General

Free Flight For Birds

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“Flying makes the bird, not the wings,” said the German poet Johann Jakob Mohr. A look out of the window is enough to realize the truth of this statement: Flying is the basic element of birds. Your whole body is designed to soar into the air. It is in the nature of things that bird husbandry restricts this freedom of birds. We keep birds at home because we want to enjoy their existence, their beauty, their endearing nature and much more. Conversely, we should also do everything we can to enable them to live as animal-friendly as possible. Birds must fly! Free flight is therefore an indispensable part of bird husbandry.

Why is free flight important for birds?

The entire body of the bird, with its unique (light) construction, is designed to make the skies unsafe: Depending on the species, the physique is designed in such a way that birds can fly enormously long distances or master short distances at enormous speed.

By flying, birds train their (flight) muscles, their circulation and metabolism is stimulated, their air sacs and lungs are ventilated and the function of the organs is supported. This is the physical component. Birds that do not have the opportunity to fly will sooner or later develop diseases that are due to the lack of exercise and the restriction of their species-specific movement, such as atrophy of the muscles, respiratory problems, obesity or metabolic disorders. The other component is mental health: animals must also be able to exercise sufficiently to be mentally healthy and to feel good. One thing is absolutely certain: a permanently caged bird cannot be happy, content and healthy. And let’s be honest: is there anything nicer for bird keepers than watching the birdies resting on the curtain rod happily chirping after they’ve explored “their” room together?

 

There are different possibilities for implementing free flight:

Attitude in an bird’s room

When it comes to keeping birds, the recommendations for keeping them are clearly in the direction of “bird rooms”. The animals are given their own room in which they can move freely all day long. For sleeping, eating and resting, they should have a “sleeping cage” that they can withdraw into at any time. Of course you can also use the “bird room” yourself, for example as a study. This way you have close contact with your animals, which strengthens the bond and trust. Another advantage of a bird room is that your birds can enjoy their free flight regardless of your schedule. In this way you can give them a bit of autonomy and self-determination, which animals also appreciate. For you, too, this means less stress and a guilty conscience if you’re out and about and don’t have time to “monitor” the free flight of your birds. The prerequisite is, of course, that the room is completely “bird-proof” so that the animals are not exposed to the danger of injuring themselves even in your absence. In the first few weeks after they move in, you should still supervise your birds when they fly free. They are not yet confident in their flight and it may happen that they need your help. Later they can fly independently.

Aviation with free flight

If a bird room cannot be implemented, keeping them in an aviary with free flight is also an option. The aviary should at least be large enough for the animals to be able to fly short distances. Daily free flight in the room is essential when keeping them in aviaries or cages. The following applies here: as long as possible, but at least a few hours a day, depending on the bird species. Here, too, care must be taken to ensure that the birds cannot injure themselves in free flight.

First free flight – tips & tricks

How long to wait?

As a new bird owner, you can probably hardly wait to see your new housemates trying to fly for the first time. However, it makes sense to wait about a week after a new pair or group has moved in before opening the cage door for the first time and allowing the birds a little taste of freedom. Your birds should be able to see everything from their secure aviary first. This is how they get used to you and other family members, to the daily rhythm, the noises and smells. After about a week the time has come: The first free flight is coming up!

The situation is different if you add one or more roommates to your existing group. If your birds are already used to free flight, the newcomer can easily take part in it. He will watch his fellows closely and imitate them. Doesn’t he dare on the first try

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