Thinking about having a wonderful companion and a small family pet? That is exactly what parrots represent. There are not so many members of the bird family that suit the ‘pet life’ or possess the qualities of parrots.
Aside from their highly celebrated ‘talking potentials’, parrots are beautiful birds. They are also intelligent, have a relatively long life span and funny antics that make them worthy companions.
Having a parrot is certainly an amazing thing, but it comes with several responsibilities.
First, parrots are not domesticated animals: they belong to the wild, by nature, and retain some of the instincts that characterize with wild birds. Also, parrots are not all exactly the same species and may have varying behaviours.
It it vital to take the proper steps to take care of your parrots. Keeping them happy, requires commitment.
You have to realize that the bird is in what is referred to as “captivity” state and will require a lot of mental and social stimulation.
Everything around it matters, and if you don’t get things right, you will have a bored and unhappy animal that does not fit the profile of a pet. So, what exactly do parrots need and how do you care for them?
It All Starts With The Cage
It is essential to invest on a good parrot cage for your parrot. In the wild, parrots fly about and socialize; but in your home, they will have to be housed in a cage. To keep a happy parrot, you have to get the right cage and keep it in the right condition. The most appropriate type of cages for parrots are square and rectangular cages. The cage should have enough room for the parrot to move about it comfortably. It should be large enough for perches, toys, food bowls, water bowls, and rest areas.
Another important factor is that the cage should be placed in the right place at the right time. Parrots are social animals and do not cherish isolation. For them not to develop what is referred to as ‘separation anxiety’, you have to keep them in a room where they can interact with humans.
Your parrot should be close to you whenever you are in the house. If you have other pets and they are friendly with the parrot, you can keep them in the same room, but if you notice that they cause stress to the bird, keep them apart whenever you are not around.
You also need to be mindful of the temperature condition of the environment you keep your bird in.
For the parrot, ensure that the temperature around the cage is between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything above that can result in heat stress. Ensure that the temperature does not drop below 40 degrees around the parrot’s cage.
Keeping Your Parrot Healthy
Before we talk about feeding, let us consider how else you can keep your parrot healthy aside from providing the right cage. Of course, the condition of the cage will determine to a great extent how healthy the parrot will be.
You have to make sure that the cage is clean. On a daily basis, clean up any mess on the cage that doesn’t require much time. You can tend to the floor of the cage every two days – remove and replace liners. You can also discard shells, seeds, gravel, and broken toys.
You have to clean up the food and water bowl of the bird on a daily basis. Discard whatever remains in the bowls, clean them up and refill with new food and water. It is also important to remove food that spoils quickly, such as cooked beans, as early as possible to avoid the growth of microorganisms that can infect your parrot.
On a weekly basis, do a proper clean-up of the cage. Use mild disinfectants to clean. It is also essential that you watch your bird closely for any sign of ill-health. Parrots are healthy most of the time, but there are certain health conditions that may arise.
If you notice any physiological change that you feel may be indicative of ill-health, it is important that you take the bird to a vet.
Signs of illness may include swollen eyes or eyelids, strains around the eyes or nostril, deformed beak, loss of appetite, weight loss, feather problems, bowed head, change in the appearance of stool, and unusual quietness. Once you notice any of these signs, consult a veterinarian.
Even if your parrot does not show any sign of illness, it is still very important that you take it to a vet from time to time. Ideally, some parrots can stay healthy for a really long time, but it is always better to prevent an illness or treat it at the initial stage. Even if it is once in a year, you should take your parrot to a bird-friendly vet.
How To Feed Your Parrot
A healthy and balanced diet is required to keep a parrot nourished and healthy.
In the diet you serve your pet parrot, ensure there is a variety with a broad range of nutritional value.
The seeds and pellet mixes that are popularly sold as bird feed should not be the only constituents of your pet’s diet: try some combinations of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, meat and grains. Cooked grains or legumes, as well as cooked eggs, are also valid options as far as feeding is concerned.
Like other animals, there are food substances that do not go down well with parrots. You should avoid such food substances as chocolate, coffee or anything that contains caffeine, avocados, apple seeds, peanuts, cabbage, raw or dry beans, dill, asparagus, eggplant, honey, mushrooms, onions, and anything that contains salt, sugar, or fat in large quantity.
While feeding the bird, also ensure that the right amount is served at a time. It may take you some time to get acquainted with what the right amount represents, but there are different food and water bowls for different sizes of birds, and you can get the right one for your bird that will help you serve the right portion at any given time.
Access to water is an essential requirement for parrots so your pet must have a water bowl that contains fresh water at all times.
Some birds can be trained to drink from a water bottle, but it is okay to have a water bowl that is large enough for the bird to drink from and bathe in; this is not harmful to the bird at all. All you have to do is ensure that the water is as clean as it can be.
Other Things To Do
There are several other ways to take care of your parrot asides from those discussed above. Training and socializing with them, for instance, is essential to ensure that they don’t get lonely.
Learn to approach the cage properly, learn to get the parrot out of the cage and return inside through target training, tame the bird to get used to your touch, talk to the bird and teach it to talk, learn its body language and choose the right toys for it.
Parrots are beautiful birds that make wonderful companions. As a pet, they can grow close to you in a manner other birds can’t.
They can also become conversant with your family members and friends. Generally, they are adorable, and with the proper care, they make the best kind of pets.