Screening & Worming
An initial screening test for psitticossis for all birds; and beak and feather for members of the cockatoo family is recommended, if purchasing a new bird from a pet shop, or a breeder that cannot guarantee their stock.
All of birdtalks breeding stock has been tested and are kept indoors to prevent contamination from wild birds.
All birds should be wormed regularly. Our breeding birds are wormed at the start of each season.
Sleep, Sunlight & Showering
Birds need plenty of sleep. In the wild they usually roost as sunset, and get up at sunrise. We maintain this routine, by putting them to bed at sunset (into their sleep cage). Its good to place them in an area of natural light to wake them up at sunrise.
Birds require plenty of natural sunlight (not filtered through glass (as this blocks some UV light required to stimulate vitamin absorption). They also require plenty of stimulation as they are often busy in a natural environment, foraging for food, and interacting with their mates or other members of their flock. Many hand-reared birds will ply with toys.
branches to chew
things to climb on such as nets, stands, climbing nets and spirals etc.
company with their owners and other perch mates. Most bird veterinarians recommend your bird has a perch mate as they are flock animals in the wild.
On warm days many birds that like a shower get a light mist from the hose to help cool off, and to assist with hygiene and grooming. Smaller birds usually bath in their water bowls. Regular showering is recommended (once per week), and can help prevent over grooming and maintain plumage in good condition. Water will bead off of healthy feathers on most species. Note: keep warm in winter (shower on warm days only and let your bird dry in the sun or with the heater on if in colder climates).
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When housing your pets remember one size does not fit all, and bigger is not always better. Some birds feel safer in a smaller cage.
Some people are of the belief that housing any bird in any cage is cruel. In our experience we have not found that to be the case. In fact we have found that all of our hand reared birds feel safe in their cage, and most will readily go back in to eat or play. . This is not to say they should be left in there all the time. They should be given regular time outside the cage to have a fly. Routine is important, as birds will get used to when its time to eat, and when its time to come out for play time - or a cuddle. Caged birds should be encouraged to fly when outside, as some can become a bit lazy. This is due to the fact that in the wild they need to fly to find food. Caged birds have it home delivered.
Having the cage set up correctly is important. Most birds like to sit up high so a perch near the top is a good idea. Getting the correct size is important for good foot health. Have a variety and range of perches of different sizes is also a good idea. We have cement perches which we find some birds love to sit or even sleep on. It provides very good grip, and is good for beak sharpening and keeping nails trimmed. It is important that your bird does not spend too much time on these as they can develop hard sections on their toes and feet. Thats why having a variety is important. Many will find a favourite they will use. Spiral sisal perches are great to hang from the roof of the cage to the bottom. Birds like to climb these and also hang off them. They are bird safe. Avoid rope perches and swings as birds can not digest rope. Many end up with compacted crops with a visit to the vet. They can also become frayed with strands that birds can get caught in. We had one of ours that had it caught around its neck and would have died had we not been within ear shot of the loud screeching.
Some birds sleep on perches and some on the bottom of the cage or a flat surface. Many smaller birds like to sleep in hammocks or tent shaped beds. This can vary, however. We had an Eclectus parrot that liked to sleep in a hammock. Some parrots will sleep in a box if the cage is big enough to hold one. We don't recommend that, as it encourages the females to lay eggs, and its difficult to keep an eye on them if they become unwell for some reason (its different for aviary birds of course).
A readily supply of clean water is recommended. A bowl in a holder or one they cannot easily tip over is important. Same applies for the food bowl. Birds can get bored and tipping these over is a regular ocurance. Putting these up high near the perch is recommended. Using foraging toys for food and treats helps to ease boredom.
Bird toys are also important to keep your friend occupied. We have a macaw that will play with a hanging bell often and regularly. He sometimes takes his frustrations out on it, and gives it a good working over. Many Eclectus parrots like foot toys they can grip