If you recently decided to bring home a pet bird and placed it under your care, then you’re in for a pretty rewarding experience. Like most pets, birds can provide companionship and purpose that many people find hard to find.
Under the right care, a pet bird can enrich your life. But with that in mind, how do we enrich theirs? And how can you tell if your bird is happy?
In this article, we’ll go over the different ways to help ensure that your bird is happy, the signs that show a pet bird is happy, and everything else in between.
How to Make Your Bird Happy
While birds are friendly animals that can quickly become loyal to you as their owner, you have to earn that trust first!
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to help you win over their trust, and here are some of the best things you can do:
Start ‘em Young
One of the most important parts of bird training is to start while they are still young. While it’s entirely possible to train an older bird, you will have a higher chance of succeeding when you start training them while they are still young.
Not only are younger birds more trusting, but older birds also tend to be more stubborn during training. Alternatively, training them while they are still young is also critical when bonding with your pet, which brings us to my next point…
Bond with Your Bird
And when I say bond, I mean spending time with them every day. While birds, especially those well-taken care of, live long lives, their lifespan is but a fraction of ours, which means that chances are, you’re the only person your pet bird will get used to.
So make use of that time and make sure they are given the time and attention they need. Handle your bird regularly, learn to hand-feed them, and make sure you don’t neglect their needs to avoid destructive manners like feather picking. The happier your bird is, the more it will trust and love you as its owner.
Keep Them Healthy with A Balanced Diet
One other important step in earning your bird’s trust and companionship is to make sure they are getting the nutrition and food that they need. Often, pet owners end up neglecting the diet of their bird, thinking that a bag of mixed seeds is enough. However, this simply isn’t the case.
Depending on the type of bird you are taking care of, there may be certain types of food that they will favor. For example, budgies should be fed a mix of seeds, vegetables, and fruit, while some may be picky in the kind of pellet you feed them. Do your research and test different foods until you and your pet bird find a groove.
If your bird is already used to a specific type of diet, don’t just switch it as well. Slowly introduce the food, and test whether they like it or not. Not only will this help you get a deeper understanding of your bird’s needs, but you will also be able to build an even deeper trust between you and your pet.
Give Your Bird an Enriching Cage
You can’t be at home 24/7 to play with your bird. There will always be a time when they will be left on their own inside their cages. As such, you need to ensure that this cage is comfortable and enriching for them.
This starts by choosing a cage that is fit for your bird, as well as a spot where they can sleep in. Fill the cage with toys and perches too, as well as anything that they can use to pass the time. If possible, make the cage large enough so that they can stretch their wings out easily.
If you don’t have space in the house for a bigger cage, then simply open it and let them exercise by flying around.
Normally, the thought of letting a flying animal loose in the house is scary, as they might escape and fly away. But if your bird is domesticated and already used to you, then you should be fine.
Even a couple of hours of flying time in a safe and enclosed space will do wonders for your bird. In the wild, birds fly and go as they please, so you mustn’t take this freedom from them. And while you’re letting them fly, make sure you set up a couple of fake trees or perches for them to stand and rest on.
More reading: 10 Best Talking Birds for Beginners
How to Tell if Your Bird is Happy
Now that you know the things you can do to make your bird happy, how can you exactly tell if what you did worked? Here are some key signs you can observe.
Your Bird Loves to Cuddle
This is probably the most obvious sign. Birds cuddle by walking around your body and pushing against you, so if your bird does this, then that’s a clear sign that they trust you! Of course, things like this take time and patience, but it’s also why it feels so rewarding when you achieve a bird’s trust.
While not every bird is capable of vocalization, most domestic birds that are kept as pets do, and it’s an easy way to tell that you won them over. Usually, a relaxed and trusting bird will sing, whistle or even try to talk to you to get your attention.
For example, while parrots are capable of talking, they only do so when they trust the person they’re seeing. And sometimes, your bird will use chatter to communicate their contentment.
Bird Body Language
Another way to tell that your bird is happy is by checking its posture and body language. Usually, a happy bird will always have a relaxed posture, as this means that they don’t see you as a threat.
There are also other forms of bird body language that can reveal they’re happy. This includes bowing their head when you scratch it, tail flapping when you’re near, showing dilated pupils, and even hanging upside down to swing back and forth! Whatever they do, you can always tell that they’re happy if they’re being active around you.
Some birds mimic you or follow you around to show that they trust you. While it may sound and look weird, a bird regurgitating food in front of you also means that they are comfortable and relaxed around you.
Of course, a happy bird will look its best all the time. In addition to being active and happy all the time, you will also be able to tell by the color and health of their birds, as neglected birds usually have droopy feathers that are not as colorful. Bright and proud crests are also an indication that a bird is happy.
If this is the case with your bird, immediately take them to the vet to see what’s wrong, as well as what you can do for them.
As pets, birds do plenty of things to communicate that they are happy and comfortable in the environment you’ve set up for them. Indeed, birds are joy-embodied, and as long as you’re observant and pay attention, it wouldn’t be hard to identify that they are feeling happy.
If your bird is showing otherwise, however, then they might be sick or unhappy, in which case you need to immediately take them to the vet to check what’s wrong, as well as what you can do.