We love our birds, here are our top tips for Caring for your Birds. We at Creature Concepts have a real soft spot for birds and are passionate about providing our pet birds with the best care we can. Our birds currently out number our humans with our Sun Conure, two Cockatiels and a Budgie living indoors and the ever expanding brood of Budgies in our outdoor aviary. Below we share some of our top tips for caring for your feathered friends.
1. Feed your bird a mixed diet
In the wild, birds eat a vast variety of foods, including seeds, nuts, grasses, flowers, fruits, insects, the list goes on. The change in seasons brings new types of foods, and birds nourish themselves on what’s available. At home, your bird also nourishes himself on what’s available, so it should ideally be the most balanced, natural and whole food possible. A bird’s diet is critical to its health and gives them the building blocks for feather production, healthy skin and a happy attitude.
Birds should have a buffet of healthy options, as a bird on a poor diet will not live out his full life span, and may succumb to infections. A good diet boosts the immune system and helps the bird ward off illness. Not only that, a good diet keeps a bird in good spirits, keeps his feathers in great condition, and improves his life overall.
Birds love to graze so don’t allow your bird’s bowl to be empty for too long. Small birds, especially, have a very fast metabolism and most choose to eat all day long.
Many new bird owners become confused about what they should feed their birds. Bird seeds? Bird pellets? Both seeds and pellets are nutritious foods, and one is not necessarily superior to the other. Both depend on what else you’re feeding your bird in conjunction with it.
The addition of fruits, vegetables and grasses make a great source of added nutrients, but be sure to rinse everything very well before serving them to your pet bird. Especially if using store brought products. If available, use organic produce whenever possible.
Here are a few ideas of tasty fruits and vegetables to offer your birds.
While your birds might be resistant at first to the introduction of these healthy foods, be persistent as they will eventually find something that they are keen on.
Birds can also benefit from having access to cuttlefish bones, mineral blocks and shell grit. These provide calcium and other important minerals and also aid in digestion. These minerals are particularly important for females when they are laying eggs as it helps to improve the integrity of their egg shells.
Don’t forget to provide fresh drinking water daily. Birds generally don’t drink a lot but its availability is certainly essential and they may even choose to use their drinking water for a bath.
2. Avoid foods that are toxic to birds
While offering your bird a range of foods is great, you need to be aware of which foods to avoid due to their toxic effects on birds health.
- Avocado – The leaves of the avocado plant contain persin, a fatty acid-like substance that kills fungus in the plant. When ingested by a bird, this substance may cause heart damage, respiratory difficulty, weakness, and even sudden death.
- Caffeine – Can increase heart rate, induce arrhythmia’s and hyperactivity, and even cause cardiac arrest in birds.
- Chocolate – Contains both theobromine and caffeine which can cause vomiting and diarrhea, increase heart rate, result in hyperactivity, induce tremors and seizures, and even cause death in birds.
- Salt – Can upset the electrolyte and fluid balance in a bird’s tiny body, leading to excessive thirst, dehydration, kidney failure and death.
- Fruit pits and apple seeds – While most fruit is safe and generally healthy for birds to consume in small amounts, certain fruits containing seeds (such as apples and pears) and pits (such as cherries, apricots, peaches, nectarines, and plums) can be a concern. These should not be offered to birds without removing the seeds and pits first, as these seeds and pits contain small amounts of a cardiac-toxic cyanide compound. Without the seeds and pits, these fruits are completely safe for birds to consume. The seeds from other produce such as grapes, citrus fruits, squash, pumpkins, tomatoes, melons, mango, pomegranate, and berries, all are safe for bird consumption and can be fed without worry.
- Onions and garlic – Onions contain sulphur compounds that, when chewed, can irritate the lining of a bird’s mouth, oesophagus, or crop, causing ulcers, and can induce rupture of red blood cells resulting in anaemia. Garlic contains allicin, another chemical that can cause anaemia and weakness in birds.
3. Birds love to play
Just like children birds love to play. Provide them with a couple of bird safe toys, to keep them entertained and their minds stimulated. To avoid boredom, you could even rotate the toys that you offer your bird every couple of weeks. Fun toys include ladders, swings and chew toys.
4. Space to fly
An aviary is great for providing plenty of flight space but not always the ideal option for everyone. Choose a cage that allows your bird/s enough space to stretch their wings without them touching the sides or ceiling. A cage should have enough space for your bird to fly freely without being blocked by too many toys and obstacles. If your bird is hand tamed you may even be able to let it fly around a safe room in your house.
Create a safe place to fly
When preparing for your bird to come out of their cage, be sure to check the following;
- Doors and windows are not opened to the outdoors.
- Curtains or blinds are closed to prevent your bird from crashing into the glass of the window.
- Fans are turned off when your bird is out of the cage.
- Other pets are not going to cause harm to your free flighted bird.
- There are no uncovered containers of water or other liquids, which are a drowning risk.
- Constantly be aware of your birds location to help avoid injury
5. Help stretch those feet
In addition to flying, birds need to exercise their feet. Provide your bird with a number of perches at various heights in the cage and of a variety of diameters. Natural gum tree branches make a great perch option. You can easily find them when out walking and they can be easily trimmed to fit your cage. Your bird will also love to chew at the rough bark of the branches and climb around exploring the cage. Once the perch is looking worn it can be easily changed out for a new one.
6. Block the draughts
Birds are fairly adapt to changes in the weather, especially our Aussie budgies who are used to hot desert days and icey cold nights. They will thank you though, for providing them with a draught free spot to rest, especially at night. Outdoor aviaries can be protected by having an area with solid walls or hanging a patio blind on the outside of the aviary. Indoor birds will enjoy having their cage covered with a blanket, especially at night-night time.
Your feathery friends will thrive with the right care and will give you many enjoyable times ahead. Caring for your birds can form the basis of some great shared experiences and watching the interactions with our young #hoomans is just magical.