Dear Parrot Lover,
At the top of this list is diet. The food we feed our captive parrots can affect a parrot’s health in so many ways. A poor diet can obviously lead to poor health; and a great diet can lead to healthy parrot for many years to come. There are so many options out there for feeding your parrot that it can seem overwhelming. Try to avoid overfeeding your parrot sunflower seeds, cereal grains, or sugary foods like artificially colored seeds and pellets. Avoid prepared parrot diets that are low in fiber and high in fat and carbohydrates. Never give your parrot chocolate, caffeine, or avocados. Instead, feed your parrot a homemade diet of fresh fruit, veggies, nuts, and seeds. Purchase prepared
parrot diets from reputable companies and not from your local grocery store.
2. Inadequate Cages
Although some parrot cages can be quite athletically pleasing, most often than not, these types of cages are just not practical and cannot be relied up on to provide your parrot with a safe home. Always purchase the biggest cage you can afford. Remember, your parrot will be spending many hours each day in his cage and space is a premium. Avoid round cages as there is not ‘wall’ on these cages and do not provide your parrot with a feeling of safety. Also avoid parrot cages that contain sharp wire or bar spacing that is too small or too large for your parrot. Parrots can easily lose a toe in bar spacing that is too narrow.
When you share your home with a parrot, you will need to remove toxins from your environment. These can be as big as re-painting your whole house to remove any lead-based paint, eliminating carbon monoxide leaks from furnaces and fireplaces, and quitting smoking so that your parrot isn’t affected by second-hand smoke. But removing toxins can also be as small as avoiding certain cleaning products that contain harsh chemicals, dyes, and perfumes such as chlorine bleach, that can irate your parrot’s lungs, avoid Teflon-coated pots and pans, removing fresh food before it becomes moldy, and eliminating house plants that are known to be poisonous to parrots when ingested. But also be aware of any potential toxins lurking inside your parrot’s cage. Avoid parrot toys and cages that have lead or zinc based metal alloys.
4. Veterinary Visits
Regardless of your parrot’s age or current health status, you should make an appointment for your parrot to see a certified Avian Veterinarian. This once-a-year vet visits are typically include a Well Bird Exam which is a health checkup that is unique to parrots and birds. Only a certified Avian Veterinarian can conduct such an exam. Parrots are able to mask illness very well and you may not know that your parrot is ill. A yearly Well Bird Exam can detect any health issue that you may have overlooked.
5. Lack of Stimulation
Due to their high-intelligence, parrots require constant mental and physical stimulation. When they become bored or lonely, some parrots will develop self-destructive behaviors, such as feather plucking, screaming, and biting.
The Most Comprehensive Bird Information You Can Find
Common bird myths
When you were growing up as a child, did your parent yell for you to put on a hat or coat before you went outside or you’d catch a cold? It used to be a popular myth that colds were transmitted by cold weather and not being probably dressed made you most likely to get it. We know better than that now.
It’s the same for birds in many ways. Everyone knows the myth that a drafty location causes a bird to become sick or diseased. According to Dr. Joel Murphy, Board Certified Avian veterinarian, that’s just not the case. Your bird is far more likely to get sick from lack of good nutrition or unsanitary living conditions than anything.
The best way to feed your bird
Dr. Murphy says that the leading cause of death in pet birds is a diet based only in seeds. True! What should you be feeding your bird instead? He needs a well-balanced food source. He doesn’t know what is nutritious for him, so you want to give him a variety of options that are all high in nutrients. For example, iceberg lettuce or celery are high in fiber and water but low in nutrients. A better vegetable choice is carrots or peas.
Your bird’s food is best based in nutritionally complete pellets over seed. He should also have options for fresh vegetables and fruits. Always consult with your veterinarian for your bird’s diet, and Dr. Joel Murphy’s book How to Care for Your Pet Bird includes information on the best foods for your bird too.
How to Care for Your Pet Bird
Dr. Murphy has written the most comprehensive book on pet bird care which includes 22 chapters full of information. According to Dr. Branson Ritchie, University of Georgia Vet School, “Dr. Murphy has compiled and simplified into an easy to read format recent advances and standard practices in avian medicine that will improve every bird enthusiast’s understanding of bird care as well as disease prevention and management. Readers of this book will benefit from clearly defined insights into the interactions between birds, their care providers and veterinarian.” It’s a book you have to have on-hand!