Care Sheet Parrots and Parakeets

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    CARE SHEET 19 PARROTS AND PARAKEETS General housing/care ã   Make sure bird cage is not in line of a draft between open windows and/or doors ã   Cover cage at night to provide extra security and comfort ã   Keep to routine of bed time, do not keep parrot awake too late at night ã   Fresh water daily for drinking ã   Most parrots enjoy bathing, either in a bigger water bowl, mist spray or sprinkler outside.  Always give the bird the choice to stop or refuse. ã   Do not expose the bird to cigarette smoke – might lead to feather plucking ã   Make house bird friendly – no chewing of electric cords, access to open water, no fumes ã   Place cage where bird will see as much activity in and around the house ã   Watch for possible terrorising from other house pets ã   Provide fresh chewing branches whenever possible – hibiscus, Port Jackson, fruit tree branches, mulberry branches. Nothing poisonous! ã   Provide with toys – pine cones, inner of toilet rolls etc ã   Ensure bird has correct diameter perches – toes must not close around perch ã   Check positioning of perches in cage – must be able to reach food, but not mess in food ã   Teach bird to step on arm or perch to facilitate handling – bird will step up rather than down ã   Behavioural problems – screaming, biting – use positive enforcement. Remember negative enforcement is still attention to a bird. Dangers to birds ã   Bathrooms – filled baths and basins, open toilet bowls(drowning), chemicals ã   Mesh size of cage – heads get stuck, strangulation ã   Overexposure to direct sun – heatstroke ã   Slamming doors – birds can get crushed ã   Electric cords – birds will chew if within reach, electric shock ã   Clipped wings – falling on hard floors – bird may injure breastbone or legs ã   Kitchen fumes – non stick, Teflon , insect sprays, deodorizers, insect pest strips ã   Poisons/Toxins – medicine, antifreeze, drain cleaners, snail bait, rat poison, lead ã   Sharp objects – protruding nails, wires, palm spikes ã   Glass, windows – bird flying into glass result in injuries, death Toys ã   Leather dog chews Swings ã   Ladders Pine cones ã   Inner of toilet rolls Chewing branches ã   Rice cakes Paper cups NUTRITION:  All parrots/parakeets must be offered a varied diet – not just seeds but a combination of grains, pulses, formulated pellets, vegetables (cooked or raw) as well as fruit. The feeding of a seed and nut only diet does not provide the necessary vitamins and minerals most birds need, especially the larger parrots, and only serves as a convenience for the pet owner. The high fat content of seeds and nuts combined with a lack of exercise due to limited space and captivity can cause severe obesity in pet birds and cause serious liver disease as well as cause problems with calcium absorption.    Encouraging a bird to eat a more healthy diet can be challenging, especially if the bird is accustomed to a seed only diet. During the modification period, all dry food should be removed and the vegetables, fruit and pellets must be made available throughout the day. In the late afternoon the bird can be fed the seeds as a treat.  Vegetables can be fed fresh/cooked or otherwise used frozen vegetables and feed after defrosting or cooking like peas, corn, mixed veg.  Vegetables (Frozen vegetables must be defrosted naturally (not microwaved) to room temp) ã   Green beans Bean sprouts ã   Peppers Cauliflower (cooked/raw) ã   Butternut (cooked/raw) Broccoli (cooked/raw) ã   Carrots (cooked/raw) Pumpkin (cooked/raw) ã   Sweet potato (cooked) Potato (cooked, not fried) ã   Mung bean sprouts Peas in the pod/ Peas (Raw/cooked) ã   Corn on the cob (cooked/raw) Beans (cooked/raw)   Fruit ã    Apples Prickly pear ã   Bananas Pomegranate ã   Berries Mango ã   Figs Loquat ã   Grapes Melons ã   Guava Pineapple ã   Plums Peaches ã   Kiwi Papaya/ PawPaw ã   Oranges/naartjies Pears Grains ã   Rice (cooked) ã   Wheat germ Whole gain bread ã   Whole grain pasta (cooked) Whole grain cereals Proteins ã   Cooked beans/pulses ã   Hard-boiled egg ã   Cooked chicken Treats (limit to twice a week) ã   Provitas/ Piece of toast with peanut butter ã   One 1cm block of cheese once a week ã   Nuts in the shell (limit to one a day only) ã   Raw Peanuts Marie Biscuit ã   NikNaks Rice cakes/Corn cakes    Sunflower must be limited and fed after offering fresh food. This will teach the bird to eat the other food as well and not overindulge on just sunflower which is only providing oil and no real feeding value. Commercial parrot seed mix diets does not provide in the necessary diet requirements. Most of the ingredients are only added for bulk. Extras Manufactured parrot pellets Bread Cooked rice Cooked yellow whole mealies Boiled egg Cooked chicken/chicken bones/chicken necks (Do not feed raw meat!) Harmful foods ã    Avocado – highly toxic to birds, all parts ã   Fatty foods – animal fats and dairy products must be avoided (red meat/butter/fried foods) ã   Milk – birds cannot digest lactose ã   Sugar and salt – food with large amounts of these must be avoided ã   Sweets/chocolate – must be limited to absolute minimum due to sugar content ã   Caffeine, alcohol, nicotine – these can be toxic to birds and must be avoided ã    Artificial sweeteners, flavours, colours and preservatives – any of these may build up in a bird’s liver or kidneys and lead to disease or death ã   Toxic plants like oleander, certain Eucalyptus, cedars Non-toxic plants  Acacia Guava Wandering Jew Rose Bamboo Hen and chickens Willows Papaya Citrus Impatiens Yucca Palms Dandelion Pine Hibiscus Gardenia Thistle Port Jackson Health Signs of health in birds:   ã   Tight covering of feathers, smooth and glossy ã   Eyes clear, no discharge, swelling or scales ã   Nostril clean, no discharge, feathers dry around nostrils ã   When asleep, resting on one leg ã   Breastbone – fleshy, meaty parts both sides of bone firm and plump ã   Feathers around vent clean ã   Normal preening Signs of illness in birds : ã   No preening, excessive preening ã   Discharge , swelling, inflammation of eyes, nostrils and ears ã   Sneezing, wheezing open-mouth breathing and excessive shaking of the head ã   Inability to perch – resting on bottom of cage, holding on to perch with both feet ã   Reduced or absent appetite ã   Lethargic, sleepiness, fluffed-up feathers ã   Severe weight loss, protruding breastbone ã   Bleeding, sores, lumps ã    Vomiting ã   Change (not diet related) in colour and consistency of droppings    General: ã   Clipping of flight feathers – depends on bird and owner – consult an experienced veterinarian  – inexperienced cutting may lead to bleeding ã   De-worming – routine – also dependant on exposure to infestation ã   Supplements – bird vitamins – dependant on diet as well ã   Trimming of beak and nails if needed – chew branches and correct perches will avoid overgrowth, otherwise consult veterinarian ã   Bleeding feathers – should be pulled to stop bleeding Have plans in place for holiday times for a responsible person to look after the bird(s) as well as for the future, parrots can live to be anything from 20 to 80 years old. Parrot Care Outdoors - Requirements  1 Company of own kind or compatible species 2 Size - must provide enough space to fly from one end to another, stretch wings 3 Shelter – closed off area of at least a roof and two sides, rain and wind protected, shade, but must still get sun for health 4 Placement – neighbours for noise from parrots, noise to parrots from factories, fumes, etc 5 Structure material – non toxic wood/poles or steel 6 Wire – mesh holes must be small enough to prevent escape, head from getting stuck, thickness of mesh according to species of parrot 7 Ground substrate – either soil/sand or cement for easy cleaning 8 Furniture – perch thickness according to species requirements, placed for optimum use of flight, stepping perches for non flyers ã   Non toxic plants ã   Hanging toys / pine cones / stones / swings / chewing branches ã   Nest boxes ã   Small pond with safe access 9 Sprinklers on roof – no access for birds to prevent chewing holes 10 Rodent control – prevent rodents from digging under fences 11 Safety from predators/cats/dogs 12 Double door / Safety door / secure lockable latch 13 Regular cleaning routine/disinfectant used 14 Secure food /water bowls – location away from droppings 15 Correct diet
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