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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Care Guides > Avian Care Setup Steps

Avian Care

Avian Care

Did you know? Birds enjoy a wide variety of human foods including fruits, vegetables, pasta and breads. Avocado, the pits of any fruit and large amounts of dairy products should not be offered to birds.

Step 1Nutritional Balance

Pellets
• Avian nutrition centers around pelleted diets to consistently provide nutritional balance in each pellet.

• Pelleted diets may also have grains, fruits and vegetable additives for variety and probiotics to support digestive health.

Seeds
• Sunflower seeds are high in fat and lack many vitamins and minerals. Because seeds are very inexpensive and readily accepted by birds, birds that are fed sunflower seeds often refuse nutritious pellets, fruits and vegetables.

• Seed-only diets have been linked to fatty liver disease and coronary artery disease in birds.

• Seeds can be offered in small amounts (less than 10% of the diet) and should be a mix of millet, pumpkin, sunflower and other seeds.

• For a healthier alternative, seeds can be sprouted first (by soaking a seed and planting it when it begins to germinate) and the sprouts fed to birds.

Oats and Grains
• Oats and grains are nutrient dense foods and can be offered in many ways. They can be offered raw as a topping to pellets, cooked into prepared dishes or baked into breads.

• Oats and grains are unsuitable as a complete diet because they are not nutritionally complete.

• Variety is most important, using foods that are in season will build in variety.

Treats
• Treats should be offered occasionally as a method of bonding to your pet and rewarding good behavior.

• Birds can be finicky so if your pet starts to refuse the maintenance diet in hopes you will increase the amount of treats offered, you should decrease treats.

Step 2Foraging

Foraging
• Foraging, the process of locating food, has shown good results for not only challenging the intellect of pet birds but also helping control portion size as pets spend time figuring out their food puzzles.

• It normally takes pet birds some time to figure out foraging toys at first.

• Initially, small amounts of food should be offered freely in addition to food being hidden in foraging toys/food puzzles.

• As your pet works through foraging toys at a faster pace, you can increase the number of foraging toys and progressively hide more food in toys.

• It is not recommended to put fresh fruits or veggies in toys unless you are sure your pet will consume the food within four hours. Left out for longer than four hours, fresh produce will become rancid.

Step 3Maintaining Your Bird

Understanding Household Hazards
• Birds are very sensitive to smoke and other strong odors.

• Birds should not be housed in the kitchen because scorched Teflon, smoke, candles, perfume, incense and machinery odors are extremely dangerous to birds.

• Birds should not be allowed to fly near the stove top because they may be harmed by spattering grease, boiling soup or water or uncovered cooking elements.

• Birds are attracted to bright, shiny objects. Always keep sequins, stud earrings, beaded jewelry and rhinestones away from birds because they may quickly ingest these objects.

• Do not allow your pet to play with stained-glass objects, vertical blinds or electrical cords.

• Dogs and cats should not be allowed to play with birds; they have also been known to knock over bird cages.

Grooming
• Pet birds do not normally require beak trims. If the beak appears asymmetrical, your bird should be examined by an avian veterinarian.

• Nail trims are recommended to file down sharp points and should be done by an experienced person.

• Routine wing trims are done based on the size of the pet. Even with a wing trim, birds should be able to coast to the ground without injuring themselves.

HEALTH
New surroundings and environments can be stressful for pets. Prior to handling your pet, give her 3-4 days to adjust to her new surroundings while monitoring her behavior for any signs of excessive stress or illness.

THINGS TO WATCH FOR
• Decreased appetite; weight loss

• Decreased activity and grooming behavior

• Change in droppings in excess of two days

• Sitting at the bottom of cage

• Discharge from nose or mouth; sneezing

• Feathers fluffed for prolonged periods of time

If you notice any of the signs described above, speak with a PetSmart store associate or avian veterinarian about the health of your pet.

PETSMART CARES
Pets purchased at PetSmart are part of our exclusive Vet Assured™ program; a program designed by PetSmart veterinarians to help improve the health and well-being of our pets.

The program includes:
• Specific standards our vendors agree to meet in caring for and observing pets for common illnesses.

• Specific standards for in-store pet care.

• The PetSmart Promise: If your pet becomes ill during the initial 14-day period, or if you’re not satisfied for any reason, PetSmart will gladly replace the pet or refund the purchase price.

HEALTH
New surroundings and environments can be stressful for pets. Prior to handling your bird, give her 3-4 days to adjust to her new surroundings while monitoring her behavior for any signs of excessive stress or illness.

THINGS TO WATCH FOR
• Decreased appetite; weight loss • Decreased activity and grooming behavior

• Change in droppings in excess of two days

• Prolonged sitting at the bottom of cage

• Discharge from nose or mouth; frequent sneezing

• Feathers fluffed for prolonged periods of time

If you notice any of the signs described above, speak with a PetSmart associate or your avian veterinarian regarding the health of your pet.

PETSMART CARES
Pets purchased at PetSmart are part of our exclusive Vet Assured™ program; a program designed by PetSmart veterinarians to help improve the health and well-being of our birds.

The program includes:
• Specific standards our vendors agree to meet in caring for and observing pets for common illnesses.

• Specific standards for in-store bird care.

• The PetSmart Promise: If your pet becomes ill during the initial 14-day period, or if you’re not satisfied for any reason, PetSmart will gladly replace the pet or refund the purchase price.