Birds as Pets
Birds make great companions and have distinct personalities. Like cats and dogs having a pet bird is a lifelong commitment and owners should first consider if they have sufficient time to correctly care and provide for their new friend.
Common Bird Life Spans
Finch 3-6 years
Budgies/Canaries 8-20 years
Cockatiels 15-20 years
Electus/Alexandrian parrot 30-40 years
Cockatoos/McCaw 25-80 years
Considerations for Bird ownership
Housing – Birds need to be able to safely flap their wings in their enclosure and it is recommended that the cage be approximately 3 times the bird’s wingspan wide and high to allow minimal flight. The cage should be kept in an area with protection from sun, wind, rain and cold. Toys in the enclosure should be placed so as not to cause harm and should be interchanged regularly for stimulation.
Diet - Birds should be fed a balanced diet. It is best to feed seed eating birds a pelleted/crumble diet otherwise they will pick through a seed mix and only eat the seeds they like which is not always nutritional for them. Pellet/crumble diets prevent your bird from being selective. Regular greens and vegetables should also be given and fruits/seed can be offered as treats.
Depending on the specie of bird diet may differ (lorikeets eat a nectar mix not seeds) and it is best to check with your veterinarian or an experienced ornithologist (bird specialist) for correct diet information.
DO NOT FEED Junk foods, Chocolate, Caffeine products, Avocado, Onion, Apple seeds, Fruit Seeds
Play and Exercise - As a bird owner you will need to set a side time each day to spend with your bird for interaction involving play and exercise. Like cats and dogs birds can become overweight if inactive which can shorten their life span and cause health problems. Toys should be changed regularly so your bird does not get bored.
When allowing your bird to fly around ensure all doors and windows are closed and it is best to keep windows covered during fly times to avoid your bird flying into the window.
Health Concerns - Your bird should have bright eyes, clean full feathers and be bright and alert. Bird droppings should be green (varying shades) and white. White is urine and green is faeces. If droppings change in colour or consistency it may be an indication of illness or inadequate diet so check with your veterinarian.
Worming should be done every 3 months for birds.
If your bird is unusually inactive and has fluffed up feathers this may also be a sign of illness and should be checked by a vet.
Birds preen themselves regularly but if bored will over groom so this is something that you will need to monitor. Also birds will moult -which is the process of their old feathers being replaced by new ones- usually once a year. During the moult period your bird may be a little quieter than usual and should be fed extra as the moult can be quite taxing for him/her.
Some birds may expel a feathery dust called powder down which can cause allergies or asthma for humans. Allowing your bird to regularly bathe will reduce this.
Birds can be great mimickers and may learn to speak if you spend the time teaching them by repeating phrases.
All in all birds make great companions.