© 2018 by The Bird Shop.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Additional questions? Post them below to have one of our staff answer it for you!

Do birds see colors? Can they smell?

 

Bird’s sense of sight is very well developed, as they need to be able to identify flock members in the wild by their plumage. You may even notice that your pet bird favors toys of a certain color. While birds have a very well developed sense of sight, their sense of smell is not as well developed.

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Should I cover my bird's cage?

 

Covering your birds cage is a personal preference. Some owners cover their cage to give the bird a sense of bedding down for the night in a dark environment free from distractions. Birds should have ten to twelve hours of darkness for proper rest.

Why does my bird regurgitate its food?

 

Often a bird will regurgitate to its owner, and this is the ultimate sign of affection. Just as a bird would feed its mate or offspring in the wild. Pet birds try to feed the person or people that they are most bonded to.

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What is a good diet for my bird?

 

A balance of formulated pellets; fresh fruits & vegetables and seeds are highly recommended. Although a pelleted diet may provide complete nutrition, it does little to combat boredom. Seed diets alone are responsible for many nutritionally caused diseases.

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Can I borrow my neighbor's bird and put it with my bird so they can have babies, then give it back?

 

No, birds are not like dogs where you can use them for stud service. Two birds should be put together to bond, but not all do, and then hopefully they’ll like each other, mate and have babies. This can take a short time or years. Sometimes they will never mate at all.

 

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Does my pet bird need a friend?

 

A tame bird that is bonded with a person does not need another bird for company. Trying to introduce a new bird into the same cage often has one of two results. The two birds may fight and have to be separated, or if they do get along they may eventually bond so strongly that the once tame bird no longer need the companionship of its owner. A bird that is not tame may benefit from the company of another of its kind, but there is no guarantee that two given birds will get along. Two tame pet birds of different species should always be housed separately. In addition to the problems discussed above, a larger bird can easily injure a smaller bird in a dispute. Caged separately but placed side by side two birds can still vocalize back and forth and keep each other company. This maintains the bond they each have with their owner as well as being safer for the birds.

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My female cockatiel is alone in her cage and lays eggs all the time. Will they hatch? What should I do?

 

No. You need a mature male and female for the eggs to hatch. It is very common for a female cockatiel to lay infertile eggs. What you need to do is allow her to lay her batch (clutch) generally four to six eggs and sit on them. After approximately twenty-one days take the eggs away. She may or may not lay more eggs. Never take the eggs away as they are laid. This will cause her to keep replacing these eggs thus depleting her body of calcium. When laying eggs a fresh cuttlebone or calcium block should be supplied and as always a good diet. Just because your bird is laying eggs does not mean she wants to have babies. Sometimes we simulate spring in our homes. Having extra lights on and added warmth during fall and winter months make some birds believe its spring. As a result they’re hormonal levels raise and they start laying eggs. Some believe limiting their daylight by covering her cage to coincide with the sunset will help minimize egg laying during the winter months.

My bird scratches and chews its feathers, it looks like it has dandruff. Sometimes it screams when it's chewing on itself and it's losing a lot of feathers. What's wrong with it?

 

Nothing is wrong with your bird. It’s molting. As its new feathers are emerging they are covered with a waxy film, it’s scratching and chewing (preening) help remove this film and giving the appearance of small flakes resembling dandruff. The birds chewing also helps remove old feathers that are ready to be replaced. If it screams while its’ preening it’s because it has bitten a feather that is not ready and is tender.

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Why does my bird pluck its feathers?

 

Why a bird feather picks is one of the hardest questions to answer. At the first signs of a bird plucking it should be seen by an avian veterinarian to rule out any medical reason for the behavior. Boredom and lack of stimulation can be reasons for feather picking as well as sexual frustration. Sometimes they start picking and it just becomes a very bad habit. This is a question with no real answer. Toys that a bird can shred and destroy can be used as a distraction from picking, increased baths can sometimes have good results also. Keep in mind, just because a bird picks its feathers doesn’t mean it’s neglected. Feather picking can be an owner’s worse nightmare.

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Does my bird need annual vaccinations?

 

No, birds are not required to be vaccinated like other pets. There are vaccinations against some diseases, polyoma for example, which can be given to a bird only once to guard against the disease. This is just a personal choice of the breeder but not a requirement.

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How do I know if my bird has lice or mites?

 

Lice can be seen if you hold your bird in a towel and look carefully on the underside of the wing feathers and tail feathers. They look like tiny dark lines that stick to the feathers. However, mites and lice are not as common a problem as some people think. Bird owners often jump to the conclusion that their birds have lice when they see them preening or scratching. If you suspect that your bird has such a problem it is best to have an avian veterinarian make a diagnosis.

 

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How often should clip my bird's wings? Does it hurt?

 

On the average every three to four months. If the bird is molting it may be needed more often. As long as it is done properly it doesn’t hurt the bird. They should never be cut too short. Before attempting to clip your own bird’s wings, you should consult a professional to learn how to do it properly.

 
How do I know when it's time to clip my bird's nails?

 

If you think of the alphabet letter C, when the nails length is longer than half the letter C, its time to get them trimmed. Sometimes if depends on the owners comfort. Short nails can become sharp and scratchy. Nails should be maintained on a regular basis, if not, the bird can have difficulty perching and holding food. Long nails can be very dangerous, getting caught on toys or on the bars of a cage.

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