How to Keep Your Pet Parrot Healthy and Happy!
Parrots are such intelligent and beautiful creatures that it is essential that you provide them with the happiest, healthiest living conditions possible. They can literally live for decades. Some types of parrots can even potentially live for as long as a human! If you have a pet parrot or plan to buy one soon, you need to know how to keep it healthy – both physically and mentally.
Like any other animal, pet parrots have specific requirements that must be met to ensure their health. It’s very sad that some people decide to buy an exotic bird without first conducting research and preparing a healthy and ideal environment for it. Taking care of such a pet requires not only money but time and energy as well.
It’s no secret that these types of birds are very social creatures. It would be a shame to simply stick it in its cage and leave it in a corner somewhere, forgetting about it half the time.
Spending time with your feathery friend is vital to his or her mental health. This doesn’t mean that you can just sit down and have a short conversation. Actually allow the parrot to get out of his/her cage. Having a nice perch such as a Play Stand, which is available in colors such as white and black, is definitely worth investing in.
However, you don’t want to overdo it. While your pet bird may take a liking to you, he might feel intimidated by guests. For an under-socialized bird, a guest in the home may seem threatening and invasive. Start out slow. Bring one guest over at a time in a calm, quiet area. Make sure the guests understand not to be rowdy.
You can also take your parrot with you outside to nice places where there might be other birds, such as a park. Take him/her in a bird’s harness on a walk around the park.
Introducing TWO parrots:
You don’t want your bird to feel all alone, surrounded only by humans and other animals (if you have them) so a fellow parrot companion is usually a good idea. However, it’s NOT necessarily a good idea to just stick the new parrot in the same cage with your current one right away. This could potentially cause a dangerous situation as they are not yet accustomed to one another.
You can, however, place their cages next to each other. There are also some cages that have room for more than one bird, with a divider of some sort.
Choosing the Best Vet Possible
Vet visits are not only important for a bird’s physical health but for his mental and emotional well-being. It can also be an experience in social interaction. It’s recommended that you take an exotic bird to the veterinarian about once a year for a thorough annual checkup. Ideally, the vet should have experience dealing with your exact type of bird. While most vets do occasionally deal with an animal other than the typical dog, cat, bunny, or hamster, not all of them are used to cockatiels, parakeets, macaws, Budgerigar, Lovebird, African grays, etc.
Do a bit of research online to find a good animal clinic nearby. If you live in a small town it is worth the time and money to take your parrot a bit further than usual to see an experienced vet. Once again: you’ll typically only have to take him once a year. If possible, schedule an appointment with an avian veterinarian who is a member of the Association of Avian Veterinarians (AAV). Call the closest veterinary schools for advice, or check with local bird clubs.
If you have a new bird who is still shy and under-socialized, ask if you can bring him/her in during a quieter time when there will be fewer animals and people.
Hygiene and Living Environment
A good hygiene regimen should be maintained for the parrot itself as well as its cage. Bathe your bird regularly as this will give you the opportunity to bond with your pet. While wing clipping is a controversial subject, if you do decide that it would be in your bird’s best interest, have the vet do it for you.
Some birds love bathing and preening and others are reluctant to get wet. If your feathery friend doesn’t is the reluctant type, there are different options. You can allow him to bathe in the water dish (just remember to change it out afterwards or stick him near a slow running kitchen faucet. Sometimes it helps to wait until it is raining outside and the bird hears the splashing of the rain hitting the windows to get him/her in the mood for bathing.
Note:There are some commercially available mists and sprays available to help clean plumage, although you’ll want to be careful with these if you have a cockatoo or cockatiel.
As for the cage, birds that live in larger cages tend to be happier and healthier. Cages come in all different styles and sizes so take the time to carefully look over each and every model. HQ is a brand that is known for constructing excellent cages, such as those with Dome Tops, Victorian Tops, Open Tops, and more. These cages are designed with features that make cleaning and maintenance a simple process.
Clean everything in the cage regularly, including the food bowls, grates, perches, and even the toys. Perches can also accumulate dirt and waste and create a breeding ground for bacteria. Keep a couple of “backup” perches on hand since it can take some time for the wet ones to try – especially if they are made out of wood.
The toys need to be cleaned off regularly as well since even they can accumulate germs. Just like human babies, parrots like to use their mouths to play with their favorite toys. Approximately once a week, take out any toys that are in the cage or hanging from the stand and clean them thoroughly. Like the perches, there should be a couple of backup toys. So you won’t have to deal with a fussy bid, wait until after playtime when he or she is ready for a nap to remove the favorite toys for cleaning.
Food and Nutrition
Your parrot’s diet depends on its species. You’ll want to feed yours seeds, nuts, flowers, grasses etc... that are native to his or her place of origin, whether it’s Australia, Africa, or the Amazon. Find out what kinds of foods are most nutritious for your species of wild bird. The ideal diet should be as balanced, whole, and natural as possible in order for your parrot to be healthy and live a long life.
Unfortunately, a bird on a poor diet won’t live out a full life span. You don’t want your parrot succumbing to any kind of bacterial, viral, or fungal infection. The best diet will boost the immune system and keep the parrot’s feathers in top condition.
Look into blends, pellets, and formulas offered by one of these brands:
Goldenfeastoffers a variety of food products for every species of parrot.
The size and type of cage aren’t just important considerations, the placement is as well. Some thought needs to go in where you put your parrot’s home. It’s recommended that you order a cage with wheels so that you can roll it around from one room to the next, even if it is a large one.
Try to put the cage in a place that is neither too high nor too low. If they are too low, birds will feel anxious. If they are too high, they might either come to think that they are superior to you or feel isolated from everyone else. Cage placement obviously plays a role in a parrot’s emotional well-being. Also, keep him/her away from areas of the home where there will be too much commotion and noise as the bird will anxious.
Make sure that the cage is placed up against at least one wall where the parrot will have a partial view of a window. However, do not place the cage directly next to a window, as outside factors like people and dogs might frighten him/her.
The kitchen can be a harmful room for birds since the temperature can get too hot and cooking fumes can be toxic. The bathroom isn’t the safest place either due to the toxic chemicals found in shower / bath products.
- Keep the temperature between 65 – 85 degrees F so that your parrot won’t get sick. Never, ever leave a parrot in a chilly room. They tend to come from tropical environments, after all. However, you’ll still want to ensure that there is sufficient air circulation in the rooms with higher temperatures.
- When establishing a diet for your bird, be sure to exclude avocado. This fruit can cause a parrot to immediately go into cardiac arrest.
- When cleaning a cage, avoid using the typical disinfectant as it can contain chemicals that are harmful to small animals such as birds. Use a bird-safe disinfectant, which can be found at pet stores.
- Keep an eye out for potential health problems. Know the signs of a sick parrot: difficulty breathing, loss of appetite, swollen eyes, deformed / receding beak, lethargy, change in stool appearance, stains around the nostrils or eyes, and so forth. Stick with your gut instinct. If something doesn’t seem right with your bird, take him or her to the vet as soon as possible.
- The right toys for your type of parrot will provide relief from boredom and mental stimulation. They’ll keep him happy. Always opt for smaller, lightweight toys that are easy to chew. For larger parrots, it’s okay to get toys that are thicker.
Just follow these guidelines and establish a healthy meal routine with your parrot. Be sure to order the best quality food products, toys, and cage in order to give your feathery friend a long, healthy and happy life!