Useful Tips for Buying a Pet Bird
What exactly is a bird?
Birds are vertebrates that are physically distinguishable from other
members of the
class by the presence of feathers. These features not only maintain body
but also even out irregular body structure and contribute to streamlining
necessary for flying. Instead of arms or forelegs a bird has wings. The
strong but light and some of them are hollow. They have air sacks that
reach from the
lungs and separate the large flying muscle from other parts of the body.
are a kind of cooling systems to keep the muscles from overheating during
Birds like mammals are warm blooded and the normal temperature is about
C. Variations in external temperature are compensated for by the plumage.
If the bird
is too warm it folds its feathers close to the body because when there is
between the feathers there is no insulating effect, whilst when it gets
cold, it fluffs up
its feathers so that the air between them is heated by body warmth and
the bird is
covered with a nice layer of insulation Birds have no sweat glands hence
perspire. If they want to cool down they open also their beaks and pant
just like a
dog which also lack sweat glands.
Birds are visual creatures, orienting themselves primarily by sight.
Their sense of
hearing is also very acute, but their sense of smell is not very well
Important tips for buying a bird
When you decide to buy a bird it is wise to at least look around and
who already have birds. If you must pick out a bird by yourself, rely on
and your instinct and watch for the signs listed below. Take your time
when you go
to a pet shop and look the birds over carefully.
Watch out carefully for the following signs.
- Are the feathers smooth, clean and even?
- Or are they scragged and dirty?
- Are there bald spots, especially around the head and neck?
- Are they clean, and are the horny scales smooth?
- Or are they chapped looking with scales that stick out? Are there toes
partially missing? are the nails too long or crooked.
- Is the bird lively? Does it hop around, fly, eat, drink, preen itself,
and watch its
surroundings with interest?
- Or is it sitting still on its perch, feathers ruffled, eyes closed,
indifferent to what is going on around it?
If you observe even one of the negative signs listed, leave the bird
where it is,
but bring the problem to the sales person's attention, so that the sick
bird is properly
- Does the bird produce droppings regularly and without apparent effort?
the feathers around the vent clean?
- Or does it strain unsuccessfully, jerking its tail up and down? Are the
around the vent dirty and stuck together?
Know How for Buying Birds
Before you go out to purchase a bird you should familiarise yourself
bird's anatomy and the vocabulary to describe them. It pays to let the
know that you are not totally ignorant about birds.
The Correct Cage And Accessories
Today one can find a great variety of cages on the market. However, all
look for is a practical cage. Many features are ornamental which your
bird will not
appreciate at all. Keep in mind that the cage must be large enough and
your bird to be able to hop around properly and at least flap around in
the cage since
flying is impossible. It must have at least two perches measuring half an
diameter, made of hardwood or grooved plastic. Obviously there should be
a food and
water containers. These come in all shapes and sizes but they all serve
Nearly all birds love to take baths and often. Pet shops sell small "bath
all you have to do is to open the cage door and snap the bath house to
Obviously you must fill the bottom of the bath with clean water.
Care and Maintenance
You probably don't like to cat off dirty plates. Neither does your bird.
of the utmost importance in keeping birds healthy. Clean all containers
regularly and -
change the drinking water at least daily. The cage floor including the
perches are to be
cleaned weekly and replace the floor dressing. Observe the bird regularly
for signs of
unusual behaviour, illness etc. and seek advice.
A Bird's Diet
Mostly all finches eat primarily seeds, but they also need some fresh
food like lettuce
and fruit. Many commercial mixes designed specially for each breed are
available. If one keeps only a bird or two, it is advisable and
convenient to buy some
brand of these mixes. In addition to mixed seed offer greens to your bird
dandelion and fresh fruit. Always wash and dry them thoroughly and offer
quantities. Too much may cause diarrhoea. However, if green food is
digestive system will return to normal in a few days.
The Trip Home
When you have made your selection and bought a bird it will be handed to
you in a
cardboard box or a paper bag with air holes. Take care where to place it
especially if it
is in a paper bag as it may get crushed or escape. Also do not put it in
a plastic bag as
it might be suffocated.
Basic Rules for Acclimatizing the Bird
When you get home, everything should be ready for the new arrival. The cage
must be completely equipped and food and water set out so that the bird can be
released as quickly as possible from the confinement of its paper prison. Of
course, you will previously have considered the most suitable place for the cage.
Choose a quite, bright and most important, draft-free spot.
When the bird is safely inside his new cage, close the cage door slowly and step
back a few feet. Naturally you will be curious to see what the bird does, but hold
back and allow him to get acquainted with the cage without you hovering over him
at this difficult moment. Most pet birds have lived in domesticity for centuries
and chances are that your bird will quickly adjust to his new life.
If you check your bird daily, you will know right away when it gets sick. The
patient can often be saved if the right treatment is initiated in time. But you are
advised not to experiment with home remedies unless you have a lot of experience
in handling sick birds. You will probably do more harm than good. Seek advice
either from a veterinarian or the Bird Breeders' Association.
Donated by the Birds Breeders Association Club visit BBA club website