#1. Carefully plan meals for better raw and whole food intake.
Caring for your pet bird is not unlike caring for yourself. You eat a balanced diet of raw fruits and vegetables, grains and proteins as well as certain supplements to promote health and general well-being. It’s easy to see why birds can benefit from a similar raw foods diet. Make sure your avian friend gets everything they need by including vitamins and minerals in their daily meals.
Feed your pet bird the right food for a healthy body and vivid feathers with this helpful infographic! Many people make their pet bird's diet entirely out of processed foods like seeds and pellets, but that doesn't provide the best nutrition.
A more complete diet for your bird is one that includes organic, unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, and essential fatty acids.
Learn more about how to correctly feed your bird here with these great books -
#2. Create a Home First Aid Kit for your bird # A bird first aid kit is always a good idea!
Birds are masters at hiding their pain, illness, and injuries as a protective mechanism. But that's bad news for us. By the time we notice that something isn't right, our bird is really sic
Being able to spot when your bird is sick or injured can mean the difference between life and death. Learn the subtle signs here so that you can catch problems before they get out of hand.
But, just as important, prepare a bird hospital cage and a first aid kit to stabilize a sick or injured bird.
#3. Get more exercise & start a sleep schedule.
Is your bird getting enough exercise? Is he sleeping well? The three cornerstones of health are exercise, sleep, and diet. Regular exercise can keep your bird busy and reduce stress while helping to maintain a healthy weight.
A good night’s sleep can help your bird maintain many essential body rhythms including hormone balance! Getting more activity also helps reduce stress levels! Diet is important too - do you know what food items he should avoid?
Help your bird get the sleep and exercise that it needs. Start by making sure it gets 10-12 hours of sleep each night to rejuvenate its body. Then slowly increase its exercise to get those muscles and joints moving. Teaching your bird how to forage is one of the best ways to offer it essential enrichment. The Teach Your Bird To Forage ebook will get you off on the right foot.
#4. Teach your bird behaviors for success with clicker training and bird manners.
One of my favorite methods of teaching new skills to my birds is clicker training. The same method can be used to teach your bird basic manners and commands. It’s an effective way to communicate with them in ways they will understand immediately (versus some other communication methods that may take months or years).
Your bird will learn what to do as opposed to what not to do. It will slowly replace unhealthy behaviors like plucking with more productive behaviors to get reinforcement.
It’s also one of the best ways I know to encourage your pet bird to work cooperatively with you as well as stimulate their minds while rewarding them for playing and learning. Birds love training!
#5. Try to teach your bird new natural parrot activities to soothe its nerves.
Your pet will be more inclined to misbehave if he is under stress. Get him involved in some natural parrot activities—with your help if necessary—so that he feels better about himself and his environment.
A healthy diet, exercise and plenty of love can give your feathered friend a good start at changing his ways (see number 9). There are several easy parrot activities that you can do with just your bird (you don’t have to have any specific training or certification). Think of it as bonding time.
Preening, foraging, bathing, and eating a rich variety of uncooked, plant-based foods are all natural parrot behaviors. So treat your parrot like a child: encourage fun experiences every day!
#6. Incorporate more foraging into your pet birds daily routine.
Foraging is essential to a pet bird's mental and physical health. As we know, to keep their minds sharp and bodies strong, birds must get lots of exercises. One way to make sure they stay in tip-top shape is by providing plenty of toys and puzzles that require physical engagement. Foraging toys are one simple way to give your bird an opportunity to use his natural abilities while keeping him busy with something productive!
You don't have to break the bank for foraging toys. Learn to make your own. Here are 10 Simple DIY Foraging Toys & Treats for your pet birds!
#7. Schedule a check-up with your vet
Even if your pet doesn’t have any signs of illness, it’s still important to schedule regular check-ups with your vet. It’s easy to forget about things like feather care or keeping up with nutritional status as we get busy with work and other responsibilities. But taking care of our pets is just as important as taking care of ourselves and we owe it to them to stay on top of their health needs.
Keeping up with your pet’s health is also important from an emotional standpoint. Pets are like members of our family and we all want them to be as healthy and content as possible. Sometimes we need help keeping on top of things, especially when it comes to taking care of their nutrition or grooming needs. That’s where scheduling regular check-ups can come in handy.
#8. Remove toxic substances from your home
You might not think about it, but you have all sorts of dangerous chemicals in your home. Air fresheners, candles, Teflon. These substances are not always safe for you or your pet. Get rid of as many of these as possible and replace them with safer, more natural options. Some suggestions include vinegar to clean (diluted with water) and essential oils instead of synthetic fragrances. And, stainless steel or ceramic cookware.
#9 Clear out old toys for safe, new ones.
As we head into 2022 (Happy New Year!), think about tossing out old or unused bird toys. Look for dangerous, dangling strings, unsafe metal parts, and sharp edges. Replace them with safe new ones! You'll appreciate that your feathered friend is playing with something safe, and mentally stimulating.
Think about toys for chewing as well as foraging and puzzle toys. My favorite wood-based chew toy brand is Super Bird Creations; their pieces are crafted from sustainable hardwoods such as maple, cherry, and pine, feature nontoxic color and finishes that are lead-free and non-toxic to both humans and animals. Check out my video review of some of these toys here.
#10 Grooming time is bonding time: foot, feather, and beak care.
A little extra attention to your parrot’s feet, feathers, and beak can go a long way in feeling good and building that special bond. Grooming is another one of those natural behaviors that I addressed earlier. Our squawking feathered friends appreciate being in good condition.
As you reinforce calm behavior during grooming, your bird will come to enjoy being in tip-top shape. And, if you worry about handling your bird's grooming needs on your own, ask your vet or a local bird store to help you out every few months.
#11 Create a safe, happy play area for your bird to spread its wings.
Many people enjoy watching their pet birds play and romp around on a play stand. In fact, piggy-backing on the foraging resolution, you can get a tree-like bird play stand and stock it with fun foraging experiences that keep your bird entertained and promote exercise.
A good bird stand promotes exercise, socialization, and foraging.
#12 Seek more natural ways to support your pet’s health.
Research indicates there are many natural ways to support your pet’s health, whether he or she is sick or healthy. Your vet is your best source of information on how you can ensure that your pet’s diet provides everything he or she needs. Here are some tips from avian experts: * Supplement your bird’s food with fruit and vegetables, sprouted seeds, assorted nuts, red palm oil, coconut oil, and herbs.
Diane Burroughs, LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist trained in ABA therapy techniques. She specializes in avian anxiety disorders and is certified in Nutrition For Mental Health. Diane has written a number of bird behavior books and she offers behavior consultations. She's developed a range of UnRuffledRx Science-backed Parrot Wellness Supplies.
Diane's products have been featured in the Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery and at Exoticscon, a conference for exotic pet veterinarians. Her bird collars & supplements are stocked in avian vet clinics and bird stores throughout the US. With over 30 years in the field of behavior, Diane has created thousands of successful individualized behavior plans that help pets thrive.
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