Have you recently acquired a pet bird? Even if you’re a seasoned pet owner, birds come with their own set of rules. Here are some of our top tips for being the best bird-buddy possible.

Make their birdcage a sanctuary

You want their house to be a home, don't you? Fill their living space with hanging toys, specially clipped tree branches and other things to keep them busy.

…and clean it regularly
It's true for humans and it's certainly true for our little winged mates – a clean home is a happy home. Bird cages need their linings changed regularly, clean food and water dishes, and tidy surfaces (free of excrement). It's important to set a schedule for cleaning your bird's cage – try breaking down tasks into daily, weekly and monthly items. And if you have kids, even better – add it to their list of chores.

Keep them occupied
Keeping a pet bird occupied is easier than keeping a restless puppy occupied, sure, but that doesn't mean you can comparatively neglect them. Make sure they have plenty of toys and stimulation inside the cage itself but also interact with them as much as possible. Just like humans, they crave love and attention.

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Vary their diet…
Every bird is different but most domestic birds – particularly parrots – require a varied diet with broad nutritional value. With seeds and pellets as your base, branch out to fresh fruits and vegetables from time to time, too. Some types of birds also love nuts and their shells – pistachio shells are a favourite for macaws.

…but don't overfeed them
It's the same for any pet, but particularly for our avian friends. Again, every bird is different but find out from your local vet what the recommended daily intake is for your pet, and stick to it. Too much – or too little – food can have dangerous consequences.