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Do’s and Don’ts To Petting Your Bird

Follow these tips the next time you pet a bird

By Liz Wilson, CVT, CPBC

Petting Birds 
Courtesy Terri & Gale Pauken, Michigan
First introduce your bird to strangers before you allow them to pet it.

DO assess your bird’s body language before trying to pet it.

DON’T try to pet your bird if it pulls back, runs away or tries to bite you.

DO speak to your bird first before just reaching out to pet it.

DON’T let strangers pet your bird without first introducing them to the bird and making sure the bird is comfortable with them.

DO set aside some quiet time for petting sessions.

DON’T pet your bird down its back or tail.

DO stick to petting your birds head.

DON’T take it personally if your bird doesn’t want to be petted.

DO try and earn your bird’s trust through patience and understanding.


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Do’s and Don’ts To Petting Your Bird

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Reader Comments
Not sounding like a "know-it-all" but Janet from Atlanta is wrong. All of my birds (2 sun conures, 3 cockatiels, 1 sulphur-crested cockatoo, and a African grey) enjoy a good head rub/scratch. Of course I don't use an open hand rub... more like a pointer finger rub. Also DO NOT ever approach a sleeping bird to interact with it. It could scare the crap out of them. But of all the DOs, DO enjoy your feathered companion's company because they certainly enjoy yours.
Dylan, International
Posted: 8/19/2014 2:43:44 PM
One statement on this is bad advice -- DO NO TRY TO PET A BIRD'S HEAD. A HAND ABOVE THE HEAD LOOKS LIKE THE CLAW OF A PREDATOR COMING IN FOR THE KILL.

Add to the set of DO NOT'S -- DO NOT allow more than one person reach to touch as bird at one time. Several hands coming from many directions will frighten and confuse a bird. Best that a bird agrees to interact with one person at a time, and not be made crazy by many. Just common sense.
Jane, Atlanta, GA
Posted: 8/19/2014 11:23:02 AM
I agree and try to do these things.
janet, henderson, NV
Posted: 2/6/2014 5:23:43 PM
Good info, thanks
janet, henderson, NV
Posted: 12/12/2011 2:16:56 AM
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