Exotics

Check out our pet info

Bird Care

Commonly kept birds in Hong Kong include canaries, cockatiels, and different types of parrots (psittacines) which include lovebirds, budgies and macaws.

Depending on the types of birds, their lifespans can varying from 15-20 years in small parrots like budgies to 80 years in large cockatoos.

Environment

It is important to house your pet bird in the largest cage that you can accommodate in your home. It is essential for them to be able to stretch their wings and fly over short distances. The cage should be strong and sturdy enough to resist destruction by your bird! The cage should be easy to clean and it is common to line the floor with paper (e.g. paper towels or newspaper) which should be changed daily. Often for most birds, the cages need to be wider than tall to allow the wings to be stretched. Birds with longer tails will also need tall cages.

The cage should have some exposure to fresh air and direct sunlight (although shade should be available). Birds are capable of adapting to different humidities and temperatures (which are comfortable for us). Sometimes during the drier months, frequently spraying the feathers with water can increase their comfort. The best location for the cage is ideally a warm and bright place (away from drafts) and not on the floor. We advise keeping the cage well away from the kitchen as birds can be very sensitive to fumes. Also try to avoid exposure to other air pollutants such as cigarette smoke or incense sticks.

We advise installing several perches within the cage at varying heights. Perches should be made of non-toxic natural wood, which are clean and easily replaceable. Remember to avoid placing the perches above food and water bowls to prevent contamination with the droppings.

Birds are intelligent and greatly appreciate a revolving selection of toys. Good toys include ladders, swings, bells, mirrors and wooden toys for chewing on and keeping their beaks trimmed. Other chewable items that can be used are rawhide, tree branches, pine cones and natural fibre ropes.

It is worth having some small area for your bird to hide in. This can be provided by using a towel, a paper bag or nest box.

Weekly cleaning of the bird cage is necessary, whereby the toys, perches, cage tray (floor) and outside of the cage are thoroughly cleaned. Once a month, it is important to clean the entire cage (inside and outside) with a disinfectant solution. The bird can be returned to the cage after it has been rinsed and dried.

Diet

When providing food and water – wide bowls instead of deep cups are preferable. This helps to allow the birds to see the food better making it more attractive for them to eat. Most healthy birds can are quite mobile and so the bowls do not normally need to be placed by the perch.

High quality pelleted food is recommended for most birds, as opposed to seed mix. Birds can be fussy and pick and eat only their favourite seeds e.g. sunflower seeds (high in fat) and so not get a balanced diet. It is also important to add fresh fruit and vegetables daily. Popular fruits include apples, kiwis and melon. Dark green leafy vegetables such as bok choy are packed full of nutrients and so great to feed to your bird. Birds also seem quite fond of carrots and broccoli. A variety of fruit and vegetables helps to minimize boredom and tips like pushing pellets into an orange can provide both nutrition and entertainment!

DO NOT FEED AVOCADOS TO BIRDS AS THEY ARE TOXIC!

Fresh cold water should be provided daily.

General advice

Most birds (if trained and tame) benefit from at least an hour of exercise out of the cage. Remember to ensure that before releasing the bird from the cage, you have closed all windows and doors in the room. It is also worth covering windows and mirrors to avoid accidents.

At Acorn, we can clip your bird’s wings to prevent your bird escaping. It is possible to hand-tame many birds. This can be done by opening the cage door, talking gently and offering a treat such as a sunflower seed. With patience, your bird will begin to trust you and eat from your hand. With time, you can offer a handheld small stick for the bird to stand on and eventually encourage your bird to rest on your hand/finger.

Well-fed and healthy pet birds require minimal body care. If your bird is confined continuously, special attention should be paid to the beak, nails and feet. A good diet ensures healthy feathers and if they become soiled, they can be gently cleaned by rinsing with warm water (and possibly baby shampoo) and then dried.

Birds can become very ill suddenly. We recommend looking out for the following signs which may mean your bird needs veterinary attention:

·       Sitting quietly on cage floor with eyes closed

·       Change in droppings – consistency, colour or frequency

·       Sneezing or coughing

·       Eye or nostril discharge

·       Laboured breathing

·       Fluffed out feathers or any signs of skin/feather disease e.g. plucking

·       Inappetance