Flying in the sky and hopping along tree branches are some of the natural behaviours of birds. Regardless of the type of bird, none were born to be caged or kept on a chain their whole lives. Taiwan SPCA urges the public that before purchasing a bird, it is important to first carefully consider information regarding the species of bird to understand their natural environment in order to provide an appropriate living space and proper diet. It is also important that you ensure there is a vet near you who has experience dealing with birds. If you notice any symptoms of illness such as a loss in sheen, feathers not being smooth, loss of appetite, self-harming behavior, problems in defecating, any unusual liquid seeping from their eyes or beaks, or sneezing, see a veterinarian immediately.
Reports to our investigation department regarding birds have steadily increased over the years. The majority of bird species in Taiwan consist of Macaws, African Grey Parrots, Parrots, Muller’s Barbets, and Pigeons. Raising birds in Taiwan has long been for the purpose of admiring them. For this reason, most cages are too small and lack adequate places for the bird to hide. Birds are also left in cages for long periods of time, which can become monotonous and cages are also often left dirty. Frequently, birds can be found living in noisy areas. Other common issues are that these birds are not getting the right amount of food and that their food and water is allowed to get dirty.
There has been a lack of correct education in regards to keeping birds in Taiwan. This has led to incorrect care from many owners. For birds that are naturally very smart and curious, living in a tiny space or cage is a form of oppression. In this kind of environment, if a bird is frightened or feels uneasy with its surroundings, there is no place for it to hide, which increases its feelings of distress. In severe cases, long-term psychological stress can cause them to become mentally ill. The investigation department has come across many cases where pet birds have become unbalanced due to lack of stimulation, attention, and a companion. However, many owners are not aware of this and let their birds remain in a stressful environment their whole lives.
Essential household items for keeping of birds:
- Birdcages or houses: the gaps in the cage must be smaller than their heads. The dimensions of the cage should be wider than their wingspans five times vertically and three times horizontally. For birds that climb, the cage should at least be twice as wide as their wingspan and three times as high. It is also important that the cage is suitable for climbing and is stable.
- Four separate containers are necessary for food storage, water, supplies, and snacks that cannot be hung.
- High quality food is often a mix of nuts and seeds. You should also add fresh fruit and vegetables. Cuttlefish bones and calcium pieces are also good source of extra minerals. You can also give your bird cheese, egg, and bugs for protein.
- Providing wooden rungs of different sizes can help to train a bird's leg muscles.
- You should also consider the size and firmness of toys when selecting items for your bird. These could include wood, feathers, ropes, cables, small bells, and acrylic items.
- Other items include nail clippers, squirt bottles (for larger birds), or bird baths (for small birds).
- You will also want to have a pre-made nest or nest building materials for you bird, which often involves a box or basket.
TSPCA bird caresheet link: