Digital Bird Scale: Where to Get One and Why You Need It

Reasons to Get a Digital Bird Scale

There are 2 main reasons to get a digital scale.

  1. Birds are prey animals in the wild. If they look sick, they are more likely to get eaten. Therefore, they hide their illness well. It is not unusual for birds to be sick for quite some time before their owners are aware of it. Weighing your bird regularly will give you a way to monitor your bird’s overall health. Also, some birds are prone to becoming overweight and a scale will allow you to monitor this as well.
  2. If you bird is currently sick, we are asking you to get a scale to help us monitor your bird’s recovery. When your bird is in the hospital we weigh it once to twice a day to make sure it is getting enough nutrition. Once it goes home with you, it is equally important that you monitor your bird’s weight in addition to its appetite and amount of droppings. If your bird is not maintaining its weight then it probably needs to be hospitalized again so that we can syringe feed it as needed.

Regardless of why you are getting a scale, it is a good idea to keep a chart of your bird’s weight.

What Sort of Digital Bird Scale You Will Need

It is essential that you purchase the right kind of scale so that you can weigh your bird accurately. First, the scale must be a digital scale, not a spring-type scale. The spring scales are not accurate enough. Second, the scale should read in grams, not ounces. Third, the smaller the bird, the more accurate the scale must be. For example, for a macaw, a scale with 2 gram measuring increments might be fine but for a budgie the increments would ideally be tenths of a gram. You must also pay attention to the maximum capacity of the scale and make sure it is appropriate for your bird. You can build a perch for the scale if your bird is reluctant to stand on the scale without one. Perches can be built out of wooden dowels and then glued to the scale. Alternatively, perches can be made out of lengths of PCV pipes or dowels with tongue-depressors or popsicle sticks taped to the bottom to keep the perch from rolling (ask us to show you how).

Places to Purchase a Digital Scale

  • If you need a scale immediately: Cooking scales can be used to weigh birds. You can purchase these at places like Walmart (in the cooking section, usually about $30) or cooking stores like Williams Sonoma or Bed, Bath and Beyond  (usually about $50). Postage scales can also be purchased at places like OfficeMax. Some bird stores sell scales with perches. If your bird will not stand on the scale, you can place your bird in a small box to weigh it; you will need to tare (reset to zero) the scale with the box on it prior to weighing the bird; alternatively, you can weigh the bird in the box then the box alone and subtract the weight of the box from the weight of the bird in the box.
  • If you do not need a scale immediately: Scales can be purchased on-line (e.g., or 414-461-6767) and from many. The scales come with perches attached but they are more expensive ($70-100) than those at Walmart ($30).

When To Call Your Veterinarian

Please call us if your bird loses 10% or more of its body weight. If your bird is already sick and we have asked you to get a scale, please contact us if your bird is on a steady downward trend, even if it has lost less than 10% of its body weight. Also, please contact us if your bird has a poor appetite, reduced droppings, or any other signs of illness. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about the information in this handout or concerns about your bird—and thank you for trusting us with the care of your special family member!