- The right size cage with the right bar spacing and non toxic paint or a stainless steel cage.
- Cage placement. This is very important. The cage should be placed where your parrot feels the most comfort. The room must have the proper lighting. Preferably natural sun light. A room that has activity. Birds are social creatures. They need to be in a flock. If you have more than one bird the other birds are part of the flock as well as all family members in the household. Parrots that are put off in a room by themselves will be very unhappy. This WILL result in screaming, biting, self mutilation, depression, poor health and can result in death. You must conceder placement very carefully. He must have the ability to interact with you and others and also be able to rest when his need arises to do so. Ten to twelve hours of uninterrupted sleep is ideal for proper rest at night.
- Plenty of toys to chew on and challenge him are very important. Rotate toys weekly to keep him interested.
- Time outside his cage is a must. At the minimum 4 hours a day. Longer if you can. Play stands or trees are wonderful things for parrots to have. It gives them freedom and exercise. This is important to physical and mental health.
- Plenty of fresh water. Water bowls/bottles should be sterilized often and water changed several times a day. Plenty of food variety is also a must. If you feed food that is perishable make sure it is never left in his cage too long. Birds can get sick from bacteria. Parrots eat/fill their crop twice a day. Morning and evening. That is when fresh food should be provided. Make meal time a family affair. Like I said birds are flock creatures. They will want to eat when you eat.
- Interact with your bird. You don’t have to pick him up to give him attention. Just talk to him. He will talk back.
- Excessive screaming is a sign of an unhappy and or stressed bird. All birds scream some. It’s their way of communication. Your job is to learn what they are saying to you. Sometimes they scream because they feel great and want to share with everyone how good they feel. Sometimes they scream to warn of danger or fright. Sometimes they scream because that is what they have learned from other members in the house. The louder you are the louder your bird will be.
- Vet exams on a regular basis are also important. Have a full blood panel done on your first visit to the vet. This will allow your vet a base line on your bird’s health for the future. If he ever gets sick it will help in diagnosing a problem faster. Learn what your bird’s droppings should look like and observe them on a daily basis. If an illness arises their droppings are the first clue.
- Keep all toxins away from your bird. Basically this means you must bird proof your house. Just like child proofing in a way. Birds are affected by toxins in the air as well as toxins in the items they chew. So make yourself aware of what he can come in contact with.
- Bathing on a regular basis is also important. All birds need to bathe and enjoy it very much. There are many ways to bathe your parrot. Taking him in the shower is an easy way to bathe him and if he tolerates it can be an important bonding time. Bathing time is also a good time to socialize him to a family member that is having trouble handling him. Most birds pick one person to bond with. This can be a problem when the need arises for someone else to care for their needs. So it’s a good idea to get your bird used to having someone else fill his needs every once in a while.
- Establish you’re self as the flock leader as soon as you bring your parrot home. This is very important! He must know to respect you to avoid aggression throughout his life. The best way to do this is to practice the step up/ step down command.
12. Keeping your birds wings clipped is also suggested by this author. Parrots that are allowed to fly free indoors are an accident waiting to happen. Keeping him safely on his cage or stand/tree is more difficult if he can fly anywhere he wants. Keeping him where he is safe is your goal. Anyone can learn to clip wings properly. If you have established yourself as flock leader and have a good relationship with your bird you can learn to clip wings without any trauma to him what so ever. Of course have your vet show you how the first time. Nail trimming can be more difficult. And dangerous if not done right. The proper perches can limit the frequency of trimming. If you do decide to do your birds nails yourself learn how to safely and have the proper equipment on hand. A bird can bleed to death from a nail clipped to short if the bleeding isn’t stopped. So make sure you know what you are doing before you attempt to nail trim. Beak trim really should not be necessary if your bird is healthy and has the right environment to keep his beak trimmed down himself. If you notice his beak over growing take him to the vet and have it trimmed. And then access why it became over grown in the first place.
Arthur: Kimberly Santor Copyright © February 2005