Bird Care

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


  • Unsupervised flight
  • Access to toxic household plants
  • Toxic fumes from over-heated Teflon coated pans
  • Ingesting of lead and zinc (found in costume jewelry and fishing weights)
  • Other pets. Scratches or bites from cats can be deadly. Any pet not good with birds, including dogs and cats, should be kept separate from the bird. Some cats and dogs, especially if raised around the bird, do great.


  • Decreased appetite
  • Change in number or consistency of droppings
  • Vomiting
  • Discharge from eyes or nose
  • Bleeding
  • Change or decrease in activity
  • Any change in your bird’s normal routine

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 for “Bird Rescue” for lots of valuable information and ways to help or adopt.

Please note, articles in the Animal Resource Library are for reference only, and are not meant to diagnose or treat any medical or behavioral issues your pet may be experiencing.