4 Mistakes Every First-Time Parrot Owner Should Avoid

14 December 2015
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If you are a first-time parrot owner, you may be aware of the basics of parrot care. Caring for your newly acquired avian companion requires a different standard than dog or cat care, however. If you want to keep your feathered friend out of the emergency veterinary hospital, educate yourself of its specific needs and requirements. Finally, for your parrot's health, safety and all-around well-being, avoid these common mistakes:

#1: Allowing Your Parrot to Perch on Your Shoulder When Going Outdoors

Even if your parrot's wings are clipped, strange sights and sounds are enough to startle a bird, causing it to flutter and fall to the ground. If you choose not to clip your parrot's wings, this becomes even more of a hazard. When your pet becomes startled or excited, it may fly off, become disoriented and be lost forever. If you must venture outdoors with your feathered friend, confine it to a secure travel cage of some sort.

#2: Feeding a Diet Comprised Mainly of Seeds

Illness due to a poor diet is one of the most common reasons a pet bird will end up treated at an animal hospital. If you feed your parrot mostly sunflower and millet seeds, malnutrition is a genuine threat. Not only is the fat content in sunflower seeds high, seeds are severely lacking in essential nutrients and protein avian pets need.

Ask your vet to recommend a balanced commercial pelleted diet for your bird. Pellets designed for your parrot species will provide essential vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and protein your bird needs for good health. In addition, you should offer your parrot fresh greens and fruits each day. For proper feather health during a molt, add a portion of hard boiled egg once twice a week for protein.

#3: Not Providing Adequate Stimulation and Exercise

Being highly intelligent and sociable creatures, parrots need mental stimulation and physical exercise on a daily basis. As a responsible parrot owner, your need to provide a cage that is large enough for your parrot to stretch its wings and move around, as well as some type of climbing stand or play gym outside of the cage.

Not allowing your parrot adequate time out of the cage for activity may result in health problems for your pet. Lack of exercise may lead to obesity, and boredom may cause self-destructive behaviors such as feather picking. Bored parrots may also screech and become very noisy as well.

Provide several safe toys designed for parrots and rotate them on a regular basis. This will provide stimulation for your pet and prevent boredom or negative behaviors. Besides placing a toy or two inside the cage, your parrot should have access to toys outside its cage. Many play gyms and stands include hooks for attaching toys, as well as attached food and water cups.

Depending upon the species of your parrot and the space you have for placement of a stand or play gym, you might choose a tabletop model or a freestanding "tree" type stand with various sized perches. Hanging play gyms bolt to the ceiling and are ideal for rooms with limited space. As a general rule, always supervise your bird during time outside of its cage.

#4: Using Toxic Chemicals in the Vicinity of Your Parrot

The avian respiratory system is very sensitive. Did you know that fumes from overheated non-stick coatings can make a pet bird extremely ill or even cause death? For this reason, it's best to discard those non-stick household products and choose an alternative such as stainless steel. Additionally, don't burn scented candles in your bird's room or use air fresheners or plug-in deodorizers. Using any of the above in the vicinity of your parrot may cause serious health problems.

Play it safe and don't risk your parrot's health or endanger its life. With a little forethought and proper care, you may enjoy many years of companionship with your feathered friend. Consider contacting a vet to find more tips.