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CARE SHEET 19

PARROTS AND PARAKEETS



General housing/care

Make sure bird cage is not in line of a draft between open windows and/or doors
Cover cage at night to provide extra security and comfort
Keep to routine of bed time, do not keep parrot awake too late at night
Fresh water daily for drinking
Most parrots enjoy bathing, either in a bigger water bowl, mist spray or sprinkler outside.
Always give the bird the choice to stop or refuse.
Do not expose the bird to cigarette smoke might lead to feather plucking
Make house bird friendly no chewing of electric cords, access to open water, no fumes
Place cage where bird will see as much activity in and around the house
Watch for possible terrorising from other house pets
Provide fresh chewing branches whenever possible hibiscus, Port Jackson, fruit tree
branches, mulberry branches. Nothing poisonous!
Provide with toys pine cones, inner of toilet rolls etc
Ensure bird has correct diameter perches toes must not close around perch
Check positioning of perches in cage must be able to reach food, but not mess in food
Teach bird to step on arm or perch to facilitate handling bird will step up rather than down
Behavioural problems screaming, biting use positive enforcement. Remember negative
enforcement is still attention to a bird.

Dangers to birds

Bathrooms filled baths and basins, open toilet bowls(drowning), chemicals
Mesh size of cage heads get stuck, strangulation
Overexposure to direct sun heatstroke
Slamming doors birds can get crushed
Electric cords birds will chew if within reach, electric shock
Clipped wings falling on hard floors bird may injure breastbone or legs
Kitchen fumes non stick, Teflon , insect sprays, deodorizers, insect pest strips
Poisons/Toxins medicine, antifreeze, drain cleaners, snail bait, rat poison, lead
Sharp objects protruding nails, wires, palm spikes
Glass, windows bird flying into glass result in injuries, death

Toys
Leather dog chews Swings
Ladders Pine cones
Inner of toilet rolls Chewing branches
Rice cakes Paper cups

NUTRITION:
All parrots/parakeets must be offered a varied diet not just seeds but a combination of grains,
pulses, formulated pellets, vegetables (cooked or raw) as well as fruit.
The feeding of a seed and nut only diet does not provide the necessary vitamins and minerals most
birds need, especially the larger parrots, and only serves as a convenience for the pet owner. The
high fat content of seeds and nuts combined with a lack of exercise due to limited space and captivity
can cause severe obesity in pet birds and cause serious liver disease as well as cause problems with
calcium absorption.


Encouraging a bird to eat a more healthy diet can be challenging, especially if the bird is accustomed
to a seed only diet. During the modification period, all dry food should be removed and the
vegetables, fruit and pellets must be made available throughout the day. In the late afternoon the
bird can be fed the seeds as a treat.

Vegetables can be fed fresh/cooked or otherwise used frozen vegetables and feed after defrosting or
cooking like peas, corn, mixed veg.

Vegetables (Frozen vegetables must be defrosted naturally (not microwaved) to room temp)
Green beans Bean sprouts
Peppers Cauliflower (cooked/raw)
Butternut (cooked/raw) Broccoli (cooked/raw)
Carrots (cooked/raw) Pumpkin (cooked/raw)
Sweet potato (cooked) Potato (cooked, not fried)
Mung bean sprouts Peas in the pod/ Peas (Raw/cooked)
Corn on the cob (cooked/raw) Beans (cooked/raw)

Fruit
Apples Prickly pear
Bananas Pomegranate
Berries Mango
Figs Loquat
Grapes Melons
Guava Pineapple
Plums Peaches
Kiwi Papaya/ PawPaw
Oranges/naartjies Pears

Grains
Rice (cooked)
Wheat germ Whole gain bread
Whole grain pasta (cooked) Whole grain cereals

Proteins
Cooked beans/pulses
Hard-boiled egg
Cooked chicken


Treats (limit to twice a week)
Provitas/ Piece of toast with peanut butter
One 1cm block of cheese once a week
Nuts in the shell (limit to one a day only)
Raw Peanuts Marie Biscuit
NikNaks Rice cakes/Corn cakes




Sunflower must be limited and fed after offering fresh food. This will teach the bird to eat the other
food as well and not overindulge on just sunflower which is only providing oil and no real feeding
value. Commercial parrot seed mix diets does not provide in the necessary diet requirements. Most
of the ingredients are only added for bulk.

Extras
Manufactured parrot pellets Bread
Cooked rice Cooked yellow whole mealies
Boiled egg Cooked chicken/chicken bones/chicken necks (Do not feed raw meat!)

Harmful foods

Avocado highly toxic to birds, all parts
Fatty foods animal fats and dairy products must be avoided (red meat/butter/fried foods)
Milk birds cannot digest lactose
Sugar and salt food with large amounts of these must be avoided
Sweets/chocolate must be limited to absolute minimum due to sugar content
Caffeine, alcohol, nicotine these can be toxic to birds and must be avoided
Artificial sweeteners, flavours, colours and preservatives any of these may build up in a
birds liver or kidneys and lead to disease or death
Toxic plants like oleander, certain Eucalyptus, cedars

Non-toxic plants

Acacia Guava Wandering Jew Rose
Bamboo Hen and chickens Willows Papaya
Citrus Impatiens Yucca Palms
Dandelion Pine Hibiscus
Gardenia Thistle Port Jackson

Health

Signs of health in birds:

Tight covering of feathers, smooth and glossy
Eyes clear, no discharge, swelling or scales
Nostril clean, no discharge, feathers dry around nostrils
When asleep, resting on one leg
Breastbone fleshy, meaty parts both sides of bone firm and plump
Feathers around vent clean
Normal preening

Signs of illness in birds:

No preening, excessive preening
Discharge , swelling, inflammation of eyes, nostrils and ears
Sneezing, wheezing open-mouth breathing and excessive shaking of the head
Inability to perch resting on bottom of cage, holding on to perch with both feet
Reduced or absent appetite
Lethargic, sleepiness, fluffed-up feathers
Severe weight loss, protruding breastbone
Bleeding, sores, lumps
Vomiting
Change (not diet related) in colour and consistency of droppings




General:
Clipping of flight feathers depends on bird and owner consult an experienced veterinarian
inexperienced cutting may lead to bleeding
De-worming routine also dependant on exposure to infestation
Supplements bird vitamins dependant on diet as well
Trimming of beak and nails if needed chew branches and correct perches will avoid
overgrowth, otherwise consult veterinarian
Bleeding feathers should be pulled to stop bleeding

Have plans in place for holiday times for a responsible person to look after the bird(s) as
well as for the future, parrots can live to be anything from 20 to 80 years old.


Parrot Care Outdoors - Requirements
1 Company of own kind or compatible species
2 Size - must provide enough space to fly from one end to another, stretch wings
3 Shelter closed off area of at least a roof and two sides, rain and wind protected,
shade, but must still get sun for health
4 Placement neighbours for noise from parrots, noise to parrots from factories,
fumes, etc
5 Structure material non toxic wood/poles or steel
6 Wire mesh holes must be small enough to prevent escape, head from getting
stuck, thickness of mesh according to species of parrot
7 Ground substrate either soil/sand or cement for easy cleaning
8 Furniture perch thickness according to species requirements, placed for optimum
use of flight, stepping perches for non flyers
Non toxic plants
Hanging toys / pine cones / stones / swings / chewing branches
Nest boxes
Small pond with safe access
9 Sprinklers on roof no access for birds to prevent chewing holes
10 Rodent control prevent rodents from digging under fences
11 Safety from predators/cats/dogs
12 Double door / Safety door / secure lockable latch
13 Regular cleaning routine/disinfectant used
14 Secure food /water bowls location away from droppings
15 Correct diet





Parrot Care Indoors - Requirements
1 Varied diet not just seeds but grains
2 Variety of toys and entertainment swings
3 Largest enclosure/cage possible, correct spacing of bars for bird size to prevent
head or body to get stuck and escaping
4 Plenty of socialising with other birds and/or human caretakers
5 Full spectrum lighting , beware of over exposure
6 Suitable placement of cage, no drafts
7 Adequate sleep (at lest 10 hours of quiet and dark)
8 Good air quality. Dangers include tobacco smoke, Teflon and other non-stick
coated cookware, aerosols, cleaning products
9 Bird-proofing the home to keep birds away from lead, paints, ceiling fans,
electrical cords, open windows and toilet bowls.
10 Suitable, natural perches, diameter must be wider than parrots grip to keep nails
trimmed variety of size, more than one according to cage size
11 Suitable food and water bowls and placement according to species secure, no
drowning of small species, no messing inside bowls
12 Fresh water daily
13 Bathing/Mist spray
14 Hygienic living surrounds, cleaning routine for cage and dishes
15 Veterinary care from veterinarian with bird experience - deworming
16 Routine and patience

Feather plucking/Self mutilation

Possible causes:
Wrong diet insufficient nutrients from feeding seeds only
Boredom no toys, entertainment, alone at home, no company
Low humidity dry skin needs mist spray/bathing
Smoking exposure to cigarette smoke, fumes
Sexual frustration sexually mature, wants to breed, needs mate
Stress, change in circumstances death in family, divorce, house move, death of another pet
Mites/worms