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Caring for Your Bird

Caring for your birdAttention all bird lovers! We don't have to convince you that birds are fun pets, but they definitely require special care. If you currently have a bird, or have been thinking about bringing a feathered friend into your home, here is a checklist to help you out. If you have questions that are not addressed here, Dr. Geaudry is always happy to see your bird and point you in the right direction.

The Right Cage
 Different birds need different cages, but here are some must-haves:
  • The cage must be big enough for your bird to stretch his/her wings and fly.
  • The cage must be made from nontoxic (nonpoisonous) material.
  • The cage base must be so hard that your bird can't ruin it by chewing.

Cage Location
  • Make sure the cage can't be knocked over or fall.
  • Put the cage in an area like a family room, so your pet can be around everyone - birds are very social.
  • Avoid drafts and kitchens. Kitchen fumes like burnt Teflon from a cooking pan can kill a bird.

  • Use non-colored newspapers with soy ink, paper towels, or brown paper.

  • Get both fat and thin perches — like manzanita branches. This helps birds exercise their feet and prevents pressure sores.
  • Never use sandpaper perches, they will hurt your pet's feet.
  • Large birds like Amazons or African Grey Birds need a freestanding perch outside the cage.

Food Dishes
  • Must be attached, so they can't be tipped over.

  • Birds like mirrors and other toys. Make sure all toys are made from nontoxic material.
  • Clean cage of any droppings.
  • Change water once or more if needed.
  • Provide fresh fruits and vegetables, and remove food after a couple hours.
  • If your bird is hand-tamed, take him/her out to play for at least an hour each day.

  • Breakdown and clean cage with mild soap and make sure you rinse off all the soap.

  • Ask your veterinarian to recommend a disinfectant cleaner that you can use to clean the cage each month.
  • Birds, like all pets, should see their veterinarian each year.

What to Feed Your Bird
  • Birds need a balanced diet — with food from all the major food groups.
  • Birds are one type of pet that benefits from eating many "people foods".
  • Birds must have fresh fruit and vegetables daily.
  • Never feed your bird a "seed-only" diet.
  • Never feed your bird houseplants, avocado, cherry pits, rhubarb, apple seeds or raw milk products.
Poisons and Dangerous Fumes
Many common household items can hurt or even kill your bird. These include:
Overheated Teflon cookware
Tobacco smoke
Lead paints
Scented candles or incense
Chemical cleaners
Aerosol products
Some houseplants

*This information was provided by