Parrot Care 101

important things to remember about your bird....


Birds are not domesticated animals. Domestic animals are animals that have been bred for hundreds of years to live in the care of humans and are distinct from their wild ancestors. Birds commonly kept as pets are no different than their wild relatives -they are the native species of other countries.

Chlamydiosis (psittacosis) and avian tuberculosis can be transmitted through the air from birds to hu­mans. These diseases can cause significant illness, especially for people with compromised  immune sys­tems. Birds also continually shed "feather dust" -particles of feathers, which may aggravate asthma/bronchitis in some people. Many people in homes with pet birds have HEPA-type air filters in rooms with birds to control aller­gies from bird dander.  Consider investing in a good filter to help keep the bird dust down in your home.  Particularly if you have a Cockatoo or African Grey which are both birds that produce DUST.

Parrots, including lovebirds, parakeets, and cockatiels, are noisy and messy, and can be destructive. Vocalizing (squawking, chirping, talking) is an important part of any parrot's social communication.

Birds eat continually throughout the day, dropping and discarding bits of food everywhere. Birds are instinctively programmed to chew and shred wood, whether it is a perch, toy, picture frame, or furniture. Birds will also chew electrical cords, paper, and curtains.

All parrots have long life spans. Depending on species, they may live 20 to 50 years or more. Caring for a bird is often a life-long responsibility.

Parrots are extremely social animals, and have been compared to human toddlers in the needs of their emotional and social lives but, unlike children, they never grow up.

Birds are active and inquisitive and must be provided with ample room to move about and play. An in­ door or sheltered outdoor aviary or a flight safe room (windows covered, no cats/dogs, no ceiling fans, etc.) that will allow the bird(s) to fly is good for exercise. Birds with clipped wings can get exercise by climb­ ing, swinging, and flapping, ifprovided with ample space, toys, and climbing structures.

7) All birds need a varied diet, not seeds but pellets, grains, beans, vegetables and fruits too.

 Light exposure and sleep are very important to birds. Birds need at least 4 hours exposure to UVA and UVB rays from sunlight or full-spectrum  lighting to provide them with vitamin D, which promotes vitamin A absorption, critical for upper respiratory health. Birds must have a minimum of 10 hours of sleep each night. (preferably 12-14)  (Research information online about Vitamin A deficiency in captive parrots.  Try going to www.scholar.google.com for your search and be sure to look at the date the information was published)

Birds are very sensitive to air quality. Unlike humans, a bird replaces nearly all the air in its lungs and air sacs with each breath. Because no residual air is left in the lungs during the ventilation cycle of birds, they transfer more oxygen and more pollutants during each breath. Birds should never be exposed to tobacco smoke, chemical fumes (hairspray, cleaners, candles and scented electric fresheners etc.), or Teflon coated materials. Exposure to some toxic inhalants can cause immediate death; chronic exposure to other toxic can lead to premature death.  A good rule of thumb, if you can smell it, it can potentially suffocate or harm your bird.

Birds need veterinary care from a veterinarian that specializes in birds. Proper vet care for birds can be expensive. Your vet will probably recommend  a complete examination and diagnostic tests when you first acquire your bird; in addition, she/he will probably recommend annual well-bird examinations. Smaller birds require the same vet care and regular examinations.  A vet visit for your bird cost the same as for any other animal.  There are NO CERTIFIED AVIAN VETERINARIANS IN THE LAS VEGAS VALLEYm there are only  vets that 'see birds'.  Contact SWEAR for Vet recommendations.