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Parrot Care

So You Want A Grey – Are You Sure?

January 13th, 2011

Just wanted to put a few thoughts down for anybody that is looking around trying to decide whether to buy an African Grey or not.  If you can TRUTHFULLY answer yes to these questions then go ahead and look for the Grey of your dreams.  If there is one TRUTHFUL “No” amongst your answers then do a bit more research, ask a few more questions and then try again.

African Grey

1.  Are you prepared to have a permanent toddler in your home for the next 50+ years?  

2.  Parrots make a mess, an endless mess on walls, floors even ceilings!  Can you cope with mess?

3.  Noise.  Parrots make a noise, they scream, whistle, shout make the same noise over and over and over again until it could drive you insane.  Are you prepared for perpetual noise?

4.  Cost. Parrots cost a fortune, not just the initial outlay but ongoing, toys (parrots destroy toys, that’s on their job description) food, the best food is pellets which can be expensive, around £30 every six weeks for one parrot. Plus of course all the other things, veg, fruit, pulses, vet bills, insurance, carry cage.

5.  Space.  Do you really have the space for a parrot?  I mean….REALLY have the space, don’t just say “Yeah, it will fit in that corner over there!”  they should have a big cage, the bigger the better, then they like to fly around as well, out of cage time means they need space to play, space to have toys out and play, space to just be a parrot.

6.  Do you want a parrot that can talk?  If you answer yes to this one, what about if it doesn’t talk?  What if all it did in the way of noise was to imitate your microwave all day, shout and scream at it’s toys, didn’t want to talk to you at all…..would you still love it?

7.  Are you prepared for your parrot to not like you?  Greys are like people, they have their likes and dislikes, maybe you like the parrot, but what if it doesn’t like you?  What if it loves your partner?  Would you still want it?

8.  Holidays. Can you make arrangements for your parrot to be looked after properly when you have to go away?  

9.  Time.  Do you really have time to look after a parrot?  They need an awful lot of attention, just like a child, they like to play and interact with people.  They are not an ornament to be kept in a cage 24/7 with food and water added so that it eases your conscience.

10.  Other pets.  Do you have other pets, a cat or a dog?  Do you have the space to let the parrot out and shut away your cat or dog while the parrot plays for an hour or two?  Do you have the time to dedicate to each of your pets?

11.  If you have answered yes to all of the above questions, then ok, you might be ready to have a parrot, but if there is the slightest doubt in your mind, stop and think it over again.  Do you really want a parrot to love and care for, probably for the rest of your life, or do you just see other parrots sitting, talking, playing and you think you want one like that?

There are far too many parrots on the rehoming roundabout, people buy them with all the best intentions and then the novelty wears off, or they come up with an excuse to pass them on.  Sometimes of course it is inevitable that a parrot has to find a new home, but I firmly believe that most obstacles are surmountable and usually with a bit of compromise here and there, there is no need for rehoming. Would you get rid of your child because the novelty wears off, it makes a noise, it’s expensive, it makes a mess, you have to make arrangements for holidays?

Just think over and over again, do you really want this sort of committment.

Written by Pat (Plukie –  Moderator on the forum)


Parrot Pellet Comparison Made Easy!

October 1st, 2010

Recommended Pellets

The ingredients:

Harrisons High Potency: Ground Shelled Sunflower Seeds, Ground Hulless Barley, Ground Soybeans, Ground Shelled Peanuts, Ground Green Peas, Ground Lentils, Ground Yellow Corn, Ground Rice, Ground Toasted Oat Groats, Psyllium, Sun Dried Alfalfa, Calcium Carbonate, Spirulina, Montmorillonite Clay, Ground Dried Sea Kelp, Vitamin E Supplement, Sea Salt, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, d-Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Sodium Selenite. CERTIFIED ORGANIC INGREDIENT

Crude protein (min.) 18%, crude fat (min.) 15%, crude fiber (max.) 6.5%, moisture (max.) 10%

Harrisons Lifetime: Ground Yellow Corn, Ground Hulless Barley, Ground Soybeans, Ground Shelled Peanuts, Ground Shelled Sunflower Seeds, Ground Lentils, Ground Green Peas, Ground Rice, Ground Toasted Oat Groats, Sun Dried Alfalfa, Calcium Carbonate, Psyllium, Montmorillonite Clay, Spirulina, Ground Dried Sea Kelp, Vitamin E Supplement, Sea Salt , Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, d-Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Sodium Selenite. CERTIFIED ORGANIC INGREDIENT

Crude protein (min.) 15%, crude fat (min.) 5.5%, crude fiber (max.) 6.5%, moisture (max.) 10%

Zupreem Natural: Ground corn, Soybean meal, Ground wheat, Vegetable oil, Wheat germ meal, Sucrose, Dicalcium phosphate, Calcium carbonate, Ground vegetables (carrots, celery, beets, watercress and spinach), Iodized salt, DL-Methionine, Choline chloride, L-Lysine, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate, Natural mixed tocopherols, Rosemary extract, Citric acid, Canthaxanthin, Manganous oxide, Zinc oxide, Copper sulfate, Calcium iodate, Sodium selenite, Vitamin A supplement, Vitamin D3 supplement, Vitamin E supplement, Vitamin K supplement, Niacin, Calcium pantothenate, Pyridoxine hydrochloride, Thiamine,
Riboflavin, Folic acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 supplement.

Protein – 14%
Fat – 4%
Fibre – 3.5%
Moisture – 10%

Zupreem FruitBlend: Ground corn, Soybean meal, Ground wheat, Vegetable oil, Wheat germ meal, Sucrose, Dicalcium phosphate, Calcium carbonate, Ground fruit (bananas, oranges, apples and grapes), Iodized salt, DL-Methionine, Choline chloride, L-Lysine, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate, Natural mixed tocopherols, Rosemary extract, Citric acid, Natural and artificial colors, Artificial flavors, Canthaxanthin, Manganous oxide, Zinc oxide, Copper sulfate, Calcium iodate, Sodium selenite, Vitamin A supplement, Vitamin D3 supplement, Vitamin E supplement, Vitamin K supplement, Niacin, Calcium pantothenate, Pyridoxine hydrochloride, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Folic acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 supplement.
Protein – 14%
Fat – 4%
Fibre – 3.5%
Moisture – 10%

Hagen: Fruits – Orange oil, banana oil (for flavour) – Seeds – Corn, wheat, rice, sunflower kernal, flaxseed, oat groats – Vegetables – Tomato – Legumes – Soybean, peanut kernal – Others – Spirulina, rosemary extract, vitamins and minerals
Protein – 14.0% – Fat – 9.0% – Fibre – 4.0%

Totally Organics Pellets: Certified Organic Ingredients: Rice, hulled millet, barley, alfalfa leaf, sunflower seed hulled, sesame seeds unhulled, quinoa whole, buckwheat hulled, dandelion leaf powder, carrot powder, spinach leaf powder, purple dulse, kelp, rose hips powder, rose hips crushed, orange peel powder, lemon peel powder, rosemary whole leaf, cayenne ground, crushed red chili peppers, nettle leaf.

Guaranteed Analysis: Protein 15% Max., Fat 6% Min., Crude Fiber 6% Max.

Roudybush Maintenance Crumble:  Ground Corn, Ground Wheat, Peanut Meal, Soy Oil, Soy Meal, Hydrated Sodium Calcium Aluminosilicate, Yucca schidigen Extract, Salt, Calcium Carbonate, L-Lysine, DL-Methionine, Mixed Tocopherols, Rosemary Extract, Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid, Lecithin, Silicon Dioxide (carrier for liquid antioxidants), Sodium Selenite (on Calcium Carbonate), Niacin, Alpha-Tocopherol Acetate (Source of Vitamin E), Biotin, Manganese Sulfate, Calcium Pantothenate, Zinc Oxide, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vit. A Acetate, Thiamine, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Vit K), Cyanocobalamin (VitB12), Vit D3 Sup. Folic Acid, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide, Propionic Acid, Ammonium Hydroxide, Acetic Acid, Sorbic Acid, Tartaric Acid, and natural apple flavoring.

Guaranteed Maintenance analysis: crude protein min. 11.0%; crude fiber max. 3.5%; crude fat min. 7.0%

Not Recommended

Kaytee Exact Rainbow: Ground Corn, Ground Wheat, Ground Oat Groats, Soybean Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Wheat Middlings, Ground Flax Seed, Soy Oil, Dried Whole Egg, Dried Beet Pulp, Dicalcium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Wheat Germ Meal, Corn Sugar, L-Lysine, Salt, Whole Cell Algae Meal (source of DHA), Fructooligosaccharide, Brewers Dried Yeast, Vitamin A Supplement, Choline Chloride, Dried Cane Molasses, Titanium Dioxide, Mixed Tocopherols (a preservative), Yeast Extract, DL-Methionine, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Manganous Oxide, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (source of vitamin K activity), Niacin, Rosemary Extract, Citric Acid, Calcium Pantothenate, L-Carnitine, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Cholecalciferol (source of vitamin D3), Beta-Carotene, Canthaxanthin, Folic Acid, Calcium Iodate, Biotin, Cobalt Carbonate, Sodium Selenite, Dried Bacillus subtilis Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus licheniformis Fermentation Product, Artificial Colors, Natural Flavors.

Pretty Bird For African Greys: Ground Corn, Ground Oats, Corn Gluten Meal, Ground Wheat, Coconut Oil, Canola Oil, Soya Oil, Olive Oil, Safflower Oil, Corn Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, L-Lysine Monohydrochloride, Choline Chloride, Natural and Artificial Flavors DL Methionine, Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Ferric Sulfate, D-Biotin, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Zinc Oxide, Manganese Oxide, Niacinamide, Vitamin B12 Supplement, BHT (As a Preservative), Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Beta Carotene, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Folic Acid, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Natural and Artificial Colors, Menadione Dimethylpyrimidinol Bisulfite (Source of Vitamin K3), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Cobalt Sulfate

Pretty Bird For Small Birds: Ground Corn, Ground Wheat, Ground Oat Groats, Corn Gluten Meal, Potato Protein, Coconut Oil, Soya Oil, Safflower Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcuim Phosphate, L-Lysine, Monohydrochloride, Choline Chloride, Natural and Artificial Flavors, DL-Methionine, Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Ferric Sulfate, D-Biotin, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Zinc Oxide, Manganese Oxide, Niacinamide, Vitamin B12 Supplement, BHT (as a preservative), Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Beta-Carotene, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Folic Acid, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Natural and Artificial Colours, Menadione Dimethylpyrimdinol Bisulfite Complex (source of vitamin K3), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Cobalt Sulfate

Note the ingredient list is almost exactly the same on both Pretty Bird products, so the label on the packaging suggesting the species of the the parrots it is formulated for is just that, a label, and a meaningless one too.

In red I highlighted the ingredients which are best avoided.

Salt. In minute quantities it is probably harmless, up the amount a bit and it can cause serious toxicity and even death (amount added to pellets is strictly regulated of course)

Sugar (Sucrose). Promotes yeast and bacteria growth in the gut. Excessive amount can lead to diabetes.

Corn Gluten Meal – is a byproduct of corn (maize) processing that has historically been used as an animal feed. It can also be used as an organic herbicide. CGM is used as an inexpensive protein source for pet foods. However, many dogs and cats develop an allergy to corn after eating CGM for an extended amount of time. (from Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corn_gluten_meal )

Menadione – Large doses of menadione have been reported to cause adverse outcomes including hemolytic anemia due to G6PD deficiency, neonatal brain or liver damage, or neonatal death in some rare cases. Moreover, menadione supplements have been banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because of their potential toxicity… (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menadione)

BHT – “BHT could produce hyperactivity in some children. In addition, some controversy surrounds the link of BHT to cancer risk, some studies showing the potential to increase and some showing a decrease in risk. Some food industries have voluntarily eliminated this additive from their products, and since the 1970s it has been steadily replaced with the less studied BHA. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butylated_hydroxytoluene)

Natural Flavours. Even though they are called natural, they are not in fact that natural. Many foods and drinks are flavoured by ‘natural flavours’ or ‘natural flavourings’. These are obtained from plants, meat, fish, fungi and even wood. But they’re a very concentrated chemical extract from natural sources – not the real thing.
Natural flavourings don’t have to come from the plant or animal you might expect. For example, strawberry flavour products can contain natural flavourings that have never been close to a real, natural strawberry.
They have been made in a laboratory and are so chemically similar to real strawberry extract that they are allowed to be called natural. They are sometimes described as ‘nature identical’.
There’s an easy way to tell if a food or drink contains real ingredients. Take a look at the ingredients list. If it shows a lot of colourings and flavourings, there’s a good chance that the manufacturer cut back on real ingredients. (Source: http://www.chewonthis.org.uk/factory_food/additives_home.htm#natural-flavours )

In green I highlighted the ingredients which I am happy to see on the label (they are less conventional ingredient and added to go along with regular seeds/grains/legumes standard for this type of feed)

So in theory, the more red ingredients there are the worse the pellet.

Written By Irina of  http://parrotcomforts.co.uk


How To Disinfect A Bird Cage

June 19th, 2010

Before setting the bird into its lodging you should disinfect the cage to ensure there are no unwanted germs.

Even if your bird cage is new, and the perches are ecologically clean, they should be disinfected carefully. This operation is called carbonation, because a disinfectant gas for burning is used, gas for cigarette lighters can be used but it can be quite expensive.

How To Disinfect A Bird Cage : Now lets to proceed

  1. Wash both the bird cage and the wooden sticks with soap and hot water.
  2. Leave them to dry well, especially the sticks because they get soaked with water and drench.
  3. Prepare the gas and a cloth with which to put the gas over the perches and the bird cage. It is compulsory to put gloves (surgery or household gloves), otherwise you hands will smell awful.
  4. Slightly damp the cloth and carefully rub the bird cage and the perches everywhere. Now the bird cage and the perches are absolutely ready to be completed and to put the bird inside.

The disinfection is very useful for the bird because when it steps on the carbonated perches, a part of the gas gets soaked into its legs and then when scouring themselves it goes on their feathers.

It is good at least once or twice to clean the perches with gas and to change them. That is why I told you in the beginning to provide yourselves with wooden sticks.

To clean the bird cage with gas is more difficult, because you are supposed to have a spare lodging for the bird, where to put it temporarily. Nothing prevents you from cleaning the bird cage periodically with a cloth damped with gas without washing it with soap.


About the Author

Written by Paula Dansie of the African Grey Parrot Centre ™

This article may be duplicated in its full state but the above link must be retained, if this article is found duplicated anywhere on the web without the link preserved then legal action will be taken and your ISP will be contacted.


Caring For Your Pet Parrot

June 19th, 2010

Parrots are a lot different from dogs and cats as pets. Unlike dogs and cats, parrots do not need blowdrys or spa treatments. Grooming a parrot should maintain clipped nails and wings and a beak in perfect shape. But this is not something easy to do. A pet parrot owner should be trained by a professional avian veterinarian to make sure that they know what they are doing. If not, never attempt on grooming your parrot because it might cause serious injuries.

Caring For Your Pet Parrot: Beak

Be cautious certain types of conditions like an upper or lower beak growing off to the side is one. This can be defect acquired during birth or an injury from an accident. Cleaning and caring the beak might prove to be difficult in such a condition. Some illnesses might also cause problems in growing your parrot’s beak such as mite or fungal infections.

Caring For Your Pet Parrot: Nails

The first thing to know in cutting your parrot’s toenails is to identify the desired length that the nails should be cut. For this procedure, you will need an effective bird holder or a method of safe restraint, a cutting device and a styptic powder. Never attempt to cut the nails if you are unsure and not properly trained to do it. In case you are, you will only get used to the right length as time progresses. The cutting device should be appropriate to the size of your parrot. For smaller ones, human nail trimmers will do but for larger ones, a pet nail trimmers or the guillotine-style nail trimmer is most appropriate. If in any case you cause your parrot’s toenail to bleed, be ready with the styptic powder but be cautious because this is very painful when applied to an open wound so you have to restrict your parrot from moving wildly effectively.

Nails are important to be cut because this can cause injury to your parrot. Long toenails might get caught in rugs, carpets, toys and cages and can be the cause of a broken toe.

Caring For Your Pet Parrot: Wings

A properly clipped parrot’s wings can prevent a serious injury to your pet parrot. In an attempt to fly during play sessions, parrots can avoid falling to the ground hard with correct clipped wings. Not only that they will also not be prone to serious wing, leg and head injury because of crashing into doors, mirrors, windows and ceiling fans.

True, full-winged parrots are very nice to look at and add to the beauty of the parrot but keep in mind that your parrot is a pet and not left out in the wild where they can boast off their wings while looking for food, flying to safety, protecting their young and shelter or finding companionship. You would not want your parrot to wander and fly off just like that would you! So be sure to trim the wings of your parrot and trim it correctly. Never attempt to trim the wings for the purpose of style and wild appearance because this might cause your parrot to fall hard on the ground and go circles in the air. Aim for wings that will help your bird flutter harmlessly to the ground.

Caring For Your Pet Parrot: Feeding your parrot

Like in grooming, perhaps the one important thing you have to keep in mind is that your parrot is a pet and you do not compare or imitate the lifestyle of the parrot in the wild because the environment is totally different.

In feeding the parrot, you have to make a total conversion of the parrot’s diet. Do not be carried away by books or petshop owners who are saying that seeds are the best diet your parrot could ever have.

Parrots like humans need to have a well-balanced diet. Seeds are great for wild parrots because they are high in fat and protein. But wild parrots activities are not similar to pet parrots. Wild parrots get much exercise out there, flying here and there to look for food and find a shelter. They need all the weight, energy and fats they can get to do these activities. Pet parrots just stay home and only get exercise during very limited time of play sessions.

The acceptable diet to home-bound parrot pets is 70-80 percent “pelleted” diet and with the remaining 20-30 percent composition of fruits and veggies diet. It will also help if you go and ask your avian vet to make you a list of foods to avoid by your parrot. Some examples are raw onions, guacamole, chocolate or any milk products, avocado and rhubarb.

Caring For Your Pet Parrot: Cages and accessories

Parrots need a big cage so that they can have enough space to swing their wings fully and cling and hang as much as they want to. The best cages are those that are made of stainless steel, no paint chip off or rust that your bird might feed on. Plus they are great for cleaning considerations. They can be easily cleaned by a bleach solution and rinsed.

Feeding bowls that are stainless steel are ideal too. The perch should be thicker in size so that your bird can avoid toenail injuries and do not feed on it.

Caring For Your Pet Parrot: Parrot safety

Having a parrot at home means you have to make your home much safer for your bird companion. Toxic fumes released by appliances with non-stick surfaces are deadly for your pet parrot. So use them with caution or do not use them at all. Other dangerous household items that can cause serious damage to your parrots are scented candles, incense, cigarette smoke, cooking smoke, sprays, aerosol fumes and carpet powders, metals made of lead and zinc, toxic plants, electrical cords, hot and boiling foods and other pets.

Make sure that you have all the necessary information from your avian veterinarian before having a pet parrot. Ask him for a list of things you need to remember and avoid while having a bird companion. It may not be easy but you will get the hang of it later on.


About the Author

Lee Dobbins writes for http://pet-birds.pet-breeds.com where you can learn about parrots and other pet birds.


Choosing The Right Parrot Food

June 19th, 2010

What is the best parrot food and why? There is no single answer to this question as many different types of parrot food are good for different reasons. However it is important to find out which foods are good and why because you never know what really goes into certain products. So what are the benefits and disadvantages of particular food groups?

Choosing The Right Parrot Food : Seeds

Seeds are a great source of nutrition for parrots. They are designed especially for parrots so the ingredients are not harmful in any way. Regular seed mixes of parrot food usually contain just plain old sunflower seeds which are high in fat and it is recommended that you try to stay away from these. More expensive mixes however, contain a large variety of seeds that are highly nutritious and very beneficial to your parrots diet. It is recommended that when buying seeds, always check to see the exact content of sunflower seeds.

Choosing The Right Parrot Food : Pellets

Another type of parrot food commonly used and perhaps more nutritious than seeds are pellets. Pellets contain many more vitamins and minerals that will help your parrot stay healthy, live longer and have more overall energy. There is very little fat in most pellets found on the parrot food market but always check with someone if you are unsure of the ingredients. This type of parrot food is best mixed with fresh vegetables, which brings us to our next point.

Choosing The Right Parrot Food : Fresh Vegetables

Fresh vegetables are definitely the best type of parrot food there is. Combining vegetables with vitamin rich pellets can make a huge difference to the health of your parrot. It will give him/her a great deal more energy and vibrancy than any other type of parrot food. So go out there and buy some fresh vegetables, chop them up finely so your parrot can eat them and mix in some specially designed pellets. Changing a parrots diet can do wonders for its personality!

The last point to make note of is this, parrots are like children, they will eat anything they can get their beaks on. Some people believe that parrots are smart enough to know what is best for them to eat. Do not believe this as this is the first step to having a very unhealthy bird that will only live for half as long as it is suppose to. In the end it comes down to this, parrots must eat parrot food not human food!


About the Author

Dane Stanton is the owner of www.parrottrainingreview.com which is an extensive review of the top parrot training courses on the internet. Find which course is best for you and your parrot!


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