Do you share your home with a feathered friend? Exotic bird species like cockatoos, canaries, and parrots, can be a challenge to keep happy and healthy. Here are some ways to keep your pet safe from predators, disease, and accidents
Customize Your Cage
- Your bird’s primary cage should be large enough to give them room to stretch their wings. This is especially important if you plan to house more than one bird in the same cage. To make sure you have enough room, measure your bird’s wings from tip to tip when outstretched. Double that number and find an enclosure with those dimensions.
- Place multiple perches and swings in the cage. Smaller cages may only be able to fit two. It should take two wing beats for your bird to fly from perch to perch. The more your bird is able to fly naturally, the happier they will be.
- For smaller birds like canaries and parakeets, make sure the bars of the cage are close enough to prevent escape. If you have other pets choose a cage with less than ½ inch between bars. This will prevent small paws from grasping at feathers.
- Choose perches carefully. Unbleached ropes and woods reduce the amount of potentially harmful chemicals your bird ingests. When choosing items made from synthetic materials, choose things that are easily washable. Clean your perches on a regular basis.
- Natural perches like small trees and houseplants can be an especially stimulating addition to your bird’s cage. Make sure you are choosing plants that won’t harm your pet before placing them.
- Birds are often more intelligent than we know. Make sure your bird can’t open the cage. A small lock or twisting latch will keep your pet from possible harm.
Care and Feeding
- Take your bird to the vet at least once a year. Exotic birds are delicate and can be susceptible to many diseases that can be passed on to your human family members.
- Check your bird’s food and water supply daily. Remove any soiled rations and replace with fresh portions. Clean food and water containers regularly with hot, soapy water. Rinse and dry thoroughly before giving back to your pet.
- Sick birds will often stop eating and drinking before showing other signs of illness. When checking their food and water dishes, note how much is gone. If it doesn’t look like your bird is consuming enough, call your vet. Don’t wait too long. Some birds can die after only 3 days without enough water.
- A bowl of water placed at the bottom of the cage gives your bird a place to bathe and play. Regular washing keeps them free from parasites and skin diseases. Always use room temperature water. If you want to avoid dishes of standing water, you can purchase an electric mister at most pet supply stores.
- Cover your bird’s cage for bedtime. Use a large cloth that allows air but not light to pass. Do this at the same time every night and remove it at the same time every morning. Most birds need at least 10 hours of sleep each day.
Your bird’s nutritional and health care needs can vary by breed. Talk to the bird experts at Community Veterinary Clinic in the Turlock and Modesto areas for some personalized advice on giving your bird friend the best life possible.