The BIGGER the better!
Birds need their home to provide them with enough room to exercise and spread their wings, they also need extra space for their toys, branches, food and water. Imagine living in the size of a toilet room for your whole entire life, what would you want it to be like? If you can afford it, the best environment for a parrot during the day is outdoors, so building an aviary will provide your bird with lots of room to play.
"Large powder coated cages are great for indoors, so your bird can play inside before bed time and aviaries a great for during the day"
Bird bodies are designed for flying!
It is great to provide a cage or aviary that is big enough for the bird to be able to fly from one end to the other. Also time out of the cage to fly around the room (with windows covered and no cats or dogs!) Wing clipping is something that is performed regularly with pet parrots, the PRC does not recommend this, but if necessary it is important to have an avian vet show you how it should be done properly. A flighted parrot is a happier and healthier parrot! There a bird harnesses available if you want your bird to go outside when it is flighted.
Variety is the spice of life!
A bird's quality of life and health is compromised on just an "all seed" diet. If you feed your bird a seed diet, ensure that the type of seed that is given is appropriate for your species and that a vitamin and mineral supplement is added to the birds water, also include fresh fruit and vegetables daily. Please do research on your particular species, as some should have more fruit in their diets, more vitamin A or more vegetables etc. The PRC recommends a pellet diet, including fresh fruit and vegetables on a daily basis and seed to be given on a weekly occasion as a treat. Pellets provide a full rounded diet for birds that include all the essential vitamins, minerals, fatty oils and protein etc. Remember variety is the key for a pellet diet also.
"Small amount of each vegetable and fruit ensures you are giving your parrot a healthy and enriching mix- and prevents wastage."
Nuts in shell should also be incorporated into an exotic parrots diet such as Amazons and Macaws, as they come from an area of the world where they predominately eat foods high in fat, though Australian Native parrots should only be given nuts as an occasional treat, as they come from areas which are drought predominant, where they eat low fat grass seeds and gum nuts, therefore their body make up can not deal with alot of fat in their diets.
A lot of human food is inappropriate food for a parrot not just because it is unhealthy but also can have lethal side affects including death. Products with sugar and salt are not suitable for parrot consumption. It is important to avoid the following products, as they can be toxic and dangerous if consumed by your pet parrot; Chocolate, Avocado, caffeine, alcohol, rhubarb and onions.
Research is essential to ensure you provide the correct diet for you bird!
Birds love to chew and forage!
In the wild you will see birds foraging and chewing branches, flowers, grass and nuts all day long, so it is an essential part of a bird's day to foraging and chew! Branches and bark perches are essential enrichment tools that help to keep your bird busy and healthy! Toy's are also a big part of keeping birds busy mentally and physically. Remember birds in the wild fly miles a day, visit up to 10 to 20 spots a day and forage, chew and destroy trees that they land in. Birds are intelligent, inquisitive and messy. It is vital that you keep your parrot busy, so as to prevent your parrot from becoming bored and developing behavioural issues. Obviously we cannot provide them in captivity what they would receive from the wild, but we can at least make there lives exciting and fun.
"Pine cones and Eucalyptus nuts are great natural toys."
Bathing and Sunlight:
Birds are wild at heart!
Birds need to bath at least once or twice a week and receive a daily dose of direct sunlight. Bathing and sunlight helps to keep birds feathers in good condition. Some birds that come from rainforest areas should be bathed more regularly then birds that come from drought areas .Sunlight provides the essential vitamin D3, which helps keep your bird healthy. Having a bird near a window does not provide the essential sunlight a bird requires, as the window blocks out the UV rays. Remember birds are designed to live in the wild, just because we keep them in captivity does not mean that they do not require what is naturally essential to keep them healthy.
"Most parrots love to swim and bath if provided with a large water dish."
In the wild I live in a flock!
You will never see a parrot on its own in the wild, it is always with its mate or with a flock of birds of its own species. It is an essential survival tool for birds in the wild to always be around other birds. Because this behaviour is a natural inbuilt instinct, it is important to a bird in their mind to always have a mate or family. This is why parrots become such loved companions because they normally choose one of us to be their mate. The problem with this is that their natural instinct is to be with their mate 24/7. Humans can not possibly provide this amount of time to a parrot, so the PRC always recommends for people to have two companion parrots, so as when the humans cannot be around the birds always have each other. Birds are like bright and demanding children that never grow up. They require lots of mental and physical stimulation with double the amount of love and attention.
"Birds DEMAND lots of attention!"
Birds are wild animals and have special needs!
It is vital that you find a qualified avian vet, who is an expert in keeping parrots happy and healthy. When you purchase a new bird it is important that you take it to the vet to clear them of disease, bacteria and worms. Remember birds natural instinct is that they are prey in the wild, therefore to protect themselves from predators they hide their sickness, so in captivity there instinct will still be to not show signs of illness until it is too late.
This is only a basic outline of a few important issues in owning and keeping a happy healthy parrot. Please look through our website at the FAQ and Educational Articles to gain a greater understanding of parrot needs and requirements.