- Birds are excellent at hiding signs of illness, when they are obviously ill the could have actually been sick for days to weeks. At any signs of illness a veterinarian should be contacted.
- Feed 80-90% pellets and 10-20% healthy people food. Ideally the pellets should be free of dyes. Colored pellets make it difficult to distinquish whether a change in stool color is due to dyes or due to a medical problem.
- Pellets are a balanced diet, including vitamins and minerals, birds that eat a pellet diet do not needs additional supplementation.
- Seeds are not recommended because they are high in fat and low in nutrients, and birds will eat these preferentially over the pellets.
- Birds that eat an all seed diet, can develop significant health problems later in life (for example liver disease and brittle bones)
- The exception is Cockatiels, they should eat a small amount of seeds daily in addition to their pellets (1/8th tsp).
- Pasta, rice (white, brown, or wild), whole wheat products
- Beans, lentils
- Vegetables (dark green and orange are the best): sweet potato, carrots, squash, broccoli, peas, green beans
- Fruits (berries and fleshy fruits are the best): berries, mango, papaya, melon, peach
- Nuts (Limited amounts of almond and macadamia)
Less Nutritious Items
(Feed in small quantities)
- White Bread
- Meat and Eggs Dairy Products
- Junk Food (Chips/Candy)
- Caffeine and Chocolate
- High Sodium Items
- The cage should be kept in a room where your family spends a lot of time. It should not be in or near the kitchen due to cooking fumes. It should also not be in a high traffic area (ex. Not near the front door where strangers could startle the bird and cause cage aggression).
- Be cautious about placing cages next to windows as things in the outdoor environment can startle or create stress for the bird.
- Cleaning the cage: The cage should be wiped down with soapy water a minimum of once per week. And perches with fecal matter on them should be wiped down daily.
- Approximately once per month the cage should be taken apart and disinfected with soap and a dilute (10%) bleach solution. Regardless of the disinfectant the bird should be out of the room during this process and the cage should be rinsed thoroughly.
- Bowls should be cleaned daily with soap and water or run through the dishwasher.
- Newspaper at the bottom of the cage should be changed daily.
- Perches should be varied in size, shape, and material. Use caution with rough surfaced perches as they can cause wounds on the birds feet.
- Sizes (Minimums):
- Budgie: 17in x 17in
- Cockatiel, small conure: 20in x 20in
- Large conure, pionus: 24in x 24in
- Amazon: 30in x 30in
- Macaw: 36in x 36in
Wing trimming is recommended, although some birds do well if left flighted however the house needs to be completely bird proofed
Toenails should be trimmed regularly
Beaks may or may not need to be trimmed, if you are concerned have them examined.
Guide to Safe and Toxic Branches and Plants for Pet Birds
Potential Household Hazards for Pet Birds
The following materials are non-toxic IF NO CHEMICAL PESTICIDES OR OTHER CHEMICALS HAVE BEEN SPRAYED ON THEM
. Birds not only stand on their perches but take great delight from chewing them to pieces. Any toxins on the branches will end up in the bird.
- Apple (Crab Apple)
- Vine Maple
- Citrus (Lime, grapefruit, orange, lemon)
The above woods can all be used to make toys, swings, or perches. Use branches of varying thickness; this provides exercise for the birds feet and helps prevent pressure sores.
Before installing in any cage:
- Scrub with dish soap and clean water
- Soak in a dilute chlorine bleach solution (2 ounces of bleach to 1 gallon water) for 20 minutes.
- Rinse with plenty of water.
- Let dry completely before use.
- Red Maple
**Both of these are not complete lists
Toxic Plants and Plant Parts
*Just because a plant is not on this list does not mean that it is safe, if you are unsure please check with a veterinarian.
- Arum Lily
- Autumn Crocus
- Beans: (Castor, horse, fava, broad, scarlet runner, mescal, pregatory, navy)
- Bird of Paradise
- Bleeding Heart
- Blue Bonnet
- Bracken Fern
- Bulb Flowers: (Amaryllis, daffofil, iris, hyacinth, narcissus)
- Cana Lily
- Cardinal Flower
- Chalice (Trumpet Vine)
- China Berry
- Christmas Candle
- Coffee (Senna)
- Coral Plant
- Cutleaf Philodendron
- Death Camus
- Devil’s Ivy
- Elephant Ear
- Eucalyptus (dried)
- Fire Thorn
- Golden Chain
- Grass (Most)
- Heaths (most)
- Horse Tail
- Ivy (English and others)
- Jack in the Pulpit
- Lilly of the Valley
- Locoweed (vetch)
- Mexican Breadfruit
- Mexican Poppy
- Mock Orange
- Morning Glory
- Poison Ivy
- Poison Oak
- Potato Shoots
- Rain tree
- Ranunculus (Buttercup)
- Rhubarb (Leaves)
- Skunk Cabbage
- Snow Drop
- Sweet Pea
- Tansy Ragwort
- Virginia Creeper
- Yellow Jasmine (Carolina)
A majority of these plants are grown outdoors. However, birds can come into contact with them when:
- Fresh flowers/garden plants are brought inside as part of an arrangement
- During supervised “outdoor” time on the patio
- Also while trying to provide a “wild” environment with foliage near the cage, owners can inadvertently expose their bird.