There’s no denying that we’re a nation of pet lovers. Each year, we introduce millions of new pets into our homes and hope that those new companions enjoy their lives in their forever homes.
One of the most popular types of pets to have at home are birds. These days you can buy pet birds in Britain in a variety of sizes and colours. Some people even purchase pairs of birds, so their pets don’t feel lonely when there’s no-one at home.
Why It Makes Sense To Have A Pet Bird
Let’s face it: many people prefer birds to have as pets compared to animals such as cats or dogs for several reasons. First of all, birds are relatively low-maintenance pets, and so are suitable for people with mobility issues.
Secondly, birds are inexpensive compared to bigger pets. Their diets are simple, and so you don’t need to spend a fortune on big bags of food for them. And, third of all, they are just as friendly as other types of pets.
Another thing to bear in mind is birds are ideal for single-occupant homes or ones where there’s a family unit. So, if you’re ‘on the fence’ about whether a pet bird is right for your home, you should 100% go out and get one (or two)!
If you’re looking for a pet that you can train to do all kinds of interesting tricks, birds are highly intelligent and trainable. Even budgies, for instance, can get taught to do things. Take a look at the Lafeber Vets website to see some examples of what can get achieved.
Now that you know having a pet bird can be right for you, the next step is to go through this checklist. It’ll give you some hints, tips, and inspiration on:
- How to prepare your home for a new pet bird;
- Safety considerations;
- Tips on keeping your pet bird clean and healthy.
Here’s what you need to know:
Choosing The Right Pet Bird For Your Home And Lifestyle
The first thing you need to think about is what breed of bird or birds you are thinking of getting as a pet. There are a plethora of breeds out there, ranging from budgies and parrots through to finches and doves.
As you can appreciate, all birds differ according to size, colours and markings, temperament, and, of course, price. With all that in mind, it makes sense to consider a bird that will be perfect for your home and lifestyle.
Choosing The Right Accommodation
Yes, your new pet bird will be living with you at your home. But, have you put any thought into their accommodation? Most first-time pet owners will buy a suitably sized cage for their birds, and will typically seek advice on cage sizes from their local pet shops.
One of the challenges of buying a cage for a pet bird is deciding which size is the right one. After all, the last thing you want to do is buy a cage that is too small for them to move around inside.
An alternative to buying a cage is purchasing an aviary. In a nutshell, these are bigger birdhouses designed for larger birds or where two or more birds will live together. Some owners have aviaries inside their homes, while others keep their birds outdoors.
If you do decide to have an aviary, and you’re thinking of keeping your pet bird outdoors, be sure to make it secure, so they don’t get attacked by any local wildlife, especially at night.
Making The Inside Of Your Home Bird-Friendly
If you’re thinking of buying a budgie or two, you’ll likely want to let them fly outside of their cage each day. Many small bird owners allow their pets to fly inside the same room that contains their cage.
With that in mind, you should make sure that room – and other parts of your home where your pet birds are likely to fly – are bird-friendly. So, what exactly is a bird-friendly home (or rooms in your home)?
As you’re no doubt aware, birds can potentially injure themselves when they fly inside of your home. They could end up flying into a closed window, for example, because they think they can fly outside.
They might even end up flying into your TV for the same reason! Here are some tips on how you can make the inside of your home bird-friendly:
- Close curtains or install net curtains to prevent birds from flying into windows;
- Put a sheet or cloth over your TV;
- Remove any sharp objects in the rooms where they are allowed to fly;
- Don’t light any candles or smoke inside rooms where they will fly.
Following on from that last point, bear in mind that scented candles and fragrances, and cigarette smoke is harmful to birds. That’s because they have extremely sensitive respiratory systems. If you need to smoke, do so outside or in another room away from your pet bird.
Buying The Right Food For Your Pet Bird
Something you may not realise about birds that get kept as pets is their dietary requirements can differ. Some birds like budgies, for example, can eat birdseed and millet sprays that you can purchase from any pet shop.
Meanwhile, some of the more exotic birds out there may need a more specialised diet. Websites like Little Peckers can give you an idea of the types of food available for various bird breeds.
The good news is that even if your potential new pet bird has a specific dietary need, the cost of such food is still as inexpensive as ordinary birdseed. If you’re in any doubt, do some online research first or consult your local vet for dietary advice.
If you’re planning on buying a pet parrot, for example, you’ll find that it can be even cheaper to feed them. Birds such as parrots enjoy eating fruit that you do, such as apples, bananas, and citrus fruits, among others.
Again, seek professional advice if you’re unsure what things you can and cannot feed your new pet bird.
Be Prepared To Spend Lots Of Time With Your New Pet Bird
Birds are social beings, just like humans. They enjoy being in the company of others, and they can feel sad when they’re left on their own for long periods. With that in mind, you should ensure you can commit to spending lots of time with your new pet bird.
That’s not to say you must devote every waking hour to socialising with your new household companion! But, you just need to bear in mind that you should spend some time with your pet bird and communicate with them.
If you work away from home a lot, a bird might not be the best pet to fit your lifestyle. However, if other people live in your home too, everyone can take part in spending time with your pet bird.
Ensure You Clean Their Cage Or Aviary Out Regularly
Last but not least, you need to make sure that the cage or aviary where your feathered friend will spend most of their time is clean. Be prepared to clean out their cage or aviary at least twice a week.
You should also check and top up their food and water supplies daily. Doing so will ensure they never get hungry or thirsty, especially during the coldest or hottest months of the year.