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How to Prepare for a Pet Bird

Learn how to prepare for a pet bird in this Howcast video featuring veterinarian Laurie Hess.


Doctor Hess: So before you consider whether you should get a bird, you really really need to think, how much time do I have to spend with this animal. Birds are really really social creatures and the really need to be with people for several hours a day. They can't be just left in the cage and talked to for a few minutes. The really need to come out of their cage to interact with their owners. And what kind of bird you get is very important too. Do you want a big bird? Are you going to have a lot of time? Are you prepared to take care of this bird for a long number of years? Up to 40 for some of the larger birds. Or, are you going to just want to spend a few minutes a day with a bird and maybe want a Canary or a Finch. Something that's small, that doesn't require as much social time with you.

You need to figure out where in your house you're going to put this bird. Most birds need sunlight. They need fresh air. They need a lot of things to get them ready to be safe in your home. Sarah, what kind of things would we think about before getting a bird?

Sarah: I think another big consideration that people should make is the size of the cage that they have the ability to be put in their home. Say, this little guy requires a much smaller cage than our female Eclectus here. You want to find a safe place in the home, where they're going to maybe have a wall behind their cage so they don't feel out in the middle of the room, so they don't feel safe. You just want to make sure that you're going to be able to make the accommodations. Also, large cages can be very expensive. So, setting up for a larger bird can be much more of a financial adventure than a smaller bird. I think that's a really big consideration that sometimes people don't make immediately.

Doctor Hess: Finances are certainly a concern when you have a bird. Because, remember birds are not static. They chew up a lot of stuff. I spend hundreds of dollars every month, just getting bird toys for my Cockatoo. Who just chews up a toy in about 10 minutes. So you have to think about ongoing expense. Medical Expense for birds. You can't just get the bird and never bring him or her into the vet. They need check-ups every year, just like a dog or a cat would. You do need to replace perches. Get new things every day for them. They also require fresh produce. Most birds do fruits and vegetables. Which can be expensive. So you really want to think about time, your life style, are you home enough and whether you have the financial arrangement to be able to take care of a bird long term.

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