Parrot Diet and Husbandry Advice

Diet

A good start for a birds diet is as follows:

  • Continuous access to a safe propriatory seed mix such as Tidymix seed mix, replaced daily with fresh. (this is low in sunflowers and contains extra goodies such as dried fruit, garlic sticks etc. It is also human grade food, minimalising risk of bacterial or fungal contamination) Complete pelleted foods can also offer a balanced diet, but often still need balanced out with fresh food for the birds interest
  • Morning times, you can offer a small piece of toast (quarter of a slice or smaller) with an olive based, no salt, spread to which the birds supplements (calcium and vitamins) can be added (being the first thing the bird is offered in the morning means that he is more likely to take it, and you can be sure he has received his calcium/vitamins or whatever medicine you may need to give him that day)
  • Fresh fruit and veg (but NOT avocado, which is poisonous) can be offered through the day.
  • Warm, “real” food can be offered as an evening meal. Parrots often appreciate being included at dinner time, it is a good flock bonding behaviour. As long as no salt is used, things like Pasta, rice or potatoes can be offered with various pureed fruit/veg as a sauce. Fed warm, this increases enjoyment and really sets them up for the night. Varying it day by day helps keep things interesting and keeps a good balance in vitamins and minerals provided by various foods.
  • If low in calcium, liquid Zolcal D or Calcivet are good calcium/vitamin D supplements, and can be given at a rate of 0.1-0.2ml per KG of bird. This should be used according to vets instructions.
  • If previously fed a low nutrient diet (such as most commercially available seeds) extra vitamins can be provided in the form of Daily Essentials or Avimix
  • When changing diet, it is important to do so gradually and ensure your bird is eating and passing normal poo.

Hygiene

Keeping the birds environment clean is vital. Use of a good, bird safe disinfectant removes the worry’s of poisoning from cleaning products. We use F10SC in the surgery for all our avian disinfection, as this is a VERY safe product. Use at 1ml per 250ml of water for general disinfection, 1ml per 500ml of water for deeper cleans. It doesn’t need to be rinsed off

  • Clean water and food bowls daily and disinfect them
  • Daily remove dirty papers from base of cage, and wipe of any food debris from bars
  • Weekly do a thorough deep clean of cage, bars, perches, toys etc

Daily Routine

It is important that a good day/night cycle be established. Ideally, parrots require 10-12 hours of sleep in a dark, quiet area every night, with no disturbances.

In the day time, provide access to a UV bird lamp to help enrich the environment (Birds see in the UV spectrum and having UV light available greatly brightens up the colours they can see) and will also help them convert vitamin D into its active form, allowing them to utilise calcium properly.

Toys

Providing a range of toys both in and out of cage will help improve your parrots quality of life. It is important that they are SAFE though: no small, edible pieces, and made out of safe materials (many metals used in parrot toys contain toxic zinc, and many paints or colourings may contain lead, also toxic)

General Health

Just like cats and dogs, it is good for parrots to receive routine health checks every year. This is even more important in parrots than in other animals, as they often hide the signs of illness until it is quite progressed.

Weighing your bird regularly and keeping track of the weight is a very useful thing to do. Any sudden drop in weight and it’s a good idea to get it to a vet. Similarly, changes in amounts/colour of faeces, loss of voice, dullness, not eating etc all indicate that something is wrong and the bird needs to be seen by a vet, and quickly.

It is vital that you do not smoke around your bird, nor touch your bird after smoking without first washing your hands. Smoke inhalation is extremely irritating to birds lungs and skin, as is nicotine, tar or other residue from cigarettes which may be on your hands after smoking.

Teflon, when overheated, is deadly to parrots. As such, keep them out of the kitchen when cooking and NEVER heat a Teflon pan in the same airspace as a parrot.

 Wing Clipping

We do not perform wing clipping, nor do we advise it.

This is because a birds ability to fly is important to their mental health and wellbeing as well as their general confidence. Flying is also excellent exercise so the ability to do so is physically good for them too.

There are enough ways to modify a parrots environment to make it safe for them, we should not have to modify the pet to fit the environment.

 
Sam

 

 

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