FAQ: Keeping Cage Birds Happy & Healthy

Should birds be fed at set times?
Birds become used to whatever feeding routine you set them, as long as this routine is regular. Breeding birds are different – they need fed early and late in the day as well as in-between if possible.

Where should food be placed?
Most birds prefer to have their food placed in a cup next to a perch, but you may need to put food and water on the floor for young birds. In time they will become accustomed to eating out of a cup.

At what temperature should exotic species be kept?
This depends on the breed. For sunbird or hummingbird varieties, or very delicate lorikeets, a temperature of around 20-25°C is best. Some extoic finches can be kept as long as their quarters are frost-free, although will need at least 20°C for breeding.

Should I use artificial lighting to extend day-length in winter?
It is advisable to having lighting in aviaries. For summer breeding birds, or birds who panic in the dark, a small night-light (perhaps 8 watts) is sufficient. This can, if necessary, be left on all night.

What should I feed parrots ?
The ideal mixture for African Greys and Amazons is: sunflower, salflower, canary and millet seeds; some peanuts and pine nuts; wheat oats, maize and a little hempseed. Apple and other fruits (avoiding avocado) should also be offered peeled and cored. Greens such as lettuce should also be offered daily. Many parrots enjoy dry biscuits, cooked lamb and corn on the cob. Your bird should also have access to a fresh cuttlefish bone. Breeding parrots should be fed a special commercial preparation.

What about parakeets?
The ideal mixture for your dry mixture is: smaller sunflower, salflower, canary and millet seeds; and a small amount of oats, niger, black rapeseed and hempseed. Parakeets should also have access to a small amount of grit in addition to a cuttlefish bone. Again, when breeding you should purchase a special comemrcial preparation.

What about canaries and finches?
These birds thrive on a canary and millet seed mixture. Give fresh greens, ground cuttlefish bone and grit daily.

Do some breeds require live food?
Yes, softbills need live food. The easiest is mealworms – these are clean, odorless and easy to purchase. Both the grub and adult beetles are enjoyed. These birds should also be fed a dry seed mixture.

What about vitamin supplements?
All birds benefit from a tonic. This is best carried out in a three or four month rotation of ‘on’ and ‘off’. You must get one specially made for birds.

Do birds need different foods in winter?
Aviary birds benefit from a small quantity of hempseed when cold, and parrots enjoy maize and brazil nuts in winter.