Parrot Basics

Your parrot’s cage should be as large as possible to allow the bird to have adequate room to play; toys may also be placed within it. Multiple perches of varying diameter and texture will keep its feet healthy and perches should be positioned to prevent food and water bowls from becoming contaminated with droppings. Play perches/stands are a great way to give your bird extra attention and to help it get the exercise it needs. If you have multiple birds, each should have its own cage to help prevent fighting and injuries. Newspaper or other paper products are most appropriate as cage substrate; changing the paper daily is important so you can monitor the number and consistency of the droppings.

A high-quality pelleted diet, such as Harrison’s, Zupreem, or Roudybush is recommended as the majority of the diet. Pellets provide the majority of nutrients birds require to live a healthy life. The remaining diet should consist of dark leafy greens, broccoli, sweet potato, carrots, and other vegetables, with a small amount of fruits; seeds can be fed sparingly as treats. In smaller birds, such as budgies and cockatiels, a higher proportion of seeds may be tolerated but should be balanced with other foods. And be sure to offer your parrot fresh water daily for drinking.

Birds are fairly temperature tolerant and can be comfortable in temperatures between 55 and 85 degrees Farenheit, as long as they are not exposed to sudden, extreme temperature changes. Keep the bird in an active part of your house where it can interact with the family and the comings and goings of the household. Birds should be bathed or misted with water at least a few times a week. Birds need their rest and their cages should be covered for at least 10 hours overnight; when birds do not get enough sleep behavioral and reproductive problems can develop.

There are many diseases that can affect parrots, especially as they age, so yearly exams and blood work are recommended. All newly acquired birds should be examined by a veterinarian so that potential problems can be discussed in detail and screening tests can be done if necessary. Birds who exhibit decreased appetite, decreased stool production, or are lethargic or fluffed on the bottom of the cage should be seen by a veterinarian immediately as these are signs of many underlying diseases