Birds make fantastic pets. From the parrot to the cockatiel, birds are beautiful, friendly and inquisitive, giving so much to a home they deserve to be a far more popular pet. While people often choose a dog or cat as a pet there are many advantages to having a bird.

Intelligence – Birds are incredibly intelligent animals. Birds display impressive cognitive skills such as problem solving, using tools, navigational skills and have even displayed the ability to count from left to right. Certain birds such as parrots can even mimic speech making them great companions.

Sociability – Birds are as affectionate as any cat or dog. Their gentle social natures make them excellent companions. Some pet birds become constant companions to their owners as they go about their chores.

Inexpensive – After the initial setup costs, birds are relatively inexpensive to keep. Birds only need a relatively small amount of feed for their diet, and this can be augmented with fresh fruit and vegetables.

Space – While larger pets such as cats and dogs require room to run and play, a bird doesn’t require a huge amount of space and could happily by kept in a small flat.

What you’ll need

The cage

As it’s where a pet bird will spend most of its time, the most important thing to consider is which cage is best.This will depend on which type of bird will make the cage its home, there are also other important points to consider.


While more space is always better, the owners space may be limited so it is worth considering the minimum amount of space a bird requires to be content

1. The minimum width of a bird cage should be 3 times a birds wing span, if there is more than one bird in the cage, then the space should be three times the combined wingspan.

2. There should be enough space for the birds to turn on their perch without scraping their tail feathers.

3. The cage height should be three times the length of the bird from the top of its head to the tip of its tail. More height is required the more birds in the cage.

4. There should be enough room for the bird to fully extend its wings without touching the sides of the cage

Bar spacing

The orientation and spacing of the bars on a cage are also very important. For small birds such as cockatiels and budgies, the orientation of the bars is unimportant, whereas parrots like to use their beaks and feet to climb and so require horizontal bars.

Another important consideration is how far apart the bars are spaced. If the bars aren’t spaced correctly then the bird can get it’s wing or another body part trapped and injure itself.

Cage Shape

Another thing to consider is the shape of the cage. A circular cage may not be best for a bird as they can feel insecure without corners. Or if you have flighted birds the length of the cage becomes more important than the height. As with all considerations on this list the type of bird will largely dictate the kind of cage it will require. Researching a particular species needs is important when buying a pet bird.

A pet bird will spend the majority of its time standing on its perch so it’s something that needs to be right. There are a range of types of perch available and a mixture of a couple of types is probably best. A mineral perch give the bird somewhere to groom and break its nails where as a rope perch can provide verity and interest to a birds life.

When placing the perches it is important that they don’t impede a birds flight, or movement. A perch also should be directly over the feeder or drinker. Ideally one perch should be next to the feeder, one should be next to the drinker and one elsewhere.


A birds diet is very important. Feeding a bird a balanced diet will help to maintain the birds health, happiness and ensure a long lifespan. Fortunately it has never been easier to feed a bird a high quality diet.

As with cages, the right food will depend on the species of bird. The parrots and the cockatiel are very different shapes and sizes and live in very different environments, and so have different needs. There are five main types of bird dietary classification.

1. Florivore – These birds consume flowers as the main part of their diet. Nuts, berries, roots, bark, seeds, and fruits will make up the diet. Examples of this kind of bird include the red faced parrot, the military macaw and the blue and gold macaw.

2. Nectariovre – Nectarivores love the sugar rich nectar produced by plants as well some insects and seeds. The lorikeet and lory enjoy this kind of diet

3. Frugivore – Fruit eaters who supplement their diets with nuts and seeds, frugivores include the blue throated macaw and the green winged macaw.

4. Omnivores – Omnivores like a little meat in their diet, as well as seeds and fruits these birds enjoy insects and some invertebrates. The sulphur crested cockatoo and red tailed amazon are example of omnivores.

5. Granivore – Granivores such as the budgie or cockatiels enjoy grains and seeds.
No matter whether you have a parrot or a cockatiel there will be a high quality food to meet the nutritional needs of your bird and the species of bird should be considered when designing its diet.

While the type of bird affects the diet, generally speaking a birds diet will consist of a high quality breed specific feed augmented with fresh fruits and vegetables. An insect paste can be bought as a treat. It is important to have variety in a birds diet to prevent boredom.

Whether a bottle or dish is used it is very important that a bird has an adlib supply of fresh clean water. Dehydration can cause major health problems and can occur within a day of not having water.

A cuttle bone is also important as it will provide large amounts of calcium and other trace elements that birds require to be healthy.