Adopting A Pet Bird: Q's and A's
Birds are highly intelligent, emotional animals who often make wonderful pets. But, it takes a special kind of person to adopt and nurture a pet bird.
Birds aren't your average pets: They need plenty of time out of their cages, require close supervision, and often demand a lot of attention from their pet parents.
Before you head to the pet store, local animal shelter, or avian rescue, make sure you understand the reality of life with a pet bird.
How much time do you have to devote to your new bird?
Like other pets, birds have individual personalities and needs of their own. Do you have the time it will take to spend with your pet? All birds need time and attention. But, those who have had large birds, like parrots, liken their pet to a child, in that she needs a lot of one-on-one attention. Even smaller birds, like parakeets, need a lot of attention.
How long do birds generally live?
Regardless of the type of bird you want, most birds can live quite a long time. Parakeets, also known as budgies, can technically live to be as old as twenty. Parrots, on the other hand, can have a life span of up to eighty years and beyond.
Unfortunately, those birds who live to such old ages are often the exception and not the rule. Sadly, most birds die of illness or disease, such as cancer, or lose their lives in some type of accident. When you adopt a bird, however, plan as if she is definitely going to live a long, healthy, and happy life.
Are you prepared to make the commitment?
Life happens to all of us. But, pets are the ones who often suffer when changes occur in a person's life. Are you prepared to love and care for your bird, regardless of what good or bad changes take place in your life, for the duration of her life?
What are some of the expenses of owning a bird?
As with any other pets, owning a bird does come with its expenses. In addition to housing, food, and toys, you'll have to take your bird to the vet every year for an annual checkup and anytime she becomes sick.
Are you prepared to clean up after your bird?
Birds aren't meant to be confined in a cage 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For both their physical and their psychological health, pet birds should have time outside of their cages to fly and enjoy the freedom. Unfortunately, birds can't be litter-trained like other animals, so their droppings will fall wherever they may. Additionally, birds lose their feathers and often drop food, sometimes making for a messy play area. Fortunately, cleaning up after a bird is easy; it just takes time.
In addition to cleaning up after your bird, you'll have to bird-proof your home, or whatever area she'll be allowed free fly time, to ensure she doesn't hurt herself. You'll also have to keep close watch on her while she's out of her cage.
Why an avian vet?
Birds often hide symptoms of illness. In all likelihood, you're not going to know your bird is sick until she's really sick, which may mean taking her to the nearest emergency avian vet. Emergency or not, avian vets can also cost quite a bit more than traditional vets because the care is very specialized.
Taking your bird to an avian vet is a must. A traditional vet, who specializes in canine and feline health, generally does not have the specialization needed to provide you with the same level of care as an avian vet.
Finding an avian vet in your area, depending on where you live, may also be a challenge. If there is not a qualified avian vet in your area, are you willing to drive whatever distance is needed to get your bird to a qualified avian vet?
Does noise bother you?
Birds can be quite vocal and at times downright noisy. Whether it's talking or singing, birds can get quite loud. Are you prepared to deal with the noise?
Ultimately, choosing to bring a pet bird into your home is a personal decision that requires careful consideration. Consider talking with other bird owners, who have the type of bird you want, to learn about the realities of living with a bird.
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