Humans Have Lots of Bird Advice – Don’t Get One, They’re Hard to Raise

Humans Have Lots of Bird Advice – Don’t Get One, They’re Hard to Raise

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

The following content is from 3 inquiries we received that we thought would be helpful by sharing.

We have four zebra finches in an outdoor aviary, with three walls being the exterior of our house, and the fourth wall is wire mesh.

We are in San Diego, and our nights can drop down to 40-50 degree. We are planning to add plexiglass panels over the mesh at night, and we are trying to decide on a heat source.

We are thinking of ordering the Infrared Heat Bulb for Warming Birds Without Light 150 Watt and the Infrared Bulb Guard Clamp On Brooder Lamp 10″. What are your recommendations? Thank you.

That would actually be my choice Sonya. Please make sure to add “markings” to the plexiglas panel so the bird don’t fly into to them.

What is the correct Vitamin E dosage for a bird that weighs 91 g?

Hi Barbara

Unless the bird has been blood tested and show to a have a vitamin e deficiency – unnecessary additional vita e could prove to be toxic – cockatiels are in the 91 g weight range – 

Vitamin E: Recommended daily allowances
Min: 15.00 IU/kg       Recommended: 20.00*
Vitamin E:  100 times required
Decreased growth
Increased prothrombin time (increased time for blood to coagulate)
Decreased bone mineralization
Decreased liver storage of vitamin A

Read the entire article for more details about vitamin E and birds

I find the Quora answers about “what’s the best parrot to keep as a pet” and “I’m thinking of getting a parrot what kind should be are a bit of a paradox”?

The authors who have many birds now or have been caring for parrots over half a century all say “don’t get a bird, they’re hard to raise”.

That would make the writers of these answers nothing but well, martyrs.

Why are they subjecting themselves to all the misery while advising the general public NOT to acquire a parrot? Why are they all intent on sucking the fun out of having a bird?

I have children, I have grandchildren and a niece. I am certain nowhere did I read, nor the mother of my children read “don’t ever think about getting a child because they are messy, noisy, and require 6-8 hours of face time every day?”

Personally, I think mothers are ideally suited for companion birds.

Here are two hypotheticals: would you rather change a loose diaper filled with poo or vacuum under a birdcage?

Would you rather be responsible for feeding, clothing, transporting, educating a human for at least the first 2000 days of its life or change some newspaper in a birdcage every day?

I can go on but you get the point. Here’s the secret that THOSE people don’t want you to know about. Birds and parrots can be fun.

It doesn’t take a lot to keep a birdcage clean. We have four budgies who get a millet spray every other day. I know what millet husk piles on the wood floor looks like.

I keep a vacuum under the cage. 120 seconds of vacuuming daily.

I grew up in a Jewish household. Everything was in its place, everything was always neat – always.

Today, I won’t leave my residence without making the beds and vacuuming around and under our two birdcages.

While vacuuming the Birdie Boutique last week Catherine made the observation that “there are those that vacuum and there are those that don’t, I fall into the former”.

I vacuum, it’s a habit I don’t love to vacuum, but I also don’t love to take out the garbage or do laundry – but it all needs to be done.

Thus if you’re thinking of getting a bird the first thing you have to ask yourself is “am I my a person who vacuums?”

If you are not a person that vacuums I would advocate not getting a pet. All pets come with some degree of mess be it shedding, muddy paws, torn up houseplants, pee, poop, garbage cans – I bred dogs for 25 years.

The first breeds were malamutes and huskies which were never brought into the house because you would never get rid of the hair. I had them for 10 years, my vet took all the dogs and eventually rehomed them individually.

We then transitioned to standard poodles. We became a show home to five. That meant twice a day every day in the winter, we would let them out in the yard until they were ready to come back in and then wipe off TWENTY PAWS.

To begin answering your question “Which parrot type is the best for you”? We don’t talk about parrot types, we use the term species so there’s no confusion about a bird that we’re talking about is being discussed.

How many species of parrots are there? This is from a Quora thread I can no longer find (on Quora). Which doesn’t tell us much.

The accountant in me set me off counting, so I made a list. Consider it a work in progress, here’s a list of 508 parrot species I’ve come to find.

Please mull through the list and call me in the morning – Pick some and I’ll give you pros and cons.

Many of the knocks doomsayers place on caged bird keeping can be easily mitigated.

You shouldn’t have to clean any perches or accessories in your cage if they are designed so that poop never reaches them and always falls to the floor of the cage and newspaper.

In our Senegal’s cage every couple weeks I put in 15 or 20 sheets of newspaper and remove the top one every day keeping the cage clean and pristine because that’s where all the poop falls none on her perches nor her toys.

I keep a small canister vacuum under the budgies cage and an upright not far. I vacuum 4 – 6 days a week for 2 to 3 minutes each day – does the job.

Let’s back up a bit. Why ARE birds messy? It’s nature’s design they were put on earth to spread seeds.

Much like not being able to tell the difference between a $300 Java wood play stand and a $6000 armoire, they can’t tell the difference between the rain forest floor and your Pergo floor.

They spread seeds by dropping them from their perches in the wild along with their poop.

Seabirds will transport fish eggs to small lakes putting populations of fish in places that you never really thought about how the fish got there got there.

Parrots are the only species of animal immune to the hottest of hot habanero peppers. This is mother nature’s way of spreading habanero pepper seeds across the land..

It’s pretty easy to control the cleaning of poop if you’re smart about it. All poop falls down to the newspaper on the floor of the cage if your perches are designed to do so.

Which seems to be the biggest mess is the hulls from the seeds. Our four Budgies get a millet spray every other day.

Most bird food seed blends have hulls. They get flung out of the cage when say a bird flaps its wings, clipped are not. Millet seed hulls can be seen in streaks of sunlight flying up on certain days

I could put myself out of my misery and stop serving the breakfast club (Bacon, Eggs, Toast and Jam) millet but they like it too much and have lots of fun.

A single budgie feeding on about a 10th of a millet spray a day would not make much of a mess. Bird food blends with hulled seeds like Tropimix from Hagen or any number of commercial bird food pellets will eliminate a lot of vacuuming.

If you fall into the “I’m not a vacuuming person” category, “clean bird food” puts the option of a bird in your life – back on the table.

Another consideration can be noise. South American birds like conures (120 species alone) tend to be noisy.

Big cockatoos from Australia can be very noisy like the umbrella cockatoo but not all cockatoos are noisy.

The major Mitchell cockatoo and the Rose breasted cockatoo are both relatively quiet birds. So are Eclectus parrots.

While African grays can be noisy, other African birds from the Poicephalus family like Senegal’s, Red Bellies, Myers, and Nyam nyam’s. Cape parrots tend to be on the noisy side.

Generally speaking bigger bird bigger brain, bigger poop, bigger voice. A big cockatiel and a Senegal are about the same body weight while the cockatiel is 4 to 6 inches longer because of its tail.

So there are lots of things to think about. Mothers and fathers have been rearing children since I don’t know, for a long time.

Any animal can be trained, as long as you pay your due diligence, including parrots.

I do know that I enjoy waking up to the sound of four budgies planning and or plotting their day. Their tiny voices fill the apartment with life like a verbal floral arrangement.

I enjoy packing up Peaches our Senegal and taking her to work every day where she just spends her entire day seeking to annoy me but it’s all just fun. (Being self-employed helps)

The thrill of seeing her fly to her cage raises goosebumps every time because this was a bird who spent only two hours a day out of her cage for seven and half years in a rescue before she came into our lives.

If you want to get granular feel free to reach out, just look at my profile and we can chat by about any medium you can think of.

Best of luck


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