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Are Birds Good Pets? Types & Care Tips

Sarah Psaradelis

By Sarah Psaradelis

a parakeet in the cage

Birds are one of the most common exotic pets you can keep. They make good pets for the right owners if you can meet their care requirements. Birds are known for their cheerful songs and social nature which can make them a good fit for many households.

The companionship that birds can offer their owners is something that attracts many potential bird owners. As intelligent animals that rely on a cage as their main form of housing, most people can fit a bird into their lifestyle if they can commit to the bird’s care.

Let’s discuss whether birds make good pets and everything you need to know to determine whether they are the right pet for you.

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Do Birds Make Good Pets?

Yes, birds make good pets and loving companions. Whether you are looking for a pet that is highly intelligent and can be interactive, or you are a senior citizen looking for a pet to keep you company, birds are usually a good choice. Since most birds can live well over 10 years, they can be a long commitment. This means that you will need to plan in the future to see if a bird will be a pet you can care for over the next few years.

Like most pets, birds are not for everyone. A bird’s care requirements, behavior, and noise level might not appeal to you. Since birds are primarily kept in the security of their cage, you need to ensure the environment is kept clean and suitable for the type of bird you are keeping.

Birds and Children

If you plan on getting a bird for a young child or perhaps teaching them how to care for an animal before getting them a dog or cat, it is not a good idea. Birds are a huge responsibility, and typically a pet that isn’t ideal for young children.

This is because birds are delicate creatures that can easily get injured by a child’s incorrect handling while being prone to stress and at risk of flying away and escaping their cage if the doors are left open. Most young children won’t be able to handle the responsibilities of caring for a bird, such as keeping the cage clean, cleaning, and refilling food and water, while doing health checks on the bird and taking them to an avian veterinarian if necessary.

lovebirds eating
Image Credit: ploypemuk, Shutterstock

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The 6 Different Types Of Pet Birds

There are several different types of pet birds, and each one has different care requirements. Certain species of birds are better suited for different households and environments, so deciding which type of pet bird you want may influence whether they will make a good pet for you.

1. Parrots

african grey parrot
Image Credit: manfredrichter, Pixabay

These are one of the most popular pet birds, and they are known for their long lifespans, vocal range, and memory. Parrots generally require larger cages than the smaller types of birds, since most parrots grow to a size of 3 inches like the buff-faced pygmy, and as large as 3 feet like the macaw. Parrots like the parakeet can live for 5 to 10 years of age, whereas African grey parrots can live up to 60 years with good care.


2. Lovebirds

Two Fischers lovebirds hanging out
Image Creidt: Josef Svoboda, Shutterstock

Lovebirds are a genus of birds that are small in size, with the rosy-faced lovebird commonly kept as a pet. These birds rarely grow larger than 7 inches and live for 10 to 20 years. Like most parrots, lovebirds can mimic human speech and they are not typically quiet birds. With the right care and handling, most lovebirds can become quite affectionate toward their owners.


3. Cockatiels

two cockatiels on a tree branch
Image Credit: 825545, Pixabay

Cockatiels are adorable birds that are intelligent enough to be easily trained. They are known for being very sociable and friendly birds towards their owners, and only reach a size of 12 to 14 inches. These birds can be quite noisy and imitate human sounds, but they generally stick to whistles and calls.


4. Finches

Finches
Image Credit: WildPixar, Pixabay

If you are busy throughout the day and can’t provide a bird with much attention, finches are likely going to be a good pet for you. These are small and chirpy birds that enjoy being kept in groups. They enjoy the company of other finches and don’t necessarily like being handled much. They only grow to around 4 inches in size and don’t live much longer than 7 years.


5. Hyacinth Macaw

hyacinth macaws in a cage
Image Credit: Mumemories, Shutterstock

The macaw is one of the largest parrots in the world, reaching a size of 3.5 feet. Macaws are very big birds that have special housing requirements, which makes them unsuitable for many bird owners. Hyacinth macaws have an average lifespan of 50 years, and they are more challenging to care for than other types of birds.


6. Doves

Dove
Image Credit: chrisjmit, Pixabay

Domesticated doves are a type of bird that can be kept as a pet. They are typically much quieter and have a very social nature. Doves should ideally be kept in small groups since they enjoy socializing with their kind and their owners.

If a domesticated dove is hand-raised or bonded to people from a young age, it can become very affectionate and loving towards you. Most doves don’t get much larger than 12 inches in length, with a lifespan of 12 to 15 years.

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Keeping Birds As Pets

Most birds are relatively easy to keep as pets, but they still require daily ongoing care.

Housing

All birds should be provided with a cage or aviary that is suitable for the species. The size of the cage should ideally be larger than the minimum size for the species since it gives the bird more room to play, eat, stretch its wings, and feel less cramped. If you are working with limited space in your home, then opt for a bird that doesn’t require such a big cage. For example, an African grey parrot is going to need a much larger cage than a cockatiel or budgie.

You will need to ensure the cage is kept clean through regular maintenance. This includes changing out the cage liner when it becomes soiled, wiping down surfaces, and washing the food and water bowls.

Noise Level

Certain birds may also be too loud for your household, so choosing a bird that doesn’t mimic human sounds and sticks to chirps and whistles might be better for you. Larger parrots can be exceptionally loud and make noises throughout the day. You might find that your bird repeats words and sounds that they have heard, which can be an annoyance if you enjoy a quiet home. Perhaps talkative birds or noisy birds, in general, won’t be a good fit for people who work from home.

pet bird electus parrot playing with toy
Image Credit: Jill Lang, Shutterstock

Diet

The basis of many bird foods is a seed mix or pelleted food. The bird’s dietary requirements will vary depending on the species, but nearly all birds are omnivores. Since birds can become picky with what they eat and favor certain foods over others, ensuring that their diet is kept balanced and nutritious is important. You should supplement their diet with healthy fruits, veggies, and treats if they are non-toxic.

Pet birds should have constant access to fresh water and food in a dish secured in the cage. Since birds may poop on their food and water dishes, it might be necessary to clean them once a day.

Entertainment

Birds are quite intelligent, and they need to be kept entertained to prevent boredom. Pet stores are filled with bird toys of various sizes and designs. From colorful ladders to hanging toys and bells, there are endless toys out there to keep your bird happy.

Toys can also help to clutter the cage, but this can be beneficial for birds to don’t enjoy too much open space. These toys can also function as climbing items aside from perches, and helps your bird navigate their cage without being limited to just the perches.

conure birds on the cage
Image Credit: Lorcel, Shutterstock

Playtime

Most pet birds will need to be taken out for playtime or bonding. This is especially true for most parrots, and it allows them to roam outside of their cage. However, they should only be allowed out in a bird-proofed room with no cats or dogs inside. Some birds don’t like to be left alone for a long time since they can become lonely, so consider the bird’s social requirements if you are out most of the day working.

Veterinary Care

All pet birds will require veterinary care if they are sick or acting abnormally. A sick bird can get worse quickly, so taking them to a veterinarian when you first notice signs that your bird might be sick is important. You will need to put money aside as savings for veterinary emergencies and plan as to which avian veterinarian you will be taking them to.

It is a good idea to have a list of experienced avian vets in the area so that you know which one to contact depending on the reason for your bird’s vet visit. A separate travel cage that is smaller than their main housing allows you to transport your bird easily without having to place them in a box or container during the drive to the vet.

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Are Birds The Right Pet For You?

In conclusion, birds make excellent pets for adults and older children who can care for them properly. Before getting a bird, ensure that you can meet the species’ care requirements. You will need to ensure you can commit to the care the birds needs for the rest of their life. Since most pet birds can live over 10 years, it can be a long time.

With so many types of pet birds to choose from, there is guaranteed to be a pet bird that is right for you.


Featured Image Credit: Christine Bird, Shutterstock

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