Tips to Keep Your Birds Warm During Winter
Birds don't do well with temperature changes and need help transitioning when we live in a place with four seasons, especially since most pet birds/parrots come from areas with warm, tropical climates. To ensure that colder months don't risk your bird's health, keep the following tips in mind when preparing for the changing seasons.
Aviary Away From Doors and Windows
Doors and windows block the cold, but birds near doors and windows risk being exposed to cold drafts. Additionally, glass windows get cold when it's cool outdoors, and that can cause your bird to feel cold. Make sure to move your bird(s) away from any doors or windows to an interior location during the colder seasons. In the summer, they will enjoy being near windows for warmth and a view!
Covering their Aviary at Night
A cage cover can help maintain a comfortable temperature within your bird's space by keeping the warmth in. Think of it as using the covers or a blanket for yourself; it keeps you much warmer. But, of course, the same goes for your bird; make sure you use a bird-specific cage cover or one that is dark, allows airflow, and they can't get to bite the material.
Insulation in your home
During the cold months, try insulation! Seal off windows with a shrink-wrap insulation kit. It will not only help keep cold air out, and it will keep the warm air in.
Heating with CAUTION
Never use a wood-burning fireplace or kerosene and electric space heaters, as they can threaten your pet's health. The smoke and fumes from the wood and gas can cause devastation to a bird's respiratory system. Many electric heaters contain non-stick coating, which is notorious for causing acute illness or death in birds. Radiant heaters or central air heating is prevalent in most homes across Europe and North America; set the temperature to keep your home warm. You want to maintain a warm temperature in your bird's area, but you can keep the heat on only some of the time! A small room can overheat quickly, and you want to avoid both extremes!
- RADIANT HEATERS:
The old models are oil filled whereas the modern ones nowadays are water filled (what we have) and provide a more ambient heat as it throws heat from all sides. As a result, the warming surface area of the radiator is more significant than in other types of heaters, and it heats a room quickly and quietly. They are also clean-burning and cost-effective to operate. Of course, you still want to keep your bird away from this heater, but it doesn't get as hot as the ceramic ones.
- CERAMIC HEATERS: these work well for large (with a fan) and small areas (no fan). It spreads the heat throughout the room more effectively, is clean, burning and efficient, and is conveniently small. The major disadvantage is that they get hot and must be placed outside your bird's reach at all times.
Your heater should have the safety features to prevent a fire and not be easily tipped over! Make sure there are no Teflon or other polymer-coated surfaces in the model you select!
Heat lamps are portable devices that help your bird create vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin and will help keep a bird warm when it is under the light.
Be Mindful of Baths/Shower Time
Anytime your bird gets wet and chooses to have a bath/shower, ensure they are in a warm area and never get chilled by a draft or cool breeze! This is CRUCIAL.
Let your bird get plenty of movement and exercise throughout the day, and offer different toys to play with. Physical activity generates heat and will help them stay warm and maintain a suitable body temperature.
Keep up a healthy diet for your bird throughout cooler months, and ensure they always have access to fresh or dry food. A bird's metabolism helps keep them warm, which is why eating consistent meals can be helpful for your bird.
& Remember the SNUGGLES!
Your bird can benefit from your body heat as well! Just as they do from cuddling with other birds, they can absorb some heat from snuggling into your neck and being held in your hand if they feel comfortable.