Responsibilities of Pet Bird Ownership
Posted May 11, 2017
adding a dog or cat to the family is out of the question, pet birds
are extremely intelligent and form strong bonds with their owners.
However, because companion birds are so smart, they need plenty of
mental stimulation and attention to be happy in their environment.
Before you choose to adopt or purchase a pet bird, Dr. Sharman
Hoppes, clinical associate professor at the Texas A&M College
of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, recommended doing
your research on the responsibilities of pet bird ownership.
“A pet parrot of any size is not a low-maintenance or
inexpensive pet,” Hoppes said. “Depending on the species and age,
the bird itself will vary in cost. Pet bird owners also need a
large cage, play gyms, multiple toys, and perches in different
textures and diameters to prevent foot problems.”
The species and number of birds present will determine the
amount of time pet owners should spend caring for their birds.
However, Hoppes said this does not mean you have to hold your bird
for hours a day. Being at home and having the bird out of its cage
on a play gym or perch will keep the bird happy.
Additionally, parrots require fresh fruits and vegetables, as
well as a formulated diet that can be purchased at pet stores. If
pet birds are not properly fed, health problems may occur. However,
taking your bird for regular veterinarian check-ups can generally
help pick up potential health issues early.
“Birds can get sick because owners are not feeding them properly
or they are inappropriately housed,” Hoppes said. “Trauma from
falling or bites from other pets also are common. In addition,
older birds can develop heart and liver disease, as well as
Some birds, such as parrots, also can develop behavioral issues
if owners do not interact with them frequently or do not provide
toys or time out of their cages. Parrots that are not interacted
with regularly may scream excessively, bite, and even harm
themselves by plucking their own feathers.
To prevent diseases and behavioral issues, bird owners should be
prepared for yearly veterinarian exams. Even if your pet bird looks
and acts healthy, Hoppes said regular veterinarian visits still are
crucial to your bird’s health.
“Birds are prey animals and will hide signs of illness, which
makes it difficult to catch early signs of disease,” Hoppes
explained. “Yearly exams and blood work can help catch disease and
behavioral issues early.”
If you’re thinking about getting a new pet, a companion bird may
be for you. However, be sure to consider the amount of time you
have to dedicate to a pet bird. Birds are flock animals and need to
feel like they are part of the family, so giving them plenty of
attention and mental stimulation is critical in maintaining their
Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine
& Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. Stories can be
viewed on the web at vetmed.tamu.edu/pet-talk.
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