Planned Parronthood: Parrot Care Quiz
Congratulations! If you have decided that you would be a good candidate for adoption by a parrot, you are in luck! If you pass this quiz you will be able to join the ranks of such notables as Elizabeth Hurley (a Blue Frontal Amazon named "Ping-Pong"), John F. Kennedy (a Canary named "Bluebell" and a Parakeet named "Marybelle") and Hillary Swank (an African Grey named "Seuss") and many more who were owned by parrots. This comprehensive quiz will not only determine your fitness for "parrothood," but will teach you a thing or two about keeping your new owners happy and healthy along the way. Pass this quiz, and the chances are good that you've planned parront care out you and your parrot owner will enjoy many years of fun and companionship together.
1. Picking the kind of parrot you like should be determined solely on what you like.
False. It will be said many times throughout this article and you will hear it often in other places, but birds love company. This means you as well as other "bird friends." If you decide to buy a bird, seriously consider buying more than one. Birds love to keep each other company, and many of their best antics will involved one interacting with the other. Having more than one bird in a cage is an open invitation for fun. If you buy your birds at different times or from different sources, you should keep them separated for a short time before you introduce them. Birds can carry contagious diseases and organisms. For the welfare of all your birds, make sure that all of them are and stay healthy.
2. Parrots are solitary creatures and as such should be left alone.
False. Experts agree that before you select any type of bird as a pet that you carefully consider not only the type of bird you would like, but the level and kind of attention that you are willing to provide. At the very least, all birds need and like some kind of attention, besides the usual care and feeding. What most people don't realize is that being a bird owner can pay rich rewards, but in order to get those rewards, you must be willing to invest some time with you bird. You need to get to know him, his likes and dislikes, as well as learn his capabilities. This calls for not only studying about your bird, but learning from him what he can do. If you want a pet that don't care about your attention, buy a cat.
3. Housing a parrot is easy. You should make it feel secure in a cage that is just big enough for them to move.
False. Always purchase the largest and best built cage you can afford, considering the size of your bird. Obviously, if your bird is larger, such as in the case of a macaw or something similar, or if you want to plan on having more than one bird, you will need something larger. For smaller birds, something considerably smaller would be fine. Whatever cage you buy it should be large enough to allow your bird to stretch its wings and even fly a little. Whether the bird you select is large or small, it is important that you give it some time out of its case, after all, it's a bird, and birds love being free and able to fly and explore. A typical cage for small birds is about 25 by 25 inches. The bars should be spaced about .4 inches apart to prevent an escape. Most experts recommend a metal cage since most birds love to chew and can easily chew through cages that are made of wood or a similar material. Canaries and finches like cages that are longer as opposed to taller. At the same time, parakeets and cockatiels like cages that are taller and narrower. These also like things inside their cage that they can stand and swing on. Perches should be placed at different heights inside the cage, and at least one that is level with the food and water dispensers.
4. A parrot's cage should be placed outside where there is plenty of fresh air and breezes.
False. Place the cage in a room that is lit and free of drafts. Birds love to be where the action is, but out of direct sunlight and off the floor. Keep your bird and his cage out of the kitchen, however, since birds are very sensitive to certain fumes, especially those emitted by self-cleaning ovens and certain coatings that are used on cookware. Further, a bird can be killed in an overheated room such as a kitchen. Birds can be terrible about chewing--anything and everything. Your furniture is a prime target, but so are cords, wires, and even walls. When you do allow your bird from his cage, it's usually a good idea to cover these items. It's also a good idea to keep room fresheners and candles out of any room where your bird might be loose.
5. Parrots love to eat practically anything. As a result, you should feed them lots of table-scrapes.
False. Seed is the traditional staple for birds, although birds do enjoy a variety of fruits and vegetables too. Experts also agree that birds that are fed pelleted food are in line for en excellent nutrition source. Commercially-available seed mixtures are also excellent sources of nutrition, but are also on the messy side. Ideally, you should feed your bird a high-quality pelleted food that is specifically made for your species of bird. Dark, leafy vegetables, carrots, broccoli, and fruits are excellent sources of important vitamins. Fruits that your bird naturally craves are apples, pears, melon, and kiwi. Take away any fruits and vegetables that your bird has not eaten after a few hours, and never feed him avocado, cherry pits, apple seeds, or rhubarb. Try to keep your bird's diet no greater than 50 percent seed and nuts. Other "people food" is also great. These include cheeses, boiled egg, and a powdered vitamin supplement. Birds also love yogurt.
6. Parrots can be very inexpensive pets to have. It all depends on the type of bird you have as well as how well you accommodate him.
False. Buying the bird is the cheapest part of owning a pet bird. Parrots need a roomy cage, a premium diet, a constant rotation of toys and bird stands to get out and socialize with the family if you want them to be happy, healthy and fun to be around.
7. Regardless of the type of parrot you own, they all like and should be allowed out of their cages a lot.
True. You wouldn't like it much if you had to spend all day every day being cooped up in your house. Your bird is the same way, each enjoying some time outside of their cage every day. Under most circumstances, an hour spent outside of their cage every day is good but the more time your bird spends out and about socialzing with the family, the better.ALWAYS supervise your pet bird when it is out of the cage. Birds can be accident prone and other animals find them to be attractive toys or treats. Make sure that if your bird is properly trained, that you let him out into a room that is safe and enclosed. There's a good chance that your bird will even want to spend their time outside of their cage on your shoulder to enjoy a little "quality time." Birds love people, and it would only stand to reason that he will want to spend time with you. Any room that you release your bird into should have all doors and windows closed, and if there are windows or mirrors, they should be covered to keep your bird from flying into them. Smaller birds such as finches and canaries should not be allowed outside of their cage, but their exercise time should be provided by putting toys and other recreational items in their cage. Parakeets and cockatiels also like toys with mirrors and bells, colorful wheels, and other things they can hang on and make noise with. They also like hanging swings and ladders that help them exercise. Finches and canaries should not be handled and should not be allowed out of their cages.
8. The best way to train your bird is to do it yourself.
True. The first step in training almost any bird is to hand train them. This can be started within a few days after you get your pet home and have a few days to get acquainted. Open the door of your bird's cage and stick your hand inside while holding some kind of treat out to them. This can be a seed, a small piece of fruit, or a piece of popcorn. Talk to your pet calmly, softly, and reassuringly in order to gain his trust. Then, gently press your finger against his chest, which will cause him to jump onto your finger. If your bird is too large for this, try using a dowel, perch, or a small stick for him to grasp onto. Get Clicker Training For Birds For step by step tips on how to train your bird to prevent many unwanted behaviors.
9. Caring for your parrot is a pretty easy task. A lot of it is common sense.
False. While caring for your bird may seem like a pretty easy task of cleaning the cage, spending time with them and giving them a cage, parrots are exotic pets that need special diets and consistent training. Their cage should be cleaned frequently, if not every day. The level of care depends largely on how messy your bird is. Some birds are very active, and love to make messes by spilling seed, water and other things on the floor of their cage. All that mess is a recipe for bacteria and fungus growth. For this type of bird, obviously, they will need to be cleaned more often. Once a month or so, clean the entire cage with a diluted disinfectant solution. When you're done, rinse it thoroughly and make sure it is dry before you allow your bird to return to it.
Your bird needs a wide variety of well-balanced pellets, sprouts, veggies, fruits, nuts and grains. Malnutrition is the leading cause of early parrot death. Your bird needs lots of exercise and clean fresh air. After all, they're birds. Birds were made for flight, with wings and light, hollow bones. They are strong but fragile. Birds also have specialized respiratory systems that allow them to use air differently than we do. Avoid cleaning items with odors or in aerosol cans. Birds are natural prey, so other household pets may think of them as a treat or toy. Always supervise your pet when it is out of the cage. It's also a good idea to trim beaks and toenails. The beaks of some birds will never need smoothing, but others will develop a crack on their beak and it will need to be smoothed by a veterinarian since there is often a blood vessel and nerve running through it and cutting this can cause problems. Misshaping it can also cause problems with their bites. Nails should also be trimmed from time to time, but this is a procedure that can usually be done at home, but you should learn how to do it from a specialist. Anther tip: your bird loves to bathe, although admittedly not in the same manner as you do. In your bird's case, place a small bowl of water in the bottom of his cage and step back. Before long, your bird will be in the water getting his plumage clean. You might want to think about doing this immediately before you change the paper on the bottom of the cage, since bathtime is usually another excuse for your bird to make a mess.
10. A bird is like any other pet, if you have doubts about his health, take him to a veterinarian to have him checked.
True. To make sure that your bird remains healthy you should find a veterinarian who specializes in aviary care. these types of veterinarians aren't very common, especially when compared to those who most often treat other types of animals, such as dogs and cats. To find one that specializes in birds, check with the Association of Avian Veterinarians' website. If none is available, you should call a veterinarian to find out if they have experience working with birds. If so, try to take your bird in for a physical review once a year to make sure they are healt
A sick bird is no bargain. If your bird shows any signs of disease or illness, have it checked out immediately. It he appears to be droopy, ruffled, tired, or hides his head under his wing, chances are that he is ill. If he sneezes or coughs, or has discharge from his nostrils, or droppings on his tail, these could be signs of a problem. If your bird is healthy, he will have bright eyes, clean and shiny feathers, a good appetite, and plenty of energy. Plainly stated, healthy birds eat a lot and are very active. A good sign that a bird is healthy before you buy it is if he comes from a reputable breeder. Unfortunately, birds arenot good about showing you if they are ill. A bird that is not feeling well will show certain indicators such as weight loss or gain, fluffing out his feathers, or sitting quietly on the floor of his cage, often with his eyes closed. You can also tell if his dropping show a difference in color, frequency, and consistency. Above all, when in doubt, check it out. If you got this far in your planned parrothood quiz you probably expected some kind of grading matrix, but there is none. Suffice it to say that if you completed with a good feeling that you would make a good parrot adoptee, you probably would. Otherwise, buy a cat, but not as a companion to your bird.
Diane Burroughs, LCSW
|Mile high author and feather picking expert. Devoted animal lover with a penchant for birds and a licensed behavior specialist.|
- Diane Burroughs, LCSW