So you’re thinking of getting a pet bird. You must be excited! As a future bird owner, you should keep in mind several important things. Here’s why: While pet birds make adorable and wonderful companions, they’re still a responsibility.
In this guide, you’ll learn about the best pet birds for beginners, how to care for your pet bird, and so much more!
Are Birds Good Pets?
YES, and it depends.
Generally speaking, birds can be the best choice for people who have limited space. You may not be able to accommodate dogs or cats, but you can still welcome birds! Birds are also ideal for you if you often stay at home since they’re used to having companions .
Another huge advantage is that birds need minimal grooming. Grooming consists of nail trimming, which should only be done as needed. With bathing, birds usually do it without your help. You simply need to offer a dish or bowl with water. Misting is another option to encourage bathing .
Oh, and don’t miss the fact that birds are cheaper to feed compared to other pets! However, make sure to provide your feathered friend with high-quality food.
There are also cases where getting a pet bird won’t be a good idea. Having said this, we need to consider a few important things.
Read the next section to find out.
Things To Consider Before Getting A Bird As Your Pet
As mentioned earlier, owning a feathered pet is a major commitment. Birds live long, especially when raised domestically. For instance, a parrot bird can live up to 50 years .
Since birds tend to form strong bonds with their owners, you need to think carefully about how long you can keep caring for them. Because once you have bonded with them and suddenly decide to give them to a new owner, they will have difficulty adjusting .
That’s just one thing to think about.
Here are more considerations:
1. Your daily schedule
First things first. Since you’re sharing your life with a bird, ask yourself this question: “Am I able and willing to spend time with it each day?” Your pet bird needs regular interaction to feel part of the family. Make sure to establish a routine that meets your pet’s needs.
2. Other pets you have at home
“Can birds live with dogs or cats?” Many pet owners ask. To be honest, it can take a bit of time and effort to make them live together peacefully. We can’t deny it, canines and felines are natural predators .
If you insist, you must introduce them slowly. Never leave your pets unsupervised. Reward them for behaving well.
3. Small children
Older children can care for pets better than younger kids. Also, you should know that some bird types like Macaws and Amazon Parrots may not be child-friendly. It’s because these birds can be overwhelming, cause injury, or need more socialization time .
4. Household hazards
“Bird proofing” your home is a must to make it a safe environment. Be aware of potential hazards and dangers that threaten your bird’s safety and health. These include cigarette smoke, sharp kitchen tools, and Teflon-coated cooking appliances .
If you value solitude, it’s probably not a good idea to adopt a pet bird. No bird stays completely silent. Some birds have tinier voices, while others vocalize at loud levels.
6. Your mess tolerance
Birds are fun and intelligent companions, but they can also be messy! Cleanliness is another factor to consider. They poop anywhere inside and outside their cage, and play with or mess with their food. Are you willing to clean up after your feathered pet daily?
Which Bird Is Best As A Pet?
Owning a bird is like owning a dog or cat.
You may need to make a few or more changes in your life to accommodate your new companion. I’d like to say that there is no such thing as a worst pet bird – only birds that match your lifestyle, personality, and needs!
1. Parakeets (Budgies)
Also called a budgie, a parakeet is known to be affectionate and friendly. Did you know that because of their small size, parakeets make great travel companions? Parakeets also enjoy brightly-colored and musical toys!
The finch bird is highly popular among pet owners. Finches are softbills, which means that their beaks are not capable of cracking seeds. These birds are very sociable, yet they prefer to be touched as little as possible.
Cockatiels or miniature cockatoos were first discovered in Australia in 1770. How long do cockatiels live? In the wild, they live up to 14 years. In captivity, they live much longer – 20 years or more. If you plan to get just one cockatiel, you need to spend a significant amount of time with it keep it from feeling lonely.
The cockatoo differs from the cockatiel bird in that cockatoos have larger beaks. Cockatoos sport solid or plain colors. If you need a long-term pet that likes to cuddle, cockatoos are for you. They live 40-80 years or more.
You’ve probably learned about the canary from Looney Tunes. Tweety Bird, remember? Canaries are common in pet stores. They’re inexpensive too. Cheerful, undemanding, and colorful, they make great pets for starters.
6. Senegal Parrots
Senegals or “sennies” are quieter and calmer than other parrots. They’re sure to bring joy into your home with their outgoing and playful personality. Since they tend to chew a lot, be sure to offer plenty of toys.
Types Of Pet Birds Beginners Should Avoid
Is this your first time to buy a pet bird? A word of advice: Don’t buy a pet bird just because it looks colorful and attractive.
For newbies or parents with small kids, these birds may not be the best option.
1. Amazon Parrots
Whilst delightful and extremely intelligent, the Amazon parrot can be very, very loud. They need a larger cage so they have plenty of room for playing and exercising. These parrots love being the center of attention.
2. African Grey Parrots
A new study revealed that these parrots can do cognitive tasks beyond that of a 5-year-old human . While they’re clever, they are sensitive, making them less ideal for kids. They imitate what kids say, and an angry kid can misinterpret the parrot’s behavior.
Conures sometimes express themselves by letting out loud squeaks and screams. The green-cheeked conure may be small in size, but it has a big personality. Exercise is extremely important for these birds because in the wild, they can fly many miles per day.
“What kind of bird is this? Can we get it, mom?” Macaws are popular pets, and they’re among the best pet birds that talk. But because macaws are not scared of people, including kids, they won’t hesitate to bite if they feel threatened .
5. Eclectus Parrots
Male and female eclectus parrots sport different colors, which is why many people think they’re different birds. What about their personality? Eclectus parrots require a lot of attention and activity. These birds get stressed easily and may self-mutilate.
Common Bird Health Problems
To help our feathered friends thrive, you need to make yourself aware of some illnesses that affect them. Here’s a list of common diseases in birds:
Also known as parrot fever, psittacosis affects over 400 types of birds. Some birds don’t manifest symptoms until they get stressed. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, anorexia, vomiting and eliminating bright green feces .
2. Candida or candidiasis
Candida albicans is a fungus that affects your pet bird’s digestive tract. Candida exists in small numbers but causes disease when the GI tract is disrupted. Factors that lead to candidiasis include a dirty environment, long-term antibiotic use, and stress [10,11].
3. Avian influenza
Avian influenza or bird flu is very contagious, so it’s common for pet owners to worry about their birds. Limiting your pet’s outdoor activity and washing your hands before and after handling it minimizes the risk of transmission.
Tips To Keep Your Bird Happy And Healthy
Here are three essential care tips for bird owners:
- Spend time with your bird daily. Bonding and socialization lead to a successful relationship. It helps your bird trust and see you as its friend.
- Watch out for signs of stress. Birds are sensitive creatures and they may have difficulty coping with stress. Stress is caused by boredom, frequent noise, an incompatible mate, and changes in routine. Signs of stress include stress bars, loss of appetite, and feather picking.
- Ensure good nutrition. Seed-only diets lead to nutrient deficiencies. Feed your bird with fresh fruits and vegetables. Good options are carrots, apples, and leafy greens.
Perhaps the best way to know if you’re ready for a pet bird is to spend some time around them. Visit pet shops, zoos, or aviaries. Do some more research about different types of parrots and other birds.
Think about the bird’s welfare. Will it be happy living with you? Can you see you and your pet bird benefiting long-term?
Remember: The right home makes any bird a great friend and companion!
- Kalhagen A. 7 Reasons Why Birds Make Great Companions for the Right Home. 2019 August 12 – https://www.thesprucepets.com/why-birds-best-choice-for-family-390246
- Association of Avian Veterinarians. Basic Pet Bird Care. https://www.aav.org/page/basiccare
- Manuals Staff. Special Considerations for Pet Birds. PetcoBlogger. How to Socialize Your Pet Bird. https://www.petcoach.co/article/how-to-socialize-your-pet-bird/
- Kalhagen A. The 5 Worst Pet Bird Species for Kids. 2019 May 28 – https://www.thesprucepets.com/worst-pet-birds-for-kids-390538
- Axelson R. Household Hazards and Dangers to Birds. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/household-hazards-and-dangers-to-birds
- Reuell P. Brainy birds. 2019 February 25 – https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2019/02/harvard-study-shows-parrots-can-pass-classic-test-of-intelligence/
- Etolen N. What Are the Pros and Cons of Macaws as Pets? 2019 September 15 – https://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-the-pros-and-cons-of-macaws-as-pets.htm
- Orosz S. Psittacosis: What Bird Owners Need to Know. 2017 April 26 – < a href=”https://lafeber.com/pet-birds/psittacosis-bird-owners-need-know/”>https://lafeber.com/pet-birds/psittacosis-bird-owners-need-know/
- Hoppes SM. Mycotic Diseases of Pet Birds. https://www.msdvetmanual.com/exotic-and-laboratory-animals/pet-birds/mycotic-diseases-of-pet-birds
- Axelson R. Candida Infections in Birds. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/candida-infections-in-birds