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Adopting A Rescued Bird

January 1, 2024

Happy New Year! We’re kicking the new year off by showing our feathered patients some love. This month is dedicated to Adopting Rescued Birds! These charming creatures can bring joy and love into any household with their cute antics and musical voices. However, bird ownership may not be the right fit for everyone. Our feathered friends have specific needs that may require some knowledge for first-time bird owners. In this article, a local Rapid City, SD veterinarian offers advice on adopting rescued birds.

What Are The Benefits Of Adopting A Rescued Bird?

Our winged pals have many great qualities. They’re fun and cute, and while they don’t take up much space in our homes,  they definitely take up huge chunks of our hearts. Many of these colorful little fluff balls can sing, or speak, and they also look super cute dancing. Polly can also be very cuddly and affectionate. Aside from all that, it’s also just very satisfying to give a sweet bird a second chance.

Where Can I Find Adoptable Rescue Birds?

There may be more available birds nearby than you think! Your local animal shelter is a good place to start. You can also check out online marketplaces to find local birds for adoption. Your Rapid City, SD veterinarian may also be able to provide resources or information. 

What Should I Consider Before Adopting A Rescue Bird?

There are actually quite a few things to mull over here. Do a lot of research first. Birds have wonderful qualities, but they aren’t the right pets for everyone. Polly can be a sloppy roommate. She also has very sensitive lungs, and isn’t a good match for a household where she’ll be exposed to cigarette smoke or a lot of chemicals or vapors. You’ll need to consider other pets as well. If you have a feline pal, bringing a bird into your home will require a lot more ‘catculation’ than if Polly were to be an only pet.

What Kind Of Rescue Bird Should I Get?

Birds vary quite drastically with things like volume, cage requirements, size, and life expectancy. A Macaw has different care needs than a budgie. And while some birds, like finches, are quiet, others, such as the Moluccan Cockatoo, can reach 129 decibels. (That’s  louder than most concerts.)

Do plenty of research, and narrow down the type of bird that will work best in your house. 

Keep in mind that some birds are better suited for new owners than others. Finches and canaries, for example, make great pets for beginners, due to their small size, quiet nature, and tendency to bond with each other. Lovebirds also thrive on companionship and are adored for their colorful feathers and affectionate personalities. Other beginner-friendly options include Cockatiels, Parrotlets, Pionus Parrots, and Amazon Parrots.

Here are some things to consider when doing breed-specific research:

  • Space Requirements
  • Companionship Requirements
  • Volume
  • Speech Capacity
  • Size
  • Life Expectancy
  • Trainability
  • Friendliness

Ask your Rapid City, SD veterinarian about choosing and caring for a bird.

How Do I Know I’ve Found The Right Bird? 

It’s important to connect with your winged buddy, but it’s also important to make a good match.

All birds have their own unique personalities. Pay attention to your potential pet. Get to know Polly as much as you can, and ask about her background and medical history. Take time to get to know her. Watch how she interacts with you and others, and pay attention to her health.

The reason Polly was rehomed may also factor in here. Birds are often rehomed for various reasons. Sometimes, it’s because they can be quite noisy. This may not suit everyone’s preference for a pet, especially if Polly likes belting out Lady Gaga tunes in the middle of the day. In other cases, the reason for rehoming is due to behavioral problems, which may stem from inadequate care. This is unfortunate because these issues are often caused by a lack of knowledge and understanding. Many people adopt birds without realizing the level of care and attention they require. 

Additionally, some birds may also have health concerns or exhibit aggression or distress due to past experiences. While these birds deserve loving homes, they may be better suited for experienced bird owners rather than first-time caretakers.

Preparing For Your Rescued Bird

Have everything ready before you bring Polly home. Your winged pal will need a comfortable and safe cage. It’s best to choose your bird before you go shopping. There are different types of cages for different types of birds, so you need to find the right one. Finches, for example, need horizontal space, since they tend to fly across cages rather than climbing up them. Parrots, however, need room to climb. (And hang upside down while imitating your cell phone.)

Get the biggest cage you can afford. It’s a one-time expense, so go ahead and splurge! We would probably suggest measuring the area where you want to put the cage, so you know how much space you’ll have. (Tip: It can be tempting to buy a used cage to save money, but be careful: if the cage’s previous owner was ill, it may not be safe.)

It’s also important to make sure Polly feels comfortable in the cage. Add lots of toys and perches. Your pet may also appreciate having some plants or trees near the cage. This will make her feel at home. Just stick with non-toxic options.

You’ll also need to consider location. Many of our winged friends prefer corners, because they feel less exposed. Therefore, a corner in the living room or family room is often ideal. Don’t put the cage in a spot where Polly could be exposed to harmful fumes or loud noises. However, you don’t want to isolate your bird too much, either. Pets can become very lonely when left alone too much!

What Is The Best Way To Bond With A Rescued Bird?

Polly will need time to learn to trust you. That’s only to be expected. In general, you should expect your pet to need at least a few weeks to feel safe. Don’t force things!

The right approach can help this go smoothly. Here are some suggestions:

Chat with your winged pal. Polly will pick up on your tone of voice when you talk to her. Make sure your voice is quiet, gentle, and friendly.

Be very gentle! It’s understandable that you may want to pet or cuddle your new bird, but let Polly feel safe before you try to handle her. Don’t grab or stick your hands in her cage. Offer treats and toys to your new pal and move slowly around her.

Another thing you can do is pull up a comfy chair. Whenever you want to read, scroll on your phone, or watch TV,  sit near Polly’s cage.

Food can also help here. You can bond with your adorable pet and build trust by giving it snacks. (Snakes are an exception here, as they are not as food-motivated as some animals, but that’s a different story.) It may take some time to find out what your new buddy likes best. You can offer a variety of bird-safe fruits and vegetables, millet spray, treat sticks, or raw pasta. Consult your veterinarian for specifics.

It’s also important to keep in mind that birds can become very attached to their human companions. Polly might feel sad and depressed because she has been separated from her former master, which could slow the process down considerably. Be patient! The first time Polly hops onto your finger or sings to greet you, you may find that you melt.

Conclusion: Adopting a rescued bird can be both fun and fulfilling. Birds can bring immense joy and charm into our lives! Just do lots of research before adopting Polly. While our feathered pals may not be right for every household, they do have quite a few ‘raven’ fans.  

Want to know more about caring for a rescued bird? Contact your local Rapid City, SD pet hospital today!

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