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10 Healthy Habits For You & Your Pet Bird

Follow these pet bird care tips for the health and safety of your pet bird.

Laura Doering

Green-winged macaw

1) Wash your pet bird’s food and water bowls with warm, soapy water or run them through the dish washer every day (have a second set of bowls on hand so you can switch out the dirty set with the clean set).

2) Encourage your pet bird to do something active each day. Allow your bird some supervised free-flight time in a bird-proofed room or have a wing-flapping session, where you hold your bird on your hand, a stick or a hand-held perch and do a downward motion so your bird has to flap its wings to steady itself.

3) Start your pet bird's day with a healthy bird-friendly breakfast. This is also a good time to introduce new healthy foods, such as mashed sweet potato, sprouted seed and leafy-green vegetables.

4) Always use a pet bird-friendly carrier, travel cage or a flight harness when taking your pet bird outdoors. Even birds with recent wing-feather trims can fly a great distance if startled (especially cockatiels).

5) Wash your hands before handling your pet bird and preparing its food.

6) Make an effort to supplement your pet bird’s core diet with fresh vegetables, sprouted seed and healthy treats, such as bits of fruit and birdie bread.

7) Protect your bird from exposure to toxic fumes in your home. Locate its cage away from the kitchen, and don’t use nonstick cookware, which, when overheated, can emit toxic fumes that can kill your pet bird. Likewise, avoid using aerosols or trigger-sprayed products near your pet bird. Make your own basic cleaning solution or try those formulated specifically for use around pet birds.

8) Check your pet bird’s toys for wear and tearFrayed rope perches can cause your bird’s toe to become ensnared and torn; its beak or toe can be caught in an open-chain link, your bird might remove the clasp from a bell toy, which can pose a choking hazard. Remove and replace any toy or perch that is heavily worn or if it's missing pieces that might deem it unsafe.

9) Prepare your meals with your pet bird in mind. Your bird will appreciate sharing some of your food, but make it bird-friendly: leave the oil and heavy sauce off the pasta; offer salt- and butter-free scrambled egg; use a natural sweetener; such as applesauce, instead of sugar to sweeten bran muffins — you’ll all be healthier for it.

10) Before purchasing cookware, contact the manufacturer to ask if the product has polymers containing polytetrafluoroethelyne (PTFE). PTFE is the ingredient in nonstick coating that, when overheated, can release ordorless fumes that can kill your pet bird within minutes. Whenever cooking and cleaning, use a window fan that blows air out, and open windows to help ventilate the room.

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Posted: December 3, 2009, 1:15 p.m. PDT

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10 Healthy Habits For You & Your Pet Bird

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Good job
Donna, Phoenix, AZ
Posted: 11/1/2015 4:50:05 PM
Always good to read these safety reminders. Important information for all of us to lead healthier live!
Carol, Silver Spring, MD
Posted: 2/8/2014 5:41:16 PM
Interesting! I hope that everyone's weekend was both great and safe,enjoyed the recent holiday that we've had,having a good week and has another good weekend,plus I also hope that they have a happy President's Day.I'm sorry for not saying anything about it,but it slipped my mind.
Mike, Columbia, TN
Posted: 2/5/2014 4:51:48 PM
Laurence, Montreal, QC
Posted: 2/19/2010 3:09:37 PM
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