There are many things you need to know as the owner of a Psittacine (Parrot); this is not an easy pet and there is a lot of bad information out there. We have sections on Diet and Behavior and Dangers so in this section we will focus on the “other things” that you need to know to care properly for your bird.
Regular doctor visits are a must. Find an Board-Certified Avian Vet and make an appointment first thing
when you bring your new pet home. There are certain tests that you should do right away to ensure your bird doesn’t have a disease that could affect you, your family or other members of the flock.
The basic tests are:
Fecal Float for Parasites
Fecal and Cloacal Gram Stains
Chlamydiosis (Psittacosis) … this disease can be transmitted to humans
Polyoma Virus Testing
Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease Testing (PBFD)
Complete Blood Count (CBC)
We recommend an X-Ray, especially if you have obtained your bird from a rescue or are unsure of it’s history. An X-Ray will show enlarged organs which couldindicate internal issues that may not show on a blood test. X-Rays will also show if the bird has ingested any metal which can result in heavy metal poisoning.
Get the tests as soon as you can schedule an appointment for your new bird; this will be your baseline start your Bird's Health File. Be sure to get copies of all your test results and keep them in your possession. This may be extremely useful in an emergency situation when you might not be able to get to your regular Vet.
Also, Vets do retire and often people don't find out until their next scheduled visit. You may or may not be able to obtain your records...if you start now you will have a full record of your bird’s history. People have said, "I didn't know we could do that [ask for copies]." My position is you paid for them so you're certainly entitled to a copy! And finally, in the event that you can no longer care for your bird and he/she needs to go to a new home you can provide his health history to the new family.
For more information on health care go to aav.org
Weigh In ...
Another item you should have is a gram scale with a perch. You can find these online in just about any price range. Make a training session out of the "weekly weigh in" ... a little nut treat is a great reward for stepping up (after the weigh in of course). Weigh your bird regularly and keep a log of the date and his weight over time. Plot the results and you can see if there are any trends in your birds weight. (Side note: If you have a female that lays eggs you will see the weight gain just prior to a laying event.)
Take your weight chart with you to that annual checkup and your vet will know you are a “rock star” bird owner!! Weight is an important measurement to keep track of diet changes and just a quick check on overall health. Bird's weight climbing? May need more exercise or fewer fruits/nuts. Weight dropping? If there it's more than 10 grams in a week and steadily declining then get to the Vet right away.
Another tip... weigh the same day every week and the same time every day (like before the first meal) so that you have a good comparison from week-to-week.
What should my Bird Weigh? Average Weights