This is an exciting time. You’ve decided to adopt a pet bird as a new member of your family and lifetime companion. But before you bring him home, you’ll want to make sure your home is both safe and stimulating for your feathery fella.
Any time you bring a new pet into your home—turtle, cat, dog—you’ll want to understand his natural instincts and needs. In order for a bird to be happy, he’ll need plenty of time spent out of his cage while indoors. But before you let him explore your home, you’ll need to bird-proof it to make sure it’s safe.
Do you have a dog? Cat? In order to keep everyone safe, don’t take chances by letting your bird fly around while your cat is in the same room if she loves to hunt mice. No matter how good-natured your cat is, you don’t want her instincts kicking in while your pet bird is stretching his wings.
And young children might think it’s fun to poke a stick through the cage but your bird might think otherwise. In fact, he can easily get hurt. Make sure your kids know how to be gentle and careful with your bird.
Birds are curious. They like putting things in their mouth. That means you’ll have to get rid of all of the hazards in your home, or at least hide them in a drawer. Paperclips, candy, anything you think wouldn’t be good for your bird’s health. The last thing you want is for your bird to injure himself or make himself sick (or worse).
Birds love wood so when you let your pet parrot out to fly, supervise! In addition to ruining your furniture, he could be poisoned by the chemicals and paint in it. Provide wood toys to make your wood furniture less appealing.
Birds like shiny objects, so put away all wires, jewelry, keys and other things that look enticing. They contain heavy metals and can have potentially fatal effects for a bird.
Bottom line? Bird-proof your home before you bring your pet bird home.
Be sure to buy the proper cage. Old cages used to be made with powder coating containing zinc, which can cause metal toxicity. Purchase a new cage that is intended for the breed of your bird. Cage accessories like ceramic bowls shouldn’t contain lead and the bars must be spaced enough that your feathery fella can’t get his head stuck.
Don’t let your bird eat anything that has come into contact with your mouth. The bacteria is foreign to birds and can be harmful. Offering your bird a small amount of food can help with bonding and socialization, but be sure not to give him food that is toxic to birds like onions, avocado, yeast dough, alcohol, caffeine, or anything high in salt or fat.
Keep a stable temperature for your bird. And make sure your pet bird is kept in an area away from any drafts (that includes the front door and living room window).
Be careful of the types of plants you have in your home. Many common houseplants are highly toxic to birds. Gastrointestinal upset is a common sign that your bird ate something toxic and a poisoning can easily turn fatal. Bring him to your veterinarian or Animal Emergency Services immediately.
Your bird’s toys should be inspected to ensure that they don’t contain loose fibers or strings that can wrap around his toes and cut off circulation.
It might seem overwhelming to bird proof your home, but take it a step at a time and don’t be afraid to ask your vet or another reliable source if you’re unsure about a particular plant, food, or other item. Regularly check each room of your house for potential hazards and daily monitor your bird for any sign of illness. Help your bird stay safe so he can live a long and healthy life with you.
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