We list some factors you should think about before choosing a bird as a pet.
If you are going to get a bird you may well, if you care for the animal properly, be in it for the long haul. It is important to consider whether you are willing and able give this time to your bird. As a general rule, the larger the bird, the longer the expected life span. Listed below are some estimated life spans for common parrots and other birds. These are of course based on a healthy bird kept under ideal conditions. In reality there is quite a wide range in the in the age that pet birds might reach, and note that some will live longer than the ages listed below.
If you are prepared to give your avian companion the time commitment, then consider too the following factors.
While birds can often live very happy and safe lives with other pets. Potential owners, who already own a cat or dog, should consider the need to always be careful where other pets are around when they allow their birds to fly free in the home. The flying bird can be a great attraction to any cat or dog, bringing out the hunting instinct in even the most laid back character. This is neither animal’s fault and you do need to consider how to protect your bird from this danger when it is out of its cage.
It is up to you as the potential owner to find out about your chosen pet bird’s needs. Bird welfare charities, good books and specialist bird lovers websites mean that there is no excuse not to learn about the bird you are going to buy.
Think for example about the following when considering taking on a bird:
Learn about the variety of foods that are good for your bird, fresh fruit can be offered to some birds, but avocado, for example, should be avoided. For some birds, for example Grey Parrots, calcium supplements may be required, (under the direction of your vet), or green vegetables naturally high in calcium (such as spinach) can be offered.
Canaries and budgies, amongst others, do like the company of their own kind. Lovebirds, for example, love human company, as do many other birds. Parrot species do need a lot of social time. You will need to consider the potential noise from a parrot, that at times, even for the more loving and committed owner, can become too much. The cage should not be placed in a hectic area, But on the other hand it should have lots of contact with people. You need to consider carefully that you can give your birds the interaction that they enjoy.
When the sun sets you may need to cover your birds’ cage to let the bird keep its natural rest cycle and so that it is not be kept awake in artificial light.
Canaries for example need to fly to exercise and a long narrow cage is more crucial than one that is tall. Budgies are active and playful, and like a large cage with plenty of perches for climbing and exercise. Parrots clearly need large cages but you should also provide your bird with a good well made gym as Parrots, such as African Grey’s need to spend a significant time out of the cage on a daily bases.
Birds cages should not be placed in direct sunlight, neither do they thrive in drafty areas so you need to place their cage carefully, not just put it in a place where it fits in well with your existing decor.
As well as possible problems with existing pets, pet birds are extremely susceptible to a wide variety of dangers around the house. There are a number of reasons for this, including their small size, rapid metabolism and sensitive respiratory systems. With a species like Parrots, there is also their intense curiosity and the need to explore everything with their beaks. Owners need to be extra vigilant about protecting their birds from dangers throughout the home.
Birds are susceptible to a wide range of toxic substances which can injure or even kill birds if they eat or breath in poisons. One of the most common thing in the home that are toxic to birds are insecticides and some air fresheners that are sprayed in the home. Others include bleach, ammonia, oven cleaners, glues, nail polish remover, paint,perfumes,lead and zinc. Poisonous plants are also a danger to your bird.
One type of poisoning is that which occurs when non stick coatings are overheated, the resultant fumes being very toxic to birds when inhaled by them. This coating is found on many things used in cooking and includes irons, bread makers, curling tongs/hair straighteners, some heaters, hair dryers etc.
Toilets are the most common source of open water in the house. Other water sources to look out for are sinks, basins, baths, buckets and water bowls.
These range from unhealthy foods to foods that could just kill your pet birds. Anything high in sugar or salt is inappropriate, as are fatty foods. More serious are things like chocolate, which is toxic to many pets. Caffeine or alcoholic drinks are also dangerous. Avocado is said to be dangerous, so to be safe, avoid leaving them around.
Birds are more than capable of chewing the cables of household electrical appliances so they should be put away from sight when your birds are out and your bird should also always be supervised at all times.
Even some toys made for birds may not be safe for them, make sure your birds are not able to break off or remove any parts that could be swallowed by them. There is also a danger with ropes if they are not secured properly.