Owning a Pet Bird

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Owning a Pet Bird

Brooker Ridge Animal Hospital
Published by Dr. Zak Saleh, PhD, MVSc, DVM in Client Education · 6 October 2021
Tags: OwningaBird:WhatYouNeedtoKnow
Owning a Bird: What You Need to Know:

Love birds

Birds can be wonderful pets; their beautiful colours, cheerful melodies and quirky personalities are just a few reasons why people are drawn to an avian companion. Before purchasing or adopting a bird though, there are a few things to consider.

Birds can be Loyal Companions
Birds often form very strong bonds with their owners. Parrots can live beyond 50 years, and throughout their lifetime they will become attached to their owners. Re-homing a bird can be very challenging because of this. Often birds who have formed special bonds with their owners will have difficulty adapting to a new home.
Additionally, some birds can be very social, and should you invest the time into interacting with your bird, they will likely become affectionate and even "cuddly" with you. If you do choose to socialize with your bird it is important to consistently commit the time to do so, since birds can become demanding and anxious if they are not receiving enough attention and socialization.

Make Sure You are Prepared for the Demanding, Long-Term Commitment
As mentioned, many pet birds do live a long life. They thrive in an environment that provides consistent attention and socialization so you will need to consider if you are prepared for a demanding, long-term commitment. Not only do birds require socialization, but their cage needs to routinely cleaned, and there are costs associated with food and veterinary care that will be ongoing throughout their lifespan. The long-term commitment of a bird can not only be demanding for proper socialization and a clean environment, but there are also significant costs that need to be considered.

Birds can be quite Noisy
While many birds love to sing and chat, the noise they make is not always melodic. Parrots often screech, and it is just an innate vocalization trait of the breed. Other birds like lovebirds, cockatiels and budgies are also quite loud and chatty. These types of birds may not be suitable if you live in an apartment or townhouse, as they may ruffle the feathers of your neighbours.
If you are looking for a type of bird that is quieter, doves, canaries and finches would be more a appropriate choice.

Finding the Right Size Cage is Important
Since birds are often mainly confined to their cage, it is important that this home offers enough space that they can get adequate exercise. If the cage is too small for your bird, they may become stressed or anxious in the small space, which can lead to unpleasant behaviours like feather plucking, screaming or biting. Smaller birds, like finches or canaries, may be fine in a small cage, but the largest cage you can obtain is best, since your bird will happily use as much space as they are provided.
Cage placement is also important. Your bird will prefer warmer temperatures, so avoid placing the cage anywhere they may be exposed to drafts. Ideally, it should also be placed in an active area of your home, to facilitate socialization, since birds are highly social creatures. Additionally, make sure that the location of your bird's cage facilitates the a proper sleep/wake cycle. Birds need at least 4 hours of sunlight exposure, to promote proper regulation of vitamin A and vitamin D. They will also require approximately 10 hours of sleep, at which time the environment should be dark.

Like any other pet, consider which type of bird best fits your life
When it comes to selecting an aviary companion, it is important to research and select a bird that is most suitable to your lifestyle. As mentioned, if noise is a concern for you, there are certain types of birds that may be better suited for you. Similarly, if you have small children in the house that will be interacting and caring for the bird, it is recommended that you consider a budgie or cockatiel, which are easier to care for. Similarly, you will want to consider the space you have available for your new bird friend. If your space is limited, it is not recommended to keep larger birds, such as macaws in a small space. There are several other lifestyle factors you should consider before selecting a type of bird for you, so make sure you do your research.

Birds are Sensitive to Smell
Birds have very sensitive respiratory systems, and certain chemicals and fumes can pose huge health risks to our aviary companions. Things such as scented candles and air freshener products are harmful to birds, and cannot be used in the vicinity of your bird. Even smoking is not advised around a bird, and it is advised that prior to handling a bird, one should wash their hands thoroughly if they have been smoking. Even the fumes from your cookware should be considered. Non-stick and Teflon emit odourless fumes that can have fatal consequences to your bird. Alternative cookware that is suitable includes stainless steel and non-stick, cast iron cookware.  
Birds can be wonderful and lovable companions, but they also have unique challenges, and require a significant commitment that many first time bird owners may not fully anticipate. If you are thinking of acquiring a bird, or already have one, and have any questions or concerns we are happy to help!
Looking for a vet clinic in Newmarket area? Give us a call at 905-898-1010 to book an appointment today!

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Brooker Ridge Animal Hospital - 905-898-1010

107-525 Brooker Ridge, Newmarket, ON L3X 2M2

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