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Make your avian friends happy

  

AGENCIES

Wondering how to make your pet birds happy and healthy? Keep the following things in mind for the happiness of your bird companion.

Keep them happy

• Good nutrition is the key for a happy and healthy pet bird. Seed-only diets are the most common cause of premature death in companion birds. These one-sided diets result in nutrient deficiencies and cause diseases such as fatty liver disease. A sick or weak bird is not going to be happy.

• Provide daily access to unfiltered sunlight and/or full-spectrum lighting. Birds need exposure to UVA and UVB rays from direct sunlight or full-spectrum lighting to synthesis vitamin D necessary for bone health. Window glass blocks necessary UV rays.

• If you can provide an outside enclosure that would be optimal for the bird not only as part of an enriched environment but also to enjoy fresh outside air and unbroken sunrays.

• If you can’t provide an outside area for your pet, here are some “lighting options “ that will provide the same health benefits to your bird as natural sunlight would.

Grooming

Your pet should be given opportunities to bathe, as a regular grooming routine will promote feather and skin health. There are different ways to achieve it. Provide a shallow dish for your birds to bathe in. Other birds like to shower underneath the faucet while others prefer to be misted with a clean spray bottle of water.

Protect them from the sun in the summer and the cold in the winter.

Keep them warm

Get a heater! Ceramic heaters produce a constant flow of heat without any light that might disturb your pet’s sleep. Do make sure to keep the heater away from the cage and your pet as these heaters can get very hot.

Another option is a warming perch. Birds lose a lot of heat through their feet, therefore, a heating perch is really a great way to keep your pet warm. Put the perch in a place that our bird likes to sleep at night — oftentimes that is near the top of the cage.

Birds like to huddle together to keep warm; however, a lone pet bird doesn’t have that benefit. Providing a soft fabric for our bird to snuggle up against is a great way to make your pet more comfortable. If your pet likes to sleep in tents, then provide one with a thick

lining.

Keep them cool

Make sure that your birds have a shady area to escape to when it gets too hot. Offering water dishes with fresh cool water to bathe in will also help birds regulate their own heat. A misting system may work well in an aviary. Indoor rooms may require a fan (if you are using a ceiling fan, do make sure that the birds are not out when the fan is on, as the can fly into the fan).

Other options are an air conditioning system or a stand / window or box fan with a protective cover over it.

Provide appropriate living space

Arrange for spacious accommodation. The cage should be big enough to accommodate perches, bird toys and several food dishes; as well as allowing for exercise — maybe even short flights from one perch to another. There is no limit on cage size. If you can make them at least twice as big as is normally recommended that would be excellent — if you can provide an even larger cage the better — the only limit is on the space and resources that you have.

Giving your birds a desirable living space is no different that you wanting to live in a clean, well decorated home. Offer your pet a variety of toys and enrichment

activities.

Natural perches are best. For larger birds you can buy suitable lengths of hardwood perch materials at most pet supply shops. If you have the benefit of a garden with non-toxic trees, all the better as you will have an unlimited supply of fresh branches for nutrition and perching. Do make sure to clean the branches carefully before providing them to your bird. For the smaller birds, tree limbs work best. Position the perches in a way that they might be used in the wild. The smaller birds enjoy a tree-like setup where as the larger birds prefer horizontal perches.

Provide exercise and out-of-cage time

Even the largest cage will not allow for sufficient physical and mental stimulation. In addition to a large cage, a play gym or two in areas that the family usually hangs out in would make a huge difference in your pet’s quality of life. Free flight is a great way to exercise your pet bird.

Social interaction

Birds are social creatures by nature. They enjoy the company of other living beings around them. If it is an only bird, do make sure that your pet is kept in the family room, or any other room the family usually hangs out in. Do make sure to spend quality time with your pet. If you find you are too busy, get another bird as a companion. You may not be able to place them in the same cage right away. It will take time for them to get to know each other. But even if they never really bond, they will still enjoy watching each other and interacting. Although, most of the time, they will “buddy up”.

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