What to Buy for Your New Bird

Buying a bird and setting it up in a new, happy home can be a big investment, but you don't need to purchase much of the gear some retailers suggest. Some of the products out there are more than unnecessary — they're dangerous.

No matter how much essential (and nonessential) stuff you buy for your bird, there's one thing not to cut corners on: Start with a healthy, well-socialized bird from a reputable breeder or bird shop, and have an avian veterinarian examine it (and include a baseline laboratory workup).

Here's a list of supplies that you absolutely need for your bird:

Things you shouldn't buy, but may be told to get anyway:

And lastly, there are some things that are nice to have — for you and your bird:

Signs of a Healthy Pet Bird

Too often, bird-owners fail to notice early clues of illness because their pets are particularly skilled at hiding these signs. You need to know what's normal for your bird so that you can spot changes that mean illness — and call your veterinarian.

A healthy bird:

Schedule of Routine Care to Ensure a Bird's Good Health

Putting yourself on a schedule is a great way to make sure your bird's basic needs are covered. While your avian veterinarian may have specific recommendations for your bird, here's a general outline of a good routine:

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