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Frequently Asked Questions About Pet Birds

Can Birds Get Intestinal Worms like Dogs or Cats?
Hookworm EggJust like their mammalian cousins birds can suffer from internal parasites and should be wormed at specific times. Internal worms can cause many problems in our feathered friends including weight loss, anaemia, respiratory problems and diarrhea. Heavy worm burdens can kill our birds so it is important to be up to date with the correct worming for your bird.
We advise the use of a registered bird wormer, Worm Out Gel. This drug contains two active worming ingredients, Praziquantal and Oxfendazole, which kills tapeworms, rounds worms, hook worms, gape worms and hair worms.
All new birds should be wormed on arrival to their new home. From there the frequency of worming depends on the birds living arrangements. Birds kept inside with out access to other birds only need to be wormed yearly as there is little chance of infestation. Outside birds should be wormed more frequently, we recommend 3 monthly worming treatments.
You might be wondering how your bird may contract internal parasites. The most common method of transfer is through the ingestion of an infected birds faeces. The worms then mature inside of the bird and begin causing problems, some worms can also be contracted through eating insects/worms.
The best way to identify if a bird has worms is to examine the faeces under a microscope, we can then visualize and identify the eggs.
Can I put different birds into the same cage?

We have a lot of people asking us if birds can share the same cage. In general birds of the same species will get along well when in the same cage. But what about different species of birds?

Dr Sheridan has a cockatiel and budgie that get along famously and share a cage (pictured kissing!) but often budgie’s are little bullies and can cause the gentle cockatiel a lot of stress!

When putting two different species of birds together it is important to monitor them to ensure they get along and introduce them slowly. Usually putting bird together that are close in size will minimise the risk of one getting hurt. It is very much up to the individual bird if they will put up with a room-mate so make sure you take it slow and do some research on different species that get a long well!

What Should I Bring to the Vet?
So you have an unwell bird, or maybe just a new bird you would like checked over? The next step is getting your bird to the vet and knowing what to bring. Below is a list of the things our veterinarians like to look at to help determine the health of your bird:
1.       The Bird itself
2.       A photograph of the cage (if your not bringing it in)
3.       At least one fresh dropping – place some clean paper on the bottom of the travel cage so that the veterinarian can examine the droppings
4.        All of the birds regular toys
5.       The feed and water dish
6.       A sample of the birds regular food
7.       Any supplement or medications that have been used in last 4 weeks
Hopefully this little list helps your trip to the vet run smoothly!
What should I feed my bird?
There is a lot to know about feeding your pet bird.  For a more detailed explanation, please read our article on FEEDING YOUR PET BIRD.
What Size and Type of Cage Should I Get?

What size cage should I get?

For birds the bigger the cage the better! Birds need room to spread their wings, hop from perch to perch and for their food and water. The minimum cage size for a cockatiel sized bird we recommend is 50x50cm. Larger birds need bigger cages.

What type of cage should I get?

When looking at bird cages there are a few important things to consider:
1 – Size – the cage needs to be large enough for the type of bird your getting
2 – Material – strong, coated steel is the best bird cage material
3 – Easily cleaned
4 – Places to put perches, food and water bowls

What Type of Bird Should I Get?
Many people don’t realise that each type of bird we see is actually a different species – so just like cats and dogs are nothing a like, our avian friends differ greatly in personalities, size and characteristics. The type of bird you should get depends on the time you have to spend with it, the amount of room you have and your experience with birds.

Budgerigar (small)

Budgie’s are cute bird that are very under-rated. They are affordable and can be trained easily when hand-reared. They are great for kids because even if they bite it is more like a pinch. They can learn to talk in a high pitched voice, learn tricks and enjoy being with people, although they don’t often like to be petted like some other birds. They can also be quiet mischievous and cheeky which makes for a lot of fun! (A budgie holds the world record for highest number of words learnt by a bird!)

Cockatiel (small)

Cockatiel’s are great first-time birds and family pets. They are affectionate and very gentle, often bowing their little heads for a scratch. They can talk but often prefer to whistle. They are a little more independent than some of the larger parrots making them good pets for people who have to work and can only play with them in the evenings, in saying that they will happily sit on some ones shoulder for hours on end!

Quacker (small)

Quackers are very friendly little birds who make great talkers. They can get a little nippy if not well trained but generally make great pets. They are quiet particular about how there cage is arranged and are known to make a lot of fuss about having it the way they like it. They also enjoy stealing shiny items to add to their collection!

Lorikeet (small)

Lorikeets are the larikans of the bird world! They are funny little clowns who enjoy playing all day and are always on the go. They do require a highly specialised diet of lorikeet nectar, dry food and fruit – because of this liquidy diet they can be quiet messy. They can also be quiet noisy (as any one who lives near a colony of feeding lorries would know!)

Conure (small)

A conure is a small (cockatiel sized) fruit eating bird that is native to South America. They make very mischievous little pets and are very intelligent, learning tricks and often talking with ease. They can occasionally be territorial and have quiet a loud voice that they like to share with the world. They also require a more specialised diet – fruit, nuts and special pellets.

Indian Ringneck (small-medium)

Ringnecks do not bond in the wild like most birds, this means they are often more independent and don’t always enjoy being petted. They can be a bit noisy and can be very ‘one person’ birds. With the right training they can make great family pets though.

Alexendrine (medium)

Alexendrines are quiet independent but enjoy social interaction, and even the occasional cuddle. They are very intelligent birds with decent talking ability. They really like playing with toys though, especially things they can destroy! They are moderately noisy.

Eclectus (medium)

The eclectus if a very beautiful bird that has sixual dimorphism – this mean the male and female look nothing alike, they were actually thought to be two different species for some time. They are quiet independent and don’t enjoy as much touching as some of the other parrots, but are more than happy to sit on your shoulder. They are generally not too loud and can learn to talk.

Sulphur crested Cockatoo (medium-large)

Cockatoos are very intelligent birds that require a lot of attention. They love to be cuddled and enjoy problem-solving toys. They need to have plenty of exercise and out-of-cage time to socialise with their flock. Can also be noisy!

Blue and gold Macaw (large)

Blue and gold macaws are known for being very affectionate and love to roll over on their backs for a close up cuddle. They can be quiet demanding birds as they are very intelligent and crave attention. They are very loud when they want to be and like to destroy things so provide lots of toys! They can also be ‘bitey’ if not trained well from a young age.

African Grey (medium-large)

Known for being the most intelligent of the bird species the African Grey can learn to talk very well and can figure out even the most puzzling of toys. Because of their high level of intelligence they need to have a big cage with lots of toys and regular social interaction. They can be a bit timid at first to strange people or things but when handled often and with care can be very cuddly.


If there is a specific bird you’d like to know more about please contact the clinic.

How Do I Cut My Birds Wing Feathers?

How do I cut my birds wings?

There are a number of ways birds wings can be clipped. We recommend a soft clip where 3 or more primary feathers are cut on both wings, while leaving the first and 2nd primaries in place to make it aesthetically pleasing. If you have never cut a birds wing feathers before we advise bringing them in for a clip with the veterinarian.

How often should birds wings be clipped?

They should be done approximately 6 weeks after they finish their moult as this is when the new feathers will have grown through.

What are Safe Toys for Birds?


Birds are the destroyers of the animal kingdom – there is nothing they love more than tearing paper, cardboard and wood to tiny little pieces (as some of my furniture has found out!). It is there for very important to pick toys that are safe for birds.
What toys to avoid:
·         Painted toys – some paint contains lead and can lead to heavy metal poisoning
·         Fibrous toys such as ropes – these toys are ok if the bird is not chewing at them but can form blockages in the birds intestines if  they eat a lot of tiny pieces of fur or rope
·         Soft plastic – easy for the bird to chew up and swallow
·         Metal toys – if the bird chips away at the metal and eats some they can get heavy metal poisoning
What toys are safe:
·         Paper or cardboard toys that are made to be destroyed
·         Natural dye
·         Wooden toys (should be removed if they become excessively destroyed!)
·         Hard plastics that the bird can not chew through
·         Natural toys such as malaleuca branches, bottle brush or some fresh long stemmed grass. Most native trees that you see other bird in are ok for our pets – just make sure they are rinsed and dried in the sun to remove any harmful chemicals or parasites
If you have any questions on good bird toys please don’t hesitate to contact the clinic for more information.
What are the 3 parts of a bird's dropping?
A bird’s dropping has 3 different components:

1. Faeces – normally green in colour, solid section
2. Urates – normally white in colour sitting on top of the faecal section
3. Urine – the liquid component
Any changes in colour, consistency or frequency of any one of these components should be investigated.

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