For the typical individual, pet care is a topic that everyone appears to know the answers to, and with dogs and cats, fish, and even tiny fuzzy creatures, diet, food, maintenance, and care seem to be cut and dry.
There seem to be many various perspectives, many different methods to feed our avian companions, and some of the material out there is terribly outdated or downright incorrect!
If you’ve arrived at this website, you’re probably concerned that you don’t know enough about your new avian companion, or you’re inquisitive about what I do at home to keep my birds happy and healthy. This article just scratches the surface of avian care, and to be honest, there is so much we still don’t know about our wild feathered friends; they originate from the jungle, which many of us have yet to see. If you have any particular queries regarding basic care, check out this page for links to some extremely useful sites.
Bonus Book Recommendation: The Conure Handbook (Barron’s Pet Handbooks)
Conures are members of the parrot family and may be found in a wide range of sizes and colors. There are numerous different kinds of conures. This book provides advice on choosing a conure, feeding it, caging it, providing it with medical care, as well as comprehending its body language and vocalizations. Authored by professional dog breeders, trainers, and vets The Barron’s Pet Handbooks provide authoritative guidance on feeding, providing medical care, housing, breeding, and all other essential facets of responsible pet ownership. They are packed with eye-popping color pictures and illustrative line art that teaches something new.
There are several cage manufacturers and models to select from. If you got the bird from a secondhand store (which I strongly suggest), you may need to buy a new cage. Determine the proper size for the bird you have. They often arrive with one that is too tiny. Read more tips on buying cages for your parrots.
So you walk a dog and sweep a cat’s litter box; what do you do with a bird?
There are various daily care jobs for parrots, which makes them somewhat more difficult to care for than a dog or cat.
The cage’s floor should be lined with newspaper, butcher’s paper, or other absorbent material.
There are several litters on the market that are offered to individuals…
These, in my opinion, are improper for birds. It is difficult to shovel all of the trash out of this material, and my birds seem to like eating it, which might lead to significant issues.
Newsprint enables you to stay up to date on current events and show the world what you truly think of those politicians on the front page, it’s inexpensive (typically free from friends, just ask), and it helps you to track the health of your bird. Poop does not lie, and if there is a big shift in the feces, you may virtually be certain that your bird has a problem. Learn what typical bird feces look like, and visit your veterinarian if there is a change.
Changing the papers every day ensures that no dried excrement becomes airborne, which might create respiratory difficulties for you or your bird or transmit illness if a bird becomes ill.
Place a layer of paper on top of the cage grate where the poo falls the most; this will reduce the need to remove cage grates for continuous washing, and for extra fun, cover the whole grate on the cage for an added toy of shreddable paper for certain birds.
Once a month, make an effort to clean or wipe down the whole cage. With large cages, this may be tough but bear in mind that your bird climbs about with his/her beak, and if there are germs, as there most likely are, this exposes your bird to a possible issue.
Many parrots wander all-around their cage, wiping their beaks off on their perches, and many birds feed with their feet, so keeping this portion of your bird’s furnishings clean is just as vital as keeping your own hands clean. A variety of perches should be offered; utilizing just one diameter or one substance might produce calluses or sores on your bird’s feet, which can lead to very painful feet! Remember, they spend all day on their feet, so ensuring sure their four toes are healthy is critical! There are numerous on the market, as well as many that you may give (for example, natural non-toxic branches obtained from a clean source) to assure your bird’s comfort.
Toys should be evaluated and replaced when they show signs of considerable wear. This may take many hours for numerous birds… However, when you understand which toys endure the longest, resist the want to keep them. Hanging threads or chains may entangle your companion or, worse, get ingested and obstruct your bird’s digestion, resulting in death or significant vet fees for surgical removal. Replace and rotate them often (about every two weeks minimum).
This will keep your bird amused for lengthy periods of time when you are working, away, or otherwise occupied. This may aid in the prevention of behavioral issues like as shrieking and feather plucking. Remember that a bored bird has a lot of energy to expend, which might result in a very, very noisy animal. Just ask any owner of a cockatoo or a macaw. Spend the money or manufacture your own; these are essential items for your pal.
Food and water bowls should be cleaned every day, and occasionally twice a day if the parrot enjoys making soup out of their water. I have a backup set of dishes for each of my birds so that I can simply and quickly switch them out to save time while always ensuring clean food and water are accessible.
A Day In The Life Of A Bird Owner
So, you now have a bird in your house. Your life with a bird can be altered and your routine disrupted depending on the species and age of your avian companion. Unless you have a particularly sleepy pet, your bird will wake you up every morning as the sun or lights in the room rise. It’s time to say good morning!!! Most of our pets squawk, talk, scream, chatter, chuckle, and run around like a bunch of hyperactive kids on a sugar high. It is unreasonable to expect them to be quiet or to make no noise; this is what a parrot is…if you don’t like it, don’t get one! You can reduce a lot of unwanted noise by allowing some and giving the bird time to yell.
We feed our birds in the morning, a parrot meal including the healthy fresh foods we want them to eat, as well as a warmed-up mash of a variety of things ranging from baby food, rice, pasta, to yams, broccoli squash, or any variety of fresh veggies. Our birds adore this morning breakfast bowl, and if we sneak out early enough in the morning, we can often avoid the morning yelling session until the food is gone. If the food is particularly delicious to our crew, they will nap, and the morning yelling will occur much later, sometimes around noon.
We leave the majority of the cage cleaning until the afternoon so that all of the mushy food aftermaths can come out with the dirty papers, leaving the cage floor free of fresh foods that can produce a nasty odor if left all day.
During this time, the birds are usually napping, preferably outside of the cage. For most birds, cage cleaning should be done once a day. You can get away with every other day, but it is easier to keep up with a cage than to do a complete overhaul.
Our birds usually demand our attention in the late afternoon or early morning after breakfast (and the scream session) and in the early evening right before bed. We believe this mimics many of their natural behavior patterns, such as flock mutual playing/preening and socializing. We keep our birds together for much of the day, so their demands on us seem to be fewer than those of a single pet. Bird socialization and “identification” are critical to a pet parrot’s psychological well-being. They must comprehend that they are a BIRD, not a human. There are behavioral limits that your pet bird cannot transcend if your connection with your bird is to be successful in the long run (severe biting and many other unpleasant habits) are all impacted by how a bird interprets its relationship with humans. A parental/protective/friend connection is preferable to a mate-who-must-be-protected relationship with a bird. Simply ask anybody who has been around a bird that has been conditioned to feel it is OK to attack a human. It is difficult to modify that thinking. It may be charming at first, but ask anybody who has owned an aggressive bird about the consequences.
That takes me to my next point: birds thrive on routine. It doesn’t have to be the same schedule as us, or even what we do, or what someone else does…but try to establish a loose pattern for what and when the bird feeds, plays, and gets cleaned. DON’T MAKE IT TOO STIFF, since a bird habit may sometimes vary despite your best attempts (your day off or a vacation for example). Mix things up every now and again. We will sometimes take our birds for a road trip (simply a ride in the vehicle around the block in a carrier) so they don’t believe they have to go to the vet all the time. OR we suddenly jam a ton of rolled-up newspapers through the cage bars, transforming the cage into a massive shreddable nirvana (our macaws love shredding it all over and then playing tug of war with the pieces). Showers with us around three times a week are a great way to exhaust our louder birds; they shriek and shout so much in there, and we laugh so hard, that they and we are both ready for an afternoon nap most days. We will sometimes watch a child’s movie (cartoons appear to be a favorite) and shout and discuss with them. It’s also important not to make the schedule too difficult to follow. (Snuggling that cockatoo for three hours every day for the next 80 years, for example, seems a little impractical.) Also, make it something that you know someone who isn’t a bird person can follow. Just in case anything unexpected occurs and you don’t make it home on time.
Birds who follow this schedule, I think, have better lives. They are pleased because regularity provides security. When you go, the pattern continues, the face changes (which they find frightening), yet there is comfort (“oh look, here is my fresh bowl of goodies, just like before”). This is their daily existence; they rely on you; it is a substitute for a life that was created by nature to be a foraging animal with a large region of rainforest to play in; instead, they are prisoners in our houses.
Our birds start shouting again about four o’clock, sometimes not until six o’clock depending on the season, and they have a nice yelling session that lasts about a half-hour. Then it’s a fast snack (typically pellets) and a preen session, followed by a new kind of screaming/yelling that is definitely a desire for bed. Our birds like being “tucked in” by drawing the curtains and, depending on the individual, covering the cage. A short hug and scratch from us (with the ones that enjoy that type of thing) and then a nice voice saying “I love you, you lovely beautiful bird, goodnight” to reassure them we’ll be back with food in the morning.
Of course, we give our birds a lot of freedom outside of their cages. “Out time” is essential. Stretching and exercising help the bird to use energy that might otherwise be released (unwanted shouting, feather chewing/plucking, etc.). We also prefer to keep the birds out of the cage at that time by providing them with a playgym or perching tree with enough room for the bird to climb around, hang upside down, and a variety of intriguing items to keep their wits stimulated. I would suggest that one hour is the bare minimum for keeping a bird cognitively healthy. I give them all the attention I can. Imagine spending your whole life in one little room of a house…it would be quite dull. And, in essence, no matter how beautiful or entertaining a prison is, you can’t escape whenever you want, and these birds are effectively “captive.”
This is a typical day in the lives of our flock and ourselves. Like many other bird owners, I am attached to these fascinating birds. They are living a way of life, and as extreme as that may be, seeing them as happy as they can be is satisfying. Please evaluate why you want a parrot if this sounds excessive or just plain weird to you…they aren’t for everyone. They LAST LONGER than the charms and distinctiveness that initially drew you to them. Believe me.
If you are interested in more about parrot pet birds, visit our website for more information.
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