Birds are very social animals, regardless of their surroundings. In the wild, they socialize with other birds, and in captivity, they either live in couples, or they get very friendly with their owners. Domesticated birds require attention 24/7.
If you don’t have the time to take good care of your bird for the entire day, every day, then you should consider getting another one, since they thrive in groups and pairs.
Some birds need more play time than others, especially larger parrots. However, this doesn’t mean that smaller birds don’t require a large amount of work and handling. All birds need a lot of love and attention to keep them happy, healthy, and friendly.
Due to their social nature, birds need other birds in order to survive longer or a healthy connection with their owner.
However, a human can never really replace a bird partner. Usually, a bird that is left alone will most likely develop mental problems. Be aware of strange behavior, like feather plucking and biting their own feet, for this will require veterinarian care.
What exactly do birds need
Before you decide to get your own bird pet, there are some things that you need to consider first. First, and foremost, it is very important that you have the time for taking care of a bird before getting one.
We are talking about good quality and quantity time spend with your pet bird. Then, it would be best if you considered the lifespan of the bird.
Are you going to be devoted to it daily for the next 30-50 years? Are you going to be able to take care of it when you grow older or when you have more responsibilities?
Another important matter to look into is the size of the cage it needs. Depending on the size of the bird, the cage needs to be big enough to allow more freedom of movement.
You will need to find out what type of food it requires and how often you need to feed it and give it water. Here are a couple of articles you should read:
Healthy social behavior
Your bird will need your attention most of the day, but that depends on the species and the size. Some birds require more attention than others. In most cases, it is recommended to get at least two birds of the same species.
If you think that it is okay to keep only one bird, you should read the following articles:
- 9 facts that show why birds should not be left alone
- 9 reasons why birds should be kept at least in pairs
Another thing I should probably mention is the noise level of the bird. Are you prepared for the noises your bird will make? All these points will help you see whether you are ready to own a bird or consider another pet.
So, you already found your bird, and you are wondering what comes next? Whatever bird you own now, it needs daily care, and you need to develop a daily routine, which includes the following:
- Feeding: It is a good idea to consult with a veterinarian first before you start giving your pet food like pellets, seeds, fruits, and vegetables
- Hydration: Clean and fresh water should be provided to your bird daily. Sometimes you will need to change the water twice a day
- Cage cleaning: Keeping a clean cage at all times stops bacteria growth and helps maintain a healthy bird
- Veterinary checkups: These checkups are usually done twice a year, but if you feel there is something wrong with your bird, then you need to visit a veterinarian without waiting
- Socialization and playtime: Because of their social nature, birds require daily attention. It would be best if you found the time to play with your pet and even consider getting your bird a partner
Birds that require less attention
You would be surprised, but birds are a lot easier to take care of than any four-legged pet. While you won’t be able to find a no-maintenance bird, some species are much easier to look after than others.
- Birds that don’t really need 24/7 babysitting are doves, canaries, finches, parakeets, and cockatiels. These birds are low-maintenance and an excellent choice for first-time owners
- They do not need much time for socialization, which can be a relief for someone with a busy schedule
- These birds are usually kept in pairs or groups, so they always have company, if you are not around to tend to them
Even if these birds don’t require constant attention, there are some things that you need to include in your daily routine to keep them happy and healthy.
- Make sure your birds have lots of toys to play with to entertain themselves
- Always keep the cage clean, feed them daily, and change the water often (Here are 10 cage cleaning tips that will help you!)
- Remember, a male canary will sing for you if he is happy
- When you are at home, give your bird as much attention as you can
- These birds can learn tricks with practice and patience, like sitting on your finger
Finally, no matter the bird, it will still need a good amount of attention. If you do spend enough time with your bird daily, and you want to bond with it, you can have one instead.
Birds that require more attention
Many people choose a big bird over a small one because they are easily trainable. But, what most people don’t realize is that bigger birds require more work.
The list of birds who need more attention includes big parrots such as African Greys, Amazons, Cockatoos, and Macaws.
Although these beautiful creatures are the most challenging and demanding pets, they make excellent companions. Greys and Amazons especially, since they have excellent talking abilities.
If you are thinking of getting any of these parrot species, you need to get ready to spend a good amount of time to take care of them. These birds are not the right choice for someone who has a busy schedule and travels a lot.
They are very demanding and require daily socialization. If you are gone for most of the time, a bird like this will get bored. Consequently, the bird will develop a behavior problem which may manifest in screaming, feather plucking or biting.
Also, it is very important to consider the bird’s life span before you get one. Some species live 50 years. Are you willing to commit to your bird for that long? Will you be able to take good care of it daily for maybe your entire lifetime?
Beginner species to consider
If you are determined to own a bird and you are new to this, you should consider smaller species like Finches, Canaries, Budgies, and Cockatiels.
These adorable birds are very friendly, quiet, and relatively easy to tame if the bird is young. Spending two hours of quality time with these species is enough.
It is wise to get a big cage and get plenty of toys for your bird to entertain itself. It will keep itself busy while you are not there.
Make sure you change the toys every week as parrots are smart and get bored quickly. Birds shouldn’t feel alone, and if you are gone for most of the day, make sure you turn the cage, so it faces the street.
It helps keep them entertained since they love watching at people and cars passing by. Leaving the radio on is a good trick too because it makes them feel like they are not alone.
Also, and probably most important is to consider getting two of the same because these birds enjoy living in couples.
There are many other birds for first-time owners that you might want to consider including Lovebirds, Parrotlets, grey-cheeked Parakeets, Quaker Parrots, Pionus Parrots, and Poicephalus Parrots.
Zebra Finches, Lovebirds, Parakeets, and Canaries should always be kept in pairs, as they don’t tend to bond with humans as much as a Hyacinth Macaw would.
Also, it is important to have a big cage if you have two birds, because the bigger the cage, the more comfortable the birds are. As a result, they are more active, playful, and happier birds.
From Doves to Finches, Canaries to Parakeets, there are many birds that don’t require much attention but still make wonderful companions, because they are quiet, sociable, and easy to tame.
Is owning a bird cruel? A domesticated bird considers its cage as its safe place. Having a bird is no crueler than it is to own a dog. Birds that are well taken care of by their owners feel less stressed, and they are happier and healthier than the birds in the wild. They also live longer.
How can you tell if your bird is happy? Life in captivity does not have to mean a death sentence for birds. Owners who take good care of their bird pets may notice changes in their behavior such as whistling, singing, and talking. These are all signs that your bird likes you and is happy in your home.
Do birds die when their mate dies? Birds can feel the difference between having a mate and being lonely. When a bird loses a partner, the experience is traumatic to them. They do not grieve as humans do, but their behavior changes, including loss of appetite and loss of will to play. Getting another bird will help tremendously.