Birds

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BIRDS    

 

Most people mistakenly believe that pets that are kept in a cage need little more than food, water and clean surroundings. But no animal is designed by nature to be confined to a cage and certainly not 24 hours a day.

 

Birds are extremely intelligent and it is great fun to have a pet that can TALK to you ! Like most intelligent animals, companion birds become bored and restless if they don’t have something to occupy their minds. Chew toys and ladders are a good start, but you should also consider training your bird.

 

Birds are social beings who love company - they can form a real bond with their owners.

 

Different breeds of birds have different nutrition requirements and it is important to learn all as much as you can to keep your feathered friend healthy and happy. Birds require time and attention, just like other companion animals.

 

  1. What type of grooming do birds need?
  2. What do parrots eat?
  3. Why does my African Grey stretch out his legs and wings?
  4. What are the benefits of cuttlebone for birds?
  5. How can you keep your pet bird happy when you are away?
  6. What is the average lifespan of a companion bird?
  7. What should you consider when choosing a cage for your bird?
  8. What can birds be taught to do?
  9. Do landlords collect deposits or charge extra for pet birds?
  10. What season is best for Lovebirds to breed?

 

1. What type of grooming do birds need?


Routine grooming consists of beak, nail and wing trimming. Wing clipping should be considered carefully to prevent escape or injury in the home.

Birds are naturally clean creatures. They keep their feathers shiny through preening. During molting, the bird may groom at the covering of the new feather as it emerges. This is normal behavior and should not be mistaken for “feather picking” or mites.

Most birds enjoy daily bathing and spend a great deal of time keeping their feathers in prime condition. Some will bathe in a dish or bowl, some prefer a shower under a tap.

If your bird does not like to bathe, a daily misting with clean water will help encourage normal grooming. 

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2. What do parrots eat?


In the wild parrots eat a large variety of nuts, fruits, leaves and even worms. Some parrots even eat small amounts of soil and plants that probably have much needed nutrients.

There are many thoughts on what parrots need for optimal health, but everyone agrees that parrots need a variety of food, including fresh fruits and vegetables. This will mean more time in food preparation and shopping than merely pouring seed into a bowl. NEVER feed your birds avocado - it is toxic for them.

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3. Why does my African Grey stretch out his legs and wings?


This is normal behaviour for your bird and helps to get his blood flowing and provides your parrot with some exercise. Think of this as "flying" on the spot.

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4. What are the benefits of cuttlebone for birds?


Cuttlebone is an important dietary supplement for birds and is a good source of minerals and calcium, which helps birds with bone formation and blood clotting. Cuttlebone has a rough texture and helps to support beak strength. Birds can use cuttlebones to help keep their beaks trimmed and sharp.

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5. How can you keep your pet bird happy when you are away?


Because birds are such social animals they need plenty of stimulation while you are away. You could leave the tv or radio on. Feed your bird varied food and leave something special in the food dispenser or fruit on a skewer. Swop out toys and try out perches that have different textures.

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6. What is the average lifespan of a companion bird?


This varies from bird to bird. The average life span for a bird in captivity is considerably shorter than the potential life span in the wild:

  • Macaws have been known to live well over 50 years in captivity. With proper diet and veterinary care, the lifespan ranges easily from 30 to 50 years.
  • Cockatoos should enjoy a lifespan ofe 30 to 40 years.
  • Amazons have an average life span of around 20 years.
  • African Greys have been known to live 50 years or more in captivity. With proper diet and veterinary care, they should live at least 25 years. They are highly intelligent and prone to feather picking and self-mutilation, due to boredom or stress, which can reduce longevity.
  • Mischievious noisy Conures can live anywhere from 15 to 40 years.
  • Parakeets can live up to 18 years with the proper diet and veterinary care and depending on the type of parakeet, the life span may vary between 15 to 18 years.
  • You may hear the beautiful song of a Canary friend for 10-15 years, though this is the average and if you are lucky, it may be longer.

Keeping a companion bird is a long term commitment - consider that a Parrot for example, has the potential to be with you for your entire life!

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7. What should you consider when choosing a cage for your bird?


Your bird will spend most of its time in the cage so think carefully about size, durability and ease of cleaning. Bars need to be well spaced and spaces should not be large enough for the bird's head or body to fit through, the cage should have perches, toys, food and water feeders. Water and food bowls that can be locked down will help prevent messes. You will also need bedding or cage liners.

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8. What can birds be taught to do?


Apart from being taught to speak, and understand words and phrases, birds can also be taught to:

  • "step up" - this is the simple act of stepping onto your hand on request
  • potty training - for your bird to do its business at certain - though there are opposing schools of thought on this one!
  • spot dancing - birds tend to respond to rhythmic and upbeat tunes
  • solving puzzle games - colours, counting (these are made specially for parrots)
  • recall- training he bird to fly back to you when called
  • clicker training

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9. Do landlords collect deposits or charge extra for pet birds?


Most landlords and rental management companies do not consider birds to be as destuctive as dogs and cats and do not usually require additional deposits or fees.  You should consider potential issues though with neighbours, as some birds can shriek and be quite vocal - this could cause problems if you live in close proximity to others.

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10. What season is best for Lovebirds to breed?


Fischer's Lovebirds can breed all year round but should not be allowed to breed during hot summer months - the increased temperature can create an uncomfortable environment and can kill young chicks.

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