Parrot Care Basics

This is an article that appeared in the July 2012 issue of an Asheville Pet Publication called Pet Gazette

Parrots require more care than many people know. So if you are thinking of getting one, or already own a new parrot, be sure you grasp the fundamentals of pet parrot care.

Housing. Your feathered friend’s cage should not be cramped quarters. At minimum, larger birds should be able to spread their wings, flap comfortably without hitting their tail or head, turn around without bumping into anything, and move around without restriction. For smaller birds such as cockatiels and parakeets, a cage 24” by 24” is considered comfortable. Bars should be close enough together to keep your bird from sticking its head through them.

Accessories. A busy bird is a happy bird. Expect yours to destroy its toys – that is a good sign! Birds without toys can suffer from a variety of boredom-related issues, including feather- destructive behavior. Provide at least five toys, and replace them as your bird chews them up or loses interest. Toys don’t have to be expensive. Your bird can benefit from simple toys made out of phone books, untreated sisal rope, coffee filters and more.

Your bird’s cage should also have several perches varying in diameter and texture to encourage movement and ensure foot health. Multiple perch types, made of bird-safe materials that will keep your pet’s nails trim, are available.

Nutrition. An all seed diet is unhealthy, and can significantly shorten a bird’s life. Fresh foods, including assorted fruits, veggies, cooked grains, and commercially available treats are vital to your bird’s health. A high quality pelleted diet, such as Zupreem, Harrisons, Roudybush, and Higgins, plus a high quality seed blend is the first step to a healthy bird. Have questions? Consult an avian veterinarian about pet bird nutrition.

Vet Care. Birds need vets too. But not just any vet. Parrots are exotic, delicate creatures that require specialized care, skills, and knowledge. So finding a nearby vet who knows avian medicine is a vital part of parrot keeping. Check the Association of Avian Veterinarians at aav.org. Or find a board certified Diplomat-Avian at ABVP.com.

Keeping a bird requires more than simply putting it into a cage. Parrots need an attentive owner, regular out of cage time, training, interaction and more. Before getting a bird, please do your research first.

Author and behaviorist Emily Trimnal is a parrot owner, a Certified Avian Specialist with the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, and a Level 2 Aviculturist with the American Federation of Aviculture. She also works with several U.S. rescue organizations. Find her online at www.emilysbirds.com

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Emily September 26, 2012 Blog, Published Articles, The Birds