on a seed mix may say it is "fortified" with vitamins and minerals. Consider this: if the seeds are sprayed with the vitamins and minerals your bird needs, how is your bird going to ingest them? They don't eat the hulls of the seeds.
There are some species of birds who are thought to require some seeds in their diet, like cockatiels. I would recommend one or two Laffeber's Nutri-berries as a treat once a day. Of course, there are many healthy fruits and vegetables you can and should offer your pet bird as well. And don't forget to always provide them with fresh drinking water.
Cage, Substrate, & Toys
There are many substrate products on the market for birds today. Honestly, the best substrate is good old kitchen paper towels. Newspaper is fine also. This allows you to monitor your pet bird for normal poops more easily.
Giving your pet bird good perches is also important. Try adding a variety of textures when choosing purchases. A rope perch can provide a soft place for your bird to put their feet on.
Also, be sure to provide your bird with plenty of good foraging toys. It's important to keep them busy during the day. In the wild, birds forage all day. Some birds can start to pluck their own feathers out if they become bored, so be sure to provide them with plenty of entertainment.
Band Removal & Microchipping
Many pet birds come with a small metal band around one of their ankles. I highly suggest taking your pet bird to have it removed by a veterinarian. It's not necessary for them to have it. Breeders use these to identify their own birds in their aviaries. The band can easily get caught onto a number of things causing injury to the bird.
Microchip your bird! Microchipping isn't just for cats and dogs. Pet birds can also get a microchip. It may be more popular in larger parrots since a microchip needle isn't all that small. The microchip is placed in the bird's breast muscle.
Dangerous Household Items & Toxic Substances
Birds have an extremely sensitive respiratory system. There are many everyday household items that can pose a threat to your pet bird's health. Teflon and non-stick cookware, candles, cigarette smoke, and harsh cleaners like bleach all create toxic fumes for a bird. If you're going to take on the task of keeping a bird as a pet, try to eliminate these items from your house if at all possible. Also, lead poisoning is a very serious and most often fatal condition in birds.
There are many toxic foods and plants that birds should not eat. There are a LOT more items I could add to the list, but here are some of the most common:
- Garlic (in large amounts)
- Apricot seeds
- Morning Glory
- Onions (in large amounts)
- Peanuts (in large amounts)
- Apple seeds
- Tomato Leaves
Remember that if you are considering adding a feathery friend to your family that adoption is an option! There are many pet birds out there looking for their forever homes. Also note that birds should visit a veterinarian at least annually for a check-up.