Birds should be housed in the largest cage possible. Cages should be made of non-toxic material, and cage bars should be spaced appropriately to the size of the bird to prevent escape. Ideally, perches should be made of natural wood (Manzanita, northern hardwood, Australian pine, eucalyptus, others) that is pesticide-free. At least one perch should be placed near the food and water bowls. The depth and size of bowls depends on the species.
Birds are very social and generally live in large flocks in the wild. As the bird's owner, you are essentially his or her flock mate. Therefore, the bird's cage should be placed in an area of your home where there is a lot of activity. Cages should not be placed in the kitchen because of potential risk to the bird from cooking fumes and flames on the stove. Teflon pans should never be used around birds as the toxic chemicals they release into the air when they are heated to high temperatures can be instantly fatal to birds.
Birds should never be exposed to cigarette smoke or other aerosolized toxins to which they are very sensitive. Caution should also be taken with birds around open doors and windows, near mirrors and ceiling fans, and around other potentially predatory pets, such as cats and dogs.
While birds should be taken out of their cages as much as possible to socialize them and provide exercise, they should never be left unsupervised. To provide mental stimulation and physical exercise, birds should be provided with safe toys that are good to chew on, such as items made of soft wood, cardboard, paper, or chewable food items, such as coconut husks and corncobs.
Your bird's diet is critical to his or her health. Several commercially prepared formulated diets are available, depending on your bird's species. Supplementation with small amounts of vitamin A rich fruits and vegetables also may provide nutrients essential in your bird's diet, and may make eating more fun for your bird. For most birds, seed should make up only a small portion of their diet. Your veterinarian can better provide you with information on the specific dietary needs of your bird. Ahwatukee Animal Care Hospital veterinarians recommend Harrison's Bird Diet, carried in our retail area.
Most temperatures that are comfortable for you are okay for your bird. Sudden radical changes in temperature may be difficult for birds to tolerate. Most birds, especially those from tropical climates, require added humidity (from bathing or misting with water from a spray bottle) for healthy feathers and skin.
Birds should be examined annually by a veterinarian to detect health problems early and prevent potential problems from developing. Nail trims and wing trims (to prevent escape or injury) also are recommended. Owners can learn to groom their birds at home or have these procedures performed by a veterinarian. Leg bands should be left in place unless they are constricting the leg or causing injury. Removal of a leg band from a struggling bird can lead to a fractured leg. Good preventive medical care for birds can help them live long healthy lives.
Adapted from the Association of Avian Veterinarians
For more information about our avian medical and boarding services, please visit the following links:
This is not a replacement for a veterinary consultation.
If you have any questions or concerns about your bird's health or care, please contact us for an appointment.