Pet birds can be excellent companion animals, and are a popular addition to families. Provided they are properly cared for and are provided with an interesting and spacious environment that includes regular adequate exercise (free flight within a safe enclosed environment), birds can live a very healthy, vigorous, and fit life.
Signs of illness can be subtle in birds and birds often display a ‘preservation instinct’ which means that they can sometimes appear healthy despite being very ill. Veterinary advice should always be sought immediately if you suspect that your bird is unwell or if your bird shows any sign of being unwell.
The types and variety of food that are offered to pet birds are usually very limited when compared to the diet of their wild counterparts so it is important to provide a balanced and varied diet in adequate amounts. The food should be offered in such a way as to mimic the feeding habits of the birds in the wild. Some species will gorge early morning and late afternoon whereas others will feed throughout the day.
Provide an adequate supply of foods suitable for the species of bird.
Provide a varied diet - you should feed your bird a combination of both a high quality commercial food and some natural foods. e.g. fresh fruit, vegetables, seeding grasses, native flowers, green foods etc that are appropriate and safe for the particular bird species.
Food should be fresh and clean, and stored in a way that prevents deterioration or spoilage
Placing a cuttlefish bone in your bird's cage will provide important trace minerals. Mixed grit and a source of calcium should be available for those bird species requiring it.
Ensure fresh clean water is available at all times.
Do Not Feed:
Avocado, coffee, dried beans, tomato leaves, onions, apple seeds and chocolate are highly toxic to birds.
The health of pet birds is a specialised area and resolving health problems can be difficult. Checking your bird’s health regularly is a key step in ensuring good welfare and preventing disease. Any problems should be dealt with promptly and appropriately by seeking veterinary advice as soon as possible.
Things to check for include:
appearance of droppings (quality and quantity)
amount of food or water consumed
behaviour (eg ability to fly)
appearance or posture (eg sleepy or fluffed-up)
rate and depth of respiration
Any changes in the above indicators could signal a problem.
Particular signs that indicate a health problem are:
discharge from nostrils, eyes or beak
excess loss of, or soiled or misshapen feathers
inappetence (failure to eat) and weight loss
enlargements or swelling of body parts
vomiting or regurgitation
injury or bleeding
dull or closed eyes
lameness, wounded or swollen feet
lumps or wounds on the body
overgrown beak or nails
stains or scabs around eyes or nostrils.
Birds can be affected by both internal parasites such as intestinal worms and external parasites such as lice and mites. Treatment of parasites may vary between bird species. Please consult your vet directly for more information about parasite control in pet birds.