Monica has a B.A. in English and 7 years of experience as a freelance writer working on the Internet.
Things to Know Before Getting a Bird
Buying your first bird should not be done on a whim, but rather given the same careful consideration you would give to the decision to get a cat or dog. While bird lovers will cheerfully tell you about the amusing antics of their feathered friends, what they fail to mention—and what might not even cross their minds—is the simple fact that birds aren't for everyone.
Owning a bird means having to deal with an entirely different set of problems and responsibilities than the owners of more popular pets such as dogs and cats. So here are seven things anyone contemplating getting a pet bird should know about before buying one.
- Birds are naturally messy.
- Birds are noisy.
- Birds will chew anything.
- Birds molt and produce feather dust.
- Birds need specialized diets.
- Birds will bite.
- Birds need socialization.
1. Birds Are Naturally Messy
No matter what the size or species, birds are messy, and this is an indisputable fact. Not only will food be dropped inside their cages, but most birds delight in tossing food between the bars of their cages and onto the floor below, particularly after you have just washed it. Also, droppings will be scattered everywhere, including on the cage itself, the floor, and the walls. Fortunately, cleaning up around a bird's cage can be done quickly and efficiently using a vacuum or a broom.
2. Birds Are Noisy
Another undeniable fact is that birds are noisy. While some birds, like canaries, create lovely music when they vocalize, others definitely do not. Some species create quite a ruckus—screaming and squawking loudly for several minutes or up to 10 to 30 minutes at a time. Decide just how much vocalization your nerves can tolerate when selecting which species of bird you want.
3. Birds Will Chew Anything
All pet birds will chew on whatever they can get their beaks into—this includes food, wood, cardboard, paper, plants, plastic, fabric, and woodwork—but there's a reason for this. A bird's beak grows continuously throughout its life and must be worn down or trimmed in order to prevent overgrowth. Thus, a bird's chewing is really self-maintenance. Besides creating messes, the frequent chewing can lead to the destruction of valuable items such as furniture, etc. The solution is to provide your pet bird with a variety of safe and fun toys to tear into and destroy to his or her heart's content.
4. Birds Molt and Produce Feather Dust
Molting is a natural process whereby a bird sheds its old feathers and grows new ones. This can go on for a while, and as a result, there will be plenty of feathers strewn about on the floor beneath the cage and floating in the air. When the new feathers are coming in, dust is produced, and there can be quite a bit of it that covers the floor, cage, and surroundings.
5. Birds Need Specialized Diets
If you want to keep your pet bird healthy and happy, you should make sure to give it a helping of fresh fruits and vegetables every day. Aside from the obvious fact of providing excellent nutrition, this will enable your bird to experience different tastes and textures, which will help to stimulate its mind.
6. Birds Will Bite
While they certainly are not overly aggressive about it, birds will bite anyone, including their owners. Many bird owners have had their nose, ears, or fingers bitten, with the extent of the injury depending on the size of the bird's beak.
7. Birds Need Socialization
While domesticated animals such as cats and dogs will generally remain tame even if their owners don't have much time to spend with them, birds are wild and need to be handled and socialized often to remain tame.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Monica Pocelujko
JC Scull on January 31, 2020:
Good article with important information about birds. For people with allergies molting could be a problem.
Pat from United States on January 20, 2020:
Good advice, I used to have parrots and all you said is true. I would like to add something I found out accidentally about my birds that help with the bond. Because you have to have your birds feathers trimmed to keep them from flying away, if you pick them up and hold both feet in your hands, carefully not to harm them, and run (not too fast) through your home they love this activity and will bond with you quicker. It is the next best thing to flying for them.