Prepare Your Home For A New Bird

What do new bird owners need to know about cages?  Are there specific sizes based on the size of the bird?  Does it matter where you place it?

MadeleineA good rule of thumb on the size of cage is that it needs to be large enough so they can comfortably stretch their wings all the way out.  The cage should be sized to the bird.  With some if it’s too large, they can get overly nervous as they don’t feel safe.  For example, an African Grey in a McCaw cage.

I know this should be common sense, but don’t place their cage near anything they can reach.  Remember they can stretch their bodies out far with holding onto the side of the cage. Watch picture frames, window frames, side of walls, window blinds and furniture, unless you want it re-designed.  It’s important that they feel secure, so place the cage against a wall versus in the middle of the room.  And make sure they have plenty of light.

KelleTheir cage should be placed where the family usually spends most of their time.  Birds are flock animals and want to feel they’re part of a flock (family).  Placing them away from the activity in the house can be isolating.  It’s never a good idea for a child to have a bird in their room as they frequently forget to feed and water and it’s easy for the parent to forget.  A bird can die of dehydration in just two days.  Birds don’t have reserves in their body so they can starve to death very quickly when forgotten.

You must always watch for drafts as well, from ceiling vents.  Birds wake with the sun and sleep when it sets.  A blanket or cover over the cage can help them to have a sense of security when sleeping, then removing it in the morning.

I hate to say that when we first got our birds, we spent upwards of $75.00 on one toy only to have it destroyed in a couple hours.  What suggestions do you have for toys?

MadeleineA toy destroyed is a toy enjoyed. Remember anything they see has toy potential, so it’s important to give them plenty to play with.  Why buy when you can make them out of items you’re already going to recycle.  They’re shredders so you can string cardboard, envelopes and plastic bottles. 

KelleToys are individual to the birds’ likes and dislikes. Some like chewing up wood, others prefer paper, cardboard, sea grass or balsa. Offer a variety at first until you find your bird’s favorite. They can be hung inside or outside. A fun toy outside the cage can make for hours of fun as your bird works to destroying it from the inside. Toys should be removed when they’ve been chewed up and replaced with new brightly colored fun toys to keep them busy and mentally stimulated.

What are a few last things you’d like to share?

MadeleineA common denominator with birds is that they like to investigate and destroy.  Remember it’s always our fault.  We put interesting things out and they are going to investigate them.  Being they are curious, safety is so important. You need to watch for open toilets, full sinks, open washers, dryers and cabinet doors. Even that dead space above your corner kitchen cabinets can end up being a hiding spot, which by the way is not easy to get them out of.  

Birds are still wild animals and hardwired to be prey animals and sometimes it’s not love at first sight.  You have to develop trust and work through any emotional issues they may have.

KelleThere are so many things you have to think of when bringing a bird into your home!  Air fresheners have to be a thing of the past.  Anything you can smell can potentially suffocate a bird because of their complicated respiratory systems.  That includes Teflon cookware and oven liners, oven bags, self-cleaning ovens, scented candles, any kind of aerosol sprays, cologne, overly fragrant lotions and even oil and melting scents.  

Wing clipping is an important thing to never forget.  No matter how much your bird loves you, they’re still a bird and the pull of flying free is overpowering.  

Ultimately, I would say do your research.  The husbandry of keeping parrots has changed drastically in the past several years and is continuing to do so.

If you’re interesting in adopting, fostering, donating or finding more out about these organizations you can contact Madeleine and Kelle directly.

Madeleine Franco • 702-856-3300 • •
Kelle Coble & Skye Marsh • 702-937-1005 • •

Gail Mayhugh, the owner of GMJ Interior Design has been designing in Las Vegas for over 25 years.  She also supports animal rescues and shelters through her non-profit, Enriching the lives of older adults and helping animals one project at a time.