How often are you home? Proper bird care entails more than just feeding and cage cleaning. Your feathery friend needs to be socialized, handled, and talked to every day. If you travel frequently or spend a lot of time out, a bird may not be the best choice.
Is there a “bird doctor” nearby? Like other pets, birds require regular preventative checkups. But most vets receive limited training regarding bird care. Visit the Association of Avian Veterinarians' website to see if there’s a bird doc near you.
Ready to spend on care? The expenses can add up: visits to the vet, toys designed to keep your bird busy and his beak healthy, and food — which may include a regular diet of fresh produce.
Do you have other pets? Cats and dogs may grow to accept a bird, but don’t forget that a bird is still a cat’s natural prey! Don’t leave your beaked buddy unsupervised around even the gentlest cat or dog.
Ready for the long haul? Consider lifespan when you choose your bird. Canaries may live an average of six years, while large parrots can live on for decades — long after your children head off to college!
Source: Laurie Hess, D.V.M., Diplomate A.B.V.P. (Avian), is the owner of the Veterinary Center for Birds & Exotics in Bedford Hills, New York.
Samantha Brody is the senior editor for Parent & Child. .
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