New Owners


The first couple of days!

The first couple of days that a new bird is home with you are very important, especially if he is a just-weaned baby. During this period, you should carefully monitor his droppings and handle him frequently for short periods of time.

This means that it would be potentially dangerous to your new bird to bring him home, put him in his cage and leave for the rest of the day or two.

When you bring your new bird home and before you put him in his cage for the first time, you should sit quietly with him for 12-15 minutes or so, in the room where his cage is located. Make sure that there are no distractions such as pets or children running around.

This may sound contrary to what seems right, but let us explain, if you put the bird directly into his cage, then he learns that "in here is safe". The longer he's in the cage before you take him out, the harder it will be to get him out. However, if you show him right away that "out here in this room with us is safe", he will be much easier to get out of the cage the next time.

You can get him out a few more times the first day he's home with you, limiting these outings to 15 minutes to half an hour, and allowing him lots of time in his cage in between the outings to eat, sleep, preen his feathers, and start to get used to his new cage.

Making sure your new bird is eating is the most important thing to accomplish in the first day. It might be helpful to place the food and water cups near the topmost perch initially. If the cups are low and can't be moved, then you might try having only one perch in the cage, down low, by the cups. That way he will be looking right at his food and water.

The reason for the extra caution here is that when some babies (and occasionally older birds) go to a new home, they may be either too scared or overwhelmed by their new environment to think of eating. If this happens and the baby's hunger becomes too great, it will refuse to eat and start begging to be handfed again. When begging, most babies will make a whiney sound and bob their head up and down. Some of them do it even if they are eating.

If you watch the droppings, you will be able to tell if he's not eating. If the droppings become very small and dark (blackish green) or you see two or three white droppings in a row, and especially if he's begging, it would probably be wise to call the breeder or store and discuss the possibility that the baby isn't eating.

In this case, the baby might have to go back to the seller for just a few days, for some supplemental feedings. Then when he returns to your home, the baby will accept its new environment much more easily, because he's been there before.

Also, the first week after a bird is moved, even an older bird, is the most common time for an illness to show up. You must be on the lookout for any symptoms of illness during this period.