ESSENTIAL BIRD BASICS
(Compiled by Original Flying Machine L.L.C.)
If you live with a bird, read this!
If you know someone who needs help with their bird, give them this sheet.
CPoor diet is the No. 1 reason for poor health.
CFeed your bird a daily varied mix of pellets, vegetables, beans, grains, fruits, sprouts, needs, and nuts. (Some species have specific requirements--find out what's right for your bird).
CPellets and fresh, clean water should always be available--change both at least daily.
CBirds are social animals and social eaters--share your healthy foods with them.
CNEVER give birds alcohol, chocolate, caffeine, avocados, guacamole, rhubarb, high salt/sugar or fried foods.
CLearn your bird's regular habits. If your bird acts or looks different (e.g., listless, fluffed at bottom of cage, nostril discharge, irregular poops), see an avian vet IMMEDIATELY.
CBathe your bird at least weekly in a pan of shallow water, in the shower with you, or spray them from above with a spray bottle. Make it a fun event!
CDo yearly well-bird checks by a qualified vet, including cultures and blood work.
CRegularly trim nails and flight feathers by a qualified bird groomer.
CAll bird need at least 10 hours UNINTERRUPTED, dark, quiet, sleep in their cages every night.
CBirds need vigorous exercise and time out of their cages every day.
CKeep your bird away from toxic plants; keep a list of bird-safe plants handy.
CBirds are sensitive to fumes. Keep them away from paint, smoke, aerosols, etc.
CNEVER use non-stick cookware, scented candles, plug-in fresheners or your oven's self-cleaning feature.
CNEVER leave birds unsupervised with children, dogs, cats, ferrets, reptiles or other pets.
CExpect to spend a lot of your free time with your bird--you are their flock.
CWith kindness and consistency, all birds can be taught how to be good companions.
CRespond ONLY to behaviors you like, ignore those you don't. NEVER PUNISH!
CBirds usually bite when they've run out of other ways to communicate--pay attention.
CIf you have problems living with your bird, seek out a competent avian behavior consultant.
CYour bird MUST have a cage for its safety and as an emotional haven.
CBar spacing needs to be the right size for your bird.
CProvide at least two natural branch perches in their cage--a small one, so their toes wrap around, and a large one, so their toes rest flat. Safe branches with leaves are great.
CHave several bird-safe toys in cage--preferably shredable ones.
CChange cage papers daily. Don't use corncob or other bedding--they promote bacteria.
CClean cage thoroughly with soap and water at least once a month.
These are the Essential Bird Basics, endorsed by our writers, for happy and healthy companion birds.