If you are new to bird ownership, it often seems like there is so much to worry about. After all, your parrot came into your home happy and healthy. Now, how do you make sure that he stays that way?
One of the first concerns of a new bird owner is the home’s temperature. After all, a lot of pet birds are tropical animals, so the climate of the room your bird is staying in should be quite warm and humid, right? Actually, birds can live comfortably in a room with a temperature ranging from in the mid-fifties to the high eighties. You should actually be much more concerned with drafts in the room.
If you plan to place your bird near a window, light a candle and move it slowly around the edges of the window. If there is a draft, the candle’s flame will flicker. Once you’ve located any drafts, caulk the window areas to seal them. You may also want to check for drafts around your electrical outlets. Even if you do not find any drafts, you may want to cover the back and sides of your bird’s cage at night or on chilly winter days to avoid drafts from doorways.
Another important consideration for bird owners is water quality. If you have well water, you probably plan to have it tested before using it as your bird’s water supply. However, even public water systems can have too many chemicals for your bird’s safety at times and while you can give your birds bottled water, this water also is not always bacteria free. Instead, you may want to install a filter on your tap so that you can give your birds water that is as pure as possible.
Of course, stressors in the environment are also a concern. If you have a cat or dog, you should be sure your pet is not allowed to sit and stare unblinkingly at your bird for long periods of time. Allowing your cat to try to put his paws in the cage is even more stressful and dangerous. Birds can die from stress. Cat scratches and cat bites are also a serious problem. Cats have so much bacteria on their teeth and claws that your bird can die from a minor cat scratch.
Pests such as mice and roaches are another environmental concern. In addition to stressing birds when they dart about, these pests can carry diseases and bacteria that could prove fatal to your new pet.
Finally, since birds seem to enjoy staring out the window, many owners think they should hang their cages on the porch during the day. Unfortunately, there are so many outdoor dangers for birds today, such as mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus, that leaving your bird on an unscreened porch can be potentially fatal. When you add stray cats and the danger of having the cage door pop open to the equation, taking your bird outdoors for the day can be a really bad idea.
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