- As a dog learns
to sit, stay, & come on command, a bird
should learn to step up and step down on command
from anywhere, especially from
their cage. Never allow the bird to climb out of
the cage on its own. This is a rule that will allow
you to stay in control of a pet bird and
avoid problems later. Approach from below with
shoulder (or on top of head) rides. A bird may
eventually decide to knock the other bird off of
its branch, which is your head. Another rule that
may prevent problems later.
head/heart rule: Keep the bird’s head below your heart.
This includes areas where they perch, and also refers to the height of
their cage. This may prevent later problems. The dominant bird (the owner)
gets the highest "branch".
- A bird should learn to stay where they are placed.
Reward with treats.
- "Mr. Towel" is
a friend. Towel play is very important; a bird
will be wrapped in a towel for wing/nail trims and medical
Playing towel games will condition them to not be
stressed for towel restraint. Start with placing
your bird onto a towel on your lap, a table,
or the floor.
- Take a pet
bird in the shower with you. This is an easy way to spend time
with them each
spray bottles "like
rain" for baths.
- A bird’s
job is to turn big things into little things. The more stuff to
in the cage the better, and the less
likely they will
develop behavior problems such as screaming and
self mutilation. Supplement the pelleted diet with
orange pulpy (squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes),
green leafy (romain lettuce, parsley, broccoli)
veggies. Provide lots of other stuff to tear up:
fruit tree branches (washed) or other tall
trees (no bushes), cardboard and boxes, toilet
paper roll, pine dowels, metal spoons, rope swings,
and a concrete perch (no sand paper).
- Verbally communicate
with your bird. Some will stay
in touch when you are in another room by whistling
to you, so whistle back.
can be housebroken. Take them out of cage,
then replace in 20-30 minutes (before they have
next BM), reward for having BM in cage.
- Handle nippy birds with a towel around your hand
or hand held perches such as PVC pipe or a dowel
rod or branch. If a bird clamps onto your finger
and will not let go, place it on the floor,
tap the beak, stick something else in beak for
them to bite. Just as with cat claws do not pull
- We highly recommend
a complete pelleted diet without any artificial
coloring. I recommend Harrison’s Bird Food (
founded by an avian veterinarian ). The most common
problems we see are diet
- *For more complete
information buy these two books. If I could, I would make them
mandatory reading if
you own a pet bird: "Guide
to a Well Behaved Parrot" written by Mattie Sue Allen, and "Birds
for Dummies". Birds can live so long that they may be passed on
to your children. It is very important to give them
a good health and behavior start. I may see your same bird on the last
day of practice
as a veterinarian. It is in my best interest to help
you with your bird’s
health and behavior. Please call with questions,
and bring them in annually for a check up on their
health and behavior.
is adapted from the "Guide to a Well Behaved Parrot",
and "Birds for Dummies".
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