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An Apartment Renter’s Guide to Pet Birds

An Apartment Renter’s Guide to Pet Birds
Choosing and caring for a pet bird can be more of a challenge for people who rent an apartment or who live close to their neighbors, like in a townhouse. You may be worried about the noise a bird can make, you may have limited space, and you may be concerned about getting back a security deposit. Let’s tackle each of these challenges one by one.

Choosing a Bird

For many first-time pet-bird owners, their greatest desire is to live with a bird that will talk. But, as we seasoned bird lovers know, the best talkers are often the best screamers.

Cockatiels and budgies are a both a good choice because they are popular with beginners, are easily purchased from local breeders and pet stores, and they are relatively quiet. Females tend to be quieter than the males, but even the males aren’t loud enough to bother most neighbors. Of course, there are exceptions when it comes to both birds and neighbors!

Canaries are another good pick. Canaries do not scream or yell, like some of the larger birds do. Instead, they sing. Singing is more common in males than females, but either way it is usually quite pleasant.

Conures can also be affectionate apartment companions, but you’ll want to chose from the Pyrrhura [PLEASE ITALICIZE Pyrrhura] genus, rather than the Aratinga [PLEASE ITALICIZE Aratinga]. They may not be as bold in color, but they are more compact and generally quieter. And like any of the species mentioned here, they are likely to have a brief period of vocal exuberance in the morning and then again before dusk.

Maximizing Space

Sure, there are the dedicated bird owners who will give up their dining room or den to give a bird more space, but most apartment owners will be looking for a bird and a cage that will fit comfortably nestled in a corner. You may be thinking “small bird, small cage,” but ample room is more important for small birds that won’t be leaving the cage (like canaries and finches) than for a parrot that will be spending time out of the cage.

Luckily, there are a number of “big cages for small birds” to choose. Over the years, bird lovers have asked manufacturers for bigger cages of better quality, even for the little guys. In response, more manufacturers are producing flight- and aviary-style cages. A larger cage allows space for more toys, more activity, and a happier and healthier pet.

Keeping It Clean

Many cage features are beneficial to apartment renters who hope to get back their security deposits. Built-in cage aprons and covered food dishes funnel debris back into the cage instead of onto the landlord’s carpet. Plastic “cage guards” and fabric “bloomers” keep food from being flung on the landlord’s walls. And every bird owner can benefit from the clear plastic mats usually placed under rolling desk chairs.

There are also sprays that can be used on items that you don’t want your bird to chew on, like window frames, curtains and furniture. Another “magic” liquid is Poop-Off Bird Poop Remover, a natural and biodegradable cleaner safe for use around birds. (Most other cleaners can be toxic.)

Sharing an apartment or townhouse with a pet bird really is possible. Just select your species wisely, choose a compact yet roomy cage, and keep up with the daily cleaning.