How to care for a parrot


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How to care for a parrot

How to care for a parrot? Parrots are very intelligent birds as pets. However, there are different things you need to know about them and their needs before adopting them. Indeed, their morals are too little known to the general public, and their conditions of detention are often inadequate, at the origin of various abnormal behaviors, even downright embarrassing.

Attitudes that can lead to the abandonment of the adorable feathered companion after he has torn your little finger from a sudden bite, torn the eardrums of his incessant screams or he has crunched grandma’s leather chair… Above all, they are by nature wild and not domesticated (like dogs and cats).

This means that they still have most of the behaviors and instincts of their cousins in the wild. Then, they are not all of the same species and you must know the qualities specific to the bird you want to adopt at the time of purchase. Finally, parrots live much longer than most other pets. Small species (such as cockatiels or tour) live 20 to 30 years while large ones (macaw, amazon, or cockatoo) exceed 60 years if they are inadequate conditions.

Preparing your home for parrot

All you need to know to prepare your home for a new parrot

How To Set Up a Cockatiel Cage

Buy a suitable cage

 Square or rectangular cages are more suitable, as parrots do not feel safe in round cages that do not have corners. The round cages are also much too small. Since the long-distance flight is not essential for sedentary Psittaciformes, spacious aviaries already cover a large part of the parrots’ psychic and physical needs. However, most captive birds live in cages that are too small, which can quickly become problematic despite the possibility of wandering around the house daily. If you can’t offer an aviary or a dedicated room for your birds, make sure your cage is wide enough to allow your bird to climb, flutter, and move around without problems. Also provide room for perches, toys, food and water bowls, and resting places. Choose the size of the cage according to the size of the parrot.

  • Buy a cage at least 75 cm wide x 75 cm high x 45 cm deep for small species (wavy parakeets, inseparable, tours, euphemisms, and other small Australians).
  • Medium species require at least 80 to 100 cm wide x 100 cm high x 55 cm deep (conures, cockatiels, large Asian and Australian parakeets).
  • For large species, the minimum is about 1.5 to 2 meters wide x 2 meters high x 1 m deep.
  • The spacing of the cage bars will be 1.2 cm for the smallest parrots and 2-3 cm for large ones.

Install the cage in the common room

Parrots are social creatures. In nature, they live in groups and remain in constant contact with other members of the group. If you isolate them, they could develop separation anxiety, as they like to live in places frequented by their fellow humans.

  • If you have other pets, put the cage in a room that you can close when you go out. Keep an eye on your other pets and don’t let them into the room if they’re stressing your parrot.

Make sure the temperature is constant

 Birds can withstand a wide range of temperatures, but the ideal is between 18 and 29 ° C. Don’t leave your pet in a cold room or turn down your thermostat overnight in winter. Temperatures below 4°C can be dangerous for birds, especially those that are lean. Plump birds can develop heat stress at temperatures above 29°C. If you must keep your pet in a warm room, make sure there is good air circulation.

Put your parrot in its cage

First of all, close all doors and windows. Then try to see how friendly or aggressive he is. Gently open the box and bring your hand closer. If your bird remains calm, keep approaching your hand, but if it clicks its beak, try another method.

  • If your friend is calm, keep approaching your hand, trying to keep your fingers (or arm in the case of a large parrot) perpendicular and slightly above their paws. If he already knows the “Monte” command, you can say “Monte” and he will jump on your fingers (or arm). Gently take it out of its box and head to the cage. The perch of the cage should be parallel to your hand and slightly above its feet. The parrot will climb on the perch and you can then close the door. Let him acclimatize to his new habitat for a while.
  • If he is aggressive or does not know how to ride, let him enter his cage alone by opening the transport box and placing it in front of the open door of the cage. You don’t forcibly catch a parrot, especially if it’s not tamed. These are prey that should not see you as a predator. If he manages to fly away, he will try to perch at the top of a cabinet or furniture. While remaining calm, prepare gourmet food (sunflower seeds, fruits, nuts) that you will put in the open cage and the parrot will soon go to eat.
  • Whichever method you use to put it in its cage, leave it alone for a day or two, without isolating it. It is likely that he will eat and drink less for a few days, but make sure he still has food and water. Wait for him to calm down and get used to his new home before interacting with him more. You can present it to its congeners quickly if it is not sick, or even put it with the others if they get along and are of the same species or size (small conures together, macaws together, but not a macaw and a parakeet that will each require a congener of the same size in principle).
What to feed a parrot

Feeding your parrot

Give him a varied diet. Parrots need a varied diet that meets a wide range of nutritional needs. They should not be satisfied with seeds and granules. However, mixtures of seeds and granules for birds sold in pet stores are perfect as a basis for their diet. There are several ways to enrich seed or granule mixtures.
  • Give him fresh fruits and vegetables. Rinse them properly as if you were preparing them for you and your family. Most parrots love grapes, bananas, apples, carrots, berries, greens, all varieties of cooked squash, peas, green beans, and many others. Be careful not to give him too much fruit, because they contain sugar.
  • Some species, such as macaws, like to open walnut shells to eat what they contain. Give your companion pistachios, pecans, and macadamia nuts.
  • Avoid giving caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, sweet or salty snacks, fatty foods, raw or dried beans, rhubarb leaves, dill, cabbage, asparagus, eggplant, or honey.
  • Never give avocados or onions to a parrot! These 2 foods are toxic to him and the avocado can cause immediate cardiac arrest and death.

Pippa Elliott, the veterinarian, recommends this: “When you give him seeds, make sure he doesn’t choose only the ones he prefers because then his diet will be unbalanced. If necessary, give him pellets so that he has all the nutrients he needs. »

Give him the right amount of food

For small and medium-sized birds, food and water containers should be at least 600 ml. Large birds must be at least 900 ml in size. Weaned birds and chicks need extra amounts because of their higher metabolism and activity levels. 

Use a large container of water

Your companion must be able to bathe in it. Birds drink the same water they use for bathing, which is normal for them. Do not add vitamin supplements to the water even if recommended. Birds don’t drink much and you’ll have a hard time knowing how many supplements they’ve taken. It can also cause bacteria to form rapidly in the water.

Do not use nonstick pans or utensils

This measure is even more important if your bird is in or next to the kitchen. The chemicals used to make nonstick products can be deadly to parrots when heated to a certain temperature.

  • Second-hand smoke is as bad for parrots as it is for men. Do not smoke in the house if you have a parrot.

Keeping your parrot healthy

All you need to know to keep your parrot healthy

Clean the bottom of the cage

 It is always preferable not to put a grid at the bottom of the cage and to place corn cob litter, pellets, or wood chips in which the bird will play (cockatoos, kakarikis, cockatiels … like to scratch the bottom of their cage). Remove and replace coatings. Discard damaged shells, seeds, gravel, toys, etc. It is best to clean the cage once a day, targeting stains that do not require too much time such as droppings on perches.

Clean food and water bowls

 Once a day, take out the bowls of water and food, clean them and fill them with fresh food and fresh water.

  • Throw away leftover foods that rot quickly, such as cooked beans, right away. Parrots are especially susceptible to bacterial infections, and you should definitely keep their cage clean.
  • Use a special bird disinfectant to clean the cage once a week. This kind of product is sold in pet stores. Conventional disinfectants are too potent and potentially harmful to your parrot.

Consult a veterinarian regularly

Some parrots remain healthy for the rest of their lives, but when they do get sick, it is often found that a preventive veterinary consultation could have prevented the problem. Make sure the veterinarian you go to specifically treats the birds. Otherwise, you risk paying for nothing. Routine visits will be scheduled annually.

Monitor their health

A healthy parrot is alert, stands up straight, and is active. If yours seems sick, see a veterinarian. The signs that should alert you are:

  • a deformed, balding, or ulcerated beak
  • difficulty breathing
  • spots around the eyes or nostrils
  • feathers that change their appearance or texture
  • weight loss or loss of appetite
  • swelling of the eyes or eyelids
  • it chews or pulls out its feathers or loses feathers
  • He lowers his head and is lethargic or too calm

Train and socialize your parrot

All you need to know to socialize your parrot

Learn how to approach the cage

At first, approach slowly and quietly. If your bird is fearful, avoid looking it in the eye so it doesn’t see you as a predator. If he tries to bite you, struggles in his cage, or seems particularly uncomfortable, try to get him used to your presence first.

  • Get out of the room and come back and, when it starts to make noise, stop and don’t move. Stay where you are and wait for it to calm down to keep approaching you. If he gets upset again, stop and don’t move until he regains his composure. Continue like this until you are close enough to the cage.

Try to identify the treats he prefers

Training is necessary for the socialization that the parrot requires. To find out which foods he prefers, give him nuts, fresh fruit, dried fruits, and seeds. Maybe your bird is not yet used to these foods so, observe it for a few days to find out which ones it prefers. When you have found out what it is, do not add these foods to your daily diet, but reserve them for training.

Create a training objective

The goal is to teach him how to get out and return to his cage. The first step is to have him eat treats in his hand, which can take a few seconds to a few weeks. Simply approach the cage with a treat in your hand. Wait for your companion to approach in turn and eat what you give him.

  • Introduce the clicker when it is used to eat in your hand. Click just before offering him a treat and do it each time so that he gets used to hearing the click before eating.
  • Use a telescopic dressing wand to lure your parrot into certain parts of the cage. Pass the wand between the bars so he can approach it then click and give him a treat. Train him to track your movements by clicking and giving him a treat each time. If he no longer follows the wand, he may be full and you will have to wait until he is hungry again to resume training.
  • Use the wand to teach him to ride on your hand or on a perch. After a while, he will agree to follow you out of the cage to continue training or allow you to clean it.
  • Each session should last between 10 and 15 minutes at a rate of 1 or 2 sessions per day.

Pet your parrot

The beak is the best place to start. If you can approach your hand without him trying to bite you, it means that he accepts that you touch him. But not all parrots like petting and not all are colonial: South American species are mostly able to accept the hugs of their congeners as well as many humans. African species will often have a congener and a reference human, even if some form very strong links with several. Slowly bring your hand close to its beak and, if it seems to want to bite you, stop right away. Stay still until he calms down. If it doesn’t bite you when your hand is near its beak, walk away and give it a treat.

  • Proceed in the same way to touch his body. Approach your hand slowly and, if it seems to get upset, stop and wait for it to calm down. Go gradually until he lets you touch it. When he agrees to you touching him, give him a treat.

Talk. Some parrots are more talkative than others, but all are anatomically capable of imitating the human voice. Even if he doesn’t learn as quickly as you’d hoped, it’s important for the emotional well-being that you talk to him on a regular basis.

  • Teach him the names of certain things. For example, when you feed him, say “apple” or “banana”.
  • Associate words with what you do. When you enter the room, say “Hello, Alex” (or whatever you want to call) or “Hello!” When you leave, say “Goodbye” or “Good night.”
  • Your companion will also enjoy listening to you chat (even if it’s with him and you’re the only one talking), listening to you sing, listening to the TV when you turn it on, or listening to music.
  • Some parrots retain many phrases, so avoid yelling or saying insults in his presence if you don’t want him to repeat them.

Give him toys

Cockatiel toys Ideal

Not only do toys help your bird’s mental stimulation, but they also keep it from getting bored. They must have different textures and colors and make varied noises. You have to change them every week so that he doesn’t get bored. There are other things you need to consider regarding your parrot’s toys.

  • For small birds, give preference to small light toys.
  • For large birds, choose thick toys, as they like to handle them with their beaks, tongues, and paws.
  • Birds love to chew and they naturally tend to damage objects. Check toys regularly and throw away any that are damaged or could break into pieces that could hurt your parrot. 

Learn the body language of parrots

 Generally, a parrot that stands straight with smoothed feathers is suspicious or frightened. Loose and slightly ruffled plumage indicates joy. If your companion stands on one leg and curls up in a ball, it means that he is not feeling well. If he raises all his feathers, it usually means that he is courting or that he is ready to fight. If he stretches one wing and then the other or wags his tail slightly, it means that he is happy or healthy. Some birds wiggle their tongues or move their beaks up and down when they see someone they like. 

Advice

  • Many parrots like to be misted once in a while. Use a spray bottle with a little hot water in it to spray it on your bird and help it stay clean.
  • Remember that these birds molt once in a while, and it is normal for a parrot to lose a few feathers. If your bird’s plumage starts to look irregular or parts are bald, take it to a veterinarian.
  • Accept the amount of effort that a parrot represents. All parrots are animals that require a lot of maintenance. Make sure you have time and energy to devote to your companion.
  • Parrot forums are a good way to get information and chat with other bird owners.
  • Use perches of different diameters and textures to exercise your bird’s legs. Perches covered in sandpaper can help keep her nails and beak naturally manicured and shiny!

Parrot Care Basics

SOURCE:Animal Wonders Montana

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