If you've become a first-time bird owner, you need to find a qualified avian veterinarian with experience in treating birds. Because companion birds are physiologically and behaviorally different from domestic dogs and cats, you should familiarize yourself with their needs and common dangers to avoid. For instance, everyday household products can be toxic to your feathered friend, commercialized bird diets may be lacking nutrients and boredom can create self-destructive habits. Here are 3 important considerations your avian vet wants you to know:
1. Commonly Used Household Products Could Harm Your Bird
As a responsible bird owner, you need to be aware of certain household products that may be toxic to your pet. The physiology of your pet bird is complex. Because the respiratory system of a bird is so delicate, you'll need to avoid the use of scented candles, plug-in room deodorizers and carpet and fabric fresheners. Essential oils and chemical compounds irritate a bird's delicate respiratory system and may make your pet ill.
In addition, your avian pet may advise you to use extreme caution when cooking with non-stick cookware. When overheated, the fumes from non-stick products can make a bird sick or even be fatal. Non-stick coatings contain polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) that emit fumes that are highly toxic to birds. PTFE toxicosis is a serious condition every bird owner should be aware of.
2. Birds Require a Complex Diet
If you've never cared for a pet bird, you may be inclined to believe that commercially prepared seed mixes are sufficient for your pet's health. Avian veterinarians know pet birds require more than a seed-only diet to keep them healthy. In the wild, birds choose selective diets, which include vegetation, nuts, seed and fruit. Caged birds must be offered a variety of foods to keep them healthy.
Your vet may recommend a formulated diet that contains fortified pellets and a small amount of seeds. Additionally, you may offer your bird fresh fruits and vegetables and hard cooked egg once or twice a week. Also, never offer your bird chocolate or avocado, as these are toxic to birds.
3. These Intelligent Creatures Need Mental Stimulation
Birds are highly intelligent and require a fair amount of daily interaction and stimulation to prevent boredom. A bored parrot may resort to self-destructive behavior such as feather picking. If not given the opportunity of interactive play and stimulation, a bored bird may resort to other unfavorable behavior such as screeching.
Combat boredom by keeping your feathered friend occupied and happy. Provide bird-safe toys (rotated on a daily basis) and plenty of time outside of its cage. Buy a bird playpen with various perches. Hang a swing inside the cage and provide foraging toys your pet can rip apart and explore.
Ask your veterinarian for other ideas. With the right care and consideration, your pet bird may live a long and healthy life.