SPCA New Zealand
Advice & welfare

Birds

Companion Animals

SPCA advocates that birds must only be kept as companions when a person has the knowledge, ability, and means to meet their physical, health, and behavioural needs.

The ownership of birds requires specialised knowledge of the particular species. SPCA advocates that people only acquire birds if they are able and willing to care for them properly throughout their lives. Adequate research, preparation, facilities, equipment, specialised veterinary care, and time are needed for the ownership of all bird species in order to meet their complex biological, environmental, and behavioural needs.

The vast majority of birds are social species. Birds kept in captivity often do not have the same opportunity for the physical and mental stimulation that suitable companionship in an adequate environment brings. Companion birds should be provided with the companionship of other birds of appropriate species, in accordance with the needs of their species, and the individual bird.

SPCA opposes keeping birds in cages where they are unable to properly exercise and fly.

Companion birds, including those born in captivity, retain the basic instincts and needs of their wild ancestors. Birds must be provided with the opportunity to fly each day in accordance with the needs of their species. Birds need to be provided with enrichments that they can fly to and actively manipulate.

SPCA opposes the capture of wild birds to be kept as companion animals.

Meeting the physical, health and behavioural needs of wild-caught birds is very challenging in captivity. Wild-caught and hand-raised birds may exhibit abnormal behaviours, such as excessive feather-plucking or stereotypies, which require specialist help to address.

SPCA opposes the pinioning of birds and any other means of permanently deflighting birds. SPCA advocates that this practise should be prohibited, except when it is required for therapeutic reasons.

If birds are pinioned or deflighted in any way, it should only be permitted for therapeutic reasons and should be carried out by a veterinarian with appropriate pre and post-operative pain relief. Husbandry should be improved to avoid the need for pinioning where birds need to be confined.

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