Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Birds were meant to Fly


Aviary for outdoor birds.

With the exception of some pet birds, such as pet chickens who are relatively flightless, birds were meant to fly. There are two things that some people do wrong in terms of bird pet ownership.

Flight Patterns

Birds are not helicopters, yet most bird cages are designed as though they were. Most bird cages are designed to fit our houses, not to house birds. Most bird cages have more vertical space, than horizontal. How many birds do you see flying up and down?

 
Birds are designed to fly, their cages should be large enough to allow for some flight room. In many cases this mean they should have an aviary, or be allowed out of their cage. A small bird, such as a finch should have a cage that is at least 2 feet long (60cm), or ideally much longer, allowing them to use their wings for flight rather than just to lift them up to the next perch. As we get into the larger birds, lovebirds, and budgies, they should have cages that are even larger.

If your house cannot fit the right size of cage, or aviary, for the species of bird you wish to get, perhaps you need to rethink bird ownership, or get a smaller bird.


Wing Clipping

Some bird owners restrict their bird's ability to fly by clipping its wings. This is a temporary “solution” to something they see as a problem: flight! They cut the flight feathers, and while this is generally safe, if done incorrectly can cause bleeding, infection, or other problems.

I might understand wing clipping in a few situations, as when a person first gets some pet ducks, they clip the flight feathers to keep the birds “at home” but allow them to grow out after the birds have learned where their home is (and hopefully not been eaten by foxes in the mean time). Or when a person first gets a house bird, and wants to restrict its flight when they take it out of the cage and it is not particularly tame. Too bad they didn't by a hand raised (tame) bird in the first place.

Flight is important to birds, it is natural. It is healthy exercise for them. When birds are not allowed to fly their muscles atrophy. Imagine you were to be put into a short room and told to crawl around, and were not allowed to use your legs fully (or had your feet cut off). This is what we put our pet birds through constantly.

Guess what folks, birds fly, it is natural for them to do so. If you do not want a bird that flies, get a chicken, or penguin, or get a hamster instead. Most birds were made to fly, accept it and well, deal with it.

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