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How To Know If You're Ready To Acquire a Feathery Friend

Written by Karine, TaffyWduck

There are several questions you should ask yourself before running to the pet store and buy the cute bird you just fell in love with the other day.

  1. Do you have enough money to provide adequately for the bird you want to adopt?
    You see, it isn't just a matter of how much the bird and cage cost at first, but there is the monthly cost of food, toys that will need to be replaced and rotated so the bird doesn't get bored, regular avian vet care, emergency vet care, etc. 

  2. Do you have enough room for a bird?
    Depending on the size of the bird you plan to get, you will need a certain amount of space for the cage, play gym or T-stand and for the bird to play outside of his cage. You need a space that is bird proof and where your bird will be able to exercise properly. 

  3. Do you know how to "bird proof" your home?
    This is fairly simple; do you know how to transform your home into a danger free environment for your bird? Do you have any poisonous plants laying around? Surely enough, you don't have the urge to munch on them, but a bird likely will so these plants needs to go at least in a room where the bird will NEVER have access to. Fans and ceiling fans are both big "no no"s; a bird can easily kill himself by flying into a ceiling fan or get his toes chopped off if he perches on a regular fan. If it's really hot you can use the kind of fan that doesn't present this risk (kind of a "tower" fan).

    Other family pets are also dangers to birds - cats and dogs shouldn't be allowed to "play" with the bird because this is most likely to end up with a dead bird, so they need to be locked in a room when the bird is out and the bird cage needs to be completely out of reach of these animals. Even a rat or ferret can pose a threat to your bird so they need to be in another room when the birds are out. 

    Open doors/windows are also a danger. No matter how much your bird is bonded to you, given the chance he will fly away. Everyone in your home needs to know the rules about the bird and verify that all doors/windows are shut before letting the bird out. Even if your bird has its wings clipped he can manage to get pretty far if there is a good wind and that leaves you with very little chance of finding him again, leaving him facing certain death. So why take the risk, just check the windows and door before you get him out of the cage...it might save his life.

    Do you have any non-stick cookware? Yes? THROW IT ALL OUT! Or at least place the bird far far away from the kitchen. Why? Because non-stick cookware, when overheated or if damaged emits fumes that are 100% deadly to birds. Also, the bird shouldn't be allowed in the kitchen when there is any kind of cooking going on... wouldn't want a boiled or deep fried birdie would we? Read an actual story on this (posted by one of our members, onewithreef) by clicking here...

  4. What exactly do you know about that special bird you plan to get?
    Have you done your homework and gathered every little bit of information you could about that bird? Different species have different needs and qualities so even if at one point or another you've had a bird, that doesn't mean you know everything about every bird. Research can save you, and the bird, a lot of stress and pain. For example..if you discover that your beloved pet is one of those birds that isn't big on socializing and would rather fly around in a flight all day rather than spend quality time with you, you might want to reconsider getting that bird if his needs do not meet what you are able to offer. 

    Research will also help you figure out what you will need to do and buy in order to provide the bird with the best environment possible. How big of a cage does he need, type of food, type of toys, how much attention, what will you have to shower him with ... You will also gather information on where to look to get such a bird and how to know if the bird you are buying is in good health. 

    Lots of research before you get your bird will help you make the right decision about whether or not you should get that particular bird and if you would be able to provide adequately for him.

  5. Do you live alone? In a house or an apartment? Are you a teenager/kid still dependent on your parents?
    This is important because not everyone likes birds and are willing to put up with all of the joys of bird ownership (like screaming, the messes, the running around like a headless chicken to find an avian vet and drive there...). 

    If you are a kid/teenager living at home, with little or no income at all, stop right there. Would your parents pay for all the expenses that are bird-related such as food, toys, and vet care? Would they drive you to the vet if you needed to take your birds there for an emergency? Would they get fed up with the noise and messes? See, it isn't a matter of age when it comes to being a good bird owner, but it is greatly related to your level of independence if your parents wouldn't cooperate with you. If they don't like birds, don't believe in vet care, would never agree to take you to the vet to spend money on a replaceable good (yes some people think of bird as disposable goods) you'd better wait until you get your own place/job/car to get a bird because it will avoid you the heartbreak of watching your bird die because no one will drive you to and pay for the vet.

    If, on the other hand, you parents would gladly chip in and drive you around when needed and they are ready to put up with the noise and messes, there are still other things you need to check into. Where do you live? A house or apartment? If you live in a house, there shouldn't be any problem, but in an apartment you need to check with the landlords to see if they allow birds/animals. You should also check with the people who live around you to see if they would mind a bird that much (yes some birds can be heard through walls/doors when they put their hearts to it). You wouldn't want to finally get your bird only to be threatened of eviction or have people call the police on you because of the noise (then again, unless you get a pretty big parrot, or several birds, the noise level shouldn't be that disturbing, but some people are jerks and will gladly call the police just to express their right to be jerks).

    Are you planning to go away to college in a couple of years? If so, you will need to think about what you would do with the bird then. Will you be able to bring him with you or will you have to rehome him? If there is absolutely no way you could take the bird with you, then it is better that you wait until you get your own place, after your studies are done, and then get a bird so that he won't have to go through the very very stressful process of being placed in a new home. 

  6. Are you willing to commit to this animal for the next 10 to 80 years or so? 
    Yes, again depending on the species you select, this is how long you will have to care for that bird. For example, a cockatiel that is well taken care of can live to be up to 20-30 years old, and even a "simple" budgie can live between 10-15 years if he's on a good diet and has good care. So will you be able to remember that commitment when your life changes? If you move, if you get a new boyfriend/girlfriend, will you forget how important it is to spend time with your bird? If you get a bird now, you are promising to him that you will be his whole world for all of his life, that you will take care of him, feed him, house him and get proper vet care when needed, that no matter what you will be there for him. Now are you ready to honor that kind of commitment?
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