Caring for Parrotlets
A healthy diet is crucial to raising and keeping a happy and fit parrotlet. While a well balanced seed diet is very important, fresh foods are equally critical. This combination insures that your parrotlet is getting essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
Parrotlet Diet: Busy Parrotlet's have a huge appetite for their size. Many breeders feed parrotlet's a mixture of basic cockatiel seed, gourmet cockatiel seed mix, and premium pellets such as Zupreem or Harrison ’s Bird Food. Volkman Avian Science Parrotlet Seed is another popular parrotlet food. Parrotlets are thought to do best on a seed diet.
Fresh Foods or Human Table Food
|Cooked pasta (regular and whole wheat), cooked rice (white, brown, and wild), and pita bread.|
||Fruit: tomato, apple, crab apple, plum, dinosaur plum, nectarine, peach, pear, cantaloupe, watermelon, dragon fruit, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries, kiwi (regular and gold), orange, tangerine, grapefruit. Goldenfeast Tropical Fruit Bits is a dried fruit mix of 15 nutritious fruits.|
|Vegetables: carrots, peas, pea pods, lettuce, baby bok choi, peppers (green, red, yellow, orange, white, and purple), potato, cucumber, celery, zucchini, cooked corn, cabbage, beans, cauliflower|
|Other Fresh Foods: sprouted seeds, chickweed, dandelion leaves (make sure that these have not been treated with herbicides, pesticides, or chemicals) Goldenfeast Gardenflora Blend provides vitamin rich greens to your parrotlet's diet.|
Dried Foods: dried fruits and vegetables, raisins, dried blueberries.
Treats: millet (a stick once a week) and the occasional honey stick.
Supplements: Cuttlebone, mineral block, and grit are a must. Most people believe that since these birds shell their own seeds that they do not need grit to properly digest their food. This is false. Vitamin and mineral powder may be added to fresh foods in limited quantities if you are not giving fresh fruit and vegetables on a daily basis.
Clean, fresh drinking water should be available at all times. Some parrotlet's tend to dirty the water quickly so you may need to change it several times a day.
Water in a bathing dish may be provided daily. An alternative to this is a bird mister. With such tiny bodies, different parrotlets have different bathing preferences. Bathing cleans dust and debris off of feathers and moisturizes the skin.
The minimum recommended cage size for a pet parrotlet or parakeet is 19 inches wide x 19 inches long x 26 inches high. It should have horizontal bars spaced half an inch apart. Our pets are in cages this size and our breeders are in cages either 4' x 2' x 2' or 3' x 18" x 18". The breeder cages are made from 1/2 inch x 1 inch galvanized wire. All cages have wire bottoms or grates with paper several inches underneath.
Shop Parrotlet Specific Parrot Supplies Here
• Parrotlets enjoy swings and boings. The swing can be either plain or beaded.
• Other favorite bird toys are Beads and Mirrors, ring small natural fiber toys, ladders, and small bird toy with a bell.
• Table top bird stands such as the New Birdie Basketball Bird Gym are favorite parrotlet stand.
PERCHES FOR PARROTLETS
• Provide your parrotlet with a variety of small perches made from different materials and offering variable diameters. Our favorites are the Safety Pumice Perch in extra-small, the mini Sandy Perch and Natural Branch Perches in cockatiel size.
PARROTLETS NEED PLAY TIME OUTSIDE OF THE CAGE
Supervised play time outside of the cage is recommended for parrotlet's They are rambunctious and playful little birds who need room to exercise but we’ve found that dogs and cats are fascinated with them. They are also so small that it is easy to step on them or sit on them.
• Because parrotlets are curious and territorial they tend instigate aggression toward larger birds, cats and dogs. Parrotlet's must be closely supervised any time they are out of the cage.
• Do not take your parrotlet outside, even if it has its wings trimmed. Parrotlets are so small that they can easily gain lift in any breeze. Bird Diapers in the petite size are sized for parrotlet's Bird Diapers can purchased with an optional leash to safely take your parrotlet outside. (Please double check for a good fit prior to taking your parrotlet outside)
• Until you are confident that your bird is mature enough and familiar enough with their surroundings, they need to be wing clipped (see bird maintenance section). This prevents them from gaining enough speed or height to hurt themselves, but still allows them limited flight to move about safely and to gain agility and confidence.
GROOMING YOUR PARROTLET
• Wing clipping is necessary if you plan to let your parrotlet out of its cage. When we first get a bird, we clip all of it's flight feathers on one wing just below the location of the blood/pin feathers (you don't want to make your bird bleed). There are many other methods of wing clipping, but after thousands of birds, we find that this method is the most effective. They can not fly and hurt themselves, but they can still safely hop around in their cage and fly short distances at low altitudes.
• Toenail clipping or beak trimming is only needed if your bird is not very active and does not wear them down on their own. Tiny baby fingernail clippers allow you to trim just the tip, thereby avoiding bleeding. If you have to give them a trim, cut just below the blood vessel so that to avoid painful bleeding. Areas that contain blood vessels appear darker and less transparent than the areas without blood vessels. If you do not feel comfortable doing this yourself (or trimming the wings) there are a number of places which offer this service. You can also use a simple fingernail file to simply file the tip down.
• Parrotlets are curious, full of energy and playful. Parrotlet's need a wide range of toys and activities to keep from getting bored and use pent up energy. Bird training skills, such as Clicker Training For Birds, are important for maintaining pet quality social skills in parrotlet's.
• Parrotlets diverse of personalities, from shy and reserved to outgoing and bratty but as a rule they are active playful pets.
• Parrotlets can have a territorial little bite, but most can be trained not to bite their owner.