-General Information and Care- -Canaries- -Illnesses-


Sandy says:  All birds are neo-phobic. The definition of neo-phobic is frightened of new things. Changes must be made gradually.

Things that would frighten a bird are:

Introduction of new foods.

Introduction of new toys.

Going to a new home

Changing cages or introducing a new playpen.

Moving the cage to a new area.

A birds eyes are located on the sides of the head. A bird has a lot of peripheral vision. A bird sees much more than a human can from the sides. A bird may become frightened or nervous when:

It is approached from behind.

The cage is set in the center of a room.

3. Active young children play too closely to the cage.

Therefore a bird should always be approached from the front. Birds feel most secure when cages are placed against a wall ensuring nothing can "attack" from the rear. Upon taking a new bird home it is sometimes advisable to cover the top and sides of the cage. This gives the bird quiet time when removing the cover to adjust to the room when there is little activity going on.


A cuttlebone is a bird’s source of calcium. Cuttlebone is the actual bone from the cuttle fish, and should be placed hard side against the bars of a small bird’s cage. Care should be taken to replace a cuttlebone once the sharp outer edges are exposed. Larger birds benefit from calcium blocks. African grays need calcium supplements if not given specific pelleted food formulated for them.

Foods from the "table" are beneficial to all birds. Nutrient content must be a factor. No chocolate or avacado seeds ever. If it has little nutritional value for you it is likewise for the bird. If it is fattening for you, the same is true for the bird. In the wild birds eat a varied diet, including protein in the form of bugs, eggs, small lizards, etc. The best meat for your bird is cooked chicken. A chicken wing or leg is an excellent choice for protein and calcium. A larger bird will not only eat the meat, but will crack the bone for marrow. Eggs should be hard-boiled or scrambled.

Teaching Birds to Speak.

Many hookbills have the ability to mimic sounds. Teaching a bird to whistle is less desirable than teaching it to speak. The bird wants to please the owner, whistling is easy and may be learned first, only to aggravate the owner at a later time when the bird whistles constantly. Repetition is the key to teaching language. Changing the tone and cadence to the words keeps the birds interest. It seems to take about three months to first hear the garbled, often whispered, sounds of what you are teaching. It is almost like the bird is practicing under its breath

Birds like to keep busy. Toys and treats that are interactive are a must. Larger birds should be given fresh fruit selections with the peel on. Toys should be rotated on a regular basis so they don’t become boring. Nuts for large birds should be given in the shell.

Wing Trims for Hookbills.

We recommend keeping the wings trimmed to prevent flight.

Hookbills get needed exercise by climbing. The best cages have bars that are horizontal, like natural ladders.

A bird that accidentally gets outdoors that has full flight will rarely be recaptured.

Our pet birds are provided food by us, rather than finding it on there own so they tend to be fatter than birds in the wild. It is extremely hard on the pudgie budgie to fly aimlessly in circles around the room looking for a place to land. There are many dangers in our homes that do not occur in the wild. Ceiling fans, sinks of detergent, hot stove burners, open cooking pots are just a few to mention. Today’s birds in the pet trade have never been in the wild. We are into thousands of generations of parakeets, lovebirds, and cockatiels that have never known the wild, and hundreds of generations of larger birds.

Cage selection:

It is a home forever so it should be roomy enough for exercise and the placement of swings and an assortment of toys.

It should be easy to clean.

Smaller birds like finches and canaries do fly about. These birds are referred to as softbills. They cannot climb, but rely on flight to move about the cage.


All birds benefit from regular weekly baths. The small softbills will bathe themselves in shallow receptacles of lukewarm water. Most parakeets, lovebirds, and cockatiels will bathe with a certain amount of coaxing either in the sink or birdbaths you provide. The larger birds can use your shower or enjoy being misted with lukewarm water. Baths should occur early enough in the day to ensure through drying time.


Terri says:  The most frequent question I get is "Can I put another bird with the one I already have?".  All birds have a flock mentality, that is they are most comfortable in a group.  You and your family become the flock.  Normally you can keep several birds together of the same or of different species as long as they have the same type of bill.  Small birds usually get along just fine without any acclimation to each other.   It is wise to keep each bird above the size of a conure in their own space or a few weeks and introduce them to each other slowly.  Keep new birds separate but in the same room so they can see and hear each other.  Over the course of the next few weeks put the cages closer together each day until they are side by side.  After this time is should be fine to house them together in an adequate size cage or just allow them to play together on the same playpen.  With any animal pairing you should pay very close attention to their relationship every day.  If you see any fighting or injuries separate at once.  It is wise to feed a stress reducing diet during any change in a birds routine.