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Small pet advice: keeping birds happy and healthy

Birds in cages need special care if they are to thrive at home

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Don't get in a flap

A bird such as a budgie, canary or parakeet can make a very rewarding pet, but because they are designed for flight, you do need to take special care to look after them properly. They need as much space as possible, plus toys and lots of attention to keep them stimulated. Food and drink are important too, but as each species has different requirements, contact Vets4Pets for advice.

Housing your pet bird

The main thing to remember when buying a bird cage is that the bigger, the better! Even the smallest birds need plenty of room otherwise they will become very miserable, so make sure there’s enough room for your bird to fly around between perches. Clean the cage regularly, and line the bottom with paper so droppings can be removed easily.

Bathing your bird

Bird’s need to bathe every day so that their skin and feathers stay healthy, but never use any type of soap or detergent as this will strip the feathers of essential oils. For small birds, provide a bird bath in the cage – one or two inches of water will be enough, and the bird will bathe itself. For larger birds, spray with lukewarm water from a mister, or let the bird bathe in the kitchen sink.

Entertaining your bird

Provide toys in the cage for your bird to play with, but change them regularly to prevent your pet getting bored. They particularly love toys they can nibble or take apart to find food. Most birds should be allowed out of the cage regularly for exercise, but make sure windows and doors are closed first. Draw the curtains too to stop your bird hitting the window.