Parrot Questions And Answers


The following Parrot Questions and Answers are the most common questions we are asked here at Priceless Parrots. All answers are a guide for you but please remember all Parrots are individuals and should be treated as such.

Will I make a good Parrot Owner?

When evaluating whether or not you will make a good parrot owner, keep in mind that these birds are quite demanding and want a lot of care throughout the day. The ‘P’ in Parrot stands for Patience, and in my experience, this couldn’t be more accurate. One of the most important qualities you must have is patience. You should not get a parrot if you are not patient. You must set aside time each day to spend with your parrot, both to watch it while it is not in its cage and to spend quality time playing and amusing your parrot, regardless of species. Budgies and Cockatiels are obviously less demanding than the larger parrot species, i.e. Blue and Gold Macaws, African Greys, and other smaller parrots may need less one-on-one attention than larger parrots. After you’ve paid for the first outlays, such as a cage, the expense of maintaining a parrot isn’t that bad. Cage, bird, toys, and veterinarian fees. As a new parrot owner, you must always set aside money in your budget each month to pay for parrot food, toys, and vitamins. Please take the time to examine the expenses of the above before selecting whether or not to get a Parrot. Parrots are not inexpensive to purchase, nor are cages and toys. Also, please make time each day to spend with your parrot.

What kind of parrot should I look for?

The species of parrot that you may be considering purchasing in the near future is entirely dependent on your expertise. I would not advise someone to go out and get a Blue and Gold Macaw, Cockatoo, or Amazon. The rule of thumb is that the bigger the parrot, the more experience you should have with parrots. If you are new to parrot keeping, start with a smaller pleasant natured bird such as a Budgie, Cockatiel, Rosella, or Ring Neck Parakeet. As time passes and you earn more skill, you may be able to consider expanding your family with a bigger, more demanding bird. When deciding which kind of parrot to adopt, keep in mind that these birds may live for a very long period, sometimes outliving their owners. This is OK if you have a family member who is prepared to take on such a bird after you have passed on. It is a major responsibility, so please keep this in mind when purchasing a bird. Generally, larger parrots live longer. A Budgie may live for 10 to 20 years, but a Large Blue and Gold Macaw can live for 80 years or more. I’d also want to caution any prospective parrot owners about youngsters. Please keep in mind that not all parrots are as welcoming to the whole family as you may hope. Most parrots see their favourite person in the home as the flock leader and will defend them to some extent. Your bird will come to know everyone in the family with some training and patience. Please keep this in mind as well.

What should I feed my parrot?

Most parrot species need a combination of seeds, pulses, sprouted seeds, pellets, fresh fruit and vegetables every day. Not to mention clean water. There are many different parrot seed diets on the market. My best suggestion is to get the greatest quality seed combination you can afford. You might also provide a full pellet food that has all of the nutrition Parrots need. Please remember that in addition to the seed or pellet diet and plenty of fresh water, all parrots should be fed fresh fruit and vegetables every day. Experiment with the food you provide. Most human grade food is OK for parrots, however there are a few clear NO NO’s. Avocado and chocolate, for example, are both deadly. Please visit this LINK for a complete list of all Parrot Poisons, which includes dangerous foods, plants, and home poisons. It is a good idea to get assistance from other parrot owners and breeders. You may ask your local pet store, but be careful that some pet shop owners do not know much about parrot caring and just carry cheap parrot mixtures. Please see our links page for trusted parrot food suppliers, and don’t be afraid to inquire.

What Size Parrot Cage Should I Get?

A bird’s ideal house should be comfortable, safe, and provide exercise, playfulness, and a place to hide when required. Their house should be bright and airy, rather than gloomy and stuffy. If this is not given, a stressed bird may become physically unwell or despondent.

The cage should be spacious enough for a bird to expand its wings without touching the sides, and their heads should not touch the top or the sides or the floor when perched. The cage’s form is also essential. Birds should have enough space in their cage to go from perch to perch. Birds fly horizontally, not vertically. As a result, a larger cage is favoured over a tall and narrow cage.

The cage bars should not be spaced so widely that a bird may slide between them or get their head snagged when trying to escape. Budgerigars thrive in cages with vertically running bars (up and down). Canaries work best with horizontal bars (side to side). It is also preferable that the cage’s ceiling be built of bars rather of solid material. Birds like being able to climb all about the interior of their cage, even upside-down.

Large birds, such as amazons, cockatoos, and macaws, can quickly demolish a wire Budgerigar cage or any other kind of cage containing plastic components. Because of their strong beaks, bigger parrots need an all-metal (or even wrought iron) cage.

Cage doors and how they are latched are other crucial factors to consider. Simple spring-action doors may be acceptable for a Budgerigar or Finch, but they are not secure enough for a lovebird or parakee. Larger birds, such as the African Gray or the Macaw, will learn to unlock or break anything that isn’t a sturdy chain with a padlock or combination lock.

Cages with bottom-hinged doors are preferable. This is preferable since the open entrance may function as a ramp into and out of the cage. This style of cage door will also function as a “landing perch” for the bird to use after a brief flight around the room.

The cage’s condition is crucial, particularly when dealing with old cages. Metal cages should be rust-free since a bird may eat rust particles and cause crop damage. In case the former ‘occupant’ had an infectious ailment, used cages should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

How old will my parrot be?

The lifespan of your parrot is determined by the kind of parrot you have purchased or are considering purchasing, the sort of food your parrot will consume, and general living circumstances. The table below shows the average longevity of several Parrot species kept in captivity.

Budgies aged 10 to 15 years
Cockatiel, 15-20 years old
Conure (25-30 years old)
African Grey, aged 50 to 60 years
Amazon has been around for 50-60 years.
Macaws aged 50 to 70 years
Cockatoo 60-70 years old

Can I give my parrot a wash or shower?

Parrots should be washed or bathed in room temperature water; too cold water may shock them; they may also be water misted from a clean spray bottle maintained especially for this purpose;
This will keep your parrot occupied with preening and will also aid in its moult.

What is the price of a parrot?

The price of a new parrot is determined by many things. The first factor is the age of the parrot, whether it is a hand-reared infant purchased from a pet store or a rescue parrot from a sanctuary or RSPCA. Second, the kind of parrot you purchase will influence the price. Take the African grey as an example. A Hand Reared kid from a reputed Breeder should cost between £450 and £600. A similar bird from a pet shop would most likely cost me between £700 and £800. A RSPCA Rescue bird, obviously, would not cost you anything but a donation. Of course, your expertise would be scrutinised, as would your residence. The prices for several species are approximated here.
Budgies cost £20, Cockatiels cost £35, African Greys cost £500, Blue and Gold Macaws cost £1000, and Cockatoos cost £1000+.

What should I do if my parrot becomes ill?

This one is simple to answer.
Take your parrot to an avian vet right away.
Parrots are quite skilled at concealing illness, so please be attentive at all times. If in doubt, see a veterinarian as soon as you detect a health concern with your bird.
Should I clip the wings of my parrot?

The decision to clip your bird’s wings is entirely personal. You will clip your bird’s wings mostly for safety reasons, decreasing the bird’s ability to fly for a long distance. Properly clipping the wings will enable your Parrot to gently glide to the ground without crashing. An incorrect cut will have one of two outcomes: the bird will fall to the ground, perhaps injuring itself, or the bird will be able to escape since the flying feathers were not cut properly. Many people are against clipping because they believe it causes stress and worry in your bird. However, other individuals clip because they believe the chance of escape is too great. The choice is entirely yours, but please ensure that they are clipped professionally or by someone who understands how to clip a Bird effectively.

Can I Teach My Parrot to Sing?

Most parrot species can be educated to some degree with time, effort, and patience. Different species will treat you differently. Take, for example, the budgie. If enough time is spent teaching the bird, it will learn to whistle and, in some cases, speak. You may train your bird to rise and fall on demand. The African Grey and the majority of the bigger parrot species will learn to imitate you, the telephone, and even converse. Not all parrots can speak or do tricks. Most parrots have a natural tendency to whistle, so this might be a good place to start before developing a training regimen to teach him/her to communicate and do tricks. Patience is required since teaching a parrot is a continuous process that both you and your bird should enjoy. More information…

How many hours should I allow my parrot out every day?

This is a straightforward question. Parrots need at least 3 hours of cage time every day, and preferably as much as possible every day. Personally, I believe that if you cannot accommodate the above, a parrot is not for you.

Basic Avian First Aid +

Some items are “musts” for your kit. The following are products we recommend for a Basic First Aid Kit, along with a short explanation of their purposes.

Towel – used to wrap and secure your bird
Scissors – for cutting tape, bandages, and strings that may be wrapped around birds’ toes.
To stop bleeding from broken blood feathers or wounds, use Quick-stop and/or Styptic Pencil (silver nitrate stick). In compared to human/mammalian blood, avian blood has extremely few clotting factors. A broken blood feather may physically bleed a bird to death.
Tweezers and haemostats – for removing broken blood feathers and/or splinters
Pliers, needle nose – for extracting blood feathers or unbending chains and fast links, with which birds have been known to harm themselves.
Wire cutters – Birds have been observed to wrap themselves in chain and/or wire.
Gauze pads are used to cover wounds and burns.
Cotton balls are used for cleaning.
Q-tips are useful for cleaning tiny wounds and removing debris from a bird’s mouth or throat.
Vet wrap (cut into strips and rolled) – used to wrap fractured bones, wings, or gauze pads around wounds.
Microspore tape (paper surgical tape) – used to secure gauze.
Small flashlight or penlight (A head-mounted light is even better)
Magnifying glasses or “jewellers loops” are particularly useful for those of us who have reached “that certain age.”…. However, since birds are so little and fragile, a pair of magnifying glasses might be useful for anybody doing intricate work.
Sterile water is used to cleanse wounds or to blend with meals.
For rehydrating a dehydrated bird, use Pedialyte (or a generic counterpart). It may be combined with meals.

Pedialyte provides carbohydrates and electrolytes, both of which avians rapidly lose when dehydrated or ill. Must be discarded within 24 hours of opening since it is a wonderful media for bacteria to grow in. An alternate to Pedialite such as Gastrolyte, Graptolite powders can be used. These should be mixed with sterile water. Both are available through veterinarians. Pedialite, however, is readily available at any grocery store in the baby food section.
Hand feeding formula, jars of human baby food such as veggies, cereals or squash. Often sick or injured birds will be too weak to eat on their own for a few days.

During this period of time we may find ourselves having to spoon or syringe feed the bird to help keep their strength up.
Feeding syringes, spoon with bent up sides to facilitate feeding (for above)
Pellets/seeds – If your bird needs to stay at the hospital, they may not have the type/kind of food your bird is accustomed to. It is a good idea to have several baggies of fresh seed and/or pellets available to take with you.
Betadyne or hibitane (chlorhexidine) – as non-irritating disinfectant. Avoid hydrogen peroxide, which is caustic to skin
Aloe Vera – for very minor burns. Many creams and lotions made for humans are toxic to birds, so make sure that you get 100% pure Aloe Vera
Additional Supplies:

For those who are more experienced you may want to add:
Popsicle sticks – for immobilizing broken legs
Ophthalmic ointment – for scratched eyes, minor conjunctivitis Suturing materials (surgical needles and thread)
Gel foam – stops bleeding from flesh wounds. Available from your veterinarian
Tegaderm dressing – helps healing for burns and certain open wounds. Encourages granulation (healing/scabbing)
Lactated Ringer’s solution – used for IV rehydrating of dehydrated avians and flushing wounds
Syringes – for inject able medications and irrigation of wounds

Danger Signals and Emergencies

There are many problems, which you should be prepared for. We do not intend to list them all. Any time a bird has any of the following symptoms: stops eating, sits fluffed on the bottom of his cage, is bleeding from mouth or vent, has uncontrollable bleeding, has runny eyes, can’t breathe, sneezes with discharge, has diarrhoea, has constipation (straining to defecate), has loss of balance, depression, lethargy…. do not wait! Take your bird to the veterinarian!
Birds do not have much clotting agent in their blood. A broken blood feather, or a minor cut can be life threatening. The blood feather must be removed, or bleeding stopped by use of Quick-stop or a styptic pencil. If bleeding does not stop, apply pressure and rush the bird to the veterinarian.

Books

A small Red Cross type first aid booklet may be kept in the avian First Aid Kit. An avian book with descriptions of first aid procedures may be even handier.
For the more experienced bird owner, a copy of Avian Medicine; Principles and Applications by Ritchie, Harrison and Harrison, (1995), Wingers Publishing Inc., which is considered the standard of avian veterinary care, is a “must” for the aviculturist’s library.

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