Bird Care & Resources(Some Topics On This Page Are Still Under Construction)
SWEAR's Philosophy on Parrot Care...
Parrots are flock animals and require the safety and security of a flock.
This doesn’t mean you need a whole flock of birds, but you need to make yourself your bird’s flock. Parrots are hard-wired to only be comfortable and feel safe when they are surrounded by their flock. In the wild, a bird alone has little chance of survival. In captivity, humans must become their bird's flock. Happy parrots must be allowed to spend time with their flock outside of their cage for several hours daily. Sitting with or near you, eating when you eat, these are simple bonding steps you can take to solidify to your bird that you are part of their 'flock'.
Parrots are highly intelligent, sensitive creatures.
Parrots require a stimulating environment with many opportunities to shred, forage, climb and play. They need an environment that is large enough for them to move freely and spread their wings. They must be situated in an area of the house where they are part of the daily activities of the family (helping to make them feel like part of a flock). A relationship with a parrot is like a savings account. Each time you do something that increases your value in the eyes of the bird (treats, showers, playtime) you are making a deposit. Each time you do something that destroys trust (forcing a behavior, toweling, medicating) you are making a withdrawal. It is crucial to keep deposits higher than withdrawals!
What about Breeding or Buying a Parrot Instead?
Because parrots have human life-spans in many cases, there is a rising crisis of too many birds and not enough homes. Bird mills, just like puppy mills, keep churning out hand-raised babies, and there are already too many birds for the limited number of homes available. If breeding became illegal now, our grandchildren would still be dealing with the birds in existence today. Purchasing a bird from a pet store or breeder supports the continuation of breeding captive parrots. Breeding is NOT saving or promoting the saving of a particular parrot species. The birds bred in capitivity can never be returned to the wild. Breeding for profit is not protecting a species, it's simply breeding for profit. Unfortunately, it will continue until people stop buying birds from commercial sources and instead, support the rescue and rehoming of birds already in capitivity.
Many common household situations can be extremely dangerous for birds. From things as simple as a burning candle, a ceiling fan or the types of cookware you use in your home. All can present life threatening dangers for the bird in your home. Please read more specific information on the dangers in the household.
As a prey species, parrots are hard-wired to hide signs of illness, often until it is too late to treat them. It is crucial that all parrots have annual check-ups with an avian certified veterinarian, including a complete blood panel to check for such things as liver & organ function. If you bring a new bird into your flock, from somewhere other than a rescue that vet checks AND quarantine's, be sure to keep them separate for 25-30 days. Have your avian vet check them over before integrating them into the area where your existing birds live.
Illness in Parrots
When fostering for SWEAR, the bird in your care has already been seen by an avian experienced veterinarian and many times has already been through a quarantine period (unless you have them during quarantine). SWEAR is responsible for any continued medical costs for fostered birds until they are permanently adopted.
Toys & Playtime
Playtime and toys are not just something you provide for your bird once in a while. When you foster, the bird will come to you with appropriate toys, but it is your responsibility as the foster home to buy them new toys as needed.
Their busy minds need tasks and stimulation. It might be an empty cereal box with scrunched up tissue paper and a treat inside, or it's hanging out with you while you go outside to enjoy the sunset (make sure their wings are clipped or they're wearing a harness!).
Your bird will enjoy new things and experiences to enrich his/her daily life. Sitting in an empty cage day-in and day-out with nothing to do is no way for a bird to spend their life.
Even if you're bird is not handlable, you can still provide them with toys and experiences to make their life more enjoyable. Toys can be hanging inside their cage as well as on the outside of their cage. Try putting small parrot safe toys in a stainless steel or ceramic dish that sits on the floor in their cage and fill it with fun things to play with. Hide their food/treats inside their toy box, wrapped in a coffee filter or tissue paper, or put it in a small cardboard box. Your bird will enjoy figuring out how to get inside at the yummy treat, it stimulates their mind and keeps them busy and happy. Be sure to offer toys of various materials, not only acrylic, not only wood, not only plastic or paper but a combination of several materials to help keep your bird entertained.
Always remember birds in the wild spend their days foraging, flying great distances looking for food and playing with their flock members.
Try researching online how the species of bird you hope to foster or adopt lives in the wild. Always check the page you are getting information from has been updated within the past several years and that you are not reading outdated reference material!
While fostering for SWEAR, we will get you started with toys for your foster bird but it is your responsibility to provide for the continuing needs of the bird while in your care (with the exception of medical care which is covered by SWEAR).
SWEAR sells toys to help support the Rescue. Check for upcoming events on our
Facebook page or give us a call
if you need toys for your bird(s).
The long-standing myth that parrots should eat bird seed continues to compromise the health of companion birds everywhere.
Just because you see it for sale in the bird section of your pet store, and it has a picture of your bird species on the front, doesn't mean you should be feeding it to your bird.