If you’re considering bringing home a feathered friend, first, you need to make sure that you’re fully prepared for all that bird parenthood brings.
Like many other exotics, birds have become more popular pets in recent years. Unfortunately, though, a lot of care information out there is outdated and inaccurate. Because of this, it’s common for new bird parents to feel overwhelmed at first.
January is Adopt a Rescued Bird Month, so it’s the perfect time to bring home a bird in need of a loving home. If you decide to adopt, not only will you be helping a bird in need, but you’ll also have a better idea of its personality and temperament.
Before taking the plunge, you want to be sure that you’re prepared for both the time and financial commitment that a rescue bird will require.
Read on to find out the top mistakes most new bird owners make so you can avoid them.
Mistake #1: Feeding the wrong diet
Many new owners think seeds and pellets are all that is needed in a bird’s diet. Maybe you followed the advice of a pet store that led you to believe that these foods were sufficient.
Unfortunately, feeding only a mixture of pellets and seeds can lead to health issues such as vitamin deficiencies. So, what does the ideal diet look like?
Most of the birds we keep as pets survive mainly on vegetation in the wild! They also forage for seeds, nuts, and berries.
Keeping that in mind, making sure to offer your bird a varied diet is extremely important.
A proper diet should consist of 50 or 60 percent pellet food plus seeds offered here and there. For the remaining 40 percent of the diet, you should provide fresh fruit, vegetables, and nuts. Just make sure that the pieces are cut into small pieces that your bird can easily eat.
Mistake #2: Getting a cage that’s too small
It’s common for new bird parents to underestimate how much space their bird truly needs. It doesn’t help that most cages sold in pet stores aren’t large enough to be suitable for most pet birds.
Many rescue birds come from homes where they lived in tiny cages, so they will greatly appreciate the extra space when upgraded into a proper-sized enclosure.
Before purchasing a cage, you should consider how much space will be taken up by their perches and toys. A general rule of thumb is to make sure that your bird has enough room to spread its wings and fly freely.
A cage that’s too small will leave your new pet feeling cramped and bored if they don’t have room to play and get exercise.
Mistake #3: Only having one perch
As a new bird parent, you might not realize that you need more than one perch in your bird’s cage.
It’s best to have between 3 and 4 different perches in the cage. Ideally, you should place each perch at a different height in the cage so that your bird can move freely between them as it pleases.
Texture is also important. Having a different texture for each perch can be helpful in preventing common foot disorders such as bumblefoot.
Not only that, but having multiple perches will be incredibly beneficial to your bird’s mental health. Creating several areas in the cage where they can relax and play is absolutely essential for their well-being.
Mistake #4: Not providing enough enrichment
Something else that new bird parents frequently overlook is how much enrichment they need to thrive.
Maybe you thought that providing one or two toys would be enough, but that isn’t the case. Birds need activity and mental stimulation to be happy and content. In the wild, they are sociable animals who spend lots of time flying and foraging.
Be the best pet parent you can be and try to re-create those natural behaviors by providing plenty of different toys for your bird to choose from.
Many rescue birds have overgrown beaks, and you can combat this by getting wooden toys (just make sure they’re non-toxic!). These have the added benefit of naturally wearing down your bird’s beak over time.
Another way you can provide extra enrichment is by allowing your bird out of the cage for a few hours a day to fly freely around your home. This can be an excellent way for them to get that much-needed exercise.
Mistake #5: Thinking vet checks are unnecessary
Many people have the misconception that exotic pets don’t need regular vet checks as a dog or cat does. However, most avian veterinarians suggest that your pet bird should be seen for a checkup at least once a year.
You might be thinking, “My bird looks healthy, so I don’t need to see a vet!” The truth is, birds are great at masking illnesses. So, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
If your pet bird is a rescue, scheduling a vet visit is especially important. This way, they can rule out any illnesses or help treat issues caused by the situation they were in previously.
There is a lot to consider when it comes to adopting a pet bird. As a new bird parent, it can be a lot of information to soak in. By preparing ahead of time, you’ll ensure that your new pet is happy and healthy.