Though birds do spend a lot of time in their cages, they are by no means ‘easy’ pets. Birds require just as much social interaction as our four-legged friends! That said, there are bird breeds that require less social time than others – it really depends on how much time and love you have to give!
Going through breeds, they can typically be placed in 2 categories: high maintenance and easy. There is no real in-between!
High maintenance breeds would be those of Macaws, African Greys and Cockatoos. These birds are highly trainable, and very intelligent, thus there is a need for constant stimulation. If you have a lot of time to dedicate to growing a bond with a bird (as with any pet), then their high maintenance won’t be too much of a concern, and you can work to building a life-long (no, really!) relationship with them! Birds are known to live to about 60 years old depending on their breed, and are often passed down through families, becoming something of a matriarch!
The easier breeds would be canaries, finches, budgies, parakeets and lovebirds, just to name a few. If you are a first-time bird owner, it would be recommended that you choose one of these breeds. They chirp and chatter but are not too dependent on direct interaction, and as any breed, can be gentle-natured if hand reared from the beginning.
With either category though, one thing is common: Birds wake when the sun rises, or when you uncover their cage in the morning, so you should also be prepared for early morning wake up calls to greet the beauties after their slumber!
When you reach that final decision on what breed to go for, the next big decision is their living quarters – their cage – and where you would place it.
It is important to purchase a cage the size that your bird will grow to be, not the size they are if you are getting a young individual. Accompanying the cage should be cage liners, newspaper to lay under the cage, and toys for them to interact with.
Where you place the cage also matters in terms of their health: Birds have incredibly sensitive respiratory systems, so it is important to place them somewhere where they are free of any risks to their health. Keep away from:
– Air fresheners of any kind – sprays, incense, fragranced oils or scented candles
– Cigarette smoke – no exceptions, smoking around their cage is a huge no-no, as bad as this is for you, it can be fatal to your bird!
– Kitchen utensils – some pots and pans give off an odourless smell when heated, which can also be fatal to your birds if breathed in – avoid Teflon/Non-stick and opt for stainless-steel or cast iron.
– House plants – we learnt in an earlier blog that some plants can have a negative effect on our feline friends if ingested. Similarly, there are plants that can also have dire health consequences to birds. Orchids and Aloe Vera make this list.
Birds are significantly happier if placed in a position with a clear view, be it in the lounge, kitchen, or most ideally in front of a window if you need to keep them inside, the view matters – because this is where they would be looking out to each and every day.
At the end of the day, birds, just like ANY other pet, spend the better part of their lives in your home and care, so if you have time to dedicate to their up-bringing, (and are ready for the early morning chattering!), you will have a friend for life!
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