Small Pet Birds
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Small Pet Birds
If you would like to get a pet bird but live in an apartment or other small living space, you should consider small pet birds. A small bird will bring you just as much joy as a large one, but will not take up as much space, eat as much food, or cost as much as a larger breed. Some of the best small birds to keep include finches, canaries, parrotlets and lovebirds.
Remember, however, that just because a bird is small, it does not mean you should not spend quality time with your pet or take great care of it, just as you would do with a larger breed. Remember to always follow best practices to keep your bird clean, happy and healthy.
Here are some short descriptions of the most popular small pet bird breeds to help your decide which one you would like to adopt.
Finches are small birds that make excellent pets and people have kept them as pets for a long time. With a 5-year lifespan, finches do not live nearly as long as parrots. However, if you keep your pet finch healthy, you will maximize your pet’s healthy lifespan. Finches, like many birds, tend to get nervous. So, when your bring your finch home for the first time, give it as much time as possible to get used to its new home. If possible, do not handle it.
Keep your bird away from drafts, harmful household chemicals, and even steam and cigarette smoke. All of these can be harmful to a bird’s sensitive respiratory system. Do not ignore the telltale signs of illness in your bird. These include sneezing, feathers that remained puffed for a long period time, and spending a lot of time at the bottom of the cage. Also be sure to note any changes in appetite, and bring your bird to the avian vet as soon as you notice any of these symptoms. Finally, always wash your hands before and after handling your finch.
Canaries are small pet birds that have been popular for hundreds of years. They have been known to live for up to 20 years, so make sure your are ready for the commitment. As always we recommend buying the largest cage you can afford for your canary. If you live in a warm climate, you may even consider building an aviary. An aviary or large cage will provide your bird with ample room to stretch its wings and exercise its muscles. Also, the more space you have, the better able you will be to mimic your bird’s natural habitat.
Make sure you stock the cage with lots of stimulating toys to ensure your bird’s intellectual and emotional well being. Plastic balls and mirrors are good choices. Also, you will need to add perches. Check out this blog post for some ideas on buying and improvising perches for your small pet birds.
Good hygiene is as important for canaries as it is for other types of pet birds. Therefore, make regular cleaning a habit. Replace the newspaper at the bottom of the cage every day, and be sure to provide fresh food and water daily.
Strive to feed your canary the best diet possible. Do not feed your bird a diet of just seeds, as seeds do not contain enough nutrition. Instead, provide a basic diet of pellets, along fresh fruits and vegetables on a regular basis. You can safely provide foods such as apples, bananas, blueberries, grapefruit, peaches and pears.
Even though parrotlets are small birds, they are also active, which means that you should provide a large cage. Since parrotlets are small birds, you should buy a cage with bar spacing no greater than 3/8″. Spacing as small as 1/2″ will work fine.
When choosing a spot for your bird’s cage, you should select a space that will bring your bird in contact with humans, but one that it also not too filled with commotion. Keep the cage away from all sources of smoke and steam, as well as harmful fumes and chemicals. We have written about about providing multiple cages for your pet birds, and this is a good idea. A cage for your parrotlets to use during the day, one for travel and one for sleeping is ideal. Place the nighttime cage in a quiet area, and place a cover over it, to ensure your bird gets plenty of quality sleep.
Stock your bird’s cages with plenty of interesting toys, especially the kind they can tear into with their beaks. We recommend a diet of pellets supplemented with plenty of fruits and vegetables for a healthy diet. However, stay away from beets, avocados and onions.
Lovebirds are known for their ability to bond and for their affectionate nature. For that reason, it is best to keep them in pairs. Lovebirds are very active, so it is best to buy them a large cage. A lovebird cage should be at least 32” x 20” x 20” (81 x 50 x 50 cm) per pair of birds. Add at least 4 perches, as well as the standard food and water dishes. For this, you cannot beat stainless steel. It will be a breeze to clean, and when you wash it, you need not wait until it is perfectly dry because it is not porous and will not retain water. Therefore, stainless steel is inhospitable for bacteria and very clean and safe for your pet birds.
If you would like a very tame bird, it is best to adopt one that has been hand-raised. However, even with a hand-raised bird, you will need to spend lots of quality time with your new avian companion if you would like to teach it how to do tricks. Even with lots of love and attention, you may not be able to teach your lovebirds to talk, as they are not generally very good mimics.
Even though you should keep lovebirds in pairs, your should be sure not to mix different species of lovebirds, as they will not get along and may fight. On the other hand, you will notice that bonded pairs are constantly grooming each other. If you absolutely must get only a single lovebird (not recommended!), you should spend lots of quality time with your bird as it will need plenty of constant affection!