What should I feed my bird?

Proper nutrition is key to a long life, resistant to disease, and an overall happy bird!  That is easier said than done however.  It has been estimated that 80% to 85% of the health problems seen in caged birds are caused, in part, by poor nutrition.  Because nuts and seeds are high in fat and lower in protein, vitamins and minerals, an all seed diet is not a complete diet for any bird.  Then everyone has an opinion on the pellet food.  One size does not fit all.  So you must do the research for your bird.  Oh, and by the way, the accepted ideals today may not be the accepted ideals a year from now so you have to keep an open mind and an eye on new developments in research and development for avian care.  We are constantly learning so we will try to help you keep up to date.  Here are a few links we think might help:

What kind of cage does a parrot need?

As with any bird, buy the biggest bird cage possible that you can accommodate and afford for your parrot. Macaw parrots, as the largest parrot species, need super-sized bird cages. Start with the minimum of 2 1/2 feet wide by 4 feet deep by 5 feet tall. Bigger bird cages will allow for more exercise and, consequently, a healthier parrot. Big macaw parrot beaks mean tough material is necessary to prevent pet bird cage destruction or break-outs.

How do I train my bird?

Parrots are intelligent birds that can learn behaviors and tricks. Experts recommend watching your pet parrot and noticing what motions and behaviors it exhibits on its own. Work with these movements and incorporate them into tricks by introducing cues and offering rewards. For example, a parrot that often lifts its foot would be a good candidate to learn the wave or shaking hands, and one that likes to bob its head up and down could be encouraged to “Nod Yes.” When you see your pet parrot do this, say, “Nod your head yes,” and hand it a treat or offer a head scratch. Eventually, the simple cue “Nod Yes” can prompt the bird to move its head up and down to get the reward. Mastering these simple tricks can lead the way to more complex ones.

How can I keep my bird happy?

Larger parrots, such as macaws, enjoy using their large beaks to manipulate and shred. Wood toys help these birds keep their beaks in good shape. Climbing ropes and hammocks offer lots of fun — so do stainless-steel puzzle toys and foraging toys. For the bird cage, get bird-appropriate perches. Thick, durable woods are necessary for any large parrot perch to have an extended life. Big beaks and feet like to chew and climb, so offer multiple perches — including one especially for manipulating and shredding. Of course the best enrichment is lots of playtime with family.

How can I tell if my bird is sick?

Keep an eye on your parrot to detect any differences in behavior or habits. If changes happen, without cause, closely watch your bird and take it to your avian veterinarian. A sick bird might also have poor feathering and slouching posture. Make sure your bird’s eyes and nares are clear and unswollen.

What can I do about bad behavior?

Most behavior problems arise out of insufficient attention. Make sure to give your bird ample interaction and out-of-cage time to avoid feather destructive behavior and excessive screaming. Offer wood toys to chew so your parrot doesn’t chew inappropriate items in your house. If your bird begins to exhibit unwanted aggression, try retraining it with neutral room techniques. A good place to read about and get help with behavior issues is Lara Joseph. You can also call us any time for advice.