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Thread: I'm getting a bird, what do you need to do to take proper care of them

  1. #1

    I'm getting a bird, what do you need to do to take proper care of them

    I'm getting a Green Cheeked Conyard and obviously researching how to take proper care of them before I actually get one,

    I'm going to give them lots of attention but what else do I need to do and give them like foods treats diets baths etc?

    I've heard that they're the #1 pet that are abused by there owners.

    For cats and dogs you just make sure there's food and water out 24/7 and feet them treats when they ask for them, and give them A LOT of attention, is it the same for birds?

    I figure birds are mostly abused bc owners don't pay attention to them much which is extremely terrible and sad.

    I plan to get 2 birds of the opposite sex so they have a close friend and a mate, and live a full happy life

  2. #2
    Live and learn anunitu's Avatar
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    Re: I'm getting a bird, what do you need to do to take proper care of them

    First find a GOOD bird VET,I had a bebe parrot that died from a cold,at the time ai had no idea they were able to catch one from us humans.

    pic of bebe parrot.
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    Live and learn anunitu's Avatar
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    Re: I'm getting a bird, what do you need to do to take proper care of them

    Also,ask HAWK FEATHERS,SHE has had a parrot for a long time. She is a member here on PF.
    MAGIC is MAGIC,black OR white or even blood RED

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    Re: I'm getting a bird, what do you need to do to take proper care of them

    Read books on birds - or that breed if you can find one. Youtube videos on that breed for habitat ideas and maybe ideas on how to bond with them. Maybe go to a bird forum and talk with other bird owners for tips and tricks on what they do.
    “Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted. And experience is often the most valuable thing you have to offer.”
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  5. #5

    Re: I'm getting a bird, what do you need to do to take proper care of them

    I have had a green-cheeked conure, and have another small parrot now, both second hand because the original owners grew tired of them. They can be delightful, but I do warn you to think twice. I will not adopt another bird, even though I have loved the ones I have made part of my family. They are frequently abused and neglected because they are different from dogs and cats. They act differently, and people react differently to them. Parrots live a long time. While many of the smaller parrots live shorter lives than the large ones, shorter can mean 20-30 years. Be as sure as you can that you are willing to make that commitment, because it can be difficult to find a good place to re-home them. And they are lovely creatures who deserve good homes. It is a good sign that you are researching before adopting, so I am not criticizing you. I just feel that way too many people adopt birds and do not end up liking living with birds.

    So here is a list of things that can be problems with having a parrot in the family ( and I do realize that you are trying to plan in advance for these things- good for you!):

    1. They are incredibly noisy. The chatter is cute, and when they learn words it is almost like magic, but there is naturally a tendency to squawk and shriek. Get some advice from books and experts on how to manage this, and make sure everyone in the house is willing to comply with the methods involved. Do this before you bring the bird(s) home. So, so noisy. Permanent hearing loss noisy. If you are not careful, you can reinforce a really difficult behavior. Also, your favorite music may inspire a squawk a thon.

    2. Parrots are prey animals. Most people are accustomed to interacting with predators, such as cats and dogs. Actions that are natural with dogs and cats may frighten a bird. Birds protect themselves by biting. It hurts, and it can make you behave in a way that continues to frighten the bird.

    3. Parrots use their beaks to explore, balance, and hold on to things. Friendly little nibbles are common, but after a bite, also a bit intimidating.

    4. Lots of people have mild to severe phobias about birds. This will most likely include friends and family coming to visit, but also might include people living in your home, and even yourself just a little bit. Figure how you will handle people who have a negative reaction to your bird(s). I was surprised at how much of an issue this is, even with a small bird such as our green-cheeked conure.

    5. Birds are messy. And you have to clean up after them for decades. I believe the messiness is a major reason that people relegate them to their own lonely spaces.
    Also, bird seed tends to come with moth infestation. I very, very strongly recommend freezing the bird seed for at least 24 hours before you open it. Also seal up your pantry items well. Plastic containers or mason jars will help, but only if everyone is diligent.

    6. Any insect problems are extra problems because birds are so susceptible to toxins. Those moths, for instance. But also spiders, roaches, or other creepy crawly pests.

    7. I would say that our green-cheeked conure seemed to have the intelligence and sense of humor of a two year old human child. This means that it was as delightful and difficult as living with a two year old child for well over a decade. This includes tantrums, poop, and cute new words and snuggles. Maybe spend some time with a tired toddler? Also, birdsitters can be hard to find because so many people are afraid of birds. Or you don't trust them to be patient with your bird. Or trust them not to react badly to a bite. Also, parrots learn highly expressive words first. Like toddlers, they can pick up words you wish they wouldn't.

    8. Our birds, at least, have each bonded to one human in particular. And they get jealous, there can be protective behavior when the favorite is present as well as another person. This is also a problem if they bond to someone who is not intended to be the primary caretaker. My current bird is affectionate to me, and I feed him much or most of the time. However, he simply loves my husband more, and will be a complete jerk to me if my husband is around. In the past has even bitten my husband if I get too close. This is fine because my husband is as dedicated to having a bird as I am, but I could see this going (even more) badIy. I am sure that there is good advice in current training manuals or on-line resources that could have helped us with this if we had realized how much of a problem this could be. Well, we didn't really have on-line resources when we were learning. That is how long the bird has lived with us. Maybe someone else here will have good advice. It is better now than before, but I fear that the bird may have trained us, instead of the other way around. Also, adopting 2 birds at the same time might inspire them to bond to each other instead of you. You may be fine with that, but think about it first.

    9. Consider how this will work with children or other pets living in the house. Cats can't help prey instinct. My dog had a deep and dysfunctional relationship with our current bird. I sometimes feared for the bird's life and the dog's eyes and/or sanity. It worked out, but that doesn't always happen.(When the dog was dying, he insisted on lying next to the bird cage. And the bird was somber).

    10. The long life thing is an issue. You have to make concessions in your life to accommodate your bird. I made the commitment to my bird, and I love him, but if he lives his full life span I might have to concede some things that I would really like to do. Children usually grow more independent over time, so that the parent also regains some independence. This is not so with a bird. You are in it until death. With the bigger parrots, there is a very good chance the bird will outlive you. Even with the small parrot, I I have had to arrange for people to promise to care for him if we die first. Cats and dogs are a little easier to home in a case of human death.

    11. If you do get the bird(s), really spend time with them. This is easy at first because they are so much fun. Ours have loved bath/shower time- it seems to make them friendlier and more relaxed. Peek-a -boo has gone over well. Dancing together was a favorite for our green-cheek. Bird dancing on perch, human goofy dancing. Try rotating toys for novelty. Our current bird likes to play Godzilla and knock over empty plastic bottles, sometimes rolling them along the floor. I think the problem is that the novelty can wear off for lots of people, or they just get busy with other things. I suggest making bird time your daily treat. It has helped our birds that there are 2 of us who wanted them and will care and play with them.

    Have a plan for keeping things clean.

    We were advised to give our green-cheek monkey biscuits, as in Purina, and they were a favorite sometimes treat. I am afraid of giving out of date advice regarding treats, etc. We provide a pretty varied treat supply in addition to good seed, and haven't killed a bird in over 20 years. Most fresh fruits and veggies do well, if washed thoroughly and peeled or trimmed. I have been advised against bananas and avocado so never tried; check with a vet. They mess up their water really quickly, so check it often. Also have a plan for nail and beak care, learn about wing clipping and make a decision about that. I would definitely locate an exotic pet vet beforehand. Get a cage of appropriate size- it is your bird's sanctuary/safe place.

    I don't want to sound negative. My birds have made me laugh and cry. I miss my green-cheek all the time. I sometimes forget to include the bird when people ask me about my pets. He has just been an extension of us for so long that he is in a category of his own. He is almost like a third person in our marriage, shaping the family since before the kids came, and the baby is in high school now. Birds talk, they do silly acrobatics, they snuggle up and preen you. They are also a real challenge.

  6. #6
    Opinionated Rae'ya's Avatar
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    Re: I'm getting a bird, what do you need to do to take proper care of them

    Best advice I can give you is to really, really make sure that you are ready for a parrot. Honestly, parrots are HARD WORK and have a steep learning curve. You need a special cage, special toys, special food, and lots and lots and lots of time. They are messy and noisy and demanding and you will be tied to a perpetual 2yr-old for the next 20yrs. Most conures are considered 'small parrots' and 'easy parrots', but they are not necessarily. Parakeets, budgerigars and cockatiels are 'beginner' parrots... conures are the next step up. They are ALL noisy, even the 'quieter' ones. And they needs lots of one-on-one attention.

    If you are sure that you are ready, find a good avian vet and talk to them pre-purchase, then take the bird for a check up asap after purchase. Do not skip this step. This will make your life much, much easier as they will be able to guide you through appropriate cage, diet and handling. Also I'd recommend purchasing through a breeder rather than a pet shop. Either way, do NOT just buy whatever the pet shop sells you... they are usually not properly trained in bird care and often sell incorrect cages and toys.

    Small parrots need a large cage that they can climb/hop/jump around in. They also need to spend time outside of the cage every day. Having a cage plus a playstand or three is best. Furnish the cage with natural sticks and branches of different widths... don't just use the dowel rods that come in the cage and DO NOT use sandpaper or roughened perches. Have lots of safe toys that you can rotate around, but avoid anything they can swallow or get tangled in. Foraging toys are really, really important... the single most important thing for any pet bird is to be able to mimic natural foraging. Don't just feed seed out of a bowl. Have foraging toys, natural browse and fresh fruit/veggies that are safe for the species. Mimic the natural diet where possible. Get a good quality PELLET diet rather than seed mix, as seed mixes are usually not balanced and the birds pick and chose what they want to eat, leading to malnutrition and obesity. Daily bathing opportunities are important too... some species prefer a bath and some prefer misting or spraying with a water bottle. Cage placement is important too... you want them to be engaged with the family but not be disturbed at night time by the television or computer games. You can't have them too close to the kitchen where cooking fumes can be toxic (especially if using non-stick cookware). They need natural light and fresh air, but protection from drafts and air-conditioning vents. They also need regular vet checks and not every vet has experience with birds, or can deal with the unique illnesses and conditions that they get.

    One-on-one attention is paramount, but you have to be careful of the type of attention you give as it can encourage pair-bonding with you, which is not healthy for the bird and can cause major stress and behavioural issues. You don't want to let them ride around on your shoulder all the time, or pat them on the belly or back... you want to play games, talk, do headscratches and have daily training sessions. They have very particular handling needs and can be easily startled and frightened. Very few people properly understand bird body language and behaviour. A small to medium parrot requires at least 30minute of dedicated one-on-one direct contact time every single day, along with 3-6hrs of indirect contact (being in the same room, talking, observing the family etc) every day. You can't just feed them in the morning and go off to school or work for ten hours then come home and feed them and play with them for ten minutes then go to bed. That's not how ANY pet works and birds are some of the most labor intensive pets out there.

    If you aren't doing all of these things, you are neglecting your bird. Having a bonded pair will make them more resilient against your neglect (because they will have each other) but it is NOT an excuse to skip any of the recommended care and husbandry things. And bonded pairs have their own set of environmental and social needs. A lot of birds do remarkably well in neglectful conditions, but others end up stressed, anxious and develop behavioural issues like feather-plucking.

    I'm sorry if I sound harsh, but as a vet nurse and a bird owner, I feel very strongly about bird ownership and welfare. The vast majority of people who want to purchase a bird should not. Birds can be rewarding and amazing companions, but it's a special kind of household that can look after a bird properly. Please make sure that you are really ready for a bird and that you can care for it properly BEFORE you purchase one. This is a lifetime commitment... 20yrs for most small to medium parrots! There is so much more to a bird than 'giving it lots of attention and feeding it treats'.

  7. #7

    Re: I'm getting a bird, what do you need to do to take proper care of them

    Yes. We thought we were prepared. We had a hard learning curve. All of the care things Rae'ya mentioned are crucial, but I think that the hardest part was just the differences between mammal and avian behavior. We have loved our parrots, and I know that other people sometimes really thrive with them, but I think probably the majority of people are bad matches. Both of our parrots came to us second hand, and I have known of many others that have not fared well. The parrot we have now came to us suddenly, which is just as well, because the owners were feeding him on a diet of raisins only.

    I will not commit to another parrot in the way that I will not commit to another child. Or an extra spouse. I love the ones I have, but wouldn't have more.

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    bibliophibian volcaniclastic's Avatar
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    Re: I'm getting a bird, what do you need to do to take proper care of them

    Quote Originally Posted by Celtic_ View Post

    For cats and dogs you just make sure there's food and water out 24/7 and feet them treats when they ask for them, and give them A LOT of attention, is it the same for birds?
    If you actually think this about dogs and cats, then you've never properly taken care of them.

    They both need so much more than that.
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    Supporter Hawkfeathers's Avatar
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    Re: I'm getting a bird, what do you need to do to take proper care of them

    Everything Rae'ya said and then some. My African Grey is 29 and has been with me since she was a baby. I studied Avian Bio and went to many bird stores, etc., asking questions and interacting for 5 years before I decided on a species. The avian mind is not something every human can effectively communicate with - they are like little aliens with feathers! Be very, very sure of what you're doing. Conures have a lot of good points, but they are noisy. That won't change. Study the breed very, very well before making a commitment.

    It's probably not advisable to get a pair. They're likely to bond to each other and not to you. If your goal is an aviary type setup, that's fine, but if you want a companion bird for life, you're better off not getting a pair. Any reputable breeder/seller will agree.

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    Re: I'm getting a bird, what do you need to do to take proper care of them

    I think something not mentioned is hand fed birds vs birds raised by their parents. Hand fed birds, fed from hatching by humans until weaned onto solid food, are much more accepting of people.

    You should try to find a bird that has been weaned on to some type of food that is like a pellet or extruded, think hard dog food, instead of seed. Seed is basically junk food for birds they eat what they like/crave leaving the rest instead of getting a broad spectrum of nutrition. Extruded food has every bite with the same nutrients. This may not be completely satisfying for your bird so fresh fruits and vegies help with variety. Reasearch which is best for your bird. Birds have a bad sense of taste. Meaning things like spicey peppers are realy good for the bird to experience heightened sensations. But again research, the spicey part of peppers can ittatate the eyes and even cause blindness.

    The longevity of birds is a real issue. Some birds bond extreamly strongly with their humans. If their humans die, or hand them off, the bird will likely go through a period of extreme stress. I have heard stories of a birds owner dying and the bird basically plucking itself clean of the larger feathers and even, yes it's aweful, but biting off their own toes.

    As with any pet there are challenges, but birds are among the hardest of pets to have. One last thing, on the messiness of birds. Bird not only can catch an illness from their environment, but can carry plenty of their own. You can look up parrot fever, but the big concern is salmonella. Food poisioning. Some birds can live a completely healthy life and have the bacteria all over their skin and in all their internal tissues. oh and aresol cans, like pam cooking spray, spray deodarent ect can be instant death for birds, as can alchohol. Birds are curious and will taste anything, so if you drink in your house besure to secure your empties and not let your bird even get a taste.

    Even with so called non-alcoholic beer that has a miniscule amount of alchohol in it, a single tastes will kill your bird. Also cats are bad news. A scratch from a cat will kill your bird within hours, because of the bacteria in the claws. It is all kind of related to the fact that birds have very little blood in relation to their body size. So something that humans tolerate very well in their blood is even more concentrated in a bird. And as my HS bio teacher said. The quickest, most efficient, and easiest way to naturally get something in your body is through the lungs. So be aware that your bird is breathing too.

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