Looking After Pet Birds

Claire Dunling

Having a bird for a pet can be just as entertaining and rewarding as owning a dog – although there is much to seriously consider if you’re bringing Polly home…

Cockatiels, Budgerigars, Macaws, African Grey’s – we are all familiar with some of the most common birds found in UK homes today, but what does it take to maintain your chirpy one’s health and well-being?

Food for the birds

So much more than a bit of cuttlefish! The likelihood of your bird originating from an exotic land is likely, therefore it’s dietary requirements will need to be tailored around this. Generally, a diet or fresh fruit, vegetables and seeds are ideal but if your bird has been under the weather, needs to gain weight or is moulting give a helping of high potency food. The Harrison’s High Potency Fine is the ideal feed for breeds such as Macaws, African Grey’s or Moluccan Cockatoo.

It’s also important to note that each breed will have its own dietary requirements and health issues that you will need to consult your avian specialist vet about.

Making your nest their nest

Before bringing your feathered friend home, contemplate how much room you can sacrifice for their cage. Obviously this primarily depends on the bird’s size, but even smaller breeds need enough room to fly around comfortably. As with all pets you will also need to consider cleaning their bathroom remnants. Many bird owners use shredded newspaper, however specially formulated pellet paper will reduce any foul odours. Regardless of your choice, the droppings will need changing on a daily basis – for everyone’s comfort.

Another important element to consider when homing a bird is the noise. While the chit-chattering may be endearing for a few weeks, birds are territorial animals and like to make a lot of noise to make sure everyone knows where and who they are. Remember that birds such as budgies and cockatiels can live for up to 20 years in captivity, whilst some parrots such as macaws could live for nearly 100 years!

Some types of birds can live for many years so bear in mind that taking one on can be a long term commitment'
John Campbell, Head Vet of Pet Drugs Online

Parasite control

A birds beautiful plumage is not exempt from the terrors of parasites, unfortunately. However, products like the Xeno 450 are very effective on flea, ticks and mites on birds and many other small animals. The Xeno 450 product is recommended by vets and is guaranteed to alleviate your bird’s discomfort promptly. And these parasites are so easily transferable, be sure to treat the rest of your fluffy household too.

The article is an opinion and should only be used as a guide. You should discuss any change to your pet’s care or lifestyle thoroughly with you vet before starting any program or treatment.

If in doubt contact your veterinary practice

And always keep your vet's phone number handy - just in case!