Bringing Home Your New Bird
Birds are great fun, and can make a wonderful addition to a household.
More about bringing home your new bird
Birds are often wary, and while they can be extraordinarily loving in places and with people they trust, the first day in a new environment can be incredibly overwhelming. Making sure that this transition is as smooth and stress-free as possible will help your birds settle in. The best way to do this to have everything they will need in place ahead of time. This means they can get used to their environment, and takes a lot of stress off you too! You also need to bird-proof the areas your birds will have access to – many pet birds are let out of the cages for periods, unless they are a species that does not like handling, such as finches.
This bird-proofing may just be within an area of the house, but don’t forget the garden too – while most indoor birds won’t be allowed free outside, chickens are often allowed to scratch around in gardens and it’s important to make sure they can only access areas you are happy for them to rake over!
- High perches. While smarter birds can learn recall, it can be a slow process. Removing access to high perches can save you a lot of climbing up and down if you plan to let your bird free in a specific room or area!
- Household toxins. Sadly, some items around the house and garden, such as cleaning fluids, are not good for birds. Birds are also susceptible to gases, so be very careful in kitchens, bathrooms, dressing rooms and anywhere where there may be chemical spray or fumes. Even some items you might not consider can give off fumes, this includes non-stick pans and hair curlers!
- Windows, doors and mirrors. Two of there are clear routes of escape if not secured properly, and even recall trained birds can easily get lost if scared and disorientated. All three are potential hazards while flying, if your pet can fly, they may try to fly through clear or reflective materials, and this can cause serious injury.
- Ceiling fans/extractor fans - Any whirring objects are dangerous for your bird.
- Furniture. Closing doors, reclining or rocking chairs, and setting up sofa beds are all times when your bird can get trapped or injured if they are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Make sure you know where they are before you move anything heavy.
- Electrical wires. Many birds absolutely love to chew, so electrical wires can be a real hazard. Keep them tucked away, or safely covered.
- Sentimental value - If something has sentimental or monetary value, be careful if you expose it to your bird. Accidents happen and many birds like to chew on items too. Save yourself the anguish and keep valuables out of the way.
- Predators. Chickens are usually kept outside and are therefore vulnerable to predators. Think about how you can keep your birds safe, especially overnight.
Once you have created a safe space for your birds, it’s important to consider where home will be. Top tips for cage positioning in the home include:
- Choose somewhere where your bird is part of the family activity, but where they won't be overwhelmed.
- Keeping your bird the right temperature is important, and being trapped in a sun spot on a hot day is a quick way to make your bird very unwell! Near windows is great as birds can look out and see what's going on, but just be careful they aren't near radiators or stuck in areas where they could overheat, or conversely get too cold.
- Having their cage or coop against a wall or fence will help them feel protected.
- Birds replace almost all the air in their lungs every time they breathe. This means they are very susceptible to gases in the environment. Keep cages away from areas where there might be fumes, such as kitchens, bathrooms and dressing rooms.
- Keep surprises to a minimum. Birds don't deal well with shocks, so have them somewhere they can see what's coming.
- In view. If you have any outdoor housing for your birds, such as a chicken coop or outdoor aviary, keeping it within sight of the house makes it much easier for you to keep an eye on your birds.
There’s lots out there available to buy for birds, and with so much on offer, it can be overwhelming. Having a shopping list put together before you start can help narrow down what you need, and here’s one to start you off!
- Cage, aviary or coop. Have a look at our housing recommendations for birds to see what you need for yours! Whatever bird you are getting, they will need space to move around (and fly, if they can), and enrichment. While there are minimums for housing, we would always recommend getting the largest cage or coop you can.
- Enrichment. Enrichment means being in a stimulating environment, this means toys, things to chew or dig through and interesting things to eat. The best enrichment will depend on your bird and their personality and species, but keeping things interesting is important for any pet!
- Perches. Having somewhere to stand and roost is important make sure these are the right diameter for your bird's feet and that you provide several at different heights.
- Cage stand. For raised cages, these should be supported by a strong frame which will keep the aviary safe and secure. Movable stands are useful to help you give your birds a different view or go outside for periods!
- Litter and linings. Dealing with waste is never fun, but getting good quality liners and litter can help. Don't forget, cat litter is toxic to birds, so always get bird safe products!
- Food. It's important to get your bird's diet right, check out our bird diet tips here. This might include mineral supplements, so make sure you have all the components of your bird's diet sorted.
- Food dishes.These should be sturdy so they don't tip over.
- Water dispenser. A hanging water bottle or trough often works well to keep water clean.
Bringing your birds home for the first time is a really exciting time for the whole family, but can be a very scary experience for them. Don’t forget, their whole world has just changed! Making the day as relaxed as possible for them will help them settle in faster, and help prevent fear and anxiety.
- Make sure you have a small, safe carrier to bring your birds home in. Letting them settle in their safe carrier is best and safest for the journey. You may want to cover the carrier with a light blanket to keep it dark as this can help calm your birds, but make sure there is enough ventilation and the carrier doesn't overheat. A towel or similar in the bottom of the box can help your bird feel secure as there is less chance of them sliding around.
- Ask whoever you are getting your bird from what they have been eating, what their routine is and what their favourite toys are. If you can get a sample of something they like to bring home, all the better! Anything that feels familiar will help your bird settle in at home.
- When you get home, place your bird or birds in their pre-prepared cage to settle down. Having some normal noise around them is fine it's important that they get used to what will be happening around them on a daily basis but try and keep the environment calm. Keep an eye to see if you can spot them nibbling food and checking out the area!
- Ideally, give your bird up to three days to settle in before you start playing with them. Of course, this will depend somewhat on your bird! Many birds however will appreciate several days to settle in and feel at home before much handing starts. Keeping handling safe, especially when you have children, is important.
If you have any questions or worries about your pet, always book to come and see us. You get to meet your vet, and they get to meet both you and your birds and give them a thorough medical examination. You can also ask any questions – while Companion Care vets are trained to treat sick animals, they also have heaps of knowledge about keeping animals healthy.
They are also there if you have any concerns – if you think your bird isn’t eating or drinking much, or at all, or if they develop diarrhoea, for example if you have a new bird, we would love to hear from you. Get in touch with your local Companion Care vet.