Winter care for pet birds
Keeping your pet bird warm and snuggly at night during winter starts with their environment and keeping them indoors is the most effective way to protect them from the cold. Also, make sure your bird’s cage is kept out of drafts at all times.
It often can be dangerous to expose a pet bird to an environment that is any cooler than 18°C. That means outdoor aviaries must be monitored closely for sudden changes in weather. And even if you keep your bird in a climate-controlled environment, a drafty window or a quick burst of cold air from an open door can stress their immune system and make our feathered friends susceptible to illness.
Cold birds often sit with their feathers fluffed up to retain body heat, and they don't move around much. This behaviour also can be a sign of illness. So, if increasing the temperature of your bird's environment doesn't return it back to its normal behaviour fairly quickly, contact your local Animates Vetcare clinic.
Make sure your heating is safe for birds
Birds have extremely sensitive respiratory systems, so using space heaters, gas fireplaces and other human-oriented winter heating devices can lead to tragedies with our pet birds. Some space heaters contain components coated with polymers containing polytetrafluroethylene (PTFE), the same element in non-stick cookware that (when overheated) emits fumes deadly to birds. If you like to occasionally run a fire during the winter, close the door to your bird room, so the fumes will not filter into its air.
Some ways to safely keep your bird warm when your house gets chilly is to move the bird’s cage away from doors and windows. The interior parts of a home are typically the warmest and farthest from chilly drafts. Moreover, cover your bird’s cage at night when it’s time to go to bed and the temperature drops. This also will deflect drafts and help to maintain a comfortable temperature inside the cage.
Don't forget about humidity
In addition to keeping your bird warm, you’ll want to ensure that heating your home doesn’t result in a lack of humidity. Many home heating systems can make the indoor air very dry, robbing a bird of much-needed humidity in its environment. Low humidity levels can lead to dry skin, brittle feathers, preening issues, respiratory problems, and more in a bird.
Fortunately, the humidity problem is fairly easy to solve. One option is to purchase an electronic humidifier and place it the room where your bird's cage is located. Or you can gently mist your bird with water from a spray bottle on a regular basis. Most birds enjoy a daily misting, as it mimics the natural rainfall they would get in the wild. It also helps to promote healthy preening behaviour and soothe dry skin. However, first make sure your environment is warm enough for your bird before misting. Otherwise, the water on its feathers can cause the bird to become chilled.
Your pet birds may eat a little more than usual during the winter so it's important you provide them with a healthy balanced diet. Not only will this help them gain a little weight to stay warm, but it will also provide them with plenty of vitamins to boost their immune system. Make sure their winter diet includes plenty of fruits and vegetables to maintain optimal health. Talk to your local Animates team member about the right foods for your bird.
Stay up to date with your bird’s vet visits
Like humans, birds are more vulnerable to contracting infections and diseases during winter. A symptom that may be minor in the warmer months, could be more serious in the cold. Taking your bird for regular check-ups ensures they are at optimum health, and you are doing all the right things as their pet parent.
We are here for you.
If you have any questions about how to keep your small pets happy and healthy during the winter, pop into your local Animates store and ask our friendly store staff for pet care advice & tips.