Pet bird care: how to look after a bird

With our bird care tips, your pet bird will make a great and easy addition to your household.

Updated

green and yellow parrot in a cage

Anyone who’s owned pet birds will tell you that they’re wonderful little creatures. With their own personalities and a lifespan of anywhere between 10-80 years, look after yours properly and you might just have a friend for life! If you’re thinking of getting one as a pet but need to know a little bit more about how to take care of a bird before you commit, we have some general tips you can follow.

Don’t smoke cigarettes around your bird –not even in the same room! Pet birds can be harmed easily from cigarette smoke, so it’s important you keep it away from them.

How to feed a bird

Let’s start with a pretty obvious question in bird care: what do birds eat? Usually, bird seed makes up the majority of your little pets’ diet, and this is great for giving them a bunch of vitamins. However, be warned of dried, packaged seeds – these can be pretty low in the essentials your bird needs! Alongside seeds, your bird should be fed vegetables –especially the green variety. Spinach, parsley and celery are all good options. Birds can also have milk thistle, dandelion and fruit to keep them healthy and strong.

How to care for a bird in your home

As long as you know how to look after a bird properly, your home can be a wonderful place for your pet to live, flourish and fly!

  • Make sure your pet bird has access to bird baths or showers. They love water and it’s great for keeping them healthy and happy.
  • Give them access to full sunlight and 10-12 hours of darkness every night. This can be made easier to achieve with a blackout cover.
  • Let them get some exercise. Use toys to keep them active in their cage and supervise out-of-cage play at least once a week. Make sure you choose a safe location for them to spread their wings and keep them on a harness if necessary.

Should you keep pet birds in a cage?

Part of learning how to look after a bird is getting them a safe, secure cage they can be happy in. This means getting one that’s large enough for them to move comfortably in – we’d recommend that each bird has a space big enough for 2 birds to fully extend their wings.

No matter how big or comfortable the cage is, letting your birds out of the cage as often as you can is highly recommended. Whenever you’re in the home and can supervise them, let them fly free. If you don’t, your bird will most likely become overweight and depressed.

Bird care tips for socialising

Most birds are very social creatures, so they’ll bond to other birds or humans. You can’t leave your bird on its own in a cage –it just won’t be happy! Your bird needs attention and love, just like a cat or dog, so make sure you can give it just that.

  • Talk to your bird and give it attention
  • Play games with your bird or teach it tricks
  • Pet them gently when you handle them
  • Try eating meals at the same time - it can be a nice bonding experience!

Having a bird as a pet is a big responsibility, but very rewarding too. Birds can make great companions and, if you look after yours, you can really bond and flourish together! Just make sure you know exactly what your breed needs and give it all the love it deserves.

  • Replace the cage liner and spray any dirty areas with a bird-safe cage cleaner.
  • Wash food and water dishes, as well as bird baths, with an effective dishwashing liquid –such as Sunlight. Rinse and dry thoroughly. Make sure no trace of soap remains before adding food and water again.
  • Sweep the surrounding area to get rid of any dropped seeds or dirt.
  • Originally published