Before getting a pet, you should find out in detail about the care of poultry. If transporting the bird in winter, do not take it from the street to a hot, heated room right away. The cage with the bird should be placed for 30-40 minutes in a room where the temperature does not exceed 20 °C. If you transport birds of very heat-loving species, make sure the cage is kept at a temperature of at least 25 °C. This can be done by wrapping the cage with the poultry in a warm blanket or plaid.
An important condition for caring for poultry is to keep the cage clean. Accumulated dirt on the perch and cage tray should be brushed and washed off with hot water and soap, after which it is recommended to treat the cage with a weak solution of manganese solution. The cage tray for birds should be covered with paper and changed as it gets dirty with droppings (but not less than once a week). Some birds like to flounder in the sand, so it is extremely undesirable to deprive them of this pleasure. In this case, the sand should be placed in a cage in a separate tray.
The feeder, drinker and bath for poultry are washed daily with hot water and soap and wiped with a clean towel. Especially make sure that there is no mucus on the glass of the drinker, which is harmful for the health of birds. Water in drinkers and water bowls for poultry should be changed once a day in cool seasons and more often in hot ones. Place bird drinkers and bird feeders as far apart as possible to keep water from being contaminated by feed waste and feed from being wet by water.
When caring for a domestic bird, do not make any sudden movements, speak loudly or shout at them. Home birds understand human voice intonations well and behave more calmly if they are handled gently. Domestic animals birds will behave much more calmly when feeding, watering, and cleaning their cages if they use a cage with retractable feeders, trays, and hanging drinkers. When moving the cage, changing perches or taking out the tray in a cage with fearful birds, cover the cage with a piece of cloth in advance (this will make the birds less fearful). Carry the cage with the bird by holding it with one hand from the side and the other hand from the bottom. Do not wrap your arms around the cage from opposite sides – this is very frightening for birds.
Sunlight and almost equally artificial light together with other conditions have great influence on growth, physiological development, vitality and reproduction of poultry. For canaries and some other poultry, the length of daylight hours and the light intensity of the cage are also important. The fact is that all these birds live in the subtropical and tropical zones, where day length during the whole year is about 12 hours and light intensity per unit area is much higher than in middle latitudes. In late autumn, winter and early spring, when daytime is short and birds have no time to eat their daily norm of food, it is necessary to artificially prolong daylight hours to 14-16 hours, including electric lighting. Power should be at least 5 W per 1 sq. m. And, as established by research and confirmed by practice, the light from ordinary incandescent and so-called gas-light (more economical) lamps completely replaces natural sunlight in its effect on birds (except for the effect of ultraviolet irradiation). Ultraviolet part of direct sunlight, delayed by window glass and absent in artificial light, has a bactericidal effect and promotes vitamin E formation. Therefore, in warm seasons it is desirable to place the cage with poultry in the sun, but for shelter from the scorching rays it is necessary to arrange shady corners of the cage. In well-lit rooms and when exposed to direct sunlight, poultry feel better, breed well and raise full-grown offspring.
The bottom of the cage should be filled with coarse, washed, river sand. Sand plays an important role in digestion, with its help to birds swallow food.
Literally the next day after placing the bird in the cage, you’ll have to take up cleaning the bird’s apartment. After all, insects-parasites and various pathogenic microbes instantly breed in a dirty cage. It is desirable to change daily sand in the cage, wash the tray, feeder, drinker, water in drinkers and water basins, perch should be thoroughly cleaned from droppings. Do not allow excessive moisture in the cage.
If you have other pets living in the house, do not let them near the cage as they may frighten the birds.
If you have many birds in your home and decide to get another one, the newly purchased bird should be placed in a separate cage and quarantined for a month. If you don’t do this, you could get an infection and kill the other birds.
Equipment for Bird Cages
You should also take care of the inside of the cage. Usually, 1-2 perches should be fixed in the cage so that the bird sitting on them does not touch the bars with its tail and does not stain the feed and water with its droppings. Aside from perches, if cage height allows, it is nice to hang a swing in the form of a ring or trapeze on top of it, or a swinging ladder. The lower part of the swing and the ladder should be made of wood, even though this condition makes them short-lived. It is better if they are made of hard wood like beech or oak. The metal ring should be wrapped around the bottom with some tape from a thick material like tarpaulin. Such precautions are caused by the fact that long sitting of the bird on a metal surface is bad for its soles and may cause them to become diseased.
Some pet hand birds become so accustomed to swings that they prefer to spend much more time on them than on perches.
Feeders and drinkers in the cage should be positioned so that they are easy to maintain and at the same time comfortable for the bird to use. Some cage designs place the feeder and drinker close to the perch, and you can service them without opening the cage and disturbing the bird. Especially it is convenient if a bird for some reason is aggressive or not used to the owner. But such an arrangement is mostly caused by limited size of cage floor, when you put feeders and drinkers on it, it’s difficult to avoid droppings.
Also, many species of poultry clearly prefer to eat sitting on a perch. Even clutching some piece of food in their beak, taken from the floor or feeder, they will certainly climb on the perch where they eat it. That’s why putting feeder on floor, if design and size of cage allow, seems to be more advisable, because it makes birds to move more, which has positive effect on their physical condition. When placing the feeder near the perch, you can often see that the bird sits in one place all day, only occasionally tilting its head to the feeder for food. Especially bad it affects the phlegmatic birds, passive, not inclined to active movement. They most often show signs of metabolic disorders, caused primarily by lack of movement and obesity.
Preparing for Breeding Pets
Breeding many species of small parrots is usually not very difficult. Birds younger or older than this age should not be allowed to breed, as their offspring may be weakened or incomplete. Preparing birds for breeding under artificial conditions should begin with lengthening daylight hours.
The daylight hours for birds preparing for breeding should be at least 15 hours. And increase the length of lighting should be gradually, adding 1-1,5 hours over 7-10 days. A sharp increase in the length of the daylight hours can cause birds to molt prematurely, which is associated with sharply increased activity of the sex glands. During short daylight hours, these glands are at rest, but with increasing light duration, they begin to increase in size and produce more sex hormones. It is important that the pair of birds is kept under the same conditions, i.e. that by the breeding period both partners are in a similar degree of physiological readiness.
All of the above applies to breeding in the autumn-winter period. If breeding is timed for spring, it is better to start it in April, when the duration of natural daylight will be sufficient for birds, if they are kept in a light room. But if the room is not very bright, it is necessary to illuminate it with electric light.
Room Aviaries and Cages
As the name implies, these are large cages in a room. The material for their making can be very different – multi-layer plywood, plastic, different types of grids, duralumin or steel angle etc. Sometimes, external parts of aviary, which are inaccessible for parrot’s beak, are finished with imitation of furniture, varnished or by other means to give appropriate aesthetic appearance to the living room. It is not recommended to paint internal parts of the aviary with oil and other paints containing poisonous substances (e.g., lead).
Depending on species of parrots which you plan to keep in aviary, choose metal netting with corresponding size of meshes and of sufficiently strong wire. One should not use copper and brass wire, because the surface of wire of this metal is covered with oxides, and parrots often grasp the wire with their beak and can ingest small particles of oxidized metal (which can cause severe poisoning).
In recent years, spot-welded animal netting has become more and more widespread. It is more convenient in comparison with a woven mesh. The size of 16X48 mm can be considered the most suitable size of the meshes of the fur farming nets for the keeping of parrots of small species. For the parrots of medium and large sizes the size of the cells can be 25 X 25 mm or 30X 50 mm. This grid is sold in hardware stores in rolls of various lengths. The main advantage of the fur-tail net is the simplicity and reliability of its fastening on any frame – wooden or metal (in case of damage of separate cells the fur-tail net does not lose its durability which often happens with the wattled net.