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BIRD / health & care

Caring for Your Bird

A parakeet, canary, and other flying creatures to take under your wing

Overview

The feathered nest: keeping it fresh

Birds are fun-loving — and, like little kids, when they have a good time, they can make a mess. You’ll want to clean spilled food out of your bird’s cage daily; you should also remove any droppings. One a month, take your feathered friend and all of their toys out of the cage and deep-clean it.

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Grooming your bird

Keep your bird clean, healthy and safe with regular “showers” (that is, a nice mist from a spray bottle), nail clipping, beak care and possibly wing-feather trims. Since birds are fragile and, well, flighty, be sure to ask your veterinarian to teach you how to groom your new pet before you attempt it on your own. Once you’re comfortable with grooming, you may want to purchase a spray bottle, plus a special bird nail trimmer and styptic for pedicures.

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Birds just wanna have fun

Birds love to socialize with their pet parents. Try talking, whistling or humming to them when you feed them or clean their habitat. Eventually, your bird might even answer back.

Depending on the species, your bird may coo (dove), whistle (canary), chirp (parakeet) or repeat your phrases (some parrots). Some birds love listening to music—including conures, a class of parrot, who will bob their heads to the beat.

Some species can even learn tricks. If you want to train your bird, keep in mind that they’re all about being rewarded with treats. Some even respond well to clicker training.

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While you’re away from the roost

Because birds are such social creatures, they need plenty of stimulation when you’re not home. Keep them occupied in their cage with toys, especially puzzles, and make sure there’s enough going on in their environment. The best way to do this is consider their five senses:

  • Sight: Make sure they have something interesting to look at, such as a mirror.
  • Sound: Play the radio at a soft volume; music or talk are both good!
  • Smell: Give your bird citrus or mint to chew on — the scent is soothing.
  • Taste: Feed your bird different kinds of food, leave special treats in a dispenser, or hang leaves and fruit for them to discover.
  • Touch: Rotate their toys every week and provide perches with different textures.
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