Parrots are generally excellent pets with great personalities. They can be very docile and friendly, demanding of your one-on-one attention. Parrots require a lot of human interaction and companionship.
There are many plants both inside and out that can be toxic for your bird. In their curiosity and boredom, your bird may nibble on your favorite houseplants without your knowledge.
Magabacteriosis is a bacterial infection that can affect some birds, although it is mostly seen in the wild and passed on between other birds. It is known as the “wasting” disease in young birds because it results in extreme weight loss and sometimes death. Keep the bird and its surroundings in proper sanitary conditions for the health of your bird and quarantine it from other birds that may be a carrier of illness or disease.
Parrots can also be affected by food poisoning and bacterial infections just as humans can, due to improper handling and preparation of their diets. That applies to pesticides in birds. Fruits and vegetables need to be thoroughly washed to remove all pesticides.
Psittacosis is a pathogen disease that is zoonotic (can be passed between animals and humans.) Symptoms can be mild to severe with symptoms of coughing, gagging, diarrhea and even a fever.
Polyoma is a virus that is fatal to the young birds. It most often occurs with breeders and affects the healthy baby birds as they are weaned, killing the neonates within 48 hours.
With optimum sanitation and cleanliness, along with proper care and nutrition, your bird can avoid any major health issues. As soon as you get your bird, be sure you have an avian veterinarian to care for it in the event of any health concerns.
The canary is classified as part of the finch family. Their name derives from their notive home known as the Canary Islands. The most common color of the domestic canary is yellow although it can be found in other bright pastel colors. Most canaries generally live up to ten years although a well-cared for bird can surpass those years, with a life expectancy of up to 15 years.
It is extremely difficult to differentiate the sex of a canary unless done by a breeder or veterinarian. When young and in the nest, it is easy to tell the sex of the bird. As you tap the nest with the young birds inside, the female birds do not move, while the male birds will put their heads down with their behinds up in the air.
All canaries are capable of singing although the male bird is more melodious than the female. If a pair of canaries is together, the male will sing less frequently, just to attract his mate. They sing less during molting season.
Although they are rather hardy, there are some health issues with the canary. Most illnesses or diseases can be avoided by feeding your canary a proper nutritious diet, allowing plenty of daily exercises, keeping the cage clean and preventing drafts.
If your canary does get ill, you will notice some weight loss as it also becomes lethargic. Droppings will be loose and changing color, the feathers become ruffled, there will possibly be a lack of appetite, wheezing, unseasonable molting and no singing.
The most common conditions and illnesses that could affect your canary are overgrown beaks and nails, broken wings or legs, ingrown feathers, cuts and open wounds, inappropriate molting due to mishandling or poor diet, weight loss, shock, heat stroke, mites, egg binding, diarrhea and so much more. As soon as you notice any of the symptoms mentioned, contact your veterinarian immediately. You will also need to isolate your bird in a hospital cage, cover the cage except for the front and place a heat lamp or heating pad over the cage to provide a constant temperature of 85 degrees. Remove everything from the cage except to place a food and water dish on the floor and speak with your avian veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.
Although you can purchase parrots at some of the larger pet supply stores, it is important to do your research first about the species of parrot that interest you, and then investigate all possible breeders of that parrot species. The healthiest and tamest, docile parrots come from some of the most reputable breeders that hand feed their birds and handle them often for a better transition with their new owners.
A parrot is not the right type of bird for the first-time bird enthusiast. If you are not experienced in the care of birds, it is not advisable to get a parrot as your first.
Begin with a good quality canary seed mix along with some pellets, placing a dish of both in the cage. As with other birds, the canary also needs and enjoys a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables such as oranges, apples, bananas, canned corn, green peppers, corn on the cob, raw spinach, collard greens, Swiss chard and dandelion greens. You can also choose cooked broccoli, hard boiled eggs, pears, strawberries, peaches, squash, cucumbers and more. Feed in moderation and vary the fresh foods daily for balanced nutrition. Provide an ample supply of fresh water in the cage daily.
The canary needs a large enough cage so that it can get its exercise through flight within that space. A longer rather than taller, narrow cage is best and should be at least 24 inches in length. Be cautious of the spacing between the bars, no more than ½ inches, so that the bird does not get its head stuck. Although there are a variety of unique cages, chose the wire type since it is the easiest of most other varieties to keep clean.
Provide some comfortable perches of various diameters from 3/8 to ¾ inches. Try to find perches that are not completely smooth for more comfort on the canary’s feet but avoid sandpaper perches for these birds. Some canary owners use a blade of sorts to scrape the perches slightly to give that comfortable grip if you are not able to find appropriate perches in the pet stores.
The canary cage can be kept at room temperature since canaries are pretty hardy birds. However, avoid areas with drafts, air conditioning and direct sunlight. Some light is important, indirectly. At night, you will need to cover the cage with special cage covering. The canary needs to rest, even if forced to “sleep” at night and play during daylight. It is not healthy for your canary to be allowed to stay up late and survive with artificial light.
The canary does enjoy some playtime, as long as any of the toys are not in the way of the bird’s flight exercising. You can provide such things as a swing, bells, mirrors and other hanging wooden or acrylic toys for the bird’s pleasure.
Birds need a certain amount of grooming and maintenance for their health. For healthy skin and plumage, they need a shower at least once weekly. You can get your bird used to a fine mist handheld shower hose for a few minutes with lukewarm water. To prevent the loss of your bird and discourage flying, keep the wings clipped. Beaks can get overgrown and deformed without regular maintenance. Many items are available at larger pet supply stores to keep the beak in a healthy state, such as lava or mineral blocks. Finally, the nails must be kept trim, which can be accomplished with some concrete type perches, although they can also be kept maintained with bird nail clippers and styptic powder in the event that the nails bleed during the clipping.
About 3 – 4 times a week, provide your bird with a shallow dish of water for bathing. You can use your own dish or purchase a special bird bath at the pet store. Other than bath time, your bird will preen itself on a regular basis to keep the plumage healthy.
Anyone who considers owning a parrot must do extensive research because these birds are more needy in care and attention than most other pets. Owning a parrot requires a lot of your time, patience, and lifelong commitment on your part, not to mention the parrot and all necessities can be an expense.
The lifespan of a parrot varies from species to species. Life in the wild is not as long as in captivity where a parrot can live anywhere from 20 to 60 years or more when well cared for.
Parrots are very intelligent and will pick up on sounds around them, including words spoken, although some species of parrots speak more fluently than others. The more time you spend teaching the bird to speak, the more words it will pick up. A select few parrots are not excellent talkers but can still be rambunctious and noisy just to alert you of their presence.
Some of the necessities of your new parrot will begin with a cage that is large enough for the species of parrot that you choose to buy or adopt. The cage will need multiple size perches, sturdy food and water dishes, cuttlebones, mineral or lava blocks, chew toys, parrot swing, ropes, chains and various other parrot toys to keep your bird active. Your parrot will also need an external play area since these birds love to spend a great deal of time out of their cages. The play area should have a parrot tower and more parrot toys.
Parrots are extremely messy birds to care for, getting seed and debris not only in the cage but on the floor around the cage and their play area. You may find yourself cleaning up after your parrot several times daily, which is important to avoid bacteria and infection of your bird.