Q. I have always pondered the idea of having a bird as a pet. The obvious choice would be a budgie, but they seem a bit boring. If you have a bird, which one would you recommend? Vicki from Harrow
A. Personally I would find it hard to keep birds in a cage, and I must say that I totally disagree with the notion of any birds being caught from the wild to be kept in captivity. Some birds are specially bred in captivity as pets. And budgies are not as boring as you might think. I went to the circus recently and saw some performing budgies – they were doing all sorts of tricks and looked very well cared for (large, wild animals should not be kept in circuses).
In my opinion, birds come in two categories: you have budgies, lovebirds and canaries, which require less maintenance and attention and are usually kept full-time in cages.
At the other end of the spectrum, you have the parrots, African greys, macaws and cockatiels. If you dedicate enough time to them, these special birds will give you wonderful rewards. These birds are very intelligent and they need plenty of stimulation and attention. One thing people often forget, however, is how long birds live for. A budgie lives for 14 years and some types of parrot can live for up to 100 years, so you need to consider the commitment.
If I had the time for one, I would choose a bare-eyed cockatoo – they are very cute and would make a great pet. Alternatively, you could just put some food out for the many lovely British wild birds that you can attract into your garden. They will be less trouble than having one of your own – and all you need is some bread.
Remember that if an animal shows signs of distress or discomfort, an early visit to the vet is always recommended