The Do’s and Don’ts of Acquiring a Pet Bird Responsibly
From choosing the right diet for your bird to creating a safe, comfortable habitat, there are many steps to take as a responsible pet bird owner. However, one of the most important steps occurs before you even bring your bird home. At a time when the number of disreputable bird sellers in the market has been steadily increasing, it’s crucial to ensure that you acquire a healthy bird from a reliable source.
Here are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind as you search for your new pet bird:
- Do buy your bird from a brick-and-mortar store. While there are many people selling birds online, at markets, or “on the street,” it can be difficult to determine which of these sources are reputable and which are potential scams. Brick-and-mortar stores, on the other hand, tend to be more concerned about maintaining a good reputation in their community, and are likely to stand behind their birds with a health guarantee or warranty. To find the best bird store in your area, consider checking with local avian veterinarians or bird clubs and preparing a list of questions to gauge how knowledgeable the store employees are about birds.
- Don’t buy unweaned birds. While hand feeding a baby bird may seem like a great bonding experience, the truth is that birds are sensitive creatures and may suffer disastrous health consequences if hand fed by someone without adequate experience—and sadly, many birds do not show signs of illness until it is too late.
- Do ensure that the bird has been well-socialized. In addition to making sure that your new bird has already been weaned, ask the seller about how it has been socialized. This will help ensure that your pet is tame when interacting with humans and other birds.
- Don’t buy bird eggs. Some sellers offer bird eggs for significantly lower prices than pet birds. Keep in mind that reputable sellers will not sell unweaned babies, let alone eggs. Many bird eggs for sale are unlikely to hatch, and even if they do, it would be extremely difficult for an inexperienced owner to raise a healthy bird to adulthood.
- Do remember that if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Companion birds are in high demand, leading to skyrocketing prices—which, unfortunately, has increased the number of scams by people selling pet birds. If you see birds for sale at below-market prices, it more than likely means that they have been stolen or have a problem (typically health related), and the seller is trying to offload them onto an unsuspecting buyer. While purchasing your new pet from a reputable seller may be more expensive upfront, it will save you time, money, and energy in the long run by helping ensure that your bird is healthy and happy.
Becoming a pet bird owner is an exciting and fulfilling experience that should bring years of love and joy to you and your bird. By doing your research early on to ensure that you acquire a bird from a reputable source, you can significantly increase the odds that your bird will be healthy and ready to join your family. To start searching for pet birds in your area, check out our bird locator!