Parrots are popular household pets for many reasons, including their beauty, intelligence, long life span, funny antics, and talking potential. However, these spectacular creatures require a lot more time, patience, and specialized care than many people realize, so it’s important for potential owners to understand what they’re getting into before they acquire one of these amazing birds care tips.
Meeting a Parrot’s Needs in Captivity
One of the most important things to understand about caring for a parrot is that these birds are not domesticated like dogs and cats. In the wild, birds spend much of their day flying around, foraging and eating, and engaging in social interactions with each other. Parrot owners need provide their pets with ways of carrying out their natural behaviors within the confines of their homes for birds care tips.
Physical, Mental and Social Stimulation
Parrots need a good deal of stimulation and daily exercise to keep them from becoming bored, so provide them with as much supervised out-of-cage time as possible for birds care tips. Spend time playing with them and their toys, teaching them tricks, or just including them in your daily routines, such as watching TV or reading a book.
Setting up a play stand in another room offers a great way to give your bird time out of his cage and also gives him a change of environment. There are a wide variety of play stands available at pet supply stores and online, so make sure to get one that’s suitable for the size of your bird.
Tricks and Talking
Teaching your parrot a variety of behaviors also stimulates its mind, and there are a variety of fun tricks parrots can learn. If you have more than one parrot, you just might notice that the others quickly pick up on the tricks you teach the first parrot. Parrots can learn how to shake the left foot and right foot, wave, give a high-five, and turn around. Some species, like conures, can even learn to roll on their backs.
Many species can learn to talk to some degree, but that doesn’t guarantee they will. You can increase the likelihood your own bird will talk by talking to him frequently. Talk to the bird while you are going about your daily routine, and tell him what you are doing. Ask him questions. Tell him what you are feeding him. If you want your bird to learn specific words, make sure to use the same word or phrase each time, and make sure to use it in context or else the bird will just learn to mimic words.
Basic Parrot Care
Birds should have access to fresh water at all times, and water bowls and food bowls should be washed daily. It’s a good idea to keep an extra set of food bowls on hand so you can switch them when it’s time to clean.
Parrots tend to drop a lot of their food in their water, and sometimes they’ll also soil in it. This means the water must be changed frequently during the day to prevent a buildup of harmful bacteria. If you find it difficult to keep up, you can train your bird to drink from a water bottle instead.
- Hang the water bottle on the cage.
- Show your parrot how to play with the tip of the drinking tube to make the water come out.
- Keep the water bowl in the cage until you see your pet drink from the bottle on its own.
- Refill the bottle with fresh water every day.
Diet and Nutrition
Many types of parrots are kept in captivity, and nutritional requirements vary by species so you should research the proper diet for the type of parrot you have. However, there’s one thing all parrots have in common; a seed-only diet will not give your bird all the nutrients it needs.
Parrots need a mixture of:
- Nutritionally balanced pellets
- Some seed mixture
- A lot of fresh fruits and vegetables
- Cooked grains
- Cooked legumes
- Organic walnuts and almonds but only in moderation
There are some foods that are toxic to birds and must be avoided. While not a complete list, some of the main foods to avoid are:
- Coffee or anything else with caffeine
- Apples seeds and the seeds or pits of other fruits
- Onions and Garlic
- Anything full of salt, sugar, or fat
- Poisonous plants
Dairy foods should be given sparingly, if at all. It’s alright to give your pet a small piece of cheese now and then as a treat, but for the most part, avoid dairy products. Birds’ systems are not capable of digesting lactose. In addition to the type of food you feed your bird, be careful not to overfeed your pet or it will become obese.
All birds have their own preferences for taking a bath. Here are a few options:
- Mist your parrot with a water bottle.
- Let your bird bathe in its water bowl.
- Some owners take their birds in the shower with them. Shower perches are available for purchase.
- Some parrots enjoy splashing around in the kitchen sink while the faucet runs.
Observe your bird and see which method it seems to prefer. Bathing should be enjoyable and not seen as a punishment, so never use a squirt bottle as a way to reprimand your bird.
Natural Light Needs
In the wild, birds are exposed to natural sunlight on a regular basis. In captivity, they usually don’t receive that kind of exposure unless their owners take them outside, and they do not get the exposure they need through windows or screens. To remedy this situation, some owners provide their birds with indoor lighting via a full spectrum bulb that simulates the light from the sun.
Parrots need about about 12 hours of sleep each night. Some decisions regarding sleep include whether or not to:
- Cover a bird at night
- Use a separate sleeping cage
- Have a dim night light on to help ease any startles resulting from unknown sounds or movements.
Make your decisions by taking your bird’s preferences into account.
Proper Cage Size, Placement and Care
It is important to make sure that every bird has the correct size cage for its species. Always buy the biggest cage you can afford, and make sure the bar spacing is appropriate. Always include a variety of perches in the cage. They should vary in size and material. Perches range from those of rough materials like cement, designed to help keep a bird’s nails trimmed, to wood, rope, and Manzanita branch perches.Link to original