Companionship is crucial for birds’ well-being. If you have a single bird, adopt a companion of the same or similar species. Before introducing a new bird, take him or her to your local vet for a checkup. If the newcomer is healthy and free of diseases, put his or her cage inside or next to the larger cage or aviary so that the birds can see each other without coming into direct contact with one another. Watch to see how the birds get along for at least one week. If they seem friendly to each other, allow the birds to visit—supervised—using separate play stands. Once you are confident that the birds pose no threat to one another, open the door of the small cage. The newcomer will come out when he or she feels comfortable enough.
Leave this cage in place, door open, so the newcomer may use it as a safe place—the resident bird should also have a large cage of his or her own to use as a private room. Until you’re absolutely sure that the birds have bonded, do not leave them alone together. Don’t assume that these two birds will definitely become friends—be prepared to house the birds separately if they do not bond.
You can convert your balcony or porch into an aviary or build a good-weather aviary in your back yard if possible to give your birds maximum flying space for that “free as a bird” feeling or provide a bird-proof room, with no ceiling fans or other bird hazards. Include a bird “gym” or nonpoisonous tree branches (such as dogwood, apple, or elm) for exercise.
Provide numerous bird-safe toys (available from your local vet or pet supply store) for chewing, playing, and intellectual stimulation including clean, nonpoisonous wood.
Birds Can’t Live on Seeds Alone
Wild birds don’t eat just seeds, so keep your bird’s diet varied and nutritious by offering a variety of fruits and vegetables along with grains, nuts, cooked beans, and seeds. Different species have different nutritional needs, so it’s important to research your bird’s diet or consult with a vet.
Birds need the proper combination of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to stay healthy. A good pellet-based diet can help, but feeding a variety of the proper foods should meet all your birds’ needs. Keep food and water containers above perches, in order to keep them as clean as possible. Dirty containers must be cleaned immediately to prevent bacterial growth.
Time to Preen
Your birds might spend hours every day combing their feathers with their beaks. This helps keep their feathers in line and waterproof. To encourage preening, provide shallow containers or a birdbath filled with water. Some birds like to be misted with water from a spray bottle set to a fine mist. After your birds bathe, keep them away from drafts until their feathers are totally dry.
Bird-Proofing Your Home
Before allowing your bird to fly free, eliminate or cover up hazards like ceiling fans, pots of water, open toilet bowls, electrical wires, large glass windows and mirrors, and places where birds could become stuck. Make sure that your plants are not poisonous to birds.
Use ecologically safe products—no bleach or strong cleaners, aerosols, artificial air fresheners, scented candles, incense, or insecticides. Cigarette smoke should never be allowed around birds.
If you or people you know already have birds and are unable to meet their needs, please consider the following options:
Find out if there is a reputable bird sanctuary or large indoor/outdoor aviary to which you can surrender the bird. Ideally, you should place non-aggressive birds with members of their own species or family. Consider key factors such as diet, exercise, cleanliness, and access to veterinary care.