all exotic birds should be examined
by a veterinarian. Please monitor your pet and call us if you have any concerns. Some signs include: eating less or not eating at all, appearing uncomfortable, fluffed or quieter than normal, your bird is persistently on the bottom of his/her cage.
Some of the most important things to make sure your bird is well taken care of include:
Bird Care Instructions
In general, we recommend the following diet for birds:
- Birds cannot thrive on seed-only diets. Seeds are high in fat and energy and therefore are very tasty to birds, but they cannot meet all of your bird’s nutritional needs. Seed based diets can predispose your bird to develop liver, heart and kidney disease, as well as deficiency in calcium and vitamin A.
- Pellets, such as Harrison’s, ZuPreem Natural or Roudybush, serve as a far superior basis for your bird’s diet because they are complete with the necessary nutrients. Pellets should be 75% of your bird’s diet.
- In addition to a pelleted diet, fresh fruits and vegetables provide important vitamins and give your bird variety. Fresh fruits and vegetables should be no more than 25% of your bird’s diet. Avoid vegetables rich in carbohydrates, like potatoes, corn, and yucca, as they predispose to weight gain.
- Fruits and vegetables to avoid: Avocado (toxic and lethal) and cruciferous vegetables (e.g. cauliflower, cabbage, garden cress, bok choy, broccoli, and brussels sprouts) as they bind with iodine and might predispose to goiter. Fruits rich in vitamin C (e.g. orange, tangerine, etc) should be given only sporadically, as they increase the absorption of iron and might lead to liver disease.
- Obesity is a common problem seen in pet birds, especially those fed primarily a seed diet. Just as in humans, obesity in birds can lead to other serious health problems and should be avoided. A pellet diet supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as the opportunity to exercise, will help your bird avoid becoming overweight.
- As a general rule, it is not recommended to feed your bird “human food” (i.e. pizza, cheese, chicken wings, hamburger, cookies, crackers, rice, pasta, beans, chocolate, etc.).
It is possible to convert your bird’s diet at home. It will require persistence and patience. Diet conversions are best done gradually, over 15 days. The key to conversion is initially limiting available seed quantity for your bird to one-half of what the bird will eat per day.
To find out how much seeds your bird eats per day, do the following:
- Measure, in teaspoons or tablespoons, the quantity of seed mix that you place in the clean cage first thing in the morning. Important: all seed (including millet spray and seed trees) must be included in your measurements!!!
- The next morning (24 hours later), measure in teaspoons or tablespoons the quantity of seed mix that is left uneaten.
- Subtract the remainder from the initial quantity to determine the actual amount of seed your bird eats in 24 hours.
Diet conversion step-by step:
- Start feeding ONLY one-half of the calculated amount of seed to your bird on a daily basis. Place an equal quantity of the new formulated diet (Harrison’s, ZuPreem, Roudybush) in the same bowl.
- Gradually, over 15 days, decrease the seed percentage, until you are no longer offering seeds.
- Monitor your bird’s weight daily, at the same time every day, and let us know if your pet loses more than 10% of the body weight (or XX grams). Please use a gram scale.
If you don’t feel comfortable converting the diet at home, please talk to us to learn more details.
Birds are social and intelligent animals. They should be housed in an appropriate enclosure that is well ventilated and allows plenty of space to spread their wings, stretch, move around and interact with their toys. If multiple small birds are housed in the same enclosure, ensure there’s enough space for each bird to move around comfortably and can get away from the other bird if it wants. Enclosures should be kept away from windows, AC vents, and drafty areas in the home.
Wired cages, dishes and toys should be free of lead and zinc, as these are toxic to birds if ingested. Paper-based and wooden toys that they can shred and destroy are good examples of appropriate toys. Newspaper or old phone books are a great way of providing enrichment too. Appropriate toys will not only keep them mentally stimulated, but can also help wear down their beak to prevent it from becoming overgrown. Toys should be rotated frequently to avoid boredom. There are plenty of ideas of ‘bird enrichment’ on the internet. Please ask your veterinarian if you are unsure about a certain type of toy.
Birds should have daily interaction with their owners for a few hours a day. This is especially important if they’re housed alone or have no other bird friends. Handling your bird daily will also assist in making veterinary visits less stressful. Depending on the size of your bird, it’ll also be important for them to spend the majority of the day, supervised and outside of their enclosure for interaction.
Birds do well with an ideal ambient room temperature between 70-80°F but can adapt to other temperatures too. On nice sunny days, you can move your pet’s enclosure outside so he/she can get some sunlight. They even may enjoy a shower/bath with a light misting of water. It is always important to NOT leave your bird unattended when outside as predators and accidents can happen when you’re not watching.
Birds have very sensitive respiratory tracks. Candles, incense, aerosol products, and even cooking fumes (such as Teflon) can cause respiratory distress and inflammation of their airways. Use of these products are NOT recommended. If your pet has been exposed to these fumes, please move them to a well ventilated area and bring them to a veterinarian for evaluation ASAP if labored or open mouth breathing is seen.
Use of humidifiers are recommended to help reduce the instance of respiratory diseases from occurring. This can be accomplished by placing a humidifier in their room at night, or they can temporarily be with you in the bathroom while you shower.
Pet birds are prone to inadvertently being sexually stimulated by how and where we pet them. Birds should only be pet on head, neck, and feet.