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Before getting a bird it is necessary to decide on the most suitable species. The easiest for most families is one of the smaller birds, such as a budgerigar, cockatiel or lovebird.

The larger species such as the cockatoos can be very demanding, very vocal and very destructive. Many councils prohibit the keeping of the larger parrots due to noise.

Australia has many beautiful coloured native species which are available in pet stores, but not all are easy to keep as pets. Some, while they make entertaining pets, require special food - e.g, lorikeets which require a nectar substitute and as a result of their semi-liquid
diet they have semi-liquid faeces which makes keeping their surroundings clean much more difficult. Permits may also be required from the state government to keep some native species of birds.

When considering the type of bird for your household, consider also the size and cost of the cage that will be required. Purchase the largest cage that you can afford as all birds appreciate as much room as possible.

When purchasing your bird, buy from a breeder or store where the cages are clean and the
birds are bright and happy. Never feel sorry for a bird and buy it out of pity because it is sick.
Most birds showing signs of illness are seriously ill and will probably die within a few days. If you already have birds at home you are likely to spread a disease to your own birds.

Newly purchased birds should be kept away from your other birds for several weeks until you are sure they are not harbouring a disease.

While it is true that "babies" just out of the nest are likely to be easiest to train be sure that the baby bird is fully weaned before you purchase it.

A healthy bird will have tight, clean and glossy feathers. An ill bird will fluff the feathers and will often have soiled feathers in the area under the tail.

Young birds fresh from the nest will have partially grown flight and tail feathers. Commercial seeds, manufactured for the particular species of bird - budgie, canary or parrot mixes - should form the basis of the diet. Green feed such as thistle,carrot tops, parsley and fruit ( apple, orange, cherries, grapes etc) should be added to the diet.

Supplements may be given as tonic bells, seed bells and cuttlefish which are obtainable from pet shops and supermarkets.

External parasites are a common cause of itching, scratching and feather picking in birds. Mites and lice can be transferred to caged birds from wild birds which land on the cage. Anti-parasitic powders are available to treat the bird and the cage. Be sure to use one which is manufactured as safe for birds.

Pussy's or Rover's flea powder may be fatal! If the moult is prolonged or the feather loss and scratching is prolonged, seek the advice of your local vet.

Petcare Information and Advisory Service Australia

Last Update: 13/03/07 22:22 Views: 9791

OzPetShop - Pet Products, Supplies and Accessories