Caring for Your Bird
The best way to worm your pet is to crop dose. Many birds will not drink medicated water. Crop dosing ensures that your bird receives the correct dosing.
Only a small number of pet birds will reach their potential life span. The reason for this is poor nutrition. The importance of a complete balanced diet for your bird cannot be overemphasized.
Nutrition for ‘seed eating parrots’
An all seed diet is a poor diet for your bird. The consequences of feeding an all seed diet is malnutrition, a reduced life expectancy and susceptibility to health problems such as fatty liver disease. Seed is considered high in carbohydrates and fats and low in vitamins and minerals. Ideally, seed should only be offered as a treat for your bird. When offering seed it is best to give either small parrot or lovebird formulations.
The best diet you can provide for your pet bird is a mixture of fresh vegetables, fruit, native foods and bird pellets. Bird pellets are a nutritionally complete and balanced diet and come in a variety of sizes to cater for different sized birds. We recommend ‘Vetafarm’pellets. There are a number of ways that pellets can be introduced to your bird’s diet.
Essentially, any vegetable or fruit can be offered to your bird with a couple of exceptions including avocado, garlic and onion.Native foods provide good nutrition and include wattles, gums, grevilleas and bottlebrush.
Small amounts of nuts can also be offered to your bird. Beard, cereal, pasta and toast can be given as treats. Birds will often enjoy chewing on bones also.
Nutrition for ‘nectar eating’ parrots (lorikeets)
Lorikeets should not be fed seed. They have different nutritional needs compared with the ‘seed eaters’. They should be offered nectar (wet mix) and a dry mix. Lorikeet mixes are available commercially. Wet mixes should be made fresh daily. When hot and humid, fresh mixes should be made more frequently to ensure that your bird is not eating spoiled food.
A cage is too small if your bird is not able to completely stretch its wings. A bird can never have a cage that is too large. To reduce risk of your bird getting heavy metal poisoning, galvanized cages should be washed down with neat vinegar and a scrubbing brush and then thoroughly rinsed with water.
Plastic and dowel perches should be replaced with rope perches or natural tree branches. Bottlebrush and paperbark branches are good choices. Branches should be wide enough to prevent the bird’s toes from completely wrapping around the perch. Soiled and chewed branches should be changed.
Birds are intelligent creatures and therefore it is important to provide a stimulating environment. In the wild, birds spend large amounts of time foraging for food. Most captive birds are provided with ample food in a container and are so bored for most of their day if they are provided with nothing else to do. There are a number of environmental enrichment strategies that can be used. Your bird should be provided with toys. Toys should be rotated on a regular basis so your bird does not become bored with the same toy. Toys can be purchased or made by you. Tree branches, pinecones, toilet rolls, pieces of wood etc. are great because birds love to chew things. Providing food in a manner where the bird has to work is also good (eg. place food in a toilet roll and wrap with newspaper to create a paper bonbon).
Exercise is important to keep your bird fit and healthy. This can be achieved through flight or providing your bird with toys to swing from, climb etc.
Birds should be provided with a flat dish with water for bathing. This is important for your bird to maintain plumage.
Your bird’s environment should be kept clean and hygienic. Ideally, the cage should be cleaned at least twice weekly. Food containers should be washed daily in warm soapy water. Soiled toys and perches should also be cleaned.
Sign of sickness
Birds will not show signs of disease until they are very ill. Therefore it is important to bring your bird to the vet when it is showing any of the following:
- Change in behaviour (eg. suddenly becomes more friendly)
- Change in faecal consistency or character
- Ruffled feathers
- Change in appetite
- Change in breathing
- Wet nostrils
- Sitting on the cage floor for long time periods
It is recommended that you seek veterinary advice for any physical or behavioural change in your bird, as this may indicate that your bird is unwell. Contact Us to make an enquiry or book an appointment today.