Choosing a Pet Bird
If you already provide feeding stations, bird baths and nest boxes in your garden you know how enjoyable it can be watching birds in their natural environment. Keeping pet birds can be a natural step on from caring for wild birds.
Keeping birds can be an incredibly rewarding experience. It is also a big commitment that will involve both time and costs. These should be fully considered as some birds can live very long lives.
What to consider when choosing a pet bird?
Here are some things to consider when thinking of keeping birds:
- Many traditional pet shop bird cages are too small for birds to live in long term. Small cages won’t offer an enriching environment for birds to thrive and satisfy their natural instincts.
- Birds can make a surprising amount of mess. Cages will need to be cleaned regularly to prevent smell, mites, lice and disease from spreading.
- Birds can be incredibly noisy especially if they are not mentally stimulated.
- Birds need daily interaction. Destructive grooming and repetitive behaviours are a sign of anxiety in birds that aren’t handled sufficiently or regularly given space and time to spread their wings and fly outside their cages.
- Not all pet birds are ethically sourced. Ensure you buy from a reputable breeder who can provide all the correct paperwork or look into rescuing from a sanctuary.
Which birds make the best pets?
Some of the most popular pet birds are not necessarily the most suitable. Scarlet Macaws can live up to 50 years in captivity and require lots of space to accommodate their size. Sadly, many pet trade Macaws are captured from the wild. Cockatoos and Exotic Parakeets have also risen in popularity over the years. Unfortunately, many end up in sanctuaries as they can become very noisy and destructive when bored.
Here is a list of five of the Easiest Birds to Keep as Pets
Budgies as pets
Budgies are fun, attractive birds that come in a variety of beautiful colours. Being one of the smaller parakeets they are intelligent and love to mimic sounds. Some have even been known to speak!
Male birds tend to be more chattery than females though, females tend to have a shriller tone. Budgies need to be kept in large horizontal cages, or sheltered outdoor aviaries with perches set at various heights.
They also need lots of toys to play with such as mirrors, bells, cuttlefish bones, millet, balls, non-toxic vegetation, swings, ropes and hideaways. Although, often shy at first, Budgies can become very tame when given plenty of human interaction, especially from a young age.
Doves as pets
A Dovecote can be a beautiful addition to any garden. If you already love watching wild birds but don’t want to commit to keeping a pet a Dovecote could be the perfect compromise. Doves, have natural homing instincts and will happily make a well maintained Dovecote their home once they are used to it.
Doves are not difficult to look after but you will initially need to ‘home them in’ using a nest box. ‘Homing’ is the method, or methods, used to settle the birds into a dovecote. You will have to ensure that your Dovecote is properly made and well lined and not situated near any trees, fences or walls to prevent predators from getting in.
Finches as pets
Finches are busy, chattery little birds that are fun to watch. They tend not to like being handled but some might be happy enough to perch on your finger. Finches must be kept in pairs or small flocks as solitary birds will quickly become lonely and depressed.
It is important to consult your breeder about which same sex pairs will be most likely to get along however as some breeds are less tolerant than others. Finches require a large, horizontal, rectangular cage or a sheltered outdoor aviary with plenty of perches at varying levels, non-toxic vegetation and toys to play with.
Canaries as pets
Canaries originate from Africa and come in a variety of colours. They are highly sociable so must be kept in pairs or small flocks. They generally don’t like to be handled so are perfect for those seeking a low maintenance bird.
Canaries have a pleasant song and are fun to watch. They require a large horizontal cage or sheltered outdoor aviary with various perches at different heights, natural, non-toxic vegetation and lots of toys to play with. If kept indoors they must be let out to fly in a secure room at least once a day.
Cockatiels as pets
Cockatiels are the number one pet bird in America. Its easy to see why.
Cockatiels are the clowns of the bird world. Their antics can be so amusing and given regular interaction they readily bond with their owners spending much of their time out of their cage perched on their favourite persons shoulder.
Cockatiels can be housed indoors in a large wire cage with a plastic base or outdoors in a purpose-built aviary. The cage should have perches at different heights and horizontal bars to allow for climbing.
Cockatiels are intelligent, active, social birds and require lots of daily time outside their cage to thrive.