Got Birds? Guest Blog on our avian pets – by Brenda Bailey, practice manager Cascade Summit Veterinary Hospital

Got Birds?

Kobe is on the left and Zoey is on the right.  They were using the travel cage to spend time outside soaking up some sunshine! :)
Kobe is on the left and Zoey is on the right.

When my husband and I decided to get our Pineapple Green Cheek Conure named Lexi, in early 2015, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.  Sure, we did research on the Conure breed before bringing her home, we spent hours doing online research, and purchased a cage way bigger than was necessary, but I never would have expected where we would be today – 8 months later.  It reached a point that Lexi seemed to need a friend, and we made a decision to get a baby Jenday Conure.  While he was being weaned, we were able to visit Kobe weekly.  We brought him home in this summer and have been working very slowly to introduce them.  Once we realized that they may not get to a point where they would ever share a cage, we purchased a second large cage.  Kobe was supposed to be my husband’s bird, but you can’t force a bird to belong to a person if they don’t want to.  And since we had the space in the new cage, we brought his clutch mate home to join him once she finished weaning.

Zoey became bird number three – and I’m finding myself questioning how we went from no birds to three in a period of eight months.  The answer?  Birds are awesome!  They are so much fun to interact with, and they all have such different personalities.  I have found that it is important to try out different types of toys in order to find their favorites, which will keep them busy.  We have ropes and toys hanging from our ceiling on plant hooks, multiple styles of perches in their cages and outside, and we keep a stock of small toys or household items they like to play with.  They get a variety of food mixed with their pellets in the morning along with fruits and vegetables, and warm foods at night.

Lexi in her harness on her first walk
Lexi in her harness on her first walk

Did you know you can train a bird to wear a harness?  The Aviator Harness fits small birds like the Pineapple Green Cheek up to the larger size parrots.  It comes with a disc that explains the best way to train your bird to wear it.  Lexi has been slowly training with hers and has already been on her first walk.  She  loved being outdoors, and I love her being safe and still able to fly a bit if she ever decides she would like to.  Kobe has been trained to fly to me and “perch” on my hand or arm.  The more you interact with your bird, through training and play, the more enrichment you are providing them.  It is also helpful if you are able to take them out with you to interact with other people just like you would a puppy.  They need socialization so that they remain well behaved with more than just their owner.  Lexi loves to come to work with me and ride around on peoples’ shoulders all day.

Just remember, a bird will be a bird – you can’t expect they will never bite.  It takes patience to teach them what’s okay and what’s not okay. But trust me, it will be worth it!

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