Checklist for New Pet Bird Owners

If you’re a first-time bird owner, bringing your new feathered friend into your home is an exciting step and the beginning of what should be a long and fulfilling companionship. However, taking care of a bird is a major commitment that can feel overwhelming at first. To help ensure a smooth transition and a happy, healthy life for your new pet, our friends at Pet Supplies Plus have created the following checklist:

Leave your bird undisturbed on the way home

While it may be tempting to take your bird out of its carrier as you transport them home for the first time, leaving them undisturbed for the journey will help minimize any stress they may feel.

Establish a safe zone

Choose a quiet, low-traffic area away from potential stressors like other pets for your bird’s habitat. Providing a comfortable space helps them decompress and adjust to their new surroundings.

Slowly introduce your bird to their new habitat

Set up your bird’s habitat before bringing them home. Then, allow them to come out of their carrier and into the new habitat at their own pace, ensuring that there are hiding spots available to help them feel more secure.

Consider a schedule

Establish a consistent feeding and lighting schedule, keeping in mind your bird’s natural rhythms—for instance, think about when their “nighttime” is (which may not necessarily be at night) and be sure to turn on and off the lights when it seems to suit them. Maintaining a routine will help them feel secure and aids in acclimation.

Start handling and socializing

Allow your bird adequate time to adjust to their new surroundings before you attempt to handle them. When you’re ready to start handling, begin with short, gentle sessions to build trust, and gradually introduce toys to prevent the bird from becoming overwhelmed. If your bird is a companion for another pet, introduce them slowly after your bird has settled in.

Establish a relationship with an avian vet

As a bird owner, having a trusted veterinarian who is experienced in caring for birds can provide you with peace of mind while ensuring the lasting health of your feathered friend. To find an avian vet near you, check out our locator tool!

Transition to a new diet gradually

If at any point you decide to change your bird’s diet, opt for a gradual transition over several weeks to prevent digestive upset. Monitor food intake and weight throughout the process and consult a vet if needed.

Familiarize yourself with bird toxicities

Become aware of foods and household materials that are toxic to birds, including avocado, caffeine, chocolate, dairy, onions, garlic, salt, and more. Avoid feeding these items to your bird and ensure that they are kept out of reach. Additionally, be sure to only use bird-safe cleaning agents like distilled vinegar, Dawn dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, and isopropyl alcohol to disinfect enclosures. Always remove your bird from the area before cleaning, and follow proper dilution and usage instructions.

Keep a watchful eye

As your bird becomes acclimated to their new home, continue to monitor their eating, drinking, and bathroom habits closely. Look out for signs of distress, and contact your vet if you have any concerns.

Being a pet bird parent is an exciting and rewarding adventure that will bring you and your feathered companion joy for years to come. If you haven’t done so already, take our bird matchmaker quiz to find a species that may be right for your family, or follow along at our Facebook page for fun, informative content and a community of fellow bird lovers!