PROS AND CONS OF OWNING A PET BIRD
Owning a pet would be a lot easier if you are well acquainted with both sides of the coin. Do not get frustrated on the cons; after all, good things come at a cost. So if you are planning to get one, it is always good to have some prior knowledge about their possible outcomes.
- Birds are undemanding pets. They are always busy in their world and are least bothered about what you do unless they find anything threatening. They do not need 24 hours of your attention
- Bird food and Bird Vet is also cheaper as compared to other pets
- They do not easily get infested with parasites. If they do, they are well equipped to annihilate the parasites from their feathers.
- Birds also do not need grooming. They naturally sharpen their claws to handle food
- The most important of it all is that it offers you company and ones they begin to know you they acknowledge your presence.
- If you want a cuddly pet, birds are not one of them. Apart from Cockatiel which are cuddly birds and the African parrots that make some chatting sound and some others that sing songs, rest are all indifferent to your existence
- They can be very noisy and messy at times. You want to spend some silent moments with yourself, and your bird won’t let you. They often flap their wings scattering their food thus creating a nuisance.
- Birds are prey animals. They are often attacked by cats and dogs if grounded. And ones the birds feel threatened they get stressed and this, in turn, affects their behavior.
All About Birds And Their Needs
CANARIES: One of the most beautiful species known for its melodious singing capacity. It is a songbird in the finch family. Its scientific name is Serinus Canaria. Breeding of these birds is done in different attractive colors. These are small birds, and so they need bar spacing of not more than ½”. They require an abundant flying space and perches on both sides. For a singing Canary, you should not put both the male and the females together as only the males sing to call their female partners.
Relevant fact about the Canaries:
• The Canaries are bred in three different varieties based on color, type, and song, i.e., for their unique singing styles. However only the male in each variety sing. They are quick learners and pick up sounds rapidly. They can also be skilled in performing in concerts and can be trained for various competitions. Popular singing canaries are Harz Roller, Malinois, Spanish Timbrado, American Singer, Russian Singer and Persian Singer.
• Australian Plainhead, Berner, Border, Fife, Gibber Italicus, Gloster, Lancashire, Raza Española, Yorkshire, etc. are bred for their shape and certain physical characteristics such as frills.
• Some canaries are bred for attractive and bright color mutations. Wild canaries usually vary from grayish to greenish yellow and have brown stripes in the back. Domestic canaries vary in colors such as red, yellow, ivory, bronze, etc. to enhance their color; natural pigment enhancer food can be fed.
• The Canaries are solitudinarian. Cocks do not get along well together and often turns aggressive towards each other. Mirrors are strictly forbidden as it perceives its image as a threat. If there are more than one canary, they should be housed separately else the result will be fatal.
• The Canaries are not very demanding pets. They do not easily perch on hands or shoulders. It does so only when it is sure that you are harmless. They are not very cuddly pets like cockatiels
• The Canaries would want to breed amidst breeding season and might get fiercely attached to the mate. It is recommended to cage canaries indoors with abundant, as it uses the position of the sun to know when to nest. Also, the cages should be covered at night with a cloth so that no artificial light falls after the sunset which will help them to keep in tune with the season and this will contribute to keeping up its behavioral patterns. One peculiar behavior of this bird is that both the male and the female canary participate in raising their chick.
• The lifespan of canaries ranges from 10 to 15 years if a proper diet is maintained. Most of their deaths occur due to injury with their cohabitants in some “friendly” fights.
• The Canaries should be best housed in rectangular cages as they find corners safer. They get irritated if they do not get a reference point.
• The minimum cage size for a canary is 18″H X 24″L X 12″W and the bar spacing should not be more than ½”.
• Merely bird seeds are not enough for canaries’ diet. It should be supplemented with pelleted food. The birds should occasionally be given an assortment of fruits and vegetables. Sprouted seeds can also be given. During the shedding period, it is advised to give them nestling food. Eggs and cucumbers are also good during this time. But this food should not be provided round the year, but only during the molting season. Protein is essential during the breeding period, and the hens should be provided even before the season of reproduction starts. But again excessive protein will lead to the development of gout.
• Mite infection is very common in canaries such as scaly mites, red mites, air sac mites and feather mites. You should always keep a check on your birds for early detection of mite infection. During the summer season, particular care should be taken to avoid canary pox. It is virus transmitted by mosquitoes.
• The cages should be filled with an adequate number of toys to reduce their boredom. Toys with ropes should be strictly avoided as it can strangulate the bird.
FINCHES: It is a generic name for all the small passerine birds in the family of Fringillidae. There are several species of finches, among which American Goldfinch, European Goldfinch, Gouldian Finch, Owl Finch, Zebra Finch, etc. are the few species that are kept as pets
Relevant Facts about the Finches
• Finches are companion birds as they are known for their socializing with their flock and for emitting pleasant songs
• They cannot be trained like the parrots, but they become attached to you only if you have hand raised a baby. The might occasionally perch on your finger
• They are known for their pleasant sounds. Here also the male finch makes more sound than a female
• Finches especially Zebra Finch breeds quickly. These are great pets for the beginners as they are easier to take care
• Finches are flight birds. They need a spacious cage for an easy flight. Trimming their wings is not suggested as they need to be kept flighted
• These are flock birds, and they like socializing. But care should be taken to keep different types of finch together because some finches are aggressive towards others. Consulting and expert is always advisable
• The cage for finches must always be horizontal
• Provide a balanced nutrition which is suitable both for their digestive system, their feathers, and skins. Pellet based diet is healthy as it promotes natural foraging behaviors. Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Finch Food is a good source of probiotics that help in digestive system
• Stress to any birds will lead to serious health hazards. Finches are susceptible to mite infection which could be life threatening. If any signs are shown, a vet should be consulted immediately.
COCKATIEL: Its scientific name is Nymphicus hollandicus. Smart, funny and active would be the appropriate words to define cockatiels. Cockatiels make great pets. These are companion birds and love to be around their favorite person or object. It hates to be alone, and loneliness can significantly affect its behavior and personality. If you do not give them enough time, the best thing would be to keep them in pairs.
They were previously thought to belong to the parrot family, but a more recent study has placed it in a subfamily of Nymphicinae. And now it is considered as the smallest of the cockatoo family.
Relevant facts of Cockatiel:
• Cockatiels do not screech like parrots but make a soft whistling sound and which makes them a great apartment bird.
• Cockatiels get startled easily as they are always alert for predators. They might show some level of aggression if handled roughly. They occasionally get frightened at night and move about feverishly, thus trashing the cage. It is always advised to keep the room of the cage lighted at night so that it can find its way to the perch quickly.
• These birds also have an inclination to fly down for forage. Therefore one must be very careful when it is allowed out of the cage especially if there are other pets such as dogs or cats
• Their crest says a lot about their emotional state. When the bird is in an angry mood, its crest lays flattened to the head. And a combination of a hissing sound would mean it is stressed. Be very careful then. The crest will be vertically straight if the bird is startled or alert. And you will know when the bird is in a flirtatious mood when you see its peak held flat but protrudes outward. And when they are relaxed, they will slightly slant backward.
• Cockatiels make a soft whistling sound. It is more varied in males than in females. They use the noise to allure the female cockatiels. Cockatiels are not as good as the parrots in learning to talk but can repeat a word or two if taught. That too is more prominent in males.
• Cockatiels can live up to 25-30 years, but this is not often. Their standard age varies around 15 years. However, the diet and living conditions play a major deciding factor.
• Cockatiels fall under medium sized bird category, and so the size of the cage should vary accordingly. The ideal size for a cockatiel cage would be not less than 2 feet tall with 20 inches wide, and 18 inches depth and the bar spacing should range from ½” to 7/8″ and not more than that.
• Cockatiels are ground foragers, as mentioned above and so to keep them busy it is suggested to sprinkle grains or seeds on the floor of the cage.
• Fresh veggies and seeds would be a special treat for the cockatiel. Fruits and cooked bean could be occasional diet. However, only seed diet will hamper their health as it might lead to malnutrition and vitamin and amino acid deficiency. A combination of fruits, vegetables and seeds would be an appropriate diet for the birds.
• The leftover food should be cleared immediately as the bird’s feces might contaminate it. Fresh and clean water should be available for the bird at all times. And it should be refilled in clean containers
• Female cockatiels require extra calcium in their diets as they are prone to suffer from chronic egg laying which results in calcium deficiency
LOVE BIRDS: Love birds come from the family of Psittaculidae and are one of the nine species of the genus Agapornis. They share a strong pair bond and are popular among the pet lovers and especially good for the beginners. Out of the nine species, eight are native to the African continent and the one from Madagascar.
• Some species of the love birds can be recognized by its white eye rings. Such birds are the Masked, the Fischer’s, the Blacked Cheeked and the Nyasa. While Peach Faced, Abyssiniun, Red Headed, Madagascar, and the Swindern’s love birds do have the rings
• Love Birds are smaller among the parrot species with a size ranging from 5 to 6 ½ inches. They are short and have a solid stature with a short tail and a large, sharp beak. Most of the love birds are bred for their color traits
• These are smart birds and are always on the go. They get strongly attached to their mates and as a result they might stop interacting with people. If a single bird is caged then make sure to keep it busy with a lot of activities and toys. It might require a major part of your attention
• Love birds are generally not recommended for the younger children as the birds are a bit too snappy ones they are matured if not handled properly
• Their songs are pleasant to the ears and their talks never seem to end as they are flocking birds in the wild. They do not have speech learning capability like those of parrots but their songs are lovely. The more love birds you acquire louder would be their noise, which might sometimes be annoying.
• A large and a spacious cage are to be provided for your love birds. They are super busy and need enough space for their flights.
• A proper balanced diet should be provided
• Love birds can live for 10 to 15 years
Also known as Budgies, its scientific name is Melopsittacus Undulatus. They are popular in small pet bird category. These birds are native to Australia and are found only in green color. However, they are found in 70 color mutations today. Parakeets are 6 to 7 inches long and require a bar spacing of not more than ½ inch.
Relevant Facts about Parakeets
• Parakeets are social birds and might be stressed if kept in isolation
• Though these birds are good for watching, it can also be hand tamed if properly guided and controlled. It becomes a loyal and loving pet.
• Parakeets are exceptional learners of words and can complete phrases. They are also good whistlers. Though the male parakeets are better talkers than the female ones
• With a proper diet and maintenance Parakeets can live up to 7 to 15 years
• Parakeets are ground feeders, and so this includes mostly seeds in the wild. This results in their obesity, tumors, fatty live and scaly face.
• They should be given food that is composed of fruits, vegetables, seeds and pellets
• They are also prone to goiter due to lack of iodine
Parrotlet, as the name suggest are small sized parrots with the personality similar to the Amazon. They are cute little birds with a size of not more than 5 inches but with stamina that can be compared to any large bird. Among the various species, Pacific Parrotlet and the Green Rumped Parrotlet are the two commonly found species in the pet market. These birds are native to Mexico and North and South America
• Parrotlets are said to be the cousin of the Amazon. Their physical specification to some extent is similar to that of the Amazon, such as their short and stocky stature and with a blunt tail
• You can differentiate a male from that of the female by the blue streak behind the eye and blue on the rump and wing coverts you can see in the males. While the females do not have the faint blue streak behind the eye
• They are amazing at mimicking voices and making pleasant sounds. They, however, are not as good as the parrotlets
• As mentioned earlier there are two common species of parrotlets, and they are The Pacific and the Green Rumped. While the former being high spirited and might at times be aggressive if not tamed for a long time, the latter is a lot gentler. Though their size is small, please do not underestimate their beak which is stronger than a Parakeet
• Hand fed parrots can be very friendly and are great companions. But they might lose some companionship if they are left alone for quite some time. The easily mingle with other parrotlets and enjoy each other’s company
• Apart from the Pacific and the Green Rumped Parrotlet, the blue- winged Parrotlet, the Mexican Parrotlet, the Spectacled Parrotlet and the Yellow-faced Parrotlet are very rare, and in some cases, they are hard to breed
• They need a spacious cage as they are hyperactive creatures and an ideal bar spacing could be ¼ inch
• They are required to be surrounded by toys and swings which help them stay busy
• A pellet based diet supplement with diced fruits and seeds is a proper diet for the Parrotlets. They should also be provided with calcium such as cuttlebone
These are funny birds known for their antics and their outgoing. They are also called the clown of birds. There are two types of Caiques, the black- headed Caique, and the white bellied caique. These birds are native to South America.
Quick Facts about Caique
• These birds are 9 to 10 inches long, and their color has been divided into white, green, orange and yellow sections
• They are blessed with a beautiful feather and an attractive personality. They are a comedian in the body of a bird. But they are moody and beaky at times, and the owner has to bear all its tantrums
• If these birds are kept along with other birds, this may lead to the bird to fights. Keep a watchful eye on the birds as they might cause harm to the others
• they are heavy for their size and are stockily built
• They are good at pulverizing their toys, so you need to replace them quite often. Their cage should always be accessorized with toys and activities to keep them busy every moment. Because these birds rarely rest
• Caiques are not very noisy. Their sounds are moderate and not annoying, and they make only some whistling sounds
• As already mentioned Caiques are extremely energetic birds, and so they require a full space for its antics and activities. It would be stressed in case it is confined to a smaller one
• The bar spacing of their cage should vary from ½” to ¾, ’’ and the cage floor should be grated
• Caiques should be given a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, and seeds that are suitable for foraging
AFRICAN GREY BIRD: Bird keepers love this bird not only for its intelligence but also for its enthusiasm. Found in the coastal mangrove and savannas and the forests of the Central African Range, these parrots are the oldest psittacine species.
Relevant facts of African Grey
• There are two subspecies of African Grey Parrots. The most popular one in the Congo African Grey and the other one is Timneh African Grey
• These birds have high intellect and should be surrounded with activities such as games and puzzles, that enables them to exercise their minds
• They are quick learners and can adapt any voice almost perfectly. They also have the ability to learn more than 1500 vocabularies. They can also mimic sounds almost exactly
• African Grey birds are involved and demanding birds and are best for experienced bird keepers. Any change in their routine activities could lead to feather plucking and stress. They are also highly sensitive birds and are happy when they are surrounded by people
• African Grey gets easily stressed if it feels in secured. Their cages should be placed such a way that at least one side is against the wall instead of putting it in the middle of a room.
• They not only mimic the sounds of its similar environment but also have this unique ability to understand the words. They are highly intelligent birds, and it is your duty to keep their intelligence intact by giving them some brain teasers and puzzle toys. This will help them exercise their brain
• These birds should be given vegetables to supplement the Vitamin A deficiency that most birds are prone to