Cats and dogs, though adorable in their own unique ways, come with their own baggage and some people often find it difficult to adjust with the tougher side to keeping them as pets. Among other things, these animals need a lot of space and their fur can cause health problems ranging from asthma and allergies to more serious hazards like diphtheria if proper vaccination is not done. There is, of course, no need to lose hope as the world of animals is wide and varied and it takes only a bit of patient research to find the right pet, suited to your every need and convenience. A solution to the no-dog-or-cat problem can come in a number of forms. Birds and fish are the most common departures from the usual fetish for canine and feline companions, though hamsters, rats and ferrets are quite popular as well. I shall restrict myself to my views on birds as pets in this write up, lacking experience, as yet, with most of the other creatures I mentioned.
Colorful, intelligent and a constant source of entertainment and relaxation, birds bring joy to their owners in every way they can. Birds do look easier to take care of, inexpensive and space-savvy but in reality, the picture is quite different. The most important thing to be kept in mind while deciding on keeping a pet bird is that a bird is not merely a living ornament for your drawing room needing nothing but the regular supply of food and water. Rather, their needs are just as great as those of larger animals. There are hundreds of varieties to choose from when going for a bird, but it is recommended to first time bird owners to start off with the smaller species like budgerigars, cockatiels or love birds to get a grasp on bird behavior before moving on to the more problematic (while at the same time more interesting) species like cockatoos, macaws and large parrots. Birds are pretty witty but they need to interact with humans a couple of hours regularly to put their brains to the fullest use. This responsibility shouldn’t be looked upon as a mere pastime but considered as a commitment. It should be remembered that it’s unnatural for birds to be caged up, and if left to themselves for long periods of time, they become loud, disturbing and often engage in self-mutilating activities out of negligence and frustration.
Engaging in conversation or interacting with birds proves rewarding for owners as well as they are quick learners and can be taught phrases and songs and be made to obey voice commands like “go into your cage” or “go to sleep”, with remarkable ease. Birds do create less mess than terrestrial animals but their mess does not necessarily remain confined to their cages either as maybe presumed. Rather, the floor and walls around the cage can be expected to become littered with bits of food and bird droppings. Also, the cage needs to be cleaned regularly failing which it gives out a strong, nasty smell. Owners are also advised against keeping the bird confined to the cage 24 hours a day. People who have the requisite time and enthusiasm only let their pet birds into their cages at night allowing them free reign of the house during the day. While putting food and water into the cage, and also while allowing the bird out of it, it must be ensured that the bird does not escape through an open window or door. Exotic birds are brought into human habitation for the sole purpose of being kept in captivity and taken care of by others. Cruel as it may seem, these birds won’t survive a day in the urban sky. Birds do not need grooming as they can very well take care of their own feathers and coat. But they should be provided with sufficient wooden toys so as to keep their beaks in shape. It is advisable that the owners take the pain to spray clean them or give them a bath in clear, filtered water on a regular basis to keep them healthy and clean. Birds not only make understanding and intelligent companions, they also actually dress up your house with their beautiful plumage of vibrant colors. They are relatively inexpensive to feed and care for and hence are affordable to a larger number of animal lovers.
If well looked after, birds tend to live for a very long time, thereby lowering the risk of the heartbreak one suffers after the demise of a beloved pet dog or cat. In fact, often birds tend to outlive their masters. While small birds are lovable and lively, large parrots hold an altogether different kind of fascination to bird lovers. The idea of having a smart talking bird as a companion might seem to be a very good idea, but these birds are wild, destructive if not properly supervised and require more attention than most people are capable of providing. They require as much space as any large animal and training them is not a piece of cake. Acquiring such birds is also difficult as owning them is illegal in many parts of the world. Often, without understanding what they are signing up for, people acquire such birds, only to give them up to rescue shelters later on. Hence, one should research properly and get their hands on all the information they possibly can before getting such a bird. Contacting parrot rescue shelters should give all the information required and also provide a homeless bird to an interested owner if need be.