While it can be difficult to think about, the reality of bird ownership is that there are many things that can adversely affect a bird's health in our homes, in the air, and even within the safety of your bird's own cage. Reducing the risk of illness as much as possible is a necessity for the majority of bird owners, and can be done by working to eliminate the major risk factors in your bird's environment. Pay close attention to the information below to help your bird ward off some of the most common illnesses that affect birds in captivity. As the old saying goes, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!"
Practice good hygiene.
Practicing good hygiene
around your bird can go a long way toward preventing the onset of illness in your pet. In addition to washing your hands both before and after you handle your feathered friend, you should also take time to make sure that your bird's toys, dishes, and other cage accessories are cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis. Practice good cage-cleaning techniques by changing the liner at least once a day, and doing a deep, thorough scrubbing weekly. Taking these sorts of steps will help reduce the your bird's risk of being exposed to viruses and bacteria that may find their ways into your pet's living space.
Offer a nutritious diet.
Bird experts have been saying for years that captive parrots do best when fed a nutritious diet that includes fresh, healthy, bird-safe fruits and vegetables
, and by all accounts, it seems to be true. Birds, like people, have complex nutritional needs and rely on the intake of various vitamins to keep their immune systems working properly. Birds that are poorly fed can therefore develop an increased risk of contracting viral and bacterial diseases, and can have a harder time fighting off infection than birds who are offered a vitamin-rich diet. Shield your bird from illness by feeding him or her the highest quality diet that you possible can.
Provide your bird with plenty of exercise.
Making sure that your bird gets an adequate amount of exercise
can also do wonders to boost your pet's immune system and help ward off illness and disease. In the wild, birds are constantly active -- flying, foraging for food, and keeping themselves safe from predators. Captive pet birds enjoy the luxuries of having their food and security provided for them, so it's up to their owners to come up with creative ways to help their birds exercise and maintain their strength.
Don't skimp on socialization.
Birds are very emotionally and intellectually sensitive, and they need plenty of social interaction and mental stimulation in order to thrive. As has been seen in humans and other species, boredom, stress, and depression can lead to a marked decrease in immune response, making a bird more likely to contract an illness if they happen to become exposed. Keep your bird busy and happy by taking time to practice positive bonding techniques
together on a daily basis. Not only is it fun, handling and socializing with your bird will give you an extra opportunity to get to know fine details of your bird's body condition and personality traits, which could tip you off to early signs of illness if you happen to notice any sudden changes.
Supervise your bird when outside of the cage.
One of the most effective things that you can do to prevent illness in your bird is to closely supervise your pet during his or her daily out-of-cage time. The human household is very different from a bird's world, and curious parrots will take any and every opportunity to explore it -- usually with their mouths. This can cause birds to ingest any number of household toxins
that are capable of causing severe illness and even death. Keeping a close eye on your feathered friend will help reduce the odds that he or she will get into something dangerous during playtime.