How can I be a good bird owner?
GUIDE FOR OWNERS OF PSITTACIDAE
Advice To Parrot Owners Psittacidae are intelligent, friendly and playful, and therefore make good pets. However, becoming a bird owner means expecting noise and a bit of a mess. About 2x / day these birds will have intense periods of vocalization which would be in the nature of the times when they would call the other members of the colony. The noise level in the house also has an impact on the vocalization level of the bird. In short, the noise and the seeds that are everywhere on the ground will be an integral part of your new life and that is normal. You may also be bitten, do not take it personally and do not react too negatively …
This sheet has been designed to provide you with a friendly and well-supervised relationship with your little companion. If you want more information, we recommend reference books below.
Bird’s First Day Home: What to Do
Each bird species has different nutritional needs depending on their geographic origin, and with a feed based on feed, we try to replicate their natural diet as much as possible to limit the digestive stress that captivity can cause. In the wild birds spend most of their time foraging, and foraging behavior is completely abolished in our homes. It is important to reinforce the normal behavior of our birds to avoid health problems or aggressiveness. A full paragraph on foraging research is written later in this section.
You will find recommendations for medium and large Psittacidae, as well as small ones. By adults, I include Macaw, Amazon, Eclectus, Cockatoo, African Gray. By means, I mean Collared parakeet or mustache, Quaker. By small, I mean: Budgerigar, Lori, Conure, Lovebird, Cockatiel
The feed should be the main ingredient in the diet. It is the most complete blend of proteins, vitamins, and minerals. For medium and large Psittacidae we speak of 80% of the diet. For the little ones, this should not exceed 60% of the diet. Several formulas are available on the market:
*** Harrison’s bird food: high potency and maintenance
*** Lafeber’s in feed or Avicakes, Nutriberries in treat
** Tropican and several other Tropimix, Zupreem, Pretty-parrot, Roudybush, Mazuri, etc.
The seeds should represent 20-40% of the diet: Brown rice, alpiste, millet, wheat, barley, oats… are preferable to sunflowers.
Large: 1 tsp. at 1 tsp. to s. per day from Grenoble, Mahogany, Almonds
Means: 1 tablespoon / day
Small: ½ tablespoon / day
Vegetables contain a multitude of micronutrients and vary the diet of our birds. They must be introduced gradually and the appearance of droppings should be looked at. It is recommended to take organic vegetables if possible, to wash them well and to give a maximum of 3 varieties in a day to avoid the idea of abundance. Here is a list of vegetables that you can offer on a daily basis in small pieces: Beets, dandelions, Bok Choy, spinach, broccoli, chicory, chicory, beans, Brussels sprouts, lettuce or romaine, cabbage (red, green, Chinese , curly), mustard greens, Swiss thistle, peppers, carrots, snow peas, celery…
ATTENTION Advice To Parrot Owners: avocados are TOXIC, and we prefer to avoid rhubarb
‘Controlled’ Foods: Fruits may be available in small quantities. Use the fruit as a treat or as a motivation for a learning program. Other foods to be offered in limited quantities are pasta, nuts, and other “human-made foods”. Just like seeds and rice; these foods contain a lot of calories and can stimulate reproductive behavior or cause health problems if given in large quantities. Here is a list of the fruits you can offer: Pineapple, melon, cranberries, papaya, cherry, peach, raspberries, pear, cactus fruit, apple, kiwi, mango.
Commercial treats are often very sweet, full of starch and fat, and can, if given in large quantities, cause serious health problems. We, therefore, do not recommend them. Some feeds are presented in ‘treat’ format and can be used as a reward for your birds such as ‘Avi-cakes’.
In the wild, a parrot can spend 6 to 18 hours a day searching for, preparing and eating its food. Foraging behavior is greatly diminished by captive keeping and should be encouraged in all Psittacidae. It is important to be careful not to start recording too difficult stimulation toys to avoid the frustration of the bird which could then decide to never try to play with these precious tools again. One can start simply by hiding part of their food with a sheet of paper or light cloth. Food should be in the same location, as usual, to avoid confusing the bird. He will understand that he has to “pack” the paper to eat his seeds/meal. The next step would be to put a small amount of these favorite foods or healthy nuts (if they are part of your bird’s diet) in a semi-open paper ball. You can then use rolls of toilet paper, egg containers, tissue paper, etc. A multitude of low-cost equipment can enhance the food life of your bird. You can easily find on the internet videos of game ideas for your parakeet/parrot.
How do I convert my bird to feed?
Large parrot: Help him accept the feed by mimicry. Pretend you’re eating and really like his feed when he’s looking at you from his perch and give him 3-4 seconds to “taste it”. Don’t force it. Repeat this several times cheerfully and every day. This will enter as normal behavior of the group and it will eventually start to eat it.
Parakeets/cockatiel: A bird with trimmed wings will more easily have your attention. Start by scattering the feed on absorbent paper, then with your nails pat the table, scrape and crush seeds between your nails to simulate a herd. The same can be done for a conure or lovebird by leaving the feed in one of your 2 hands. Choose a small feed. You can also use a mirror. Decrease the number of seeds offered by 10% per day and leave the seeds and feed in separate containers.
The cage should be located in a place in the house that allows the bird to interact with you when you are present. It should be away from drafts and have a bottom that allows you to clean the contents (droppings) daily. It should provide a rest area, a feeding area and a place for the bath. This should be in a well-ventilated area, between 20-25 degrees Celsius and wider than it is high.
Sudden movements and loud noises can stress birds, so homes with slightly more rambunctious children may require leaving the bird at certain times of the day in a quieter room than the ‘family room’. Children can easily handle birds with confidence, being calm and giving simple commands such as the up! (go up), down! (Down).
A bird that can fly freely in the house should not be left in the presence of other animal species (cat, dog, ferret) to avoid accidents. Heavy metals (Tiffany lamp, pencils, coins, low-quality jewelry) are toxic and should be hidden. We also have to watch out for the doors and the bird should always be under surveillance.
As for the beak, the beak does not normally require maintenance care. If, however, your bird has had trauma to the head, broken beak, or improper feeding, the beak may push excessively or in an unusual direction and require correction. Wing sizes are not required. However, a more fearful or more difficult bird will be easier to handle/approach if its wings are trimmed. The number of cut feathers varies from one species to another and it is essential not to cut too many to avoid serious injuries from falling. The growing flight feathers (of blood) should not be shortened to avoid profuse bleeding. In short, it is better to do this procedure than if you are comfortable to avoid an emergency visit to the veterinarian.
Baths encourage normal grooming behavior and help birds smooth their feathers. Few birds like to be bathed, but a small container of water can be placed in the bottom of the cage with a mirror, or preferably outside the cage, or baths can be sprayed. Birds also like being in the bathroom when you take a shower and benefit a lot from the humidity. Baths can be found in pet stores or you can make your own with green containers (they like green…) dishwasher safe of good size that you pierce and hang on the bars of the cage safely. The bath water should be changed regularly and ideally, the latter should be placed away from the feeding area to avoid contamination. Finally, the smallest parrots like wet foliage such as romaine leaves, kale, spinach, chicory tied on the bars. They will often roll around in it / rub on it before eating them.
Like dogs and cats, birds require regular claw cuts, about every 6-8 weeks. The time between cuts can be extended if you have abrasive perches (sandpaper) or as long as you tolerate the claws on your arms, however, the spine lengthens longer than expected and the claws cannot be kept as short over time.
Disorders can occur all the way to food. The beak (ramphotèque) can undergo a trauma, be affected by a bacterial or viral infection or be deformed according to the presence of mites. We can also see a malocclusion (of congenital origin, caused by the manipulator during the syringe feeding in the young), plaques in the mouth, regurgitation disorders (behavioral or pathological), vomiting, diarrhea caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, poisoning or tumors.
By sexual overstimulation (often unintentional and made by the owners such as the flattering of the lower back, the top of the head, caresses at the beak or time too long on the shoulder) and an abundance of food, lovebirds, cockatiels and budgerigars tend to become chronic laying hens. This can cause several reproductive problems such as egg yolk coelomitis (abdominal inflammation from an egg), oviduct prolapses (uterine tract that comes out), retained egg, etc. Tumors of the reproductive system are also common in the smallest species.
Respiratory problems need to be tackled quickly in avian medicine given how quickly the species decompensates from this system. The clinical signs of respiratory problems are: breathing with open mouth, change of vocalization, intolerance to exercise, runny nose, shaking of the head, inflammation of the wax, discharge from the eyes, blocked nostrils, movements of the tail during breathing, noises during inspiration, cough, etc. Some conditions are zoonotic (transmissible to humans) and require antibiotic treatment. There are problems of bacterial, viral, parasitic origin, intoxication, vitamin deficiency, foreign bodies, cancers.
Pecking is a difficult condition to diagnose and treat and is found in about 10% of the population of captive parrots (Cockatoo and African Gray being overrepresented). The causes are multiple and include medical causes (parasites, skin infection, underlying disease), socio-environmental causes (a nutritional deficiency, irritants, poor care conditions, poor photoperiod, lack of stimulation, etc.) and psychological causes ( temperament, sexual frustration, stress, lack of sleep, etc.). A general examination, a large period of questioning and tests may be offered to you to try to find the cause of this ailment and try to remedy it. We will discuss the behavioral triangle of birds and how the lack of one behavior can favor another.
SOURCE:Flock of Five
Buying a parrot: what you need to know
The acquisition of a parrot requires reflection and constitutes a commitment on your part. Take the time to read this sheet and the additional sheets relating to this subject.
1 – Your commitments:
Acquiring a parrot must be a well-considered decision because this bird lives between 30 and 80 years on average depending on the species. He will, therefore, be part of the family.
Your commitment translates into different obligations:
a) Advice To Parrot Owners Your future parrot will need tenderness and affection.
You will, therefore, have to take care of it daily, take it out of its cage and make it participate in your family or personal life; the parrot will be able to participate in meals without eating human food! To be fit, your parrot needs to know that you are taking it with you at a specific time of the day.
Are you available to devote time to it every day? If it is not the case, give up your project because this parrot would be unhappy and you would be disappointed by the relation which you could maintain with him.
b) This bird must be fed daily with seeds, fruits, and vegetables which must be prepared daily.
c) A parrot can be noisy, especially the blue or red-fronted amazons and the yellow-crested cockatoo.
So think of your neighbors’ ears and above all check the co-ownership clauses beforehand to find out what type of animals you can keep.
d) The beak of a parrot is a powerful instrument of destruction.
Your bird will, therefore, require constant monitoring.
e) Finally, you have to plan who will take care of the bird during your extended absences (weekends, holidays …)
However, the acquisition of a parrot does of course not only present constraints and like any animal, a balanced bird (bird not taken from the wild) and pampered will surprise you with its intelligence and its learning capacities.
2 – Choice of species:
First, buy only authorized parrots for sale. To find out the species authorized for sale and for holding, consult our files and in case of doubt, do not hesitate to contact us.
Know that a prohibited bird can be seized by the Administration which will draw up a report accompanied by a strong fine.
Then your choice for one or the other (authorized) species will depend on what you are looking for. Different criteria can help you choose and in particular:
a) Almost all parrots (from cockatiel to cockatoo, through the gray of Gabon and the Amazon) can learn to pronounce sentences.
The grays of Gabon are generally considered to be the best “speakers”.
b) In addition, regarding their character, parrots born in captivity and raised by hand show differences according to the species.
Thus, the Gabonese grays are calm, tender and more easily share their affection with the various members of the family. They do not like to be alone and get very easily depressed.
On the other hand, the Amazons are more authoritarian, very extroverted and rather clownish. They accept to be alone during the day.
The cockatoo (with the exception of the rosalbin cockatoo) are hyper-possessive, exclusive sometimes even “macho”. They establish an exclusive relationship with their master. Out of jealousy, they may also not accept your children (preceding or succeeding his arrival). A cockatoo howling for its hug marks a terrible moment for our human ears.
Finally, don’t forget the cockatiel which has immense interpersonal skills.
c) Apart from the gray of Gabon, the rosalbin cockatoo, and the cockatiel, parrots have a powerful voice that they make heard at least morning and evening.
3 – Where to buy a parrot:
Advice To Parrot Owners,At a good place! At a breeder or pet store (stores or animal chains).
Our position is clear: Do not buy imported wild birds. The wild population must be left in peace and there is sufficient captive breeding to meet demand.
4 – How to choose a parrot:
Advice To Parrot Owners, It is rather the parrot that will choose you! During the first contact, do not get too close to the bird and watch it behave.
Next, a healthy parrot should have a good physical appearance with a keen eye and maintained plumage. The droppings should be normal, the nostrils should not leak and the bird should not have “stung”.
To find out more: see A healthy parrot?
Finally, take a bird older than 4 months which may have been raised by hand or by the parents.
The parrot is an original and unusual pet. Also, many owners prefer to consult a veterinarian before buying their bird in order to benefit from advice on the parrot itself, but also about its lifestyle and its maintenance. This practice is to be encouraged by the practitioner to ensure the best quality of life to the bird but in return, the veterinarian must respond as accurately as possible to the questions of the future owner.
In this part, we will present the main elements to respect to best manage a parrot at home.
Advice To Parrot Owners
5 THINGS TO PREPARE BEFORE YOU GET A PARROT
SOURCE:Flock of Five
Choosing the bird:
The right owner for the right parrot
A- Which parrot to buy?
Advice To Parrot Owners The first step towards acquiring a parrot is already to choose the bird that will best match the recipient. The owner must first define what he expects from his parrot: whether he is a full-fledged pet bird with whom he can have a relationship, or a bird called “ornamental”.
As can be seen in Part I-A, there are many species of parrots available to buyers, each with a different character, and it may be difficult for the owner to navigate. Indeed, if certain constraints seem obvious (space available, the noise of the bird vis-à-vis the neighborhood, etc.), it is important to remind the owner that to adopt a parrot is a very long-term commitment with the birds. budgetary and emotional considerations that imply.
It is still too frequent that in consultation, owners are surprised to learn that the Gray of Gabon (Psittacus erithacus) that they have just acquired does not live 15 years as they imagined, but rather 75 years in average. It is therefore important for homeowners to explain that they sometimes buy a bird that they will later give to their children, so it is not a purchase to be taken lightly.
From the point of view of the budget, it must be considered that the initial price of the bird is only a small percentage of what the bird will cost to its owner in the first months of acquisition, whether in material (cage, games, feeding, etc …) or veterinary fees.
How do you deal with a parrot?
In addition, Wilson also explains that although there are as many personalities as parrots, specific trends can be observed:
- The wavy parakeets (Melopsittacus undulatus) are small, very active birds, singers, social and easy to tame.
- Cockatiels (Nymphicus hollandicus) have the least aggressive temperament in Psittaciformes and make excellent companions, even though they may tend to hyper-attach.
- Conures (Aratinga sp.) They have a very playful personality but are extremely noisy and can be stubborn and quickly aggressive at the slightest annoyance.
- The Gray of Gabon (P. Erithacus) is excellent companions, players and affectionate but whose personality can completely reverse (aggressiveness, …) to sexual maturity. They
- have a strong tendency to hyper-attach with a family member they have chosen as their preferred teacher. In addition, they are excellent speakers and imitators of sounds (doorbell, phone, microwave, etc …) to the point sometimes never stop talking and therefore exasperate their owners.
- Cockatoos (Cacatua sp.) Can be very good pet birds, but can quickly become destructive and hyper-attaching unable to cope without humans (the author even describes Cockatoos as birds to “become tumors on the body of their owner”).
The sex of the bird can also be a criterion of choice for the owner. Indeed, some authors explain that a male bird will rather tend to prefer a woman as owner and vice versa. Nevertheless, this theory does not seem to be absolutely verified in reality and is, therefore, to be considered with caution. It appears that in some species, males seem more aggressive than females, either within a group (SEIBERT, CROWELL-DAVIS 2001) or with their owner.
Similarly, if the character of the bird is of great importance in his relationship with his owner, anyone is not made to look after a bird. In fact, having a parrot means spending time with him, a lot of maintenance, and making a long-term commitment with him (parrots tolerating abandonment and changes of owners very badly).