What I have Learned. (a letter to new parrot parents)

 

Hello! I’m Diana Uyen..This is my experience. I was remembering back to when I got each of my birds and how little I actually knew about how to care for my birds. I thought I knew a quite a bit after doing much reading, researching and talking to other parrot owners. That realization really hit when I came here trying to find out how to deal with certain things, wanting to find out what was normal and what was not  in bird behaviour and feathering. Oliver, just needed a basic diet change and he flourished even more. Casper on the other hand needed help. She is my naked Goffin from the neck down. I listened to Jami and have started her onto a better journey to a happier life with better health and as many feathers as we can get on her.

 

Now our website (Parrotproblemsolving101 ) is an excellent resource to read and learn  what you have to do and our Facebook site(Parrotproblemsolving101 ) is an excellent place to clarify and ask questions and get help. These methods taught are not up for debate because we know them to work, if followed exactly. What I have learned when it comes to the basics is this:

 

1.) Any time a bird is newly acquired by you, you start with the most basic of requirements, a quality avian certified vet checkup. For vet checkup you want a minimum of a CBC, poop gram stain and an x-ray. Why x-ray? It can show things the other tests may not, such as organ enlargement, immediate signs of metal toxicity (metal flecks swallowed) and many other issues. Get a copy of all results for your own file. You never know when a different vet may benefit from seeing them, like in an emergency situation. Also, having these records, should you not be able to care for your bird any longer, then the files can accompany the bird to it’s new home. Also ask your vet how to use a syringe to feed juice or medicine to your bird, a good thing to know if your bird gets sick and if you practice with juice, your bird will be familiar with it and more inclined to take medicines.

 

2.) Ensure you get that bird onto a proper diet with NO SEEDS AND NO PEANUTS and no junk food (includes some foods meant for us humans). Use Roudybush pellets for your dusty birds and Zupreem pellets for your other birds (for all parrots except ecclectus [special diet]) and LOTS of fresh vegetables along with some fruit (tropical is best) and tree nuts.

 

3.) Ensure a proper cage size with bar spacing appropriate for your bird. You don’t want stuck heads in the bars. Also the cage needs to be about 3 times the wing span wide, minimum. Width of a cage is more important than the height. Bigger is always better, if you can. Ensure the cage is safe too, no toxic metals or flaking (or toxic) paint or rust spots. Should be sterilized if used. The best way to refinish a cage is sandblasting and powder coating. No round cages please.

 

4.) Lots of toys and foraging toys but ensure you leave enough room for your bird to move and stretch out. You may have to teach your bird to play by playing with the toys and your bird. Beware of cloth sleeping huts and ropes, as they can have loose threads that are swallowed and can impact the crop and therefore requiring vet care to empty the crop before starvation occurs.

5.) Get a bird butler. It’s a self-contained closed watering system  for birds that aids in a bird drinking uncontaminated water, therefore reducing bacterial infection. (also available in Canada at The Parrot Shop )

 

6.) Be patient with your bird. When you bring it home, stick to your normal routine of your everyday life. Your bird will eventually have to adjust to it, so why not from the start. A spoiled monster will be just that and you will have regrets or problems because of it. Let your bird adjust to it’s new home at his own pace. It will let you know when it is ready and wanting to interact with you. Some birds go through a honeymoon period where everything is great and this can last a few days to months, then you see a different side to your bird that you may not know how to deal with. So watch and learn from your bird. Get to know it’s language, body and sounds.

 

7.) Baths or showers every day. It keeps the dust down on dusty birds like cockatoos and greys, keeps the odour down, like with amazons, as well as encourages good, healthy preening.

 

8). Proper Lighting and proper sleep for your bird. Lots of natural unfiltered sunlight or proper avian lighting and 12 hours of dark, quiet, uninterrupted sleep at night.

 

9.) Bond with your bird by training. You can clicker train, touch/station train, flight train and other training like tricks and even some behaviour. Use healthy treats like almond pieces but keep reward treats in small pieces so they are quickly eaten and training can continue. Videos are available online to learn from, like Barbara Heidenreich.

 

10.) Love your bird. It may not sing or talk. It may not be able to grow all it’s feathers or it may have a disability. Love it anyway by providing a good, clean and healthy environment, proper diet and care, respect, some of your time every day. Let your bird be a bird and don’t humanize it. Also, don’t forget that birds bite. It’s not a matter of if, but when.

I think I have been taught by the best, aside from a good avian vet. I hope I have learned well and gotten the lessons right so my birds can benefit the most and be happy. The bonding experience just grows with time and is phenomenally rewarding

Diana Uyen

 

 

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