Birds are becoming more and more popular as pets. There are a variety of bird species and sizes to choose from. The smaller birds are the Parakeet, Canary, Finch, Budgies, Lovebird...the larger birds are the Cockatiel, African Grey, Cockatoo, Amazon, Quaker, among others. Birds are highly intelligent animals. They are extremely social creatures... fairly inexpensive to feed... relatively easy to care for... and display amazing colors and behavior patterns that are interesting to watch and have even proven to improve peoples health i.e lower blood pressure and stress levels. The smaller birds... canaries, budgies, love birds...are ideal for apartment dwellers. Cages: Stainless steel or aluminum cages are more fitting for housing bird(s) than are painted cages. Not only will they give longer service, but the older painted cages may contain lead based paint which is toxic to birds. Cages should be wide enough for the bird to stretch its wings.
Cages should be placed near family activities in the home. Lining the bottom of the cage with newspapers or paper towels will make for easier clean up. Food and water bowls should be cleaned daily and once a week thorough cleaning of the cage should be done. Cages should also include toys, perches, mirrors and chewable items. Diet: Dietary needs among bird species are not all the same. Some have very specific dietary needs and need special diets. Feeding pet birds the right foods is one of the most important considerations of its overall care. Balancing a pet birds diet will prevent many health problems later.
Diet for most seed-eating birds should consist of pelleted foods, fresh fruits (apples, grapes, cantaloupe, pineapple, figs, and kiwi) and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates, but shouldn't be left in the cage at room temperature for long periods of time as they can spoil causing bacteria that is harmful to the bird. It's important to research what types of foods are best for your species of bird. Offering the bird a food item at dinner time is ok as long as you make sure that the foods you share aren't toxic to birds. The best time for feeding is in the morning and have fruits and vegetables available during the day. Health and Care: Health should be a primary consideration when choosing a pet bird. For routine health examinations you should schedule a yearly checkup with a avian veterinarian in order to detect potential problems early.
A healthy bird can tolerate temperatures that are comfortable to its owner. A pet bird should never be let out of its cage unattended. Some common dangers for birds are ceiling fans, heaters, open windows and doors, other pets, water filled tubs, sinks, etc. Some do's: Do close the blinds or pull the drapes over the windows if you let the bird out of it's cage to keep it from injuring himself flying into the glass. Do make sure a fireplace screen is covering the fireplace. Do cover aquariums. Do keep toilet lids down to keep the bird from falling in.
Do keep other pets (cats, dogs) away from the pet bird. Do keep clean water in it's cage. Do clean food bowl. Do keep the cage clean. Some don't's: Don't feed the bird certain foods (i.e chocolate, avocado) because they are toxic. Don't leave any doors and windows open in case the bird gets out of his cage. Don't hold a bird tight because their bones are fragile and can easily be fractured. Don't let a pet bird loose in the kitchen around boiling water or stove burners. Don't turn on ceiling fans if the bird is out of its cage. Don't smoke around the bird. Don't over heat non-stick-coated (Teflon) pots or pans for the fumes are toxic to birds. Don't let the bird eat toxic plants (daffodils, juniper, azaleas, oleanders,etc). Don't feed the bird pits from fruit as in cherries, plums or peaches because these contain cyanide which is toxic to birds. Pet birds can be purchased from a variety of sources,such as pet shops, breeders, private dealers, or individuals.