Parakeet / Budgerigar

These are friendly birds which are relatively easy to tame and look after. Budgies grow up to ten inches long and come in a variety of colours. They can live for up to ten years and are excellent choices for a “first bird” pet. Budgies are cheerful hardy companions which respond well to training


The male canary is a very popular choice of pet as it has a beautiful song. Canaries are small birds (up to 7 inches long) and can live for up to nine years.


The cockatiel is a very friendly and intelligent and popular bird. They need a lot of companionship and can suffer from boredom if they are not paid enough attention. Cockatiels can grow up to fourteen inches long and can live for up to 25 years.

Macaws / African Greys / Amazons

Parrots are incredibly beautiful and intelligent birds. They easily learn to mimic speech. They require a lifelong and intense commitment from the owner and can be temperamental and aggressive – potential owners should think long and hard before committing to purchase these birds. Macaws can grow to forty inches long and can live for up to fifty years.  Please Contact Us if you have any queries about Birds.

What is the ideal environment in which a bird should be kept?

Select a cage that provides room to fly for exercise. The cage should be as large as your space and budget allows and wider than it is tall.    If your bird enjoys walking around the cage (e.g. a Parakeet or a Cockatiel) choose horizontal bars to enable to bird to exercise. If your bird likes to fly from perch to perch (e.g. Canary) pick a cage with vertical bars.

Special Requirements:

Have a number of differently sized perches hung at different heights. This allows the bird to exercise their feet. Macaws like perches made of natural twigs and branches but you should be aware that some wood can be poisonous. Get advice before introducing natural perches of your own.

Placement of the cage in front of a window can result in wide fluctuations in temperature, and should be avoided. Avoid placing the cage in the kitchen, as fumes from Teflon pans are toxic to birds. Birds benefit most from being placed high up in a room that is often used.    The cage should be cleaned frequently to provide a healthy environment for you and your pet.


It is important to provide your bird with a balanced diet The easiest way of ensuring that your bird gets a correct balance of nutrition is to purchase ready mixed feed from a good pet shop. Some birds will eat fruit, such as apples and oranges – this helps introduce some variety into their diet Beware of diets containing too much sunflower seed, as this can lead to problems such as obesity and tumours.

Ensure that a supply of clean water is always available.This water supply should be replaced daily to ensure that it remains fresh.  Cuttlefish provides a source of calcium that is an important part of a bird’s diet.


Depending on both the owner and the bird, you may develop a bond that allows you to handle and let the bird out of its cage for a period of time. In this case, ensure that the bird has a safe environment before release (e.g. no open windows, predators, fires etc.).


All caged birds enjoy toys. Many pet shops cater to pet birds and offer a wide variety of safe toys. The bird will eventually destroy the toy but that is part of the fun. Select toys that do not have small pieces that can be swallowed or sharp edges.Avoid anything that can become caught on the leg band.


Birds need an occasional shower or bath to have healthy feathers. Offer a shallow dish of water several times a week. Spraying the bird with cool water will also improve the condition of the feathers.

Birds are incredibly clean creatures and need an occasional shower or bath to have healthy feathers. Offer a shallow (about an inch) dish of water several times a week for them to bathe in. Alternatively, spray the bird with cool water to improve the condition of the feathers.

What are the common health concerns?

Getting used to your bird – pay attention to its normal appearance and behaviour – will help you spot potential problems (changes) at an early stage. A dull and lifeless bird, which has ruffled feathers and often stays in one position for a long period of time, is often a very sick bird.

Scaly Face:

This is a grey crust which spreads around the beak and other parts of the face. Can be treated with a medicine – a germicide supplied by a veterinary surgeon

Overgrown Beak:

Beaks are normally kept in trim by pecking at a cuttlefish bone. An overgrown beak should be trimmed by a vet.

Overgrown Claws:

Claws should be clipped by a vet. Perches with a natural rough surface lessen the problem

Cold, Bronchitis, Pneumonia:

Advanced signs include bird huddled on its perch, wheezing, gasping for breath. Keep warm and seek advice from a vet

Feather Plucking:

Can be caused by parasites or may be behavioural. Seek advice from a vet

What are the indicators of ill health?

  • A change in appearance or behaviour
  • Sneezing
  • Irregular breathing
  • The Bird plucking its own feathers out
  • Looser droppings
  • Loss of appetite
  • Watering eyes
  • Sitting on the bottom of the cage

Small Pets Corner