Are you considering a pet bird? Birds are beautiful creatures but they require a lot of work and responsibility to keep as a pet. Today our Mandeville veterinarians share everything you need to know about selecting and caring for a pet bird.
Birds as Pets
When it comes to selecting a pet bird, there are many things to consider. If possible, try speaking with a knowledgeable professional so you can be sure you're setting up your bird for a happy and healthy life. Be sure to pick a bird that's going to meet your lifestyle, time, and commitment needs.
Do some research about the bird's care requirements, life span, habitat needs, and veterinary care needs; be sure you're ready to make a commitment to caring for your bird for life.
Selecting a Bird: Things to Consider
When considering which type of bird you're getting, be sure to look into their life span. Here are some common pet birds and how long they typically live: The life spans of birds vary widely and some birds can live for up to 100 years! Remember, when you get a pet you're committing to caring for it for its entire life. Here are some common pet birds and how long they typically live:
- Parakeets: 5 - 15 years
- Cockatiels: 10 - 14 years
- Finches: 6 - 8 years
- Canaries: 5 - 15 years
- Cockatoos: 40 - 70 years
- Macaws: 35 - 50 years
As you can see, the life spans of birds vary widely and some large birds such as cockatoos and macaws have been known in some cases to live far beyond their average life span, making it to more than 100 years old.
Remember, when you get a pet you're committing to caring for it for its entire life!
Different breeds of birds have very different personalities. Some, like parakeets, are friendly and fairly easy to tame while others, such as canaries, tend to be more high-strung and anxious and do not enjoy being handled as much.
Consider what type of bird you're looking for when selecting a breed - but remember individual personalities will differ and you have to be prepared to care for your bird even if they turn out to not enjoy being handled.
Many people select a breed from the parrot family because they want a bird that can talk. It's important to remember that large species of birds require significantly more room and may have more specific care requirements.
If you're a first-time bird owner it's best to start with something small with easier care requirements. Many types of large parrots, including Amazons, African Greys, macaws, and cockatoos have unique personalities and can become easily stressed and resort to unhealthy habits such as feather-plucking if they don't have a regular schedule and involved level of care.
The larger the bird...the larger the cage. Birds need habitats with plenty of room - consider the size of the room your bird will be in. It's also best to keep your bird in a well-lit sunny corner of the room, preferably one you frequent as most birds like attention!
You should also be sure to have plenty of room in the cage for enrichment items such as perches, swings, toys, or ropes.
Feeding a bird is not as simple as feeding kibble to a dog or cat. Birds need a varied diet that should include a high-quality bird food in combination with fresh fruits and vegetables, seeds, grasses, flowers, and other greenery that is deemed safe by your vet. Be sure you're ready to do a little more meal prep than you normally would for a cat or dog when selecting a bird as a pet.
A varied diet is important. A lot of older birds that live on predominantly seed-based diets can become overweight which can lead to health issues such as fatty liver disease.
Speak to your veterinarian about the best diet for your pet bird.
Veterinary Care for Birds
If you're thinking about getting a bird, or have a bird, good veterinary care is key. Just like cats and dogs, the avian species needs regular veterinary care to maintain their health and well-being throughout their life.
Birds should attend annual wellness exams with a veterinarian trained in exotic pet care who can properly check on their health, spot any emerging health issues, and provide sound advice on how to best care for your bird at home.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.