Getting a bird as a pet can be extremely exciting, buying their environment, making space for them, then bringing then home to live with you. But, pet birds can be difficult to look after. They need the right environment, plenty of space, and the right kind of food in order to thrive.
Here are some of the common mistakes that people make when getting a new bird.
1. Feeding Them The Wrong Food
It is important when getting a new bird to find out what is the best food for it. In the wild, birds will eat mostly vegetation, supplementing their diet with different seeds, nuts, berries, and even small insects.
Most common bird feeds are made up almost entirely of seeds. This is not the ideal diet for a bird that has adapted to eating a variety of food.
It is better to have 50-60% of their diet made up of bird pellets and to supplement that with some seeds, small pieces of fruit, and nuts.
As for watering, you can place a bowl in their cage with a small amount of water in. Bowls can clip onto the side of cages.
Your bird will drink as much as the need instinctively. Birds will only drink water twice a day, even then a few sips is normal.
2. Small Cage
Most bird cages we have become accustom to are actually too small for pet birds to feel comfortable. Birds need room to spread their wings occasionally.
For example, a large macaw will need a cage roughly 5ft tall, 3ft wide, and 4ft deep. This is so they have enough room to move around and stimulate their explorative nature.
3. One Perch
Bird cages with one solitary perch are not suitable for any bird. Birds need a variety of areas to perch and/or rest. Having around 3 or 4 differently textured areas is best, your bird will then be able to move around based on their needs. This is also a great way to stop them getting bored.
4. Keeping Them In The Cage Too Long
Following on from #2, pet birds need time outside of the cage. It is advised that your pet bird spend a few hours outside of their cage every day. A lot of new bird keepers don’t realize this.
You should designate a safe room to your birds, and have different areas for them to play in.
If your bird is left in their cage too long they may develop mental health issues and be less inclined to play nice. Just make sure there are no moving ceiling fans or open windows!
5. Expecting Them To Talk Straight Away
The common cliché is that parrots and other birds will repeat anything you tell them. However, a parrot will only start ‘talking’ at around 6 months old, and will only repeat certain noises it hears.
They do this as a form of audio camouflage in the wild, tricking prey and possible predators into thinking the noise is coming from something else.
Don’t expect your parrot to copy anything you say, they will choose one thing and repeat it. Their repertoire will increase as they get older.
6. Not Enough Toys
Specifically, not enough toys. Birds need many different things to play with. Just one or two things will not be enough.
In the wild, birds spend all day rooting around looking for food, as well as socializing. You need to keep their busy minds active to keep them happy.
Wood toys offer not only entertainment but also a way for your bird to keep their beak in tip top condition.
7. Too Much Noise
If you live somewhere where loud noises are common, your bird will get stressed. Loud noises like traffic, fireworks, or road maintenance, will spook your bird and make them far less happy. Remember that when choosing a spot for your bird. Perhaps even consider sound proofing.
8. Missing Checkups
It is hard for new bird keepers to tell when a bird is feeling unwell. Avian veterinarians suggest that your pet bird should go for a checkup twice a year. This is just to be sure.
If your pet bird starts acting differently or exhibiting strange behavior, consult a vet as soon as possible.
9. Socializing With Strangers
It will take a while before your bird becomes comfortable around you as their owner. This process should be taken slowly, to allow the bird to get situated.
If you bring in new people often the bird may feel frightened and may bite or try to get away from strangers.
Once your bird is settled, slowly introduce new people to it. Don’t rush things, as your bird will get stressed.
10. Not Cleaning The Cage Enough
Unfortunately, bird cages can become messy very quickly. Because birds do not have a designated spot to go to the toilet, the bottom of the cage effectively becomes one.
Feathers, crumbs of food, and poop, will all end up at the bottom of the cage.
Placing a tray underneath your birds cage will catch all the debris coming from the cage.
You should be sure to scrub and clean the cage at least once a week. This will stop the smell, and will keep your bird from ingesting bacteria.
11. Not Keeping Them Warm
If your bird is adapted for a warm climate, they may need a heat lamp to recreate their habitat. Using an incandescent or infrared light bulb will allow for heat to warm the bird, even without giving off light.
This recreates warm nights that some birds are used to.
If your bird is fluffing their feathers up often, they might be too cold. Another behavior to look out for is a bird covering its legs by squatting down over them.
A birds legs are exposed to the elements and will feel the cold all the more.
Taking on a pet bird is a big undertaking. They are hardy animals but will need a specific habitat to be comfortable. As long as you feed them the right food, stimulate their minds, and let them fly around, they should be happy.