How to Pet a Bird

Pet birds are undoubtedly great companions and if raised properly, they are full of personality and loyal creatures. While there are some birds that are easy to connect with simple techniques, there are some others that take a lot of time to warm up. Did you bring home a new pet bird and you’re wondering about how to form a right bond with this new colorful creature? If yes, you needn’t worry as we’re here to help you out with forming a bond with your pet bird.

With that said, it has to be mentioned that birds are intelligent beings that make for popular and interesting pets. You can never treat a bird in a similar way as you treat a dog or a rabbit or a cat. Birds need to be treated in a more careful manner and there are nice techniques of petting them.

How to approach the pet bird

  • Understand that all birds can’t be pet

Birds are very unique and individual creatures – while some enjoy being petted by their owners, some others won’t be willing to accept the touch of anyone. In case you’re petting a bird that you don’t own, understand that it might need to know you before it become comfortable with allowing you to pet it. The bird has to gain your trust before you try to touch it physically. And in case you own a bird, don’t try to force pet your pet bird as this will spoil the bond.

  • Approach the bird in a calm manner

Make sure the pet bird is aware of your presence and sees you coming towards her. Try to speak to the bird for sometime before you reach out and avoid grabbing her all of a sudden. The bird should be warmed up for your presence and she should be aware of what you are trying to do with her. Initially, you should attempt petting in a calm and poised manner.

  • Understand the body language of the pet bird

Birds have an array of communications but all of these are non-verbal and hence it is vital to understand the cues that you’re getting. Is the bird stiff or is staring at you? Is it moving away from you or leaning away from you? Or is it trying to bite you? All these are less obvious signs that the bird is feeling uncomfortable with whatever you’re doing. Is the bird turning round its head or is bowing his head or closing its eyes?

Train your pet bird to allow petting

Getting your bird to let you pet has more to do with being in tune with the bird and learning about its personality rather than training. The comfort level of a bird will vary greatly as some will be in love with their personal space. If you have a bird that loves to cuddle and prefers human touch, it won’t require too much effort to get the bird lower its head and let you scratch it. Few birds like budgies, parrots and parakeets are more into preferring human touch than the other species.

You can give in to the power of training your bird in getting more comfortable with the idea of petting. Just as you have to do with other forms of training, you have to practice the behavior with frequent and short sessions. If you find your bird cranky or growing tired, don’t try too hard. You can also allot another day for training it.

Understanding the cues of the bird

Whenever you’re training the bird to accept petting, the foremost step that you need to take is to read the cues that the bird is giving you. Does the bird run away or try to bite you? If it does, this is a sign that it is not feeling comfortable in whatever you’re doing. Owners reaching out for the head of the pet can be a threatening experience for the bird. Don’t ever ignore the body language of your bird.

Start with the training process strategically

To start off with your training, select a quiet time when you know your bird will feel relaxed. This might be after its eating time or just before its usual bedtime. Your hand should be in full view to the bird and speak with the bird before you start off. Don’t ever force your touch on it and in case the bird resists, try and do it some other time.

Start with the beak

You can start with lightly touching the beak of the bird initially. However, make sure while doing this, you don’t end up poking its eyes. Stay ready to get a nip and a nip can soon become a threat if it is a large bird. On the contrary, if your bird lets you touch its beak; gently move your fingers to the skin on the bird’s face. Gradually move towards the head of the bird later on.

Pet on the bird’s body

If you can gradually move towards the body of the bird, make sure you move your hands towards the natural orientation of the feathers. If you pet the body against the natural orientation of feathers, this can be an irritating experience for the bird. So, pet in the direction to which the feather lie naturally and scratch sidewise in between the feathers. When you find the pet bird relaxing, work your way towards the neck and head.

Proofing behavior and problems

In case your bird is slow to adapt to petting, don’t surrender. While a proper cuddle can be nice both for you and for the bird, it is a great idea to avoid excessive petting at the body or back of the bird. A mature bird will find petting in these areas stimulating and this may lead to behavioral issues among sexually frustrated birds. Also remember that birds need socialization in other ways like games, talking, exploring toys and in just being together.

Therefore, if you’re a pet bird owner, you should take into account all the above mentioned tricks and strategies in order to pet them. The more you follow the tips, the easier it will be to pet the bird.

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