Throughout the centuries mankind has learnt how to get it right by getting it wrong. Every species has since the dawn of life has learnt through its mistakes, and evolved in order to get it right and survive (with the exception of our old friends, the dinosaurs perhaps).
How often have you found yourself saying ‘I will not do that again!’ Well it’s the same with bird keeping (or keeping any pets for that matter). Over the 10 years or so that I have been keeping and breeding pet birds I have made many mistakes and learnt not to repeat my failures.
Bird keeping or keeping any type of animal is a long learning curve, you learn more as you go along.
I have put together this list to help you so that hopefully you will not make some of these mistakes while bird keeping yourself, giving you a head start along the bird keeping road.
10 Bird Keeping Mistakes You Should NEVER Make
1. Do not put new birds in with any others you may have as soon as you get them home!
You don’t know if your new bird might be carrying some illness or virus that could be easily passed to your other birds. For this reason I suggest a ‘quarantine’ period of at least 2 weeks to see if your new bird is OK. Keeping your most recent feathered buddy in a cage on it’s own separated from your other birds is perhaps the best option.
2. Don’t feed your new bird the wrong food!
On bird keeping, this I mean you must find out what the previous owner has been feeding, then try and get the same food and introduce a different type or brand of feed gradually over a period of time, gradually increasing the food you want to give while decreasing the previous food. Sudden changes in bird keeping diet can play havoc with a bird’s digestive system.
3. Do not let your guests torment your bird or birds in any way!
Children especially are particularly efficient at this, but so are some adults. On the same vein you must not torment your bird yourself either. Loud noises – especially sudden ones, prodding your bird, shouting, and generally annoying your feathered pet can rapidly turn your beautiful, loving, tame bird into an annoying and aggressive monster that nobody likes.
4. Don’t give your birds water straight from the tap – or faucet to our US friends!
Mains supplied water contains some chemicals – used by the water company to supposedly keep your water safe – that could harm your bird. For bird keeping, clean, fresh rain water is best, but failing that if you use mains water then boil it and then allow it to cool before giving it to your birds, that way most toxins will be destroyed during the boiling process.
5. Do not feed your bird the same boring old food continuously!
Basically, the proprietary food or seed mix you give to your bird is fine as it’s staple diet, and so you should always have some available for your bird; but would you want to eat the same boring old stuff all the time? Didn’t think so; well it’s the same with your bird; staple food is fine but your pet bird requires some variety to his or her diet. Fresh vegetables, fresh fruit and nuts are an excellent extra food or for a special treat, preferably for both reasons.
6. Don’t force your bird to live it’s whole life alone in an empty cage!
Most birds that are commonly kept as pets are not solitary by nature and often live as part of a large flock, they enjoy company. They will soon get bored and depressed on their own, so if keeping just one be sure to interact with it and provide some toys to keep your pet bird occupied.
In bird keeping, you need to interact with them a little, but the best advice I can give is to keep 2 or more of these energetic little critters together, this way then can amuse each other.
7. Do not allow your bird’s water to go stagnant!
This can make them very ill. Change the water at least every day, sometimes more often. Even if fresh water was only given today as soon as it starts to look a little murky you need to change it. Be sure to wash out the water container thoroughly with clean water at each change.
8. Don’t allow your birds cage, aviary and fitting to get excessively soiled!
When things start to look messy, get cleaning! Bird droppings and other soiled items harbour germs, give everything a good wash (with a very week disinfectant solution if necessary, but be sure to rinse thoroughly). Clean out the cage or aviary, get rid of sand, shavings or whatever else is covering the base and replace with clean and new.
9. Do not over-exhaust you pet birds!
Just like us, your bird will need time to chill out and relax. Too much activity or too much heat (although many originate from tropical countries, during the hottest part of the day they tend to like a siesta in the shade somewhere) can cause exhaustion, and an over-exhausted bird is as good as dead.
10. Don’t buy or acquire adult birds and expect them to be tame!
Taming a bird begins when they are still young and have only just left the nest. For them to become tame they need to be nurtured and handled every day. If you get an adult bird that is tame it’s a bonus, but don’t expect it!