The vast majority of bird owners prefer to keep their feathered friends inside their homes. But some owners opt to house their birds in outdoor enclosures some or all of the time. While keeping pet birds outside can have several benefits, such as giving them a natural vitamin D boost from the sun, there are also serious risks to outdoor housing.
Discover some of the issues that can arise from keeping your bird outside, so you can make an informed decision about its housing.
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Exposure to extreme heat and cold weather can be detrimental to a bird's health. And it can be hard to insulate a birdcage effectively enough to protect its occupants from the harsh weather conditions they would encounter outside.
Birds that get too hot or cold are at risk for fatal illnesses if they aren't able to get to proper shelter. Add other weather events—such as rain, hail, and lightning—and the risk of outdoor bird housing is further increased.
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Exposure to Pathogens
Birds that live outside encounter a host of pathogens that can be avoided by living indoors. These include the avian flu, parasites, bacterial diseases, and more.
While there are products available that claim to protect against some types of parasitic infections, it is very hard to prevent viral and bacterial diseases. Because of this, your best defense against these types of illnesses is to avoid exposing your bird in the first place.
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An Increased Risk of Escape
A bird that is housed in an outdoor enclosure is, of course, at an increased risk of escape. If the bird happens to be a parrot of any type, then the risk goes up. These highly intelligent birds are known for figuring out how to open even the most complicated cage doors.
If your bird escapes its outdoor enclosure, not only is it apt to fly away out of fear or curiosity, but it's also at risk of injury from environmental hazards. Plus, it might suffer extreme stress and shock, which can lead to illnesses and even death.
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Evolution has given our feathered friends the instincts and equipment necessary to escape predators many times—but not all of the time. Pet birds often have even more difficulties escaping harm's way than their wild counterparts, as their instincts for detecting danger aren't as sharply honed.
All sorts of animals—including cats, dogs, snakes, and even other birds—might target your feathered friend as a potential meal if it's housed outdoors. Even if your bird is securely confined in its cage, there is always the chance that a predator finds a way inside the enclosure.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
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Birds that live outside—even in a secure outdoor cage—are at risk of coming in contact with toxins in the environment that can make them seriously ill. These can be in the form of plants, pollution, or even insects that have been exposed to pesticides or other chemicals.
Depending on your bird's size and the toxin involved, it sometimes doesn't take much exposure to have a serious or fatal reaction. And even if you're conscientious about potential toxins on your own property, often these hazards can travel great distances and sicken your bird.