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Cold Weather Care for Birds

November 15 2020

Winter is coming up quickly. While we hopefully have some time before it gets really cold, temperatures do drop quickly at this time of year. If you have a pet bird, you’ll want to take some precautions to keep her warm and healthy. A McHenry, IL veterinarian discusses winter care for birds below.

Keep Polly In

First and foremost, keep your colorful little buddy indoors. Your feathered friend can enjoy a screened patio in warmer weather, but not at this time of year!


Make sure that Polly’s cage isn’t near a drafty door or window. On the other hand, your winged pal shouldn’t be too close to fireplaces, air vents, or heaters, either. Some birds, such as finches, need sunlight. If you have one of these little fluff balls, you’ll want to put your bird’s cage in a sunny spot.


Birds are quite sensitive to light cycles. Your vet may recommend covering Polly’s cage at night.


Many pet bird species come from warm, humid areas. It’s no surprise that dry air can irritate their lungs. Your feathered buddy may benefit from extra humidity. A humidifier is one option. You can also bring Polly into the bathroom when you shower, to expose her to the steam. Even putting a bowl of water near her cage may help. That said, you don’t want to go overboard. For example, if you have a gas heater, you may have more humidity in the air than you think, as these put off moist heat. Plus, every bird is different. Ask your vet for specific tips.


Some birds don’t like drinking cold water. Change Polly’s water frequently, and watch for signs of dehydration.


Birds get chilly very easily when they are wet. You may want to turn the heat up a bit higher than usual when you are planning to give Polly a bath.


Another thing to keep in mind is the type of heat you use. Wood-burning fireplaces give off smoke that is toxic to Polly. Many electric heaters are covered in non-stick coating, which also emits dangerous fumes. Kerosene heaters also aren’t great. Air purifiers can help with this, but you’ll need to change the filters regularly. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Do you have questions about caring for a pet bird? Contact us, your McHenry, IL animal hospital, anytime!