So you are thinking of getting a new pet bird. Before you do you need to be sure that you have the right home set up for your new bird before you take it home. Here are the basic housing requirements for all small pet birds.
Whether you are going for a budgie, cockatiel, lovebird, parakeet, finch or some other type of small pet bird the accommodation is basically the same and the only difference depends on the size of your new charge.
Cage or aviary.
This mainly depends on the space you have available and whether or not you want to keep just one pet bird or a number of them. All small pet birds will be happy in either, however you must be sure that your new friend has enough space to be given relative freedom. You wouldn’t want to live your entire life in the closet would you? Neither would your pet bird! Space is required to move about and not be cramped.
If going for a cage you need to go for the biggest one you can comfortably afford, but be sure it’s secure so your bird cannot escape, the cage bars need to be close enough together for the same reason. Go for metal, not wood, with a plastic base for easy cleaning.
Furnish your cage with perches of varying thickness and set some at an angle rather than perfectly horizontal, some horizontal, some angled, and even some almost upright would be perfect. The different thicknesses and angles will encourage your bird to exercise and possible save it from a foot cramp. If you can only have one of each of the above that will be fine but a few more is better, don’t overdo it though and leave room for your pet bird to move freely. On the subject of perches; natural wood is the best option, but be sure it is hygienically clean, give it a scrub if you need to.
As a general rule finches need company and parrot type species (budgie, cockatiel etc.) need toys, so incorporate this in your cage; keep finches in pairs or more, and parrot type in pairs or alone with plenty of toys.
Parrot type species love to chew so be certain to assure that anything in the cage is safe.
Your bird needs to have a minimum of enough space to fully spread its wings and height is better than width as most cage birds will climb rather than fly.
If however you have enough space for an aviary then this is by far a better choice as it is the closest your pet bird will get to its natural environment. Lots of room to fly, climb, rummage and explore; plus if kept with others then the opportunity to get away from the others when things get too much.
A group of birds, even of different species, can be kept together in an aviary with enough room for all, but be sure to check the compatibility with other species. As an example lovebirds aught to be kept with birds of their own species as they will become territorial and aggressive towards others. Budgies however can live happily with other birds of a similar size (except lovebirds) or finches, as long as they have room to get out of each others way if they choose.
If introducing your new bird to an aviary colony you must first keep it in quarantine for a few weeks before letting it loose in the aviary with the others, this is to ensure that any issues with your new bird can be addressed before release. A decent sized cage as mentioned above will be fine, or a small aviary separate from the others.
Aviaries, like cages come in many shapes and sizes; shop around for the best deal or better still, build your own (the essentials to building your own aviary will be covered in my next article).
Again make sure that the aviary is well furnished with safe branches, perches, shelter, toys (if required) etc. with no escape routes.
Your aviary can be indoors (in a shed or outbuilding, or in the home) or outdoors (on the garden for example), and don’t worry about the comfort and warmth of an outdoor aviary as most popular small pet birds are very hardy.
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Keeper and breeder of pet birds for 10 years.
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