You need a cage thatís large enough for her to stretch her wings and fly short distances. A typical cage for small birds should be about 25 inches tall and 25 inches from front to back. To prevent escape or injury, the bars on the cage should only be .4 inches apartóa little larger than the tips of your fingers. Note that canaries and finches prefer a cage thatís wider than it is taller, while parakeets and cockatiels like tall cages with horizontal bars they can climb. And donít forget perches, please! Youíll need to install several, at varying heightsóand do make sure that one is level with the food dishes.
Line the bottom of the cage with plain paper or paper bags cut to size. Newspaper is fine, as long as itís been printed with non-toxic, soy-based inks. Youíll need to change the paper daily.
Where should you set up your birdís new home? Location is everything. Place the cage in a warm, bright part of the house, close to where the action is but away from all drafts and direct sunlight, and off the floor. Avoid setting up the cage in or near the kitchen at all costs. Birds are extremely sensitive to fumes, and those from self-cleaning ovens and Teflon-coated cookware, if overheated, can be fatal.
Although seed has been the traditional staple of a birdís diet, most experts recommend pelleted food as the way to go. Seed mixes provide variety, but they do not always provide optimum nutrition, and are definitely on the messy side. We recommend a high-quality pelleted food thatís formulated for your birdís species.
Be sure to offer fresh veggies and fruits to your bird every day. Dark, leafy greens are packed with vitamins, and many birds also enjoy carrots and broccoli. Common fruity faves are apples, pears, melon and kiwi. Take care to remove any uneaten food after a couple of hours, and please do not give your bird avocado, cherry pits, rhubarb or apple seeds.
Fresh, cold water should be available at all times. Change it at least once a day, preferably twice.
If your cockatiel or budgie has been properly tamed and trained, sheíll need at least an hour of exercise out of the cage in a safe, enclosed room every day. She may just want to hang out on your shoulder, or enjoy the time to explore. Be sure to always secure the room first by shutting all windows and doors, and cover any windows or mirrors so your bird cannot accidentally fly into them.
Even though finches and canaries do not take to handling and do not need time out every day, they will appreciate a revolving selection of toysóas do cockatiels and budgies. Small birds may enjoy ladders, swings and mirrors with bells, and wooden chew toys are great for keeping beaks trimmed. Check out whatís available at the pet supply store, and just make sure that the toys you select are safe and appropriate for your birdís size and species. They should be labeled accordingly, but donít hesitate to ask if you are unsure.
A thorough cleaning of your petís cage is required once weekly. Remove and wash the cage tray and perches, and wash the area around the cage. Make sure all toys are clean and damage-free, without loose or broken parts that could hurt your pet. Once a month, youíll need to clean the entire cage with a disinfectant solution. Rinse well, and dry everything before returning your bird to his cage.
If you have a budgie or cockatiel, you can begin to hand tame your bird after the first few weeks of getting acquainted. First, open the cage door and insert your hand; talk softly and reassuringly to your pet as you offer him a little treat, such as a piece of air-popped popcorn or a sunflower seed. Be patient, this may take a few sessions! Once your bird trusts you enough to take food from your hand, you can pass a perch or thin stick into the cage and gently press it against your pet; with time, he should hop up onto the stick. After that, you can work to get your bird to step from the stick onto your finger.
You can help keep your petís plumage looking perfect with a bath as often as he likes it. Put a shallow dish at the bottom of the cage and see what happens. Youíll probably want to schedule bath time just before you plan to change the paper.>br>
Parrots and other birds kept as pets (like canaries and finches) have very specialized needs. Studying up on those needs will help ensure you're providing the best life possible for your feathered friend.