The Bird FAQ

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about birds. If you have a question which is not on this page, please e-mail me so I can post it.

What birds can talk? Unfortunately, many people use this to determine what type of bird they should purchase. It doesn't matter. Birds are not decorations, but highly sensitive and emotional pets. Some of the top talkers are: budgies, ringnecks, amazons, African greys, quakers, mynas, and kakarikis. Some birds will never talk, some only talk when no one is around, others only talk when they feel like it. Whistlers include: greys, rosellas, and cockatiels. Whistlers can talk, but prefer trills, beeps, and whistles.

What do I feed my bird? Birds require a balanced diet to avoid health problems later on. Carrots (with the tops), beans, corn, peas, apples, oranges, kiwis, bread, squash, Crazy Corn, parsley, and pasta are some good foods. You can feed birds seed, if you give them supplements as well as all the other things I mentioned. Pellets are a good substitute for seed, but other foods should be fed as well.

The seed I buy says it's supplemented. Isn't that okay? No. The supplements on seed are often sprayed or coated on. Since birds shell their seed before eating it, none of these vitamins will be eaten. Nekton is a good vitamin which can be added to the soft food.

Should I clip my bird's wings? Yes. Clipping prevents injury and escape. Don't worry, it does not hurt the bird. If you don't know how, take your bird to a vet who can show you. Both wings should be clipped. Birds with a one wing clip can still fly but are way off balance. This can lead to health problems and the bird could fly into things and hurt itself.

What type of cage do I buy? Here are my rules for cages: They should have many horizontal bars. They should be square, not round, and wider than they are tall. Large door for easy access. The smaller the bird, the larger the cage needs to be proportionately (finches need huge cages). The bars should be close together so that birds can't get their heads through. Uncolored newspaper (or white paper) should be put at the bottom. Never use corncob litter, it grows bacteria and fungi. Find a cage that is easy to clean and service. Buy the biggest cage you can afford.

What things are toxic/dangerous to my birds? Teflon, avocado, smoke, chocolate, the pits of fruits, that stuff that's supposed to make your house smell nice (that you plug into the wall), electric wires, ceiling fans, open containers of water (toilet), poisonous plants, open windows, cats, dogs, young children, irresponsible children, and aerosols.

How can I tell if my bird is sick? Birds hide signs of illness until their about to drop dead. If you bird looks sick take it to an avian vet immediately! Symptoms include: lethargy, runny nose, sneezing, abnormal breathing, trouble perching, too quiet, sitting on bottom of cage, etc. Never rely on stupid home remedies or store-bought drugs. You are not a veterinarian! You could kill your bird very easily by giving them the wrong drug!

I don't have time to play with my bird! How do I bond with it? Birds do require a lot of attention. The best way to bond with your bird is just to spend time with it. Keep a perch in the livingroom so it can be a part of the family. Let it sit on your shoulder while you watch TV or surf the net. Birds just like to be with you. You don't have to "take them for a walk" or "play" with them like you would a dog. Just let them be with you often, and give them some good head scritches!

Feisty Feathers

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