Owning a pet bird brings with it a special set of problems and responsibilities quite different from owning a dog or cat. There are certain things you should be aware of before buying a pet bird, or you might end up regretting your purchase.
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In this article, I discuss common parrot behavioral problems and the possible solutions. I also explain how I tamed my first pet, a blue Indian Ringneck parrot.
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Learn how to raise pigeons properly to enjoy their full benefits. Learn the best practices for keeping these attractive birds at home.
This birdcage set-up is fast, easy, and foolproof for any bird. Make your birds feel at home with this quick and easy tutorial on how to set up a birdcage for parakeets, cockatiels, or other small birds.
Are you looking for alternative exercises for your parrot? A Brazilian vet and his bird have a few suggestions!
Get detailed instructions on what you should do if you accidentally clip your parakeet's nail too short. Don't hesitate to call your vet if you're worried.
Discover what food to feed a budgie as well as a list of toxic foods to avoid. Here, you'll find how to easily feed your parakeet a healthy and balanced diet.
Learn some simple, small changes that make a BIG difference in your pet bird's behavior!
Are you thinking about adopting a parakeet, parrot, or other type of pet bird? Find out what to look for when selecting a bird and what to expect and have on hand when you first bring it home.
Birds need more than store-bought seeds and pellets, but which fruits and vegetables are safe for your bird, and how do you get him to eat them? Getting a bird to eat his fruits and vegetables can be difficult, but it's not impossible. Here's how.
Find a bird cage that will last at an affordable price.
This article provides an introduction to the topic of wing clipping for those new to the bird world.
Bird owners have mixed feelings about wing clipping. Is it mean to clip your bird's wings? After all, they are born to fly. Let's take a closer look at how to clip wings and the reasons it is recommended.
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Budgies need more than a cage, perches and a bowl of seeds. But what more should you provide them with? Find out in this article.
Learn the basics of feeding your budgies, such as how much food to give them, what to feed them and what not to feed them.
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So, you either found a baby duck or multiple baby ducks, or you bought one at a feed store, and you need help. In this article, I will show how to raise those baby ducklings.
Amazon Parrot Care
Baby Blue-fronted Amazon Parrot
(with Baby Severe Macaws) Photo © Animal-World: Courtesy David Brough
Amazon parrots are delightful pets and beautiful birds!
Amazon Parrots in the Wild
Amazon Parrot Species
- Care and feeding
Bird Food - Bird Baths
Amazon Parrot Cages - Aviary
Cleaning Bird Houses - Accessories
- Social Behaviors
Facts on the Amazon Parrot
Amazon Parrot Talking
Bird Toys - Playpens
Amazon Bird Breeders
- Potential Problems
Amazon Parrots for Sale
Amazon parrots are highly intelligent birds, very outgoing and renowned talkers.They adapt well to captivity, adjusting easily to their cage or aviary. Amazon birds are mostly a vivid green, but with vibrant splashes of color on or around their head, on their wings and on their tail feathers.
A single bird will tame quickly, bond to its keeper, and may soon begin to mimic the sounds of its keeper's voice as well as many other sounds in its environment. They like to preen and be preened, and just enjoy your company in general. Males and females make equally good pets.
A big question you need to carefully consider when getting an Amazon parrot as a pet bird is whether you will keep just one, or will eventually want to get two.
Being very social, a single Amazon will make a wonderful pet bird as long as it gets plenty of attention. As they reach sexual maturity however, at about age 4 or 5, they often become restless. This is a time when general signs of psychological distress may occur, such as feather plucking or a female may start laying infertile eggs.
In the wild, Amazon species live in a flock. At the onset of sexual maturity, the Amazon parrot begins to look for a mate. Once they find a mate, they pair up and live in a harmonious life-long partnership. Though they will live in a flock, living with a mate is part of their social pattern.
A key component to keeping an Amazon bird as a single pet, or deciding to get a second, will depend on the amount of attention you pet needs. You don't need to decide this initially, but don't rule out the possibility. If your pet bird seems distressed you will need to spend a lot more time with it. If you are unable to spend enough time with it, or even if you do spend more time and it still remains distressed, that may be the time to consider getting a mate.
Sometimes pairing is the only satisfactory solution.This will depend a lot on you and your bird. Getting a mate does not mean that a once tamed and "talking' bird will turn away from its keeper or that it will become dumb. And as their keeper, you will have many compensations in the fascinating behaviors of their companionship.
See different types of Amazon Birds in the Amazon Parrot Family
The Amazon parrots are from South America and Central America, including the West Indies. Different species range in many different areas. Some range in the tropical forest climates, having constant high temperatures and humidity while others range in areas of the tropical savannah climates with short dry periods.
Amazon parrots, commonly referred to as the 'Amazons', are medium to large parrots belonging to genus Amazona . They were scientifically described for the first time by naturalist Rene Primevere Lesson in the 1830's. Various members of the Amazona group were later scientifically described by several naturalists. These naturalists, in about the 20th century, wanted to have their names associated with these species, though reportedly without any further evidence or specimens than the earlier descriptions.
- Amazon Parrots Size and Shape:
The Amazons are stocky green birds with a short, somewhat rounded tail.
- Colors - Identifying Amazon Parrots:
The identification of the different Amazon species is aided by the brilliant splashes of color you see on their heads, napes, necks, wings and tail feathers. The variations of these 'splashes of color' range from reds and yellows to blues and even lilacs. Each species has it own striking coloration. Amazon parrots are beautiful birds!
- Amazon Parrot Sexing :
Young Amazon parrots have a dirty gray brown iris. This will change within 2 to 3 years to a red, red-orange, or chestnut-brown. At that point, it is very difficult to determine the age of an Amazon.
Dimorphic means having some visual characteristics that may aid in determining sex. Though the sex cannot be reliably determined by physical characteristics of most of the Amazons, there are two species two species that are dimorphic. They are the Yellow-lored Amazon, Amazona xantholora (rarely seen in the trade) and the White-fronted Amazon, Amazona albinfrons .
' Monomorphic' Types:
Monomorphic means having no definite differences that can be seen. The sex on all others Amazon parrots than the two listed above must be determined by either a surgical probe, endoscopy, which can be done by many veterinarians or by a DNA testing, usually a blood sample or a few plucked feathers sent to be diagnosed in a lab.
The types of Amazon species, along with some Amazon birds that are commonly available in the pet industry include:
- Blue-fronted Amazon - Amazona aestiva
- Double Yellow-headed Amazon - Amazona oratrix
- Green-cheeked Amazon or Red-crowned Amazon- Amazona viridigenalis
- Lilac-crowned Amazon - Amazona finschi
- Lilacine Amazon - Amazona autumnalis
- Mealy Amazon - Amazona farinosa
- Orange-winged Amazon - Amazona amazonica
- Panama Amazon - Amazona panamensis
- Red-lored Amazon - Amazona autumnalis
- White-fronted Amazon - Amazona albifrons
- Yellow-crowned Amazon - Amazona ochrocephala ochrocephala
- Yellow-naped Amazon - Amazona auropalliata
- Cuban Amazon or Rose-throated Parrot, Amazona leucocephala
- Yellow-billed Amazon, Amazona collaria
- Hispaniolan Amazon, Amazona ventralis
- Puerto Rican Amazon, Amazona vittata
- Yellow-lored Amazon, Amazona xantholora
- Black-billed Amazon, Amazona agilis
- Tucumán Amazon, Amazona tucumana
- Red-spectacled Amazon, Amazona pretrei
- Blue-cheeked Amazon, Amazona dufresniana
- Red-browed Amazon, Amazona rhodocorytha
- Red-tailed Amazon, Amazona brasiliensis
- Festive Amazon, Amazona festiva
- Yellow-shouldered Amazon, Amazona barbadensis
- Kawall's Amazon, Amazona kawalli
- Scaly-naped Amazon, Amazona mercenaria
- Vinaceous Amazon, Amazona vinacea
- St Lucia Amazon, Amazona versicolor
- Red-necked Amazon, Amazona arausiaca
- St. Vincent Amazon, Amazona guildingii
- Imperial Amazon, Amazona imperialis
Care and feeding
Amazon parrot care starts with providing a good diet. An Amazon diet consisting of a basic parrot feed mix with supplements is generally regarded as suitable. Different bird foods and bird mixes for Amazons are available.
- Bird Food:
Foods available for Amazon parrots include formulated diets, either pelleted or extruded, seed only diets, and parrot mixes which offer a mixture of both. There are pros and cons to feeding only a formulated diet as well as feeding only a seed diet. A seed only diet offers much more variety but requires additional vitamin and calcium supplements. Amazon parrots need not only nutritional requirements met but also variety for psychological enrichment.
- Formulated Diet:
A formulated diet provides a good nutritional base so does not require the addition of vitamins, however it does not contain the phytonutrients (antioxidant pigments) that are found in vegetables, fruits, grains, and seeds. Phytonutrients are believed to boost the immune system, help a body to heal itself, and to prevent some diseases. Also Amazons can become bored with it due to the lack of variety.
- Seed Diet:
A seed only diet offers much more variety but requires additional vitamin and calcium supplements. Amazon parrots need not only nutritional requirements met but also variety for psychological enrichment.
- Formulated Diet:
Supplements are very important and can be put in an extra dish and rotated for variety
- Fruits and Vegetables:
Supplements should include sprouted seeds, all types of fruits such as apples, pears, plums, cherries, grapes, oranges, bananas, mangos, papayas, and even berries such as strawberries and blueberries. Vegetables are also good supplements such as carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, many garden vegetables, and even dandelions and chickweed.
NOTE: Amazons are prone to vitamin A deficiency so high foods like dark green leafy veggies, carrots, mangos and sweet potatoes will help insure a long life for your bird. Do not feed avocado as it may be toxic to birds!
.Additional proteins can be offered about every 1 1/2 weeks such as cottage cheese, hard boiled eggs, and even canned dog food.
- Fruits and Vegetables:
Give your Amazon fresh drinking water every day.
- Bird Baths:
The personal hygiene of your Amazon includes a weekly shower to help keep it's plumage in good shape. This can be accomplished with either a hand held shower sprayer or a hose with a fine spray head and lukewarm water.
- Bird Grooming :
The wings should be kept trim if you want to discourage flight and to prevent the loss of your pet through an open window or door.
The beak needs to be trimmed if it becomes overgrown or deformed. There are many mineral blocks, lava blocks, and other beak grooming items available at your pet store to help your bird keep its beak in shape.
A variety of concrete type perches are also available to help keep the nails trim, but they should be trimmed if they become overgrown. Bird nail trimmers and styptic powder to stop the bleeding are also available at pet shops and online.
Amazon parrots quickly adapt to their cage and environment. The majority of Amazons are kept in a cage in the home, in a bird room, or in an aviary. Amazon parrot cages must not be too confining, so get one that your pet will be able to feel comfortable in. You will need dishes for food, water, and treats.
- Bird Cages:
An Amazon parrots cage best suited to adequately house a single Amazon bird would be between 39"- 59" (100-150 cm) high and have a floor space of 23"x 39" (60 x 100 cm). This size will provide room for lots of movement as well as space for perches, food dishes and a variety of playthings.
As a minimum, amazon cages should be large enough so that the bird's head does not touch the top, its tail does not touch the bottom, and it has enough room for unrestricted movements.
- Indoor Aviaries - Bird Rooms:
A room to adequately house 2 Amazons needs a ceiling height of at least 70" (180 cm) and a minimum floor space of 39"x59" (100 x 150 cm) along with plenty of playthings.
- Outdoor Aviaries - Breeding Aviary:
An outdoor or breeding aviary needs to have a protected shelter that can be heated and cooled where necessary. It should be no smaller than 59" - 79" (1.5 - 2 m) high with a floor space of 39"x 39" (1 m x 1 m) and have an attached flight cage. The Amazon parrots flight cage should be 79" - 118" (2 - 3 m) long with a perch at each end. A climbing branch and a bird bath are nice additions too
- Indoor Aviaries - Bird Rooms:
The basic cage care includes daily cleaning of the water and food dishes. Weekly you should wash all the perches and dirty toys, and the floor should be washed about every other week. A total hosing down and disinfecting of an aviary should be done yearly, replacing anything that needs to be freshened, such as old dishes, toys and perches.
Generally Amazon parrots are reasonably calm and peaceful, getting vocal only in the early morning and in the evening as it starts getting dark. They are very social birds and a single parrot will make a wonderful pet if it gets plenty of attention. But like all parrots, there are some unique characteristics of birds that are Amazons. Here are some facts on the Amazon parrot to be aware of.
- Amazon Parrots at Sexual Maturity:
A single Amazon bird can be a wonderful pet if it gets lots of attention. But this is until about the age or 4 or 5, when they reach sexual maturity. At this time if the parrot is left alone a lot it may become restless, may start feather plucking and in general show signs of psychological distress. A female may even start laying infertile eggs
In their natural environment, this is the time when they would begin to find a mate and pair up. Living with a mate is part of the social pattern of the Amazon parrot. The key here is the amount of attention you pet needs.
- Deciding Whether to Get a Mate for Your Amazon:
As your pet Amazon reaches sexual maturity, this may be the time to consider getting a mate for your parrot. This is primarily true if it seems to be distressed and you cannot spend more time with it. Sometimes pairing is the only satisfactory solution even if you do spend more time with it and it still remains distressed. This will depend a lot on you and your bird.
- Amazon Parrots and Children:
Amazons and children can mix very successfully if the parrot gets used to the child, and the child learns how to interact with the parrot. However, sometimes a parrot can get very jealous of small children and so you should be on your guard.
- Amazon Parrots and Other Pets:
Amazons and other pets can also get used to each other and learn to accept each other. Again, however, be very careful to monitor all groupings of animals. An Amazon can be very dangerous to small pets such as hamsters, guinea pigs, mice, and even small birds. Close friendships are just as possible as deadly enemy behaviors. You won't know until the relationship unfolds over time
The Amazon parrot is the most rapid of all the parrots at becoming accustomed to its new environment, its keeper, and ready to start bird training. Generally though, you should give a new arrival a few days to get use to you, your voice and it's cage before trying to handle it. A hand fed baby will not need much taming and can often be handled right away, as it is use to human attention.
- Taming Basics:
Though an Amazon parrot is quick to adapt to its new home, you should give a new arrival a few days to get use to you, your voice and its cage before trying to handle it. A hand fed baby will not need much taming and can often be handled right away, as it is use to human attention.
To be able to handle and train your parrot depends first on trust, so go slowly and be consistent. Amazons are most receptive to bird training in the evening and each session is best if limited to under 20 minutes with about an hour rest in between.
Remember that bird taming and bird training takes patience, never 'punish' you parrot! This only serves to destroy the trust you've spent so much time building.
- Initial Training:
Your first goal in bird training is to get the parrot to accept a treat from you, which will lead to it allowing you to gently scratch its head. Then you can begin to work on getting your parrot to step up on your hand. Depending on the tameness of the bird, these two steps can be instantaneous as in a hand fed baby or take several weeks or longer for an untamed bird.
- Advanced Training:
Once your Amazon parrot has gotten over its shyness, then you can work on speech training. Repetition and frequency are the keys here to get your Amazon parrot talking. Almost every Amazon parrot can learn at least a few words, although unlike the African Grey, the Amazon's mimicry sounds rather 'parrot-like'.
For an extensive parrot training system that potentially turns your bird into a fun, loving companion as well as learning lots of cool tricks, try Chet Womach's Parrot Training Course .
Exercise and play are important activities for the physical well being and psychological health of your parrot. These activities help deter distress and prevent the problems of screeching and feather picking. Provide your parrot with lots of activities in the form of bird toys such as large link chains, bird ladders, parrot swings, ropes, fresh branches for gnawing and chewing, and rotate new bird toys on a regular basis.
Because the Amazon parrots belong to a bird group that is threatened with extinction. Today breeding amazon parrots is helping to preserve the species and reduce the number of wild caught birds. There are no breeding regulations in the United States, Canada, or the United Kingdom, though other countries might have restrictions. You should consult with the authorities in your country before undertaking breeding Amazon parrots.
- Sexing Amazon Parrots:
Most Amazon parrots are not dimorphic and you will have to have them sexed by either a surgical probe, endoscopy, a DNA test, or a chromosomal analysis. The sexes must be confirmed and the pair must be harmonious, bonded with each other.
- Breeding Environment:
To breed Amazon parrots, they will need a nest box that is 31"-39" (80-100 cm) high with an inside diameter of 12"-14" (30-35 cm) and an opening of 4"-5" (10-12 cm). Provide some soft bedding material inside on the bottom of the box.
- Egg Laying and Hatchlings:
In general the courtship will begin with the beginning of the warm season, generally in April or May, with the laying and brooding in the early summer. An Amazon female will lay between 2 to 4 white eggs and she will brood for 26 to 28 days.
The hatchlings are almost naked, barely fluffy, blind and very helpless. It will take them between 70 and100 days to develop to the size and weight of their parents, have their complete plumage, and be ready to find their own food. Be sure to remove the nest box after the brooding until the next breeding season.
As with all parrots, Amazon parrot problems will be averted if you offer them a good environment and get familiar with your pet so you can spot any signs of illness. An ailing parrot should be taken to a avian veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.
Signs of illness to be aware of are ruffled plumage, resting often with their head turned back, having no appetite, sneezing, discharge from the nostrils, cloudy eyes, and any change in the feces. Some of the common illnesses your Amazon could contract are internal parasites, intestinal influenza, coccidiosis, respiratory ailments, feather picking, and parrot fever also known as psittacosis.
Behavior problems usually stem from something missing in the bird's environment. Boredom, lack of trust, lack of interaction with other birds or people can lead to problems like biting, feather plucking, and screaming. Amazon parrot problems can also stem from restlessness as they reach sexual maturity at 4 to 5 years of age. Developing a bond of trust and spending time with your bird helps to avoid these problems.
We have also had good success with Chet Womach's Parrot Training Course . He offers free 3-day introductory course so you can try it out before you buy anything.
Amazon bird breeders are some very dedicated individuals, and though not all Amazon species are widely bred, today there are a number of different Amazon parrots for sale. There are many hand fed baby Amazon birds for sale with more becoming increasingly available. You can also find Amazon parrots for sale that are breeding stock.
- Animal-World References: Pet Birds - Exotic Birds
- Dr. David Alderton, The Atlas of Parrots of the World, T.F.H. Publications, Inc. 1991.
- David Alderton,, A Bird Keeper's Guide to Parrots and Macaws, Salamander Books, 1989
- Werner and Susanne Lantermann, Amazon Parrots, Barron's Educational Series, Inc. 1988
- Arthur Freud, All About The Parrots, Howell Book House, 1986
- Amazona, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, Version 2011.1.
- Joanie Doss, Amazon FAQ , Up at Six, Last Revised: Sunday, 20-Jul-2008
Author: Clarice Brough, CAS
Copyright © [Animal-World] 1998-2020. All rights reserved.
The best pet birds are those that get great bird care. and it starts here!
- Bird Houses
- Bird Supplies
- Bird Exercise
- Bird Safety
- Bird Foods
Bird feed mixes
Bird seed diets
- Bird Supplements
Vegetables and fruits
Proteins and Minerals
There are lots of different types of birds, and all sorts can make wonderful pets. Many birds enjoy close contact, which makes many of them nice, social and sometimes cuddly friends. Some just love to talk or sing to you, giving you friendship and relaxation. A lot of parrots will enjoy sharing meals with you, napping with you, and even showering with you. Pet birds love to interact with their human companions.
In spite of their attractive appearance and good nature, learning how to take care of a pet bird does take a little bit of work and some common sense.
Bird care starts with the same basic approach for all types of birds. They all need a bird cage with one or more perches, and bird feeders to accommodate their appropriate food and/or bird seed. Bird care however, can be a trickier business than caring for other types of domestic pets. Why? Because different types of birds have unique needs. Bird care needs to be tailored to each type of pet bird for its health and well-being.
This bird guide covers the things you need to know about how to take care of a pet bird from bird supplies and food, to exercise, safety and bird health care. Pet bird care is simple and enjoyable if you have the right type of bird. Make sure to choose a bird that fits your personality and lifestyle. Then learn all you can about the type of bird you are getting and its needs. Providing the right care will ensure a long, happy life for your pet bird, and tons of enjoyment for you.
To find the right bird for you, see: Choosing A Pet Bird, What is the right bird for me?
Bird care starts with housing for your bird. Birds need a good environment that provides a place to rest as well as places to play and exercise. Primary bird houses can be bird cages or an aviary.
There are several options when thinking about the types of bird houses for your pet. You can provide a very large bird cage or a smaller cage along with a play area outside of the cage, often utilizing a playpen. You can also provide a flight cage for regular exercise or have an aviary. Aviaries can be either an outside aviary or and indoor aviary. Iindoor aviaries can even be a 'bird room' type.
Factors for deciding how to house your bird include what your living space affords along with meeting the specific needs of your particular bird.
- Bird Cages
All birds should be housed in a cage that is as roomy as possible, this is especially important for birds that will spend most or all of their time in the cage.
- Birds need to be able to stretch their wings and flap them without hitting anything. They should also be able to make short flights, hop around and play with bird toys.
- Birds that live exclusively in a cage will need a space of three times their wing span as an absolute minimum, with more space being better.
- Horizontal bars on the sides of bird cages are very important for birds that like to climb, such as parakeets, cockatiels and lots of playful parrots.
- The bar spacing needs to be small enough that the bird cannot get its head through them.
- Metal bars are good for birds that like to chew.
- It is really nice if the cage is easy to clean. Many bird cages have a slide out tray and an easily removable grate.
- Outside the cage you can provide a playpen along with safe bird toys.
- Bird cages should be placed in a draft free area that is well lit, but not in direct sunlight.
- To make your birds feel secure and comfortable keep their cage against a wall or in a corner.
- Place your bird's cage so that it is at eye-level or lower for good social interaction. You don't want your bird above your head because for them, being up higher means they are dominant.
- You don't want to place your bird in the kitchen or in a room that is too near to the kitchen. Birds are highly susceptible to airborne fumes and toxins. A small amount of smoke or the vapors from Teflon cookware could kill your bird.
Aviaries are beneficial because they provide large areas for birds, often with the intent of breeding. Aviaries can be either indoors or outdoors. Some birds are very noisy and can be a nuisance to close neighbors. So if your birds are loud, you may want to keep them in an indoor aviary or in a remote area.
- Indoor aviaries give you the ability to control temperature, lighting, noise and humidity.
- An indoor aviary is often a room in a home devoted to birds.
- The windows are covered with wire and the door often has a wired porch with two doors to pass through . These are to keep your birds from flying out.
- Some indoor aviaries are simply a bird room with extra large cages. Doing it this way, the doors and windows don't need to be screened in.
- Outdoor aviaries can provide your birds with a natural environment and are designed in a wide variety of styles.
- Because the birds kept in outdoor aviaries are exposed to the weather, they must also have indoor sheltering, possibly heated or cooled if conditions get extreme.
- Outdoor aviaries always need a shaded area and wind breaks.
- Trees or large branches can fit in nicely to create a comfortable home, but must be of non-toxic woods.
To learn about different bird species, see: Bird Information: About the Types of Birds
- Bird Feeders
Bowls are needed for foods and treats, water, grit and crushed shell. Small birds can use plastic bowls. Ceramic or stainless steel bowls generally are needed for medium and large parrots. These bigger birds will often chew up plastic bowls, or even pick up their bowls and dump them or toss them to the floor. Built in bowl holders are often a part of the cage and may be designed to keep the bird from removing the bowl. Other bowls are attached with hooks, bolts or clips, and may mount inside or outside the cage depending on the design.
- Bird Perches
Perches not only provide standing places for birds, but also give them an opportunity to exercise their beaks and keep their beaks trim. Perch size and shape can vary depending on the bird, but should fit their feet. A 1" perch is comfortable for most parrots and a 1/2" perch suits smaller birds.
Round and oval wooden perches are often used, and sometimes plastic perches are used for small birds. Variety in both size and shape is important to exercise your birds feet. Natural branches are great for providing this variety. Concrete perches make nice additional perches for parrots to help them keep both nails and beak trim.
- Bird Toys
Bird toys are a great way to combat boredom and provide exercise for your pet bird. Toys for birds are designed in lots of combinations of woods, leathers, ropes, chains, bells and even acrylics. Toys such as swings and ladders are designed for chewing and climbing, while stainless steel mirrors are for viewing and comfort. The wide range of non-toxic colors, fun textures, shapes and sizes, sounds (and even smells) that you'll find in bird toys will keep both you and your bird interested in checking out new ones.
Exercise and activities are extremely important to keep your pet bird healthy and happy. Birds are inquisitive, social, and they like to play. Exercise is natural for them and easy to provide.
- Short Flights
A bird's cage needs to accommodate their full wingspan so they can safely flap their wings and exercise them. If they are kept in the cage all the time, they need to be able to make short flights. A cage should be at least three times their wingspan if they are kept caged all the time. Small birds, like finches and canaries, primarily flutter from perch to perch and make short flights. They are generally always kept in their cage or aviary and can be difficult to catch if they get out.
Parrots of all sorts love to climb on ladders and the horizontal bars of their cage. Some like to hang from the top of their cage or from various toys and swings hanging in the cage. Many of the smaller parrots like swings. . Natural perches not only provide exercise for the parrots toe muscles, they also keep birds gnawing on the bark and the wood. Cuttlebones are good for beak trimming as well as a calcium supplement.
- Bird Toys
Toys provide entertainment as well as exercise and most parrots like to chew. Perches, swings, ladders and toys all become objects of entertainment and chewing.
Plastic toys are only safe for small birds . Small birds and parakeets are fine with plastic toys, and perhaps less active cockatiels. Larger parrots will destroy them and can be injured by the chewed pieces.
Various woods, leathers, rawhides and acrylic make good chew toys for all parrots. Bells are a favorite toy and reflective surfaces, like stainless steel mirrors, can be enjoyed by some birds.
The playpen is a play areas located outside the cage. They have a variety of perches, ladders and swings that give birds a place to exercise and play. Playpens usually have food and water dishes which allows you to leave your bird out for as long as you'd like.
- Bird Baths
Most birds love a bath! A bath placed in the bottom of the cage or mounted through a side door will allow small birds to bathe, and they can create quite a splash. Often birds will take a bath in the fresh water of their water dish if not provided with a bath!
Larger birds usually like a light misting from a spray bottle 2 or 3 times a week. Birds anticipating a bath will often spread their wings out to catch the mist and call loudly when being sprayed. Hand-tamed birds often prefer to shower with their owners.
Keep your bird safe! It is up to you. It is very important that you know how to take care of a pet bird to keep your bird safe. Some of the most familiar hazards can be avoided with a little common sense and by paying attention.
- Avoid accidents
Be cautious when you take your pet is out of its cage, be sure it is safe.
If you bird flies out an opened window or door, you may never see it again!
- Don't leave windows and doors open.
- Don't have any water-filled vessels lying around, or toilet lid up.
- Make sure the stove isn't hot.
- Make sure the ceiling fan isn't running.
- Physical Harm
Avoid physical harm to your pet bird. Don't ever hit your bird and don't let anyone else hit your bird.
- Watch for toxic plants
Watch what your pet bird chews on outside its cage. Don't let your bird eat any toxic plants like oleanders, azaleas, juniper, daffodils, philodendron, lily-of-the-valley, etc.
- Avoid toxic substances
Some important pet bird information to know includes substances that may be toxic to your bird. Do not leave any of these substances sitting out and put away any rags or dust clothes that you used to clean with.
- It is very important to make sure that your bird's cage is painted with lead-free paint.
- Make sure your curtain rods are also lead-free if you allow your bird to fly about the house.
- Tap water delivered in lead pipes can have a toxic affect on your bird.
- Signs of poisoning can include vomiting, seizures, diarrhea and lethargy.
Some common household poisons to avoid include:
- Any household pest you eliminate with poisons also becomes toxic to your bird
- Detergents containing boric acid
- Drain cleaners
- Various types of fuel including gas, oil and kerosene
- Furniture and metal polish
- Hair dye
- Laundry bleach
- Nail Polish
- Oven Cleaners
- Paint and paint thinner
- Pine oil poisons (rat, snail, roach bait)
- Rust remover
- Shaving lotion
- Spot removers
- Super Glue
- Toilet bowl cleaner that hangs exposed inside the toilet bowl
- Various types of bathroom cleaners
Birds need good nutrition, a diet that is designed for them and has the necessary components for a balance diet. A healthy diet for most types of birds can include a wide variety of grains, bird seed, fruits and green vegetables. Use additional supplements to add minerals and proteins to their diet. Also provide plenty of daily water.
There are many types of food available for all the different types of pet birds. Most packaged bird food will specify the type of bird it was designed for, and have the necessary components for a balance diet. They are usually sold in small packages from 1 to 5 pounds, and some are available in large quantities of 25 or 50 pound bags.
Many individual types of bird seed, like canary seed or safflower seed, can also be purchased by the package. Popular bird foods are often available in bulk (serve yourself) as well. You can purchase bird food at pet stores, hardware stores, often in grocery stores, and through on-line bird pet supplies. There are pros and cons to feeding either a formulated diet only or a seed diet only. But supplements can be used to enrich all types of diets.
Foods available for birds include:
- Bird feed mixes - Bird feed mixtures can include formulated foods, bird seed, nuts and dried fruits.
There are specific mixes for each type of bird. They will consist of a mixture of seeds, formulated foods, some supplements, and usually additional vitamins. Bird mixes are generally regarded as suitable especially when provided with additional supplements.
- Formulated diets - pelleted or extruded manufactured food
Formulated diets provide a good nutritional base, containing all the necessary minerals and vitamins, so additional vitamins are not required. However, formulated diets do not contain the phytonutrients (antioxidant pigments) that are found in vegetables, fruits, grains, and seeds. Phytonutrients are believed to boost the immune system, help a body to heal itself, and to prevent some diseases. Many birds also become bored with a formulated diet due to the lack of variety. Offering supplements can help provide the phytonutrients and help offset boredom.
- Bird seed diets - mixes of bird seed
Seed only diets offer much more variety but requires additional vitamin and calcium supplements. In the wild many birds eat seed as a major portion of their diet. Many birds need not only nutritional requirements met but also variety for psychological enrichment. All seeds contain protein and are roughly divided into either a cereal type seed such as millet, or an oil type seed such as sunflower seed. To provide a balanced diet, minerals, amino acid, vitamins and trace elements can be added as a supplement to seed or water.
Provide supplements in addition to any of the above diets. Be careful not to feed things that can be toxic or bad for them, such as avocado, chocolate, or caffeine.
- Vegetables, Greens, and Fruits
These include soaked and sprouted seed and even some green plants (make sure they are non-toxic). All types of fruits are a good supplement such as apples, pears, plums, cherries, grapes, oranges, bananas, mangos, papayas, and even berries such as strawberries and blueberries. Vegetables are also good supplements such as carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, many garden vegetables, and even dandelions and chickweed. Do not feed avocado as it may be toxic to birds!
- Protein Supplements:
Additional proteins can be offered to some birds about every 1 1/2 weeks such as cottage cheese, hard boiled eggs, and even canned dog food. Many birds will eat what you eat. Be sure anything you offer is not toxic to your bird. Most foods are okay but there are a few, like avocado, that can poison birds.
- Mineral Supplements:
Cuttlebone and calcium blocks will also provide necessary minerals for maintaining your birds health. Finely ground shells, such as oyster shell, and other natural minerals can be added to regular grit.
- Bird Grit
Grit is an aid to digestion for birds that eat seeds unshelled. Grit also contains valuable minerals and trace elements, and though not necessary for digestion will aid some birds if offered in limited amounts.
Birds That Need Grit
- Some seed eating birds need grit.
- This applies especially to birds such as pigeons and doves that eat their seed whole without shelling it first.
- It is an essential to aid in digestion to seeds eaten unshelled as these birds use it in their crop to grind the seed.
- Birds that are not primarily seed eaters, like soft bill birds, do not require grit or cuttlebone.
- Mynah's and Toucan's are types of pet birds that will eat softbill food.
- Lories and Lorikeets primarily eat pollens and nectars, though they may also eat some seed.
- These types of birds major diet consists of fruits like apples, bananas, pears, and grapes. They also will eat soaked dried fruits, canned fruits and natural juices. All of these are easy to supply.
- There are also commercially prepared pellets and powders available.
- Animal World References - Pet Birds - Exotic Birds
- Gary A Gollerstein, D.V.M., The Complete Bird Owner's Handbook, Macmillan Publishing Company, 1994
- r. Mathew M. Vriends, Aviaries A Complete Introduction, T.F.H Publications, Inc. 1987
- David Alderton, Birdkeeper's Guide to Pet Birds, Tetra Press, 1987
Author: Clarice Brough CAS
Copyright © [Animal-World] 1998-2020. All rights reserved.
Giving Medication to Pet Birds
If your bird is ill, your veterinarian may prescribe medication. Occasionally, medications can be provided in food or water. However, unless you can provide the medication inside something that can be swallowed in one gulp (for example, inside a small piece or fruit or vegetable), or your bird will accept hand feeding, controlling dosages and administration times in food or water is not very precise. Your bird may not consume enough of the medication because it does not like the taste or it simply is not hungry.
In many cases, your veterinarian will instruct you to provide medication using an eye dropper or needle-less syringe. It is important to follow your veterinarian’s instructions as closely as possible regarding the amount of medication and how often it must be given. Your bird may not be very cooperative, but it is important to administer the medication with as little fuss as possible to avoid stressing the sick bird further. If you are uncertain how to give the medication, ask your veterinarian or veterinary technician to demonstrate the technique before you leave the office.
Be sure that you understand all of the instructions given by your veterinarian, including the correct dosage, the number of times you need to give the medication each day, and how long the treatment should continue. You should also find out if there are any special storage requirements (such as keeping the medicine in the refrigerator) or preparations needed.
Administering Medication to Your Pet Bird
Almost all birds will require holding and restraint when medication must be given. It is best to have this demonstrated by your avian veterinarian or technician prior to attempting it yourself at home. Here is a procedure that works for many birds:
Prepare the dosage in the eyedropper or needleless syringe, following the instructions from your veterinarian.
Have 2 people available if possible.
Be sure that there are no other pets or unfamiliar people in the vicinity and that the lights are soft and any sounds (such as music) are soothing and soft. Have a comfortable place to sit or stand as it will take a few moments to get the medication into your bird.
Lay out any towel or other restraint you will use. You may also want to wear gloves.
Quietly talk with your bird as you open the cage and gently pick it up.
Remove your bird from the cage and, following the instructions provided by your veterinarian, gently restrain your bird. Be very careful not to hold your bird too tightly. You do not want to restrict your bird’s breathing.
Throughout the process of delivering medication, monitor your bird’s stress level. If your bird goes from struggling to panic, or panting, be prepared to release your bird and wait while your bird recovers. Your bird is less likely to panic if you remain calm and supportive throughout the process.
Place the tip of the eye dropper or syringe in one side of your bird’s mouth and aim the tip toward the opposite side of the mouth. For example, if the dropper is on the bird’s left side you need to aim the end toward the right side of the mouth. Be careful not to put more than the tip of the dropper or syringe into the mouth. You do not want to restrict your bird’s ability to swallow and breathe.
Gently and very slowly deliver the medication. Going too quickly can force medication into the lungs or allow medication to run out of the bird’s mouth. Watch your bird as it swallows the medication. Do not provide more than your bird can swallow at one time.
Many birds respond better if you talk with them gently during this process.
If possible, leave the tip of the dropper or syringe just inside the mouth until all of the medication is delivered.
Check to see if any medication ended up outside the mouth. Using a small amount of clear water, gently clean any soiled feathers or other areas.
Once all of the medication has been provided, praise your bird and, if the bird seems receptive, offer a treat or other reward.
Return the bird to its cage.
Make sure all medications are stored correctly.
Disassemble the dropper or syringe and thoroughly clean all parts of the device in soap and warm water. Rinse all parts thoroughly and allow the pieces to air dry on a clean towel.
Possible indirect methods of administration:
If your bird is still eating well, has a favorite soft food that it receives as a treat (for example, oatmeal, yogurt, or mashed potatoes) and does not object to the taste of the medicine, it may be administered by mixing it directly into a small amount of this food.
If your bird was hand (syringe) fed, and will still take syringe-feeding, the medication may be mixed in hand-feeding formula and delivered.
A very few birds will take some medications without restraint. In these rare cases, you can simply provide the medication while the bird is sitting on a perch or grabbing the bars of its cage. However, most birds will require holding and restraint (see Administering Medication to Your Pet Bird).
Bird Care and Feeding - pets
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Make the Most of Your Feeding
To make the most of all the benefits of feeding birds.
- Fill feeders with the most nutritious foods for birds, varying the offerings seasonally to meet birds' different nutritional needs all year long, including during breeding season and migration.
- Choose birdseed and other foods carefully to select high-quality options that will attract more birds and keep them coming back for more meals.
- Offer a variety of foods including nuts, suet, nectar, and fruit to attract different species with different dietary needs and feeding preferences.
- Clean and sterilize bird feeders regularly to avoid spreading diseases among the individuals of your backyard flock, and always be sure feeders are in good repair.
- Choose different bird feeder designs to accommodate birds' feeding preferences, and take steps to accustom birds to each new feeder you introduce.
- Take additional steps to create bird-friendly landscaping and protect backyard birds from cats and other predators so they will feel welcome and secure in your yard.
- Use baffles and other means to protect your feeders from non-bird guests, including squirrels, raccoons, mice, bears, and other wildlife.
By understanding the benefits of feeding birds and taking steps to appreciate all those benefits, backyard birders can thoroughly enjoy every bird they feed.