Are Birds a Good Pet
When most people think about having pets, they picture dogs or cats — domesticated animals that have been living under our roof since we brought them home from the shelter. But what do you do when you want something wild? For some people, birds are an excellent choice because they don’t need much maintenance and live in small cages, making them easy to care for.
They also learn quickly, which means there’s no need to train them to use the litter box. But before you consider getting one of these amazing creatures, it’s important to understand why they make such great pets. We’ve all heard how loud their chirps can be at certain times of day.
We know they have wings so they fly around, but did you know they eat up to 30 pounds (13 kilograms) of food per day? Because they sleep very little, they may become bored easily unless you provide plenty of toys and objects that will keep them occupied.
And although they won’t bite or scratch you like other pets might, they have sharp talons and claws so you’ll need to take extra precautions when handling them. Finally, they tend to poop everywhere, so cleaning up after them can get unpleasant.
But is their behavior really any worse than someone who has a cat or dog? After all, a bird doesn’t go outside and mate with another bird, so it can’t carry diseases into your house. Unlike your cat or dog, a parrot only lives in your house — it does not roam free among other animals.
It gets its name from the Latin phrase “avis bipennis,” meaning “two-winged bird.” This refers to the fact that they have two sets of wings on each side of their bodies, which makes them more agile than larger flying predators. In addition, birds can fly hundreds of miles without stopping or refueling, unlike airplanes.
The Best Birds to Get As a Pet
If you decide to get a bird as a pet, the first thing you should ask yourself is whether you’re ready for this commitment. Most people assume that owning a bird is similar to owning a goldfish — cute and fun, right? Not always! A goldfish can stay alive in water for years without ever needing to come out. However, birds are different.
They must be kept in conditions that mimic nature, with special attention paid to temperature control. If you own a large aquarium, then raising your bird inside it probably isn’t going to work. On the other hand, if you have a room where temperatures fluctuate regularly, a cage made specifically for birds may be able to survive just fine. The best way to find out is by visiting several local aviaries and asking questions.
You’ll also need enough space for your new friend. Although birds aren’t big, many species still need approximately 12 square feet (11 meters squared) of floor area per bird. Depending upon the size of the bird, cage sizes range from 2 feet (0.6 meters) wide by 4 feet (1.2 meters) high to 8 feet (2.4 meters) wide by 16 feet (4.8 meters) high.
You should try to avoid buying a cheap plastic model, however, as these cages often lack essential features like water fountains and perches. Instead, look for cages with glass panes and thick wire frames.
Next comes the question of what type of bird to buy. There are dozens of varieties available, including chickens, turkeys, quail and pigeons. To determine your needs, start by researching breeds of specific types. Then visit an aviary to see which ones you prefer. Some birds are better suited for indoor life while others thrive in outdoor environments.
Each variety requires a slightly different diet, so you’ll need to experiment with various foods until you discover the one that suits your bird best. Once you pick a breed, you’ll need to figure out the best housing conditions.
Just like humans, birds need time to recover from stress. So once you bring your new friend home, give him or her a few days to adjust to your environment. During this period, you need to watch carefully for signs of illness. Birds can suffer from respiratory infections, eye problems, skin disorders and even parasites. Also, be sure to check for signs of feather mites and mold.
Once you’ve settled in and gotten comfortable with your new companion, you’re ready to move onto selecting the best bird for you. Read on to find out what factors to consider when choosing your next best bud.
Pigeons were originally bred in ancient Egypt to carry messages between soldiers during battles. Their ability to travel long distances while using minimal energy was extremely valuable. Pigeons became extinct in Africa during World War II due to widespread pesticide poisoning. Today, nearly every country has a pigeon racing league.
Choosing Your Bird
There are millions of birds in North America alone. Unfortunately, many of them are unwanted. When birds reproduce naturally, there’s usually too many chicks born. Or maybe you got rid of a baby chick because it pecked your child’s face. Either way, these children end up being sold to research facilities or animal shelters.
Unfortunately, some people are unable to separate birds from human babies. Others simply refuse to accept responsibility for their offspring. Whatever the reason, countless baby birds die every year because nobody wants them. So instead of sending them off to a lab or dumping them, you can help solve the problem by rescuing baby birds from shelters and taking care of them until they grow older.
One organization dedicated to helping hatchlings is called Operation Kindness. You can contact them via e-mail or call 1-800-922-2866. Another group called Save the Children offers assistance to families who cannot afford to raise birds themselves.
Now that you’re familiar with birds, you’re probably wondering about caring for them properly. Don’t worry — keeping your feathered friend healthy takes a lot less effort than maintaining a regular household. All you need to do is feed and clean your bird daily. Clean his or her bowl thoroughly, changing the water three or four times a week. Provide fresh drinking water at all times.
Avoid putting dry food directly into the cage — birds should never be fed dry food exclusively. Make sure the water contains calcium and vitamin D3 supplements. Many experts recommend supplementing the diet with vitamins and minerals to ensure proper health.
Keep the temperature in the bird’s enclosure between 72 degrees Fahrenheit (23 Celsius) and 77 degrees F (25 C). And lastly, make sure the light remains constant exposure to bright lights disrupts circadian rhythms, which cause rest periods during the day.
Want to adopt a new bird but worried about the cost? Check out local adoption agencies to see if anyone is looking for a particular type of bird. Remember, birds need lots of exercise and stimulation. Take a trip to the park or borrow a pair of binoculars to explore the surrounding countryside. Just like with dogs, birds will bond closely with you if you spend time with them.
Tame Them With Tasty Treats
One of the biggest misconceptions about birds is that they can talk. Actually, birds possess highly developed vocal cords that allow them to produce sounds. Different species sing songs, squawks, trills, whistles and cries. These sounds vary depending on the bird’s mood and surroundings.
For example, when a flock of seagulls flies overhead, they sound angry and aggressive. But when they return home to roost at night, they sound calm and peaceful. Other birds can imitate sounds they hear through their window or television.
Since birds communicate mainly through sounds, providing them with food treats is an effective method of taming them. Try giving them seeds, nuts or sugary snacks. They will associate these tasty morsels with happy feelings. Even though birds are natural scavengers, they still appreciate a nice juicy treat once in awhile.
It’s also important to remember that birds are social creatures. Like us, they enjoy spending time together. Therefore, you should try to include them in family activities whenever possible. For instance, take them along to sporting events, concerts and movies. Birds will feel valued if you spend time interacting with them.
Lastly, try to respect the birds’ personal space. If you catch a bird attacking someone else’s property, report the incident immediately to local authorities. Be careful not to harm the bird or leave it unattended. Never throw anything at a bird it may hit someone instead.
In 2009, researchers discovered that songbirds actually have the capacity for self-awareness. Researchers trained male zebra finches to recognize themselves in mirrors. Every time the test subject looked into the mirror, he would begin singing. He eventually learned to sing regardless of whether he saw himself or not.