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Keeping birds


Birds need a nutritionally balanced diet to maintain their active lifestyle. With a variety of different species kept as pets, it is recommended that you invest time in researching exactly what foods best meet your bird’s requirements. If in doubt, your local veterinary practice will be able to advise you on exactly what to feed your bird to keep it fit and healthy. A good rule of thumb is that no more than 50% of your bird’s diet should be made up of seeds and nuts. Depending on the species, common examples of foods given to birds include fresh fruit and vegetables, millet, cuttlebone and grit, and egg food. Whatever you choose to feed to your bird, it is vital that you remember to wash its food thoroughly and remove it from its cage before it has the chance to spoil.


In the wild, birds try to disguise illness as much as possible to prevent them from being attacked by predators. This can make it extremely difficult to tell whether or not your bird is ill. The best way to do this is to become familiar with your pet’s normal habits and behaviours so that you can quickly spot anything that seems irregular or out of character. It is also important to keep a close eye on your bird’s appearance. Healthy birds are bright, responsive and have clean, shiny feathers. If your bird appears to be tired, ruffled, or hides its head under its wing, this could be a sign that your bird is unwell and it should be seen immediately by an avian veterinarian.

Living Environment

Birds need lots of space to fly around in and therefore you should purchase the biggest cage that you can afford. It needs to be at least double the bird’s wingspan in length, and must be suitable for the species of bird that you are looking to keep. Larger birds for example, such as parrots, need thick, strong bars so that they are prevented from bending the cage or putting their heads through the bars.

However, no matter how big the cage, it is cruel to lock a bird up all day and your pet should be granted regular access to household space. This space must be free from toxins as well as extremes of temperature, and ideally should be located where it will get to spend some time with you. Birds, like other animals, like to be kept entertained, so try and introduce different toys for them to play with at regular intervals.


Birds are easily frightened, and so it takes love and patience in order for your bird to allow you to handle it. Once purchased, you must give your bird time to adjust to its new environment and then introduce yourself a little at a time. Try sitting beside your bird’s cage and offering it small pieces of food through the bars. Although it may take several days, your bird should soon realise that you aren’t going to harm it and will take the food from your hand. Slowly but surely, your relationship with your bird should grow until it has complete confidence in you and will even return to your hand when called.

What you’ll need

Large Cage/Aviary
Food and Water Bowls
Bird Toys
Sand Paper or Paper Towel for Cage Bottom
Bird Bath


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