Caring for Your Feathered Friend

To ensure that a bird stays healthy, you need to feed it a proper diet. A balanced diet contains ingredients from all the major food groups. Adjust quantities of different foods so that your bird samples everything and doesn’t fill up on just one preferred food. A seed-only diet is deficient in many nutrients and leads to malnutrition, poor feathers, increased susceptibility to illness, and a shortened life. Processed pellet foods, fruits, vegetables, cereals, breads, and proteins like beans, eggs, or meats should be offered to provide a well-balanced diet. Birds are one type of pet that we actually encourage you to feed “people food!”

Clean, fresh water always must be available. Nutritional and vitamin supplements can be used under the guidance of your veterinarian. Birds, like people, frequently have strong preferences for certain foods. Even if they are stubborn, we should not give up on getting them to eat what is best for them! If you notice a sudden decrease in appetite, contact your veterinarian – it could signal an illness requiring medical care.

For more information about caring for your pet bird, including what supplies you’ll need; how to tell if your bird is sick; and common household items that can be hazardous to your feathered friend’s health, check out this downloadable handout from the American Animal Hospital Association: Pet Bird Care.