spcaLA: Friends for Life

Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles, since 1877

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Resources » Pet Library

Bird Care

by Dr. Karen Halligan

parrots

Remember this is just an overview—
check with your avian veterinarian
or an avian non-profit group for their recommendations.

It’s all about food: Birds, like any pet, require everyday care, and proper nutrition is at the forefront of their basic needs. Nutritional deficiencies are a common problem that veterinarians see in pet birds. It is crucial for your bird’s overall health and well being to be fed a proper diet. A bird’s diet depends on what kind of bird it is, so ask your avian veterinarian or an avian non-profit group for their recommendation.

The delicate and the sensitive

Birds are very sensitive to their environment and sudden changes can bring on negative responses and highly stress your bird. Healthy birds can tolerate temperatures that are comfortable to humans, but drastic temperature fluctuations are not tolerated well by pet birds. If they are sick, temperature fluctuations can be life threatening. It is best to set your bird's cage up by unfiltered sunlight (ensure shade is available) with fresh air coming in nearby.

Perched atop the world

Perches should be from pesticide-free, natural wood derived from non-toxic trees (northern hardwoods. citrus, eucalyptus, Australian pine). Perches should also be clean and easy to replace - and never made from sandpaper.

Keeping it clean

Good hygiene is important in keeping your bird healthy. Daily cleaning of the cage floor, food and water bowls is essential. Bacteria from dirty cages and water bowls are a source of infection, so keep them clean and provide fresh water at all times. Food and water bowls should be made of hard plastic or ceramic and be big enough for the bird to use easily, yet placed in an area protected from droppings.

Accommodations provided by…you!

Birds confined mostly to a cage should be given the largest cage available that the house can accommodate. Birds are intelligent, active animals that need stimulation to be happy. Placing their cage near family activity is advised. Safe toys also provide healthy stimulation for birds. By far the most important thing for any bird, however, is time outside of their cage. Just as you would not want to be caged all the time, these creatures do not want to be either.

I thought I thaw a Puddy Tat…Things to avoid

Signs of Illness

If your bird is showing signs of illness DON’T WAIT! Take them to your avian veterinarian right away.

If you are considering getting a bird, please research some bird rescues first. Always adopt vs. purchasing. Just like there are homeless dogs and cats, there are homeless birds, and purchasing a bird instead of adopting one only perpetuates the cycle. spcaLA does not condone, endorse, or promote the breeding of birds for life in captivity as long as there are captive birds in need of placement. Search the internet under “Bird Rescue” for lots of valuable information and ways to help or adopt.

Behavior and Training Department

If you would like more information on training or have a behavior question you can email the Behavior and Training Department at training@spcaLA.com or call the Behavior Helpline at (888) 772-2521, ext 260.