Keeping a pet bird is a lot of fun, but it is also a big responsibility. Birds—even small ones—require special care every day. Before getting a pet bird, you should be sure that you have the time it takes to care for it. Because a bird requires daily care, if you go on vacation or are away from home for a few days, you must be sure that someone can care for your bird. Some pet stores, bird breeders, and veterinarians provide bird sitting services.
A pet bird should have a cage, though many birds spend large amounts of time with their humans outside of the cage. Small birds do not need very large cages, but you should still make sure your home has enough room for a small- or medium-sized bird cage. The bird needs to be kept away from cold drafts, extreme heat, and dangerous situations. Additionally, your home must be bird-proofed to protect your pet in case it escapes from its cage and flies around.
Keeping a pet also costs money. Buying the bird, its cage, food, and other supplies can be expensive. So before bringing home a bird, make sure you can afford to keep it in your home.
Where to Buy a Pet Bird
Once you have decided to get a small bird you should start thinking about where to get it. You should never try to catch a small bird from the wild to keep as a pet. These birds are used to living in the wild and do not belong indoors in cages. Also, without knowing exactly what kind of bird you have, you cannot provide it with the right environment, food, or care. The best places to get a pet bird are at a pet store or through a breeder.
Many people usually buy their birds from pet stores, but some people prefer to buy their birds from breeders. Bird breeders often specialize in raising a few specific types of birds. As a result, they are usually more knowledgeable about their birds than the people who work in large pet stores. Breeders can be found through special pet bird magazines, on the Internet, or through local veterinarians.
Bird rescue organizations are another good place to find a pet. These organizations find homes for pets that need new homes. Rescued birds usually come from homes that could no longer meet the demands of keeping a pet bird. When adopting a bird from a rescue organization, do not be afraid to ask questions about the bird. These may include questions about why the bird is up for adoption, how long it has been up for adoption, and if there were any problems with its last home. Rescue organizations are interested in matching their birds with the right homes, so they should be happy to answer your questions.
What to Look for
No matter where you get your bird, there are a few things you must keep in mind. Check out where the birds are kept. Does it seem like there are too many birds kept together in small cages? Are the cages kept in a safe area of the store away from drafts or other dangers? Do the cages seem clean? A cage that is very dirty or has filthy food and water dishes means that the birds are not well taken care of. You should not buy your bird from that store because it will most likely be unhealthy. You also probably do not want to give your business to people who do not care for their animals.
The bird you bring home should be healthy. When looking at the birds for sale, check to see if the one you want has clear, alert eyes, and smooth, sleek feathers. It should not have a lot of ragged or missing feathers. Look at the bird’s beak and make sure the upper and lower beak meet and are not overgrown or damaged. A damaged beak means that the bird may have trouble eating. The bird’s legs and feet should be smooth and straight. The birds nails should not be too long or misshapen. You should also check the other birds to see if they look healthy. Being kept with sick birds can mean that your bird might also be sick—even if it does not look that way.
You should also watch the birds for a while to see how they move around and behave. Is the bird active? Does it move around its cage, eat, drink, or play with its toys? If it is kept with other birds, does it look like it gets along with the others in its cage?
Do not hesitate to ask questions about the bird you want. Responsible pet stores should have workers who know a lot about the animals they are selling. If you feel like the worker does not want to or cannot answer your questions, you should consider going somewhere else. Choosing a healthy bird that is the right match for you is one of the first steps toward a long, happy relationship with your pet.