Selecting a Healthy Pet Bird

April 9, 2007 by  
Filed under Features

Choosing a bird for a pet can be very satisfying and enjoyable but there are a few things you need to consider before making your final choice. We are going to look at how you as a new bird owner can check that the bird you choose is physically healthy. Also we will give you a few pointers to help you distinguish how old the bird you are purchasing is.

When you first go and choose a bird take a minute or two to see what the bird’s general behavior and demeanor is like. If the bird is unresponsive and it appears lethargic the chances are it is not a healthy bird. Look at the nostrils, are they evenly sized and clear or blocked, with some form of discharge and eroded to some degree. When the bird breaths does it sound like its struggling or does it make a wheezing sound as this will indicate that the bird has a fungal or parasitic disease.

The birds eyes should be bright, any swelling or discharge could be the result of blocked sinuses. The breast should be plump and have a healthy covering of muscle and the plumage should be glossy with no bare patches. If the bill is deformed in anyway it could lead to eating problems. Some cases it just requires a little maintenance and care, for example if the bird has an undershot bill then every month or when you see it getting long you will need to trim it. The upper bill can also overgrow but that can be sorted out quite easily by giving your bird a suitable piece of wood.

If you are purchasing a budgie have a look at its face for scaly face mites, which is quite common in this breed. Healthy claws are important; each toe should be positioned in a way that allows for a good grasp of the perch and if the claws look overgrown have them trimmed so that they don’t get caught up in their nesting. The tail feathers must not be tattered at the tips or be grubby from its droppings as this can be an indication of French moult or a digestive upset.

To tell the age of your bird is quite easy, all you have to do is look at the coloring of its iris. In young birds, like budgies, the bird’s eyes will be completely dark but from twelve weeks onwards you will notice white irises in the bird’s eyes. Another telltale sign of the bird’s age, especially in a budgie, is the fine black bars that the youngster will have on its forehead. After the first moult and at twelve weeks this will disappear leaving the face clear and the spots on the chest are bigger.

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