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The Essentials of Owning a Bird

With several pets of his own at home, Dakota has plenty of experience under his belt when it comes to caring for animals.

What you need to take care of a pet bird

What you need to take care of a pet bird

Have you decided to get a fine-feathered friend? Or do you just want to know if you're doing right by the bird you already have—ensuring you have the right essentials for the health and happiness of your little noisemaker? Some people think caring for a bird simply requires a cage and the toss of a few bread crumbs; they couldn't be more wrong.

What Are the Essentials of Caring for a Bird?

Caring for a bird the right way requires a lot more effort. But we can assure you that it is so rewarding! Birds are fragile creatures, and you should care for them just as you would a baby. Fortunately, it is pretty easy to care for a bird appropriately. Here’s what you need for that and why you need it.


A birdcage should be made of a non-toxic, strong material that is easy to clean and does not have any sharp protrusion that could injure your bird. It should be wide enough for your bird to fully extend its wings with ease and high enough to accommodate its long tails. The rule of thumb here is that a birdcage ought to be big.

You may want to get two cages; the normal cage where it would spend most of its days and an even smaller one that would come in handy for traveling or trips to the vet.

Related: Best Cockatiel Cages

Cage Liners

You don’t need anything fancy for this part. A cage liner paper, newspaper, or paper towels will do just fine. Paper liners would help you monitor your bird's droppings for health problems, and it is also easy to clean out.


A perch is important for your bird's comfort. It should be wide enough that the bird's toes do not overlap around them. You can buy a bird perch from a pet store, or you can make one yourself by attaching two branches on each side of the cage with a small bracket or uncoated wire. However, you need to ensure that the wood is completely chemical-free and not toxic.

Set the perch away from the food and water bowls to discourage it from eating or drinking too much.


There are specially formulated foods for birds. These are usually in the form of pellets. This type of food can be gotten at any local vet store close to you. Birds can also have fresh or dried fruits and vegetables, nuts, beans, and cooked brown rice.

Do not give your bird food such as; onion, garlic, avocado, chocolate, or alcohol (obviously) since these foods are extremely toxic for birds.

Water and Food Bowls

Usually, many bird food and water dishes have a built-in perch and a ledge that a bird can stand on as it eats or drinks. A ceramic or metal bowl is the perfect dish for birds; it should be wide rather than deep to encourage your bird to try out new food items.

You need to clean out these bowls every day. Yes, every day! Birds are extremely fragile, and you don't want anything happening to your tweety as a result of something it ate or drank.


Every pet should have a plaything to play with. Appropriate bird toys could be pine cones, rawhide, and soft white pine. This would help to keep the beak healthy and will keep your bird energetic and active. Woods such as redwood, cedar, or balsa wood are dangerous for bird health.

Cleaning Products

Mild dish soaps can be used to clean the food and water dish and plain white vinegar diluted with water is a great multi-purpose cleaner for the cage and toy. If you’re dealing with a really tough mess on rugs or furniture, an enzyme cleaner in a spray bottle would do the trick. A bottle brush and plain towels are the only cleaning items that are needed to clean out the cage.

What Preventive Measures Should I Take?

No Candles or Air fresheners

Scented candles, oil diffusers, air fresheners, and other chemical products may be harmful to your pet. Why? Birds have extremely sensitive respiratory systems, which can get easily irritated by chemicals or even fumes from cookware. If your bird inhales these fumes for a long time, it could suddenly die from them.

Discuss with your vet how to go about freshening your home and the type of cleaning supplies needed.

No Smoking

Cigarette smoke can pose a threat to the health of your bird. If you need to smoke, do so outside and a safe distance away from any open windows. Wash your hands and change clothing after smoking before handling your bird.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.