Picking a Pet Bird
When selecting a pet bird, choose one that is right for your situation. Impulse buying of pet birds can lead to problems.
Important considerations include:
- Space requirements
- Amount of care required
- Life span
- Whether or not it was hand fed
Most captive bred birds are now hand-fed. This practice results in much tamer and better-adjusted pets. Hand-fed youngsters are often 2-5 times more expensive than those that are not. Not all hand-fed birds are equal. Young birds, which are simply fed and then left isolated until the next feeding, are not as human-friendly as birds which get lavished with extra attention between and at meal times. Birds obtained directly from breeders are more likely to have been hand-fed than birds purchased from a pet store.
It is best to wait until a young bird is weaned before taking it home. While many people enjoy the bonding experience of hand-feeding their bird, if not done correctly severe medical problems can develop. The weaning process also takes experience to be done successfully. Most breeders will void health guarantees if a bird is taken home before it is weaned.
Younger birds are easier to tame and train. They may also come with a health agreement or guarantee, which the mature bird usually, does not. For most common breeds of cage birds (Budgies, cockatiels), it is best to get a bird which is 2-3 months old.
In many species there is marked difference between the temperaments of male and females. Male budgies are usually better talkers and less aggressive than females of this species. If you are interested in a singing canary, you will want to purchase a male. Female cockatiels are thought to be less aggressive than their male counterparts.
Before buying a bird, find out as much information as possible about the species in which you are interested. While large parrots are beautiful and can be excellent talkers, they can also be very loud, messy, and require very large cages. Most large parrots are very intelligent and need a significant amount of out of cage time and attention from their human family members to help prevent behavior problems. Parrots are very long-lived with smaller species like cockatiels and budgerigars living about 12-20 years while large cockatoos and macaws may live more than 60 years.
Talk to other people who have the type of bird that you are interested in. Local bird clubs or online forums are excellent resources to learn about first-hand experience with a given species. Please feel free to contact our office for more information as well.