A parakeet being held on a hand

Birds have fascinated and delighted humans for thousands of years (and probably more!). They are beautiful, intelligent, and intriguing, and some species can make good pets as long as they are properly cared for by a devoted owner. 

Are you ready to take on a pet bird? Before you decide, it’s important to understand the basics of bird care, and The Pet Experts at Naperville Animal Hospital is here to help!

Bird Care 101

Review the following principles of bird care before you decide whether or not to bring a bird into your home.

Research – Take some time to read about different types of pet birds to see which species would best fit your lifestyle and interest. Certain birds (such as African Grey parrots) can live as long as 50 years, while others have much shorter lifespans. Personalities vary widely among species, too. The bottom line is that birds are social creatures and should not be raised in isolation – if you won’t have lots of time each day to devote to a pet then a bird is not the right fit for you.

Housing – Birds are social creatures, so be sure to locate their cage in a high-traffic area of the home. Purchase the largest cage that can be accommodated in the room, and make sure it’s sturdy enough to resist dismantling and is made of nontoxic materials. Cages should be designed for easy cleaning. Liners (such as newspaper or paper towels) should be changed daily.

Nutrition – Each type of bird has specific nutritional requirements that will need to be met through a formulated diet as well as fresh food. Most birds should have a mix of around 75% specially formulated pellets and 25% carefully selected table foods for optimal nutrition. We are happy to help you figure out the perfect diet for your pet.

Exercise – Birds, like all animals, need daily exercise to thrive. Various types of perches, as well as supervised time outside the cage are important (be aware of open windows, ceiling fans, etc.). Even placing food and water bowls in different parts of the cage encourage a bird to move around.

Environmental enrichment – A bored bird is a frustrated bird, and frustrated birds can wreak havoc on their cages, themselves (plucking out their own feathers or excessive grooming) your home, and your sanity. Provide plenty of toys, and rotate them regularly. Pay attention to your bird as often as possible. Many birds require several hours of interaction and time outside their cage daily.

Grooming – Routine grooming generally consists of nail trimming as needed and wing clipping if desired. Most birds love to take “baths” in a bowl of water or under a running faucet. For birds that resist bathing, try offering a handful of wet lettuce leaves or a quick misting of fresh water to encourage grooming.

WellnessRoutine wellness exams are just as important for birds as they are for dogs and cats to ensure they are staying healthy and to catch and treat any health problems as early as possible. The Pet Experts have experience with avian wellness and look forward to meeting your new pet!

One Big Happy Family

Just like any other pet, a bird should be a valued member of the family. With careful research, attention to detail, and lots of daily interaction and affection, a pet bird can be a true delight. Please don’t hesitate to contact The Pet Experts for more information.