Information for New Bird Owners

So, You’d Like to Have a Bird?

Image of a Cockatiel

What Should I Do First?

Purchase the cage before you purchase the bird. Set it up at home with everything in it, just like you would do for a new baby. When the cage is completely ready, bring the bird home, put it in the cage and leave it completely alone for two full days. It will allow the bird to get used to its new home and feel secure there.

How to Hold A Bird in Your Hands

After two days, you can appear at the cage and talk in a nice, smooth rhythmic voice. Let the bird get used to your voice. Next, train your bird to get on your finger. Here is how you do it:

  • Put a perch against the bird’s chest and coax it to step on. Don’t spend more than 10 minutes at a time doing this or the bird will tire and not want to train.
  • Once you get your bird on the perch you can substitute your finger for the perch. Go through this routine several times for two weeks. But don’t take him out of the cage for those two weeks. It’s important for the bird to know that the cage is the safest place for it. Don’t be tempted to take your bird home and let it start flying around the house. Let it get used to its own house first.

When Can I Take My Bird Out of the Cage?

Once your bird is used to its cage, after a couple of weeks, you can take it out. You do this at night because it’s safer. Windows and mirrors confuse the bird and they might take off and fly right into them. So, take it out at night when the windows are covered with drapes.

If your bird starts flying around, just freeze until it lands. Don’t chase it. Then go to the bird and get it on the perch of your finger. Hold it in the palm of your hand with your fingers wrapped around its neck (form a loose ring so you don’t restrict the circulation in the neck).

Bring it back to the cage. Repeat the process until it doesn’t fly away and you can scratch the top of its head. That’s how you train it.

Can I Teach My Bird Tricks?

You can teach your bird to sit on things; pull things or climb. Climbing can be taught by coaxing your bird to go up one rung at a time. Coax your bird to open its beak and play with a piece of string that is tied to a little toy wagon. Teach the bird to fly by sitting it on a perch and pulling it in the wagon. This can all be done with time.

How to Teach Your Bird to Talk?

Pick a name for it immediately, something short. Repeat it often. Then try a phrase, one that has the first word taught. Train your pet to talk first rather than whistle. Sometimes, once they learn to whistle they don’t bother learning to talk.