A bird cleaning itself

Birds make amazing pets, as many bird fanciers will tell you. They are unique, beautiful, and sociable beings that offer something new in terms of the family pet. Yet, there are several factors to consider before buying a bird. Birds require specific husbandry and veterinary care needs that are quite different from your average cat or dog. 

To help you make a better informed decision about choosing a bird as a pet, The Pet Experts at Elmhurst Animal Care Center are here to explain some basics about our avian friends.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Bird

Our amazing feathered friends can be a great addition to your family. This is why there is over 20 million in ownership in the United States alone. Birds require specialized care in the fact that they are more fragile than most pets. They are also idiosyncratic, offering an air of mystery and unusual behaviors unique to their species.

Birds Are Noisy and Messy 

This is one of the biggest complaints pet owners lodge against their bird companion. Be prepared to clean and have a space big enough to get away from the noise, too. Birds are most active in the morning, so they will be hyper-communicative as you walk through their area to get coffee. The good news is that they use this vocalization to communicate with you and let you know their needs.

Birds are also exceptionally messy. You can expect to sweep up feathers and seed once each day, and sometimes more frequently than that. Birds need to preen, however, as a part of their self-grooming. To help with the mess:

  • Keep a broom or handheld vacuum and trash bin next to the aviary for quick cleanup.
  • Use a cage skirt or similar to catch the feed and feathers.
  • Use newspaper to line the bottom of the cage.
  • Clean the cage daily and remove debris as often as needed.
  • Have bird friendly cleaners to deep clean the cage and surrounding floors, perches, etc. each week.

Birds Require Exotic Pet Care

Birds are not your average domesticated animal. In fact, they are considered an exotic species because they cannot be fully tamed. Their needs, too, are specialized and can be challenging if you are not knowledgeable and prepared for caring for your bird. 

Some things to consider in their care include:

  • You must find a veterinarian that is experienced in avian wellness. You can expect to visit the vet for more wellness exams than you might with a dog or cat, since bird medical issues can be subtle and unnoticeable without diagnostic testing. 
  • They require special diets and an assortment of fruit and green leafy vegetables.
  • Birds are highly sensitive to environmental fumes, smoke, etc. including teflon cookware. These fumes can be fatal to a bird, so research the toxic things in the air and around your bird to avoid an emergency.
  • Birds require a well lit, sunny, but temperature controlled area.
  • Birds need lots of enrichment, such as toys, bells, swings, etc.

Along with these things, birds are sociable and can be quite loving. They require interaction and attention from you. While birds can be more difficult to care for than some animals, the rewards are many! If you like more information on bird care, or what to consider before buying a bird, please contact us