CHENNAI: The most common I get asked when I show little kids the 50-odd birds I keep is, ‘do they understand what you’re saying?’ And my answer is always the same. Speak to the bird as though you are talking to one of your friends, softly, bass not high pitched — and they may not understand the words — but they will understand that you are friend not foe. And I can say this plenty of experience, you may not get to snuggle with your parrot as you could with a puppy in the house, but if you will talk to your birds every day — you will most certainly get a chirp-happy welcome as you open the door. And mind you, it doesn’t stop until you go over and say hello! For beginners with avian pets, definitely opt for love birds. They are low maintenance, don’t mind enclosures and clearly most people agree because love birds are the third most common pet in the world, after dogs and cats. Just keep a couple of things in mind when you bring your winged pet home for the first time. They don’t all like the same food, so you will have to do your research.
Love birds for instance, enjoy thennai seeds (millets), they also like a good chew of sunflower seeds and will happy to have the occasional piece of cuttle fish which is a good source of calcium. Before you get into a daily routine of talking and feeding and cage cleaning however, giving your bird at least half a day to adapt to his new environment is important. After all the stress in transit (imagine if you were rattled around in a cage for a good 40 mins) — the last thing your bird needs is a five unfamiliar faces crowding around him!
(Abdus Saeef is a bird enthusiast, and is the first to be dialled when there is a bird in distress. Call him on 9790878888)
Depending on how many birds you are keeping and their size, the enclosure should be large enough for them to fly around freely
Birds are highly susceptible to infections, so the enclosure has be be maintained clean and dry at all times, also refill their water daily
Different types of seeds, grains, vegetables and fruits can be included in their diet to keep them happy and satisfied
The food we provide may not fully meet their nutritional needs, so they need to be given vitamin supplements regularly
Adding swings, small pipes and tubes in the enclosure may cost very little and often can be put together with odds and ends, but for your bird it’s like a ticket to a mini amusement park. So creativity with shapes inside your bird’s enclosure could really go a long way