What to Expect When Adopting a Bird

What an exciting time! Adopting a new friend can be a big responsibility and we want to help ensure each animal is set up for success in their new home. We encourage you to keep the following tips in mind when you bring home your new bird.

This link can be useful in determining which species of bird may fit your lifestyle.

Veterinary Visits After Adoption

A check-in with your family veterinarian within the first week after adoption is critical to ensure continuity of care for your new friend, and to create a preventative health care plan tailored to their specific needs and to your lifestyle. The goal is to prevent future disease and illness, which will ideally also help reduce future costs of care. Avian veterinarians specialize in bird care; it may require more research to find a veterinary hospital that will examine your bird.

Preventative care includes important measures, such as a physical exam, oral health care, dietary recommendations, behavioural support and parasite prevention. Any known medical or behavioural concerns will be disclosed prior to adoption, but there can be no guarantees of health. Therefore, this veterinary check will also be important to address any ongoing needs or pre-existing concerns to ensure your new family member has the specific support required to thrive. A copy of your new avain friend’s medical history can be shared with your veterinarian.

Medical Considerations
  • Birds can live a significant length of time, potentially many decades, and will be a long-term commitment.
  • Many birds need to have their nails trimmed regularly. This can be done at home or at a veterinary clinic.
  • Some birds need their beaks trimmed. Providing a cuttlebone for the bird to use often provides enough opportunity to wear down the beak.
  • In part, due to birds’ sensitive respiratory systems, they are susceptible to the toxic effects of fumes, scents, and vapours from many types of heated non-stick pans.
  • Candles, smoke, and scent diffusers are also problematic for birds. It is always recommended for birds to be in areas with good air exchange.

The housing size for birds should be as large as you can accommodate. There must be enough space for your bird to stretch their wings out fully and to fly short distances. Different bird species require different types of cages – parakeets and cockatiels like height, while finches and canaries prefer width. To make your bird feel safe, keep the cage off the floor at all times. Cages should have a variety of perches. Companion bird species generally don’t have much padding on the bottoms of their feet, so perch selection is important for both their comfort and health. Perches that have various widths allow birds to exercise and stretch their feet, which promotes good health.

Birds can benefit from supervised time out of their cage in a safe environment. To keep your bird safe, ensure the environment is free from items that are chewable (wires, cords, furniture etc.), keep all windows and doors closed and keep other animals out of the room. For more information on housing ideas click here.


Every bird species has different dietary requirements, so it is best to consult a veterinarian for specific information about your bird. A proper diet promotes good health and can help avoid medical conditions. A good diet generally consists of a high-quality pellet, a variety of fruits, vegetables and grains, and a small amount of seed. It is best that you discuss nutrition with your family veterinarian, so that your bird is eating the appropriate diet. Click here for more requirements on bird nutrition.

  • As very intelligent and inquisitive species, companion birds can get bored easily, so rotating toys and providing novel enrichment opportunities is critical to their health.
  • Many birds do best with another bird companion, of either the same species or a compatible one. This is especially true if the family works away from the home and the bird is left alone for large portions of the day.

For enrichment ideas for birds click here.

We are here to support you! For any pre-adoption questions or concerns, contact our adoption staff at your local SPCA here.