by Ryan Jo Summers
While browsing the web, I learned November is USDA Bird Awareness Health Month. Being a long time avian fancier, I went to investigate. Turns out it’s for poultry. Yet, that topic got me to thinking… How much do we know about companion pet bird health?
With the holidays upon us, it’s more important to be aware of our companion pet bird’s health. Care can be broken into the following categories: Diet, Housing, Hygiene, Environment, and Things to Avoid.
Companion Pet Bird Health Dos and Don’ts
Diet is just that; feeding the proper food formulated for your particular bird plus providing a variety of fresh fruits, nuts and vegetables. Fresh water is a must. Check websites for a list of foods to avoid giving your companion pet bird. Health issues can arise if they are given food like avocados, garlic, or undercooked eggs and meat.
Housing consists of a suitable sized cage, free of paint that can be chewed, and well stocked with perches, toys and a liner changed daily. Location should be where the household activity is, with fresh air but not drafty or in full bright sun.
Hygiene includes daily cleaning of the cage and perches, plus all cups. It means nail, beak and wing clipping as needed. Many birds enjoy bathing, so a small bathtub, gentle misting or even sharing a human’s shower are nice gestures and important for companion pet bird health.
Environment is providing a variety of toys to stimulate them physically and mentally. Actively cuddling, playing, singing and interacting with them is part of their social environment. How about music when you’re gone? Safely place their cage away from young children and other pets.
Lastly, when it comes to companion pet bird health, it’s important to avoid exposing them to air pollutants like smoke, fumes from aerosol sprays, deodorizers and non-stick cookware. Flighted birds should never be allowed near ceiling fans. If you have houseplants, check ASPCA.org for a list of poisonous ones. Holly, Poinsettia and Peace Lily are common holiday hazards.
With the holidays, we need to ensure our pets are not getting into cords, tinsel, ribbons or ornaments. Many birds like to chew, so be cautious with decorations that might be tempting to nibble.
Ryan Jo Summers has worked in animal welfare for around twenty years and is owned by a Blue-and-Gold Macaw named Taz. Learn more about them at www.ryanjosummers.com.