I get lots of emails and enquiries from people who are "new" to keeping birds but would like to
either purchase their first pet bird or "start" their first Aviary. They ask basic questions on what Breed of bird would be easiest or best for them to start off with. Which birds would go into a mixed Aviary, safely and happily.  What to feed, how to go about breeding etc.  So, I thought I would write this page with the
absolute Beginner and Novice Bird-keeper in mind. This page will cover how to get started.
If you have any specific questions please
Email  me.   For more in depth Details on each Breed of Bird   

   HOME Page                                 Page still under Construction  . . . . . .

Index      Click on Links below to go to relevant sections                                                                                          
Pet & Aviary Birds Suitable for Beginners :

FINCHES: Zebras/Hecks/Bengalese/Canaries
PARROT-LIKE : Budgies/Kakis/Rosellas / Lovebirds / Barrabands / Rosa Bourkes
NOT suitable for Beginners

Pet and Hand-reared Birds For Sale Adverts
Buying a Cage for a Pet Bird (Pros/cons)
Size/bars/doors/perches/toys/food & water containers/floor covering/swings/ manoeuvrability, Cage for Garden
Carrying Cage (Vets etc)

Building and Aviary :   (size & Design

Knowledge of Life in the Wild can improve Parrot Breeding

Where can I buy a Parrot Rosemary Low

First few days with a new Bird  R/m Low

AVIARY BIRDS (suitable for Beginners)       

  • Zebra & Hecks Grassfinches
    • Easy to look after and keep
    • A good starter bird.
    • Neighbour friendly!
    • Only drawback if they are in an Aviary with other
      birds that are nesting ~ they will build their nests
      on top of eggs/chicks already in that Nest
  • Bengalese
    • Easy to look after, Feed and keep
    • A good starter bird
    • Neighbour friendly!
    • They are often used as Foster mums to Gouldian Finches Eggs/chicks
  • Gouldian Finches (NOT for Beginner)
    • do need more knowledgeable care inc. heat + specialised feeding and breeding conditions.
    • so are not really for the Beginner - you can progress to these once you have managed to successfully breed Bengalese and Zebras etc.
  • Canaries

Easy to look after - hardy.

  • Neighbour friendly!
  • Will mix happily with other small finches also Budgies and Bourkes
  • Cock birds have lovely vibrant song.
  • Fifes are probably the easiest and best size to start with
  • Will live happily in a mixed Aviary
  • Love and need fruit and veg
  • Love to Bathe - so make sure you provide a bath/bowl with fresh water daily.
  • A bit more specialised when it comes to breeding, as they really need to be in Breeding cages
  • You provide a Nest pan and they build their own nests from nesting material (moss & jute)
  • You have to remove the first 3 eggs they lay (every day) put Dummy eggs in nest and replace when 4th egg laid.
  • They need special soft, egg foods when feeding chicks.

Parrot-Like (Hook beaked)
(The ones below would be fine in a Mixed Aviary but poss  not at Breeding time - as they may get territorial and attack each other).
Usually they remain amicable as long as you don't introduce any Nesting sites/Nest Boxes into their Aviary.
All "Parrot-like" Birds breed in a wooden Nest box with a "concave" for the base.

  • Budgies are a delight to watch and own.
  • Hardy & Neighbour friendly!
  • Pet Budgies are a lot smaller and easier to breed than the bigger "Show" variety.
  • They tend to feed and preen other budgies in the colony, regardless of whether they are cocks or hens. 
    • It means nothing other than they are very friendly little birds.
  • They come in lots of vibrant colours - blues / greens / lutinos / albinos & lots of variations.
    • Any colour ending in "ino" means the bird has Red-eyes and lacks any dark colouring in its feathers.
  • LUTINO Budgies ~ all yellow with Red eyes
  • ALBINOS Budgies ~ all white with Red eyes
  • The Hens have Brown Ceres (the fleshy bit above their beaks) ~ Cock birds have Blue Ceres.
  • One way to "sex" a baby budgie in the nest is the bite!
    • Hens bite as though they mean it
    • Cocks will bite but with no real conviction!
  • They will breed "en-colony" i.e. lots of pairs together in the same Aviary.
  • In fact, they seem to breed better if there are lots of them - the more noise the better!
  • Once they chose a mate they tend to "mate for life".
  • They don't really need any special food when breeding - just good quality seed and water
  • Plenty of Fruit & Veg - all year round.
  • Also during spring and summer dandelion leaves, chickweed, shepherds purse, spinach, and other safe green foods.
  • Anything a Rabbit would eat your Budgie will eat too!
  • Budgies DON't need a Calcium supplement (Powder or liquid) except for Cuttlefish bone
    • (they will use this at Breeding time)
  • Oystershell and mineralised Grit (to aid digestion).
  • They DO NEED Iodine (provide Pink Iodine block)
    • Budgies can suffer from an Iodine deficiency.
  • They eat a Budgie seed + Plain canary and millet sprays
  • Too much millet is very fattening.
  • They love fruit & veg.
  • They like to bathe






  • I love watching these birds - they are just slightly smaller than a blackbird.
  • Colour in the Wild is a dark green with red on top of forehead and red slash behind eye.
  • In Captivity they come in Buttercup, Pied and Cinnamon
  • They are always very active and can run up and down Aviary Mesh just using their feet!
  • They make a lovely melodic call and are non-aggressive.
  • Hardy & Neighbour friendly!
  • they will go into a mixed Aviary of similar non-aggressive birds but NOT when Breeding.
  • Aviary birds only - too active to be caged.
  • They rarely bite, even the hens
  • They breed all year round -
    • but it's better not to let them breed thru winter months as this can cause problems i.e. egg-binding.
  • They will also have 3 - 4 clutches a year if you let them
    • This is not good for them. 
    • Two rounds is more than enough.
  • They have big clutches anything from 4 - 8 eggs/chicks
  • When Breeding - just one pair of Kakis per Aviary
  • They love just about ALL Fruit and Veg esp. Red Berries - they are a delight to feed.
  • They love to bathe and must ALWAYS have a bath available otherwise they will bathe in their water dish.
  • They will even break ice to bathe!
  • They must be wormed (x2 per year) regularly as they are Floor Scavengers.
    • Usually b4 and after Breeding season.
  • They eat a small Parakeet Mix - not too keen on millet sprays - don't dislike them but don't relish them as lots of other birds do.
  • Rosellas (inc. G.M.R's) easy enough to look after (similar to Kaki's in their needs)  BUT not at Breeding time - they can be very aggressive towards other Breeds as well as their own kind. 
  • They need one pair of birds to one Aviary - which must be double-meshed, with at least 1" gap, between adjoining Aviaries to prevent toes being bitten off!! 
  • You also need another spare Aviary to put any youngsters in that you breed, as the father can sometimes attack any young males once they leave the nest esp. if he wants his hen to go back to nest again. Some are o.k. - so don't pre-judge but do be aware! They love veg more than fruit but provide both.
Rosa Bourkes
("Rosa" is the pink-coloured variation
- They originate from Hot, arid Desert areas of Australia)
  • Another lovely quiet little bird, slightly smaller than a budgie but similar shape.
  • They come in some lovely colours now inc. Lutino, Rubino, and Rosa.
  • Colour in wild is Brown fused with pink and blue.
  • Very similar in lots of ways to a budgie in it's habits and Breeding needs
  • FEEDING is slightly different tho as a Bourke doesn't need anything moist i.e. lettuce or fruit etc.
    •  it's from a very arid area of Australia where it derives it's moisture from tree bark, buds & spinefax grasses (very course, dry Aus. grass). 
  • So, don't offer moist foods esp. at breeding time -
    • if you do then the chicks will have a really nasty, sticky, wet dropping which it will squirt all over the inside of the nest box.                      
      See picture - click to enlarge►


  • SEED: They have a small millet seed mix with plain canary seed and groats.
  • Keep away from Linseed and Sunflower seeds as these are too rich and fatty for their digestive systems.
  • The love Millet Sprays.
  • You must offer fresh water but they don't really bathe but do like a shower of rain on them.
  • They are "Dawn and Dusk" birds (they have bigger eyes) and are most active at these times.
  • They like shaded areas in the Aviary to rest in during the middle part of the day.
  • Nest areas must be shaded also.
  • They have a lovely tinkley call - Neighbour friendly!
  • They will breed en-colony, so long as the colony is well established before the Breeding season starts.
    • If not established the cockbird can be quite aggressive while protecting his Nest.
    • they pair for life
    • they can have 2 - 3 clutches per year.
    • 4 - 8 eggs
    • If you breed with more than one pair in an Aviary the hens can sometimes commandeer another hen's nest/eggs and even chicks - which can be wasteful!
    • so better to have one pair per Aviary

Red Rumps (not for absolute Beginner but o.k for Novice)

  • These birds are quite prolific breeders and fairly easy to breed for the Beginner BUT they can be quite aggressive, esp. at Breeding time and have been known to attack and kill other breeds of birds - so they don't mix well with other breeds in an Aviary.

Lovebirds (Peach-faced can be a good bird to start with)

  • These are little, stocky birds with a very powerful beak!
  • You would never put them into a mixed Aviary with birds that are smaller than them esp. little Finches, as they have been known to nip the legs completely off little birds
  • They should be o.k. with birds that are of a similar size or slightly bigger.
  • I have seen them in an Aviary with Budgies and
    they seemed o.k.
    • NOT at Breeding time
    • 1 pair per Aviary when breeding
  • Feed as per Cockatiels.
  • Can be noisy.
  • They have lots of little pleasant, quirky habits
    • - see Breeds Needs page on them
  • Also need nest box with sentry box on side.
    • so the Cockbird can "keep Guard"


  • Quite a big bird although most of their length is their tail
  • Quiet by nature - non-aggressive.
  • Inoffensive, melodic call
  • Neighbour friendly!
  • Pair for life but only really have one round of chicks per year
  • SEED : they will eat most of what a Kakariki would eat inc. fruit and veg.  Preference more towards Veg.
  • Cockbird vibrant markings (Green, yellow and red)
  • The hen is green all over
  • Youngsters look like hens until approx. 18months old - so lots of "hens" turn out to be cocks!!
  • Will breed around 2 years old.
  • Will breed en-colony i.e. more than one pair in Aviary
  • 3 - 8 eggs.
  • Usually only rear one round of chicks.
    • Sometimes they will do two.


  • Work well in a Colony and will breed en-colony
  • Lots of lovely colours
  • Grey is the normal colour in the wild but you can get Lutinos, white-faced, pied, Silvers etc.
  • Easy to sex - see page on "Breeds Needs"
  • Can be a bit flappy if there are a lot of them in an Aviary and you go in with them
  • Have a fairly high pitch call if they are "shouting" but not too bad.
  • Will breed most times of the year and have 2 - 4 clutches
    • (3 should be absolute max)!
  • Eggs : 4 - 8
  • Seed: Small parakeet - they are not as keen on fruit and veg as Kakis and Barrabands.

Green Cheek Conures  
(for the more experienced Keeper)

  • Ideal for those with Asthma or an allergy to feather dust as these Conures have oil preen glands so don't produce feather dust.
  • Fairly easy to look after
  • Eat Cockatiel mix
  • Love just about all varieties of fruit
  • Love to bathe
  • Natural Clowns with appealing personalities.
  • Can be quite noisy compared to most of the other breeds as above.
    • So not as "Neighbour friendly" as some others
    • They do not shout all day - just usually when something startles them or it's feed-time!
  • Not cheap to buy esp. the more interestingly coloured mutations.
  • Can be kept en-colony but . . . .
  • ONLY ONE PAIR Per Aviary when Breeding
  • Can sometimes give problems when breeding
    • Some Cocks can be vicious when breeding
    • Also, some can kill the chicks
    • Some pairs are not very good at feeding - so you need to be aware.
  • If you get a good pair they are worth their weight in gold.
  • Make superb Pets esp. if hand-reared
  • They are natural clowns with loads of character

Turquoisines and Splendids
(not for absolute Beginner but o.k for Novice)

  • Lovely little birds - similar size to Red-rumps and similar personalities.
  • they come in some lovely mutation colours
  • The eat a very similar diet to a cockatiel
  • They can be kept in a mixed Aviary of similar-size birds
  • but must be bred with ONLY ONE PAIR PER AVIARY
  • They can be a bit vicious when in breeding mode
  • The cock can chase then hen, sometimes mercilessly
  • Not a noisy bird - so neighbour friendly.


OTHER BIRDS                                   ^Top

(i.e. Pekin Robins, Starlings etc.)

Not for the absolute Beginner

  • The name "Softbill" refers to their diet not their beak. 
    • i.e. they eat foods like fruit, insects and nectars and rely less on hard seeds
  • They need specialised feeding - so better to give them a miss until you get some experience under your Belt. 
  • Separate feed stations required.
  • They will keep the Aviary free of ants, earwigs, flies, moths and even spiders.
  • (They only tend to eat the spiders' body tho' and leave the legs in a gruesome pile on the floor.)

(Japanese & Italian + Chinese-painted
are the most common).

o.k. for the Beginner

  • Quail can be put in the bottom of an Aviary and will "clean-up" spilled seed. 
  • The cock birds are pretty rampant during breeding season so you would always need a "Trio" of Quail
    i.e. 2 hens and 1 cockbird. 
  • as the cocks do "bother" the hens quite a lot and one hen on it's own would "suffer"!
  •  They will lay regular eggs, which are a delicacy found in Delicatessen shops.
  • Sexing : Japanese Quail hens have Black speckles on their breasts the cocks don't - their chests are usually a solid tan/brown colour.

Parrots / Cockatoos / Macaws

Not for the Beginner

  • they are too complex and have special needs nutritionally and Psychologically.
  • They need constant attention and if they don't get it can develop major problems i.e. screaming and Feather Plucking and biting.
  •  Much better to gain experience on smaller easier to look after breeds.
  • You can end up with a major, expensive problem on your hands
    if you take a Parrot on without sufficient knowledge (and this can take years to acquire!)


PET BIRDS (pros & cons of each Breed for a First Time/Novice Owner)

  • Budgies / Cockatiels ideal starter Pets
    • They can be hand-tamed - the cock birds can be trained to Talk or whistle. 
  • Senegals & Conures are slightly bigger with bigger beaks, therefore need more experience and knowledge but can be entertaining and friendly.
    • they are natural "Clowns".
    • You can often find Ads for Hand-reared Babies which will make ideal Pets.
    • Senegals are slightly better at talking than Conures.
  • Canaries & Finches are quite happy in a cage (healthier in an Aviary) - not usually as easy to hand-tame - don't talk .
    • Cock Canaries can sing
    • Usually Canaries and Finches are pleasant to watch and may interact thru the bars of the cage but not usually let out to fly around - so not an ideal life for the bird, esp. if it's a single bird.
  • Parrots & Macaws - not for the beginner bird owner ~ for all the reasons stated above.
    Start with a smaller, easier to keep bird.
  • My own personal feeling on Pet Birds is that they should never be on their own and should always have a companion, preferably one of it's own species, if not then a constant human companion.
  • The quickest way to end up with an unhappy Pet is to leave it alone for long periods of time -
    •  this can lead to all sorts of psychological problems such as Feather plucking (equivalent to nail-biting in a human) once they start it's very difficult to get them to stop.
    • the bigger parrots can also starts "screaming" (this is for attention) and you shouting at them to "stop" that gives them "attention" so they do it all the more - it's a vicious circle.
  • If you have a single Pet Bird and have to leave it on it's own do make sure that at least you leave a radio or TV on for it (pref. on cartoons as they like the colourful movement).
    •  Don't have it too loud - just as a background entertainment.
  • When you are with them - give them lots of attention i.e. talk to them and if they are not going to panic and are used to being out - give them plenty of time out of their cage.
    • The average "Parrot-like" will chew anything wooden - so be aware and preferably give them something that is theirs to perch on.
  • Don't let them perch on your shoulder or head - height means "Dominance" to a bird - it will consider itself more dominant than you if you let it perch on the high spots in your house and on your body - this can lead to more problems than you could envisage!

How to sex your Birds

  • Some birds you can tell their sex by just looking at them i.e. Cocks and hens look different.
    • Hens are often a duller colour and the Cockbirds brighter and bolder colour
    • One exception is the Eclectus where the Cock is a solid green colour but the Hen is a vibrant Blue and Red - you wouldn't think they were the same species if you didn't know.
    • The Hen Eclectus is also more dominant than the cockbird -  the same applies to Ring necks.
  • Some by listening to and observing their behaviour  eg: Canaries and Rosa Bourkes
    • the cocks may sing or warble, strut, dance or just sit "tall" on the perch
    • Hens would be vocally more quiet or emit single sounds like a chirp.
    • Hens are often more aggressive i.e. they are practising for when they will have to protect their nests
      • Hens are the ones when you catch them BITE and mean it
      • Whereas Cocks can still Bite but not with quite the same intensity
    • If you see a row of birds together on a perch - the hens often sit a bit lower on a more horizontal plane
    • The Cockbirds, in general, tend to sit up higher (more erect in their posture)
  • Some you can sex by the colours eg: Eclectus
  • Some birds the Cocks are one colour and the hens are totally different
    • In the Eclectus the Hen is much the brighter colour being a deep, vibrant
      Red and Blue - 
      see pic >
    • The cock bird is a plain Green colour
  • Other birds just differ in the intensity of colour -i.e. Cockatiels
    • the hens are duller and the cockbirds brighter (esp. round the head area in the cockatiel)
    • Hens in Cockatiels usually have horizontal bars down the underside of their tails
    • This is absent in the cocks.
    • In Lutinos and albinos it's a little more difficult to see these bars.
  • Some you need to know what colour the parents were to sex the youngsters
    • i.e. Red Rumps + Mutation Bourkes (i.e. lutinos & rubinos)
  • the hens take on the colours of the father and the young cockbirds take on the colour of the mother.
  • (This is called "sex-linked" sexing)
  • Some by the size and shape of their head & beak. eg: Rosellas, Kakis
    • The Cocks have a bigger, broader head and a bigger broader beak (a bit like a "Roman nose")
    • The hens are significantly smaller in the head and the beak
    • It's very obvious when you have a cock and hen sat together
    • Poss. not quite so easy, sometimes if you just have the one bird and nothing to compare to.

BIRD PSYCHOLOGY (What makes your Bird "Tick")

  • Birds like to be up as high as possible - this is what makes them feel dominant!
    • This is why you should NEVER allow your bird on your shoulder and def. NOT ON YOUR HEAD!!
    • Esp. if your bird is already showing signs of dominance.
    • It follows that if you keep your bird low down in a cage or put something or another cage with a bird
      in on top of it's cage (hens in battery cages are a typical example) then the birds underneath end up
      very depressed!!
  • On the same theme: when putting in perches and Nest-boxes - birds will vi for the highest position
    • At breeding time there will be squabbles, fights and even savage injuries if you don't keep your
      nest-boxes similar (preferably same) size, design but def. all at the same height.
  • Birds don't really trust Nest-boxes with pop-holes that have a much wider hole than their bodies would
    comfortably fit,
    as this, in the wild would allow predators access to the Nest area.
  • If your bird has reached a point where you are having problems with it "screaming", shouting or being generally
    noisy to try and gain your attention.
    • The worst thing you can do is shout at it to tell it to be quiet (or similar choice phrases)
    • As you shouting at the bird is giving it the attention it seeks.
    • All be it negative attention - it is still attention
      • So shouting at the bird just escalates the problem and the bird will shout/scream all the louder to get more response from you.
    • The best thing you can do is either QUIETLY cover the cage and walk out of the room
    • Make no eye-contact and don't speak to the bird at all.
    • This then is not giving the bird the attention (good or bad) that it seeks/craves.
  • It does however, mean that when you uncover the bird you must give it good attention
  • You must also make sure that you bird gets enough exercise (out of the cage)
  • Attention from you and others in the family etc.
  • Another pet bird in the same room (in a different cage, of course)
  • T.V. (cartoon or music channel is enjoyed usually) or radio left on if you are not in the room
    • volume not too invasive i.e. not too high
  • Just imagine yourself in a solitary cell with no views, no company or attention - you would soon go mad too!!

AVIAN VET                                                                      ^Top

  • There are very few General Vets, who have trained with birds as well as other Exotics, within 100 mile radius of Cumbria. 
  • We are very lucky to have Avian Vet: Vicky Weeks-Temple from the Millcroft Vets Cumbria, Practice to help with Advice when necessary.
  • Birds have a very different internal structure, respiratory and digestive system to mammals,
  • Not every General Vet has the specific knowledge needed to diagnose and treat Avian (Bird) illness and
    other Avian problems.
  • So, as soon as you purchase your Pet/Aviary birds, make it your business to seek out your nearest specially-trained
     AVIAN VET and register with them for your birds.
  • Then keep their contact details to hand for emergencies.
  • You can use one Vet for your Birds and a different one for your cat/dog/horses etc.,
    • this is a quite acceptable practice.
    • I personally have 3 different Vets - as I like to have Vets trained in the specific field for the different species
      of animals I own, to give them the best attention possible if they are ill/injured.


  • Varies from breed to breed as to the age they can be Close-rung.
  • If you get these identity rings fitted at the correct age as the chick grows then the rings cannot be removed unless they are cut off - so are a good way of permanent identity for your birds.
  • General rule of thumb is when the chicks eyes are ⅟2 - 3/4  they are of the approx age to ring.
  • If you ring too early - the ring can fall off and be lost in the nest substrate
  • If you leave it too late then it poss. won't fit over the ball of the foot and you may damage the chick
    when trying to put it on.
  • When ringing you hold the 3 forward pointing toes in a straight line and put thru the ring then slide the ring over the ball of the foot and GENTLY pull the back toe thru the ring
    • You can use the blunt end of a matchstick if it's difficult - but be gentle as it's easy to damage the foot.
    • Make sure the ring moves round the leg freely.
  • Some parent birds really object to the rings on their chicks - I knew of an African Grey hen that tried to get the ring off her chick and dislocated it's leg in doing so.
  • In these cases (with the bigger birds) if you know the parents do object - it would be safer to have the chicks microchipped when they get older.
  • Some parents object to their chicks being handled and may attack the chicks to try and remove the rings (be aware of this).
    • If you have this problem - you can use plastic split-rings, which come in many and varied colours.
    • These can be put on at any age - so you don't have to disturb the chicks until they are just about ready to fledge.
    • Canaries are often a problem in this direction
      • Once you have handled/ removed a canary chick to put a closed-ring on, it often becomes a
         "spring-loaded Furbie"  and just keeps bouncing back out of the nest.
      • this can be a problem if the weather is cold and the chicks very young. (which they will be if close-ringing)!
      • It's often very difficult to get them to go back into the nest and stay there!
      • So if you don't have to close-ring your canaries, then wait until they have fledged out of the nest then put coloured split rings on them for identification.
    • These are normally used on the opposite leg, if used with a closed ring,  for identification purposes.
    • Esp. if you have birds that all "look the same" and you need to identify them or which parents they come from.
    • Split rings can be put on at any age. (Adults + chicks)
  • The whole point of ringing, esp. close-ringing is to provide identification and show the age of the bird.
    • Esp. useful if your bird is stolen or escapes.
  • The Ring colour changes every year - so you can tell at a glance what year your bird was hatched by the colour
    of its ring (see colours below) . . . .
  • You also have the initials of the Breeder, the year and a number - so each ring may be the same colour but will have different consecutive numbers.
  • I tend to put the rings on opp. legs as I ring my chicks - you can do it your own way - this is what works for me).
    • i.e. first chick - Left leg :  2nd chick Right leg  : 3rd chick Left leg etc.,

    Black was 2007     Dark Blue = 2008      Violet = 2009       Orange = 2010

  • If you have an idea of the sex of your chicks
    • (Budgies are a good example of this - they are easy to sex in the nest by their ceres [fleshy bits above their beaks] -
      • baby hen chicks are pale fawn and cocks pale blue)
      • [also hen chicks "Bite" with intent and cock-birds may give you a nip - but nothing serious)!!
    • you can put all the Hens' rings on their Left Legs and the Cock-birds on their Right legs
      • (this is a recognised way of ringing - When birds are surgically sexed or DNA'd).
  • Always make sure you have the correct size of ring for the bird you are ringing.
  • Also, make sure you order your rings in good time - general rule of thumb for ringing is when the chicks' eyes are approx 1/2 open (this theory is a guide only).
  • Take into consideration that everyone else will be ordering theirs in Spring-time.

MICRO CHIPPING is also a very good way of identifying your (bigger) bird if found after being lost/stolen.

  • The Microchip is the size of a grain of rice
  • The Avian Vet will inject it into the Birds' breast muscle via a broad hypodermic needle.
  • I had an A. Grey youngster done and I just held it without any anaesthetic/gas etc.,
    • Some Vets do like to use a bit of Anaesthetic Gas or a local anaesthetic to freeze the area.
  • It was probably a bit uncomfortable for the bird cos it did fidget a bit
  • but I wouldn't say it had been painful for the bird and no after effects.
  • The Vet then runs a "Scanner" over the site and checks the No. that comes up on the Scanner tallies against
    the No. the Microchip should be from it's packet.
  • Then the paperwork is filled out and the bird is registered with the relevant Microchip company.
  • So now if your bird escapes or is stolen and is found - it can be immediately traced back to you, it's owner.



  • FEED & WATER DISHES - make sure they are kept clean and free from seed husks
    • (which are what is left when the bird breaks open a seed).
    • Sometimes the seed dishes "look full" but upon closer inspection, are just full of seed husks and the bird goes hungry
  • WATER must be changed every day - more if you have a bird that "dunks" its food in its water, as some tend to do.
    • Conures and Kakis are guilty of this amongst many others.
  • The container must also be brushed out as it can end up slimy (esp. in sunny weather, which encourages the growth of green algae)   even tho the water is put in clean.
  • Seed must be de-husked by shaking the seed pot and blowing the Lighter, husks off the top - make sure the debris and rubbish that accumulates in the bottom of the dish is also removed regularly.

This section is still to be expanded. . . .

    • Pros & cons
    • Branches / types / sizes  - all sizes, widths. 
    • Safe branches off non-toxic trees from a clean source. 
      • Fruit tree branches are ideal.
    •  Ideal width is where the birds' foot just goes 1/2 way round the perch. 
    • Narrower than that is fine as long as you have them mixed with other perches with different widths, textures and sizes.  Too narrow and it doesn't give enough support but are o.k. to have an odd one in the Aviary.
    • Birds nails should not be over long as they will prevent the bird from perching comfortably and safely.
    • Position / height - the higher the better from the birds' point of view but you need lots of different heights
      and angles incl. just off vertical - to mimic tree branches in the wild.   Do not clutter the Aviary with branches/perches tho - give the bird plenty of uncluttered space to fly.
    • Not dowel/bamboo - too smooth so provide poor grip and also could poss. predispose Bumblefoot.
    • Coat hangers - esp those sold for hanging trousers over. (for the smaller finch/canary) as long as you have some rougher, wider perches available too.
    • Shelves + small panel pin nails for fruit / veg


  • FEED
    • mix for specific birds
    • No bird should be allowed too many Sunflower seeds - too high in oil and as addictive as sweets are to children!!
    • Monkey nuts can harbour Aspergillosis - only use "Human grade" if you do use them.
    • Millet sprays - most parrot-like and parakeets love these and relish as a treat.  Can be fattening if overfed.
    • Types of seed pros & cons
    • Hemp - helps at breeding time
    • High and low proteins
      • (different Breeds need different levels of Protein & Fat content to their Foodstuff)!
    • SEED Winnower / blowing husks off seeds

FRUIT & VEG & NUTS etc.,

  • Poisonous foods - Avocado / rhubarb / Chocolate / alcohol / bulb plants i.e. daffs, tulips & hyacinths
  • Poisonous Fumes: TEFLON / VAPONA / PLUG-IN AIR FRESHENERS + any aerosols inc. spray polish and anti-persp. etc

EGG FOOD - ideal high protein food used to help bring your birds into breeding condition and also as a soft-food provided for your parent birds to feed to their youngsters in the nest.

  • Purchase from Bird Sales Days
  • Pet Shops
  • Bird Seed suppliers
  • BRANDS: E.M.P / Sluis / Witte Mollen (Rob Harvey's) - smells nice and stays moist - birds like it.


  • Plastic Hang on
  • Swing Feeders
  • Metal clip on
  • Hen-type feeders - these hang from roof or sit on Floor
  • Tube feeders - only really useful for smaller seeds mixes as those with bigger seeds will not flow well.
  • box feeders (as per cockatiel) - can get a build-up of stale seed if not cleaned out regularly (x1 per week)
  • and this can encourage the infestation of mites + mould - very unhealthy to your birds.


  • Most birds love to bathe.
  • It is a necessary, healthy activity to help keep their feathers in pristine, healthy condition
  • Fresh, clean water should be provided in the Bath every day
  • In sunny weather the Baths often end up with Green algae-type of growth - make sure you clean them out at least
    x1 per week to prevent bacteria multiplying in the water - which can cause digestive problems in your birds.

TYPES OF BATH you can use

  • Clip-on Plastic
  • Hang on mesh wire
  • dog-dish on floor
  • Cat litter tray on floor for bigger birds
  • Why essential to the quality of the birds' feathers


  • Tube
  • Dog dish
  • Plastic on mesh
  • Swing Feeder dishes
  • Metal dishes on mesh

I am still building and expanding the topics on this page.  It's a "work in progress"   So, if you have any questions or queries etc., about bird-keeping please feel free to get in touch.  Use the Advertising Form or Free Advice Form
- see "Pet Birds Page" for links.


Cuttlefish/ iodine nibbles

  • Why you use
  • How you fix to cage/mesh - special clips / clothes pegs / metal wire clamps / put small hole thru the cuttlefish and attach to mesh with small zip-tie.

Mineralised Grit / oyster shell Grit

  • Why it's needed & for which birds


  • How to recognise if your birds are Breeding Fit
  • What to feed in the run-up to the Breeding season
  • How to pair up

NEST BOXES / Nest Pans

  • When to put in / up
  • where to put
  • and why
  • Nesting material


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