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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Birds as pets

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My daughter, Yumi, tells me that when she is already earning her own income regularly, she is also going to frequently buy birds sold at the market for pets. She is going to take as many as she could, bring them here at the farm, and then free them in the open.

Why she has this plan is because she was so inspired by the story we told her of what her ‘Lolo Joe’ (Jose Burgos, Jr.) did one time while on the road.

Her Lolo Joe observed a trader selling birds in cages as they were traveling down the highway to Bicol. He approached this vendor, bought all the birds he was offering, and then unexpectedly released all the birds he had just purchased in front of the vendor, much to the guy’s astonishment. What a shocker, huh? If you ask me, that’s surprisingly fantastic!

A pair of lovebirds in their cage while eating bird seed. (Photo taken from Unsplash.istockphoto-1332542728-170667)

Funny thing though was before she learned about her Lolo Joe’s story, Yumi unceasingly asked me to buy her one of those colored chicks being sold just outside churches. I refused to give in to her wailings. Every time she asked to buy them, I would explain to her that birds are not meant to be caged, rather, they are meant to soar the skies, and that is why they should not be kept in cages as pets. And after more than 10 times of asking for it, we finally told her of her lolo’s story with the birds.

I did buy her a bird after that but under one condition—- that she would let it fly free in the farm. She agreed and that is what exactly happened when we bought her pet bird, Kirby.

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What do you need to know when getting a pet bird?

If you are one who is insistent in acquiring a pet bird and you don’t share the same sentiment that we do for the winged creatures, then at least remember the advice below.

Birds are another species of animal that people adore keeping as pets, in addition to cats, dogs, and fish. Owners of birds should be aware that although their companions may be highly intelligent and entertaining, they occasionally harbor pathogens that can make people ill.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the article “Birds Kept as Pets” (28 October 2019: says that to help you find a good pet bird for yourself, first and foremost, you have to consider the following before doing so:

A little girl and her parrot. (Photo taken from Depositphotos. depositphotos_10684347)

1. Do some research first on laws on adopting or purchasing pet birds in your community. Find out about the ordinances that your local government has in this matter so you will be able to secure the legality of your ownership;

2. Research about the type of bird you are planning to acquire for your pet to prepare yourself for what to expect and what things you need to learn in caring for it;

3. Identify a vet near you that would be able to really help you with your pet bird; and

4. You must identify a good location for your bird cage or perch. Pet birds should be kept in an area that is warm, draft-free, well-lit, and near the hubbub of the home.

Once you have done the first four steps above, when you are about to choose your pet bird, CDC suggests that you consider the following points:

1. Choose a bird whose personality, temperament, size, level of activity, and life span are compatible with your household, family, and the time you have available to spend with your pet.

2. Select chirpy, on-the-ball birds that are engaged in activity. The feathers of birds should be silky, supple, and devoid of dander or other impurities. Ailments may be present in birds that appear unclean, act melancholy, or move seldom.

3. Discover the symptoms of a bird’s illness, which can include acting lethargic or depressed, having ruffled feathers or patches of feather loss, breathing abnormally, and having fluid coming from its eyes or nostrils.

A cockatiel. (Photo taken from cockatiel-3846264_1280)

4. It is important to keep new and current birds apart for at least 30 days after bringing new birds into a home where there are already pet birds. This will lessen the risk of your existing animals contracting an illness from the new birds. For the duration of this separation:

* Before working with each group of birds, thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water.

* Maintain cleanliness and separation of the toys, cage/perch equipment, and water and food bowls.

5. Take your bird to an avian veterinarian (veterinarians with experience with pet birds) within a few days of purchasing or adopting it for a health checkup and guidance on how to care for your new pet. Visit the vet again for checkups and any recommended beak, nail, or wing reductions.

If you are really up to getting a bird for a pet, you must take heed of the suggestions and points of considerations mentioned above. But what is better to consider is checking out your local animal rescue centers and find out if they have rescued birds so that instead of buying one, you will only have to adopt. This way, you will be “hitting two birds with one stone.” These are: 1. You will be able to actively help in decreasing the population of homeless animals, and 2. You will be able to have the pet that you want and give a forever home for a homeless animal.

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