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Bird care

Bird Care Sheet (pdf)

  • Cage: Ask your veterinarian as different birds need different cages. Here are some must-haves:
    • The cage must be big enough for your bird to stretch his/her wings and fly
    • The cage must be made from nontoxic (nonpoisonous) material
    • The cage base must be so hard that your bird can’t ruin it by chewing
  • Cage location
    • Make sure the cage can’t be knocked over or fall
    • Put the cage in an area like a family room, so your pet can be around everyone - birds are very social
    • Avoid drafts and kitchens. Kitchen fumes like burnt Teflon from a cooking pan can kill a bird.
    • Bedding/lining
    • Use non-colored newspapers with soy ink, paper towels, or brown paper
  • Perches
    • Get both fat and thin perches – like manzanita branches. This helps birds exercise their feet and prevents pressure sores.
    • Never use sandpaper perches, they will hurt your pet’s feet.
    • Large birds like Amazons or African Grey Birds need a freestanding perch outside the cage.
  • Food dishes
    • Must be attached, so they can’t be tipped over
  • Toys
    • Birds like mirrors and other toys. Make sure all toys are made from nontoxic material.
  • When you get your pet, take it to a veterinarian for a check-up. Choose one that specializes in birds, called an accredited avian veterinarian.
  • Your pet should see a veterinarian at least once a year and when you think it might be sick
  • Have your veterinarian show you how to trim your bird’s wings. If you do it wrong, you could clip a “blood feather” and hurt or even kill your bird.


  • Birds need a balanced diet -- with food from all the major food groups
  • Birds are one type of pet that benefits from eating many “people foods”
  • Birds must have fresh fruit and vegetables daily


  • Never feed your bird a “seed-only” diet
  • Never feed your bird houseplants, avocado, cherry pits, rhubarb, apple seeds or raw milk products

Many common household items can hurt or even kill your bird. These include:

  • Overheated Teflon cookware
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Lead paints
  • Scented candles or incense
  • Chemical cleaners
  • Insecticides
  • Aerosol products
  • Some houseplants
Regular care


  • Clean cage of any droppings
  • Change water once or more if needed
  • Provide fresh fruits and vegetables, and remove food after a couple hours
  • If your bird is hand-tamed, take him/her out to play for at least an hour each day


  • Breakdown and clean cage with mild soap and make sure you rinse off all the soap.


  • Ask your veterinarian to recommend a disinfectant cleaner that you can use to clean the cage each month.


  • Birds, like all pets, should see their veterinarian each year.

Information about taking care of your bird provided by Dan Jordan, DVM, Animal Avian Hospital of the Village, Houston, Texas.

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