Thinking of adding a feathered friend to your flock?
(Here are a few things to keep in mind)
Special guest post by Elizabeth Judek of www.birdyparadise.com
When considering whether a bird would make a fitting addition to your family, some very important factors must be kept in mind.
Generally, the idea of a pet bird evokes images of beautiful, colorful feathers, sweet warbled tunes, and perhaps even comical conversations. Poopy cages and skittish little guys with their hearts beating through their chests aren’t really thought of until it’s oftentimes far too late.
Birds, just like cats or dogs, are all mini individuals. Each has his or her own needs, personality, and preferences. While selecting a certain sort of bird may give you a general idea of what to expect, your bird may still exhibit some peculiarities. As a responsible pet owner, this has to be taken into account.
Other things that are helpful to consider include:
• The bird’s size, the cage it will need, and the space for both within your dwelling (the cage should allow the bird adequate room to hop around, and possibly even fly). Also, look into the sort of cage the breed you’re interested in prefers. Budgies, for example, like cages with a longer width and care less for height. Thought must also be put in to where the cage will be placed. A bird will be bored and lonely (especially if it is a single bird) if placed in a room that rarely sees human traffic. Your living room would be the best bet if you want to keep your new friend happy.
• The other residents of your abode (be they other pets, children, or your sweetie). Keep in mind that birds can be noisy, and are definitely “morning people”. Expect some shrieks among the melodies. Also, different birds will make very specific types of noise, and some are louder than others. Not every sort can sing, and not every kind can talk. Be sure you can handle the pitch of their warblings before you commit to becoming a bird owner.
• The amount of time you’ll be able to devote to its care (you’ll need to put in some serious hours to have a good relationship with your bird). It is not reasonable to expect a bird to love you immediately. Also, many breeds are very skittish (think finches and canaries) while others (like cockatoos) might love to cuddle. It’s important to note that where you buy the bird will highly impact how well it will take to humans. A hand-reared bird from a reputable breeder will be far easier to hand train than a bird plucked from a huge cage in a pet shop. Also be prepared to do some research on particular breeds you may be interested in, beforehand, to know the specific requirements for your future buddy.
• The amount of time you’ll be able to devote to extra cleaning (the bottom of the cage requires daily maintenance, as does the entire area around the cage – a mini vacuum would be a very wise investment). Birds also need baths from time to time, to keep their feathers clean and glossy. Misting them with water from a spray bottle is also recommended, especially if your home is hot or dry. A humidifier would take care of humidity issues just as well, and provide you and the other habitants of the home (including your plants) with a nicer atmosphere.
• Your use of products that affect air quality or cleanliness (did you know that your cooking with a Teflon pan might kill your bird? They are especially deadly if you’ve burnt something cooking on one, as smoke indiscriminately travels to other parts of the home). Additionally, smoking, incense, and potentially toxic plug-ins or air sprays are all certifiable threats for birds. They are very sensitive to even tiny amounts of impurities in the air.
• Your financial situation (looking past the initial cost is key here). Whether or not you’re able to shell out $20 for a budgie, or thousands for a macaw, will evidently affect your decision of which bird to buy. However, you must consider that its food and veterinary visits will be recurring costs. A cage, toys, treats perches, and other accessories also cannot be avoided, and require that a part of your budget is allocated towards such. Dietary supplements might also be required
• Consider whether you’ll be comfortable regularly clipping your bird’s wings (this might help keep them safe and make it easier to hand-train them). Remember that if you chose to do any bird grooming yourself, that its very important to be precise and steady (cutting claws too close to a blood vessel, or cutting through blood-feathers is painful and potentially life-threatening).
• Finally, consider how often you’ll let the little guy out of cage, if at all. While its cage is its secure haven, most birds are up for a bit of exploration every now and then. However, there are many hazards (open toilets, open windows, poisonous houseplants, ovens in use, burning candles, plastic bags, and sneaky kitties, to mention just a few).
Most important of all, take a good look at yourself. Are you up for the (sometimes difficult) but gloriously rewarding task of taking in a bird companion? Are you capable of providing a comfortable home for a creature that might live between a decade to over a century? Chose well and chose wisely – and if you should be so lucky that everything is in order, you’ll certainly reap a wonderful reward.
For other great bird tips, hop on over to birdyparadise.com!