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Should You Adopt A Rescued Bird?

January 1, 2024

January marks Adopt A Rescued Bird Month! Birds can be incredibly fun and charming pets. Polly packs a lot of personality into her small body! While bird ownership isn’t for everyone, our feathered friends have earned plenty of devoted fans. If you’ve been thinking about giving a rescued bird a second chance at happiness and a new forever home, this would be a great time to do it! A local Lapel, IN veterinarian offers some advice on adopting rescued birds in this article. 

Be Ready To Commit

We can’t overstate the importance of doing plenty of research. Birds have wonderful qualities, but they aren’t the right pets for everyone. Polly can be a messy roommate. Her lungs are also very sensitive, so she shouldn’t be in a household where she’ll be exposed to cigarette smoke or chemicals. If you have a cat, introducing a bird to your home will require more ‘catculation’ than you would if your new feathered friend were to be your only pet. 

Just make sure that you are ready to make a lifelong commitment. That can be a pretty long-term promise: some of our feathered pals live well over 50 years! 

How Do I Choose My Rescue Bird?

Our winged friends are all unique. Some are timid and sweet, some are active and curious, and some are, well, a bit extra. Birds can also vary quite drastically with things like volume, cage requirements, size, and life expectancy. If you’re a beginner, choose a breed that is an easy keeper. 

Here are a few suggestions for first-timers: 

Finches: Finches are quite small and delicate, and tend to do best in small flocks. They bond more to each other than to their humans, which makes them a good fit for someone who wants a low-maintenance pet.

Lovebirds: Colorful and cuddly, these small parrots are really cute and loveable. As the name suggests, they need buddies, as they are very social and do not do well alone.

Budgie/Parakeet: Small, playful, and super cute, these little birds are wonderful pets. They’re suitable for children, but don’t need as much room as some of our larger pals.

African Grey Parrot: If you’re looking for a pet that will keep you laughing and keep you on your toes, the African Grey may be your match. Just do plenty of research first: these birds are very smart, and need lots of attention. They can get into quite a bit of mischief if they get bored.

Other good beginner birds include the Parrotlet, Lovebird, Canary, Cockatiel, and Pionus Parrot. 

When researching, don’t forget to look at Polly’s volume button. Some birds, such as finches, are fairly quiet, while others, like the Moluccan Cockatoo, can reach 129 decibels, which is louder than most rock concerts. Other things to consider include speech capacity, space requirements, companionship requirements, size, friendliness, life expectancy, and trainability.

Of course, birds all have their own personalities. It’s important to make a connection, but it’s also important to make a good match. Take time to observe your potential pet. Find out as much as you can about Polly’s history and medical background, and watch how she interacts with you and with others. You’ll also want to get an overview of her health.

What To Expect When Adopting A Rescued Bird

It’s important to be prepared for some mishaps, and to expect Polly to need time to adjust. Birds are one of the most frequently rehomed pets. In fact, some parrots are rehomed as much as seven times during their lives. (That’s particularly sad, given how close they get to their humans.)

You may want to find out why Polly was rehomed. In some cases, birds get rehomed simply because they’re noisy. Not everyone wants a pet who sings Diana Ross songs in the middle of the day. Other birds are rehomed because of behavioral issues. These often result from improper care, which itself often stems from a lack of understanding. It’s unfortunately not uncommon for people to adopt birds without really realizing the amount of care and attention they require.

Birds that are recovering from trauma or serious health issues are likely not a good match for first-timers. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a no-go. It really depends on the bird and the owner. Ask your Lapel, IN veterinarian for specific advice. 

 Provide A Great Birdcage

Your winged buddy will need a comfortable and safe cage. The type and size of cage birds require depends on their breed, so research is needed here as well. Before purchasing a cage, measure the area where you intend to put it, so you know how much room you have to work with when shopping.  

We would also advise getting the biggest cage you can afford. It’s a one-time expense, so go ahead and splurge! And while it may be tempting to buy a secondhand cage to save money, be careful: if the cage’s previous resident was sick, it may not be safe.

How Do You Bond With A Rescued Bird?

Adjusting to a new home is challenging for any pet. This is something to be very aware of with rescues. Polly may feel sad and depressed after being separated from her former master, and will need time to acclimate.

When bringing Polly home, place her in her cage and allow her a few days to adjust. Although birds need free time, it’s important for her to feel settled first. 

Here are a few tips for helping win your new buddy’s heart:

  • Offer Snacks: Food can make a big difference in bonding and building trust. That applies to all of our animal companions. It may take time to figure out what Polly prefers. You can offer various bird-safe fruits and vegetables, millet spray, treat sticks, or raw pasta. Just stick with things you’re sure are safe. Consult your vet for more details.
  • Grab A Chair: Whenever you want to read, scroll on your phone, or watch TV, sit near Polly’s cage. This will help her feel safe.
  • Don’t Be Pushy: Don’t force attention on her. Just let her settle in.
  • Strike Up A Conversation: Use a quiet, gentle, and friendly tone of voice when talking to Polly. She might not understand what you’re saying, but she will notice your tone.
  • Don’t Scare Your Pet: You might want to pet or cuddle your new bird, but it’s important that you let her feel secure before handling her. Do not try to grab her or stick your hands into the cage, and avoid startling your winged pal with sudden movements or loud noises.

Birds get very attached to their owners, but that attachment doesn’t happen overnight. Polly will need time to learn to trust you. In general, you should expect your pet to need at least a few weeks to feel safe. Don’t force things. Love takes time!

 Do Plenty Of Research Before Adopting A Rescued Bird

We know, we already suggested research, but we really just can’t overstate its importance here. That said, adopting a rescued bird can be very enriching and fulfilling. You may be surprised at how quickly Polly steals your heart! Do you have questions about caring for a rescued bird? Contact us, your local Lapel, IN pet hospital, today!