Within the fabulous world of birds there are hundreds of species, but not all of them can be kept at home. However, one of the most loved by bird care lovers is the parrot, a perfect companion animal.
Types of parrots and parrots
What is a parrot?
In the past, all types of parrots were grouped into a single family, known as Psittacidae, but due to the enormous variants that have emerged over the years and the subfamilies, little by little the name of Psittacoidea ended up leaving for the common parrot. These are scattered around the different continents, each one with a characteristic that makes them unique.
As a general rule the parrots measure between 30 and 40 centimeters, have a curved beak with a lower jaw with some mobility and a great cranial capacity, which makes it one of the most intelligent birds along with the lovebirds. They are very good flyers and you can grab the branches of the trees and climb them with great dexterity thanks to the claws of their legs.
The intense coloration of the feather is another characteristic of the parrot. Generally the dominant color is usually green, but in some species they have other shades such as blue, red or yellow. Most species are monogamous, walking in tree cavities or as in dug tunnels.
Some species can mimic a lot of sounds, including the human voice, which has made them a great fame among bird lovers.
The life expectancy of a parrot, how much is it?
Compared to other birds that live in captivity, the truth is that parrots are animals that prove to be quite long-lived. Although life expectancy depends on the kind of parrot it is.
For example, a Macaw parrot can reach 100 years of life if he has the necessary care, although his average life expectancy is usually the 80 years. If it is a cockatoo, this tends to live between 60 and 20 years, while the grey parrots and the Amazons usually live 50 years. In the case of the Conuros, hope is usually about 30 years old.
Although it is a long life expectancy, 70% does not reach the maximum life expectancy, due to the pollution of the environment of the cities, a bad food or that they suffer accidents when walking loose by the house, like biting a cable, hitting with the glass of a window…
The parrot as a pet, is it good?
Parrots have been pets of humans for many years. But, to the big question if a parrot is better than any other animal, the answer would be yes.
Of course parrots have their character and sometimes they can be very aggressive if they see it necessary. In addition, they can develop preferences for some type of people, which can lead to develop a behavioral problem that can lead to act in one way or another in order to attract attention. In the case of having a parrot for the whole family, you have to be very careful to only show affection with a single member of this.
Also bear in mind that a parrot is not an animal intended for young children, as they do not have enough knowledge and skills to take care of it. The parrot must always be in charge of an adult who can meet their needs.
Female or male, how to know?
When you want to have a parrot at home, it is normal that you want to know if it is male or female, especially if you are thinking of parrot breeding.
The normal thing is that the females are a little more aggressive than the parrots, so observing the behavior of this would be easy to distinguish. But if this is not enough, you can see the size and color of your feathers. When they are adults, the males are larger than the female, especially the head, in how much to the colors, have more garish and colorful shades than the females.
Of course the easiest way would be through the pelvis of the parrot, since the females have the bones of the pelvis more separated so that they can lay their eggs.
Choose the right place for your cage
Before you think about buying a parrot, first of all you have to know if you have a place indicated in the house where to locate your cage. Many novice owners make a big mistake in placing their parrot’s cage badly, which is why they live much less time.
The first thing to consider is the height. The cage must be located about the same height as its owner’s eyes. For what reason? In case the cage is too high, the bird will look down when it is going to receive its owner, making him believe that he has the singing voice at home and won’t tolerate being disturbed or “punished” when he does something his owner doesn’t like. Instead, if it is below the eyes, you can understand that he is the one who is dominated and has to obey.
For this reason, it is best to be at a point similar to the height of the eyes, so that you feel as equal to your new owner. In case the parrot shows very aggressive or dominant, you can lower the cage to understand that you are not in control. However, you have to be careful if you have other animals at home, because it is a very scary animal, so the cage must also be at the necessary height that can not reach dogs or cats.
The cage must also be located in a place where it receives the just and necessary sunlight. It is not good to give it directly, except for an hour a day at most, it must also be a place where you do not receive strong air currents during the winter and you can be quiet, away from noises. So, places like balconies or kitchens are totally forbidden. The lounge can be a good place, especially since they like to watch the TV and can learn some word watching the programs.
In addition, when they take confidence with the family, the parrots consider the human beings of the house their “flock”, and it has to be located near where the great majority of the family activity is carried out.
Choosing a cage, what’s there to know?
Having already clear that you have a good place to put your parrot, now it’s time to buy the cage, which is important to be big enough for the parrot.
In the event that you are going to buy a small parrot, you will need a cage of 40x37x45 centimeters if you are going to be alone and 60x42x50 centimeters in case you go to be in pairs. For a medium sized parrot, it will suffice with a cage of 70x60x80 centimeters and of 100x80x120 centimeters if it is going to be accompanied. Finally, for a large parrot, the cage has to be of 90x80x100 centimeters if it will be alone and of 120x100x150 centimeters in the case of choosing two parrots.
As to its shape, it is best to make it rectangular. Many believe that a circular cage is best for the parrot, but the truth is that they do not like this type of cages, nor those that are shaped like “casita” because they can not grab the bars well. The balusters must not have more than 1 – 2 centimeters of separation between them, in order to avoid that they can stick the head between them and get stuck.
And what does the parrot have to have in his cage? Although many cages already come equipped with toys, it is best to remove them all and install a few fresh branches of trees so they can bite or perch on them. A pair of hangers, which are wooden, helps them to sand their nails, besides having other objects like a plush toy with which to fix the feathers, a bell, a rope… Occasionally the toys will have to be changed so that the parrot does not get bored of being always with the same toy.
Cleaning the cage, what products to use?
At least a couple of times a week you have to clean the floor of the cage to remove the feces and leftover food that leaves the parrot, and three times a month clean it thoroughly. But what kind of products should be used?
- Lye: It is one of the most common disinfectants, and the most effective to eliminate all kinds of viruses, fungi and bacteria. Ideal to clean the floor of the cage where the feces fall. that if, it should be taken into account that when mixed with water its disinfectant power is reduced up to 200 times, so it is best to apply it directly, let the cage dry well for a few hours while the parrot moves around the house.
- Phenols: You may not use them much, but phenol-based disinfectants are also very good at eliminating bacteria. They are especially good for cleaning the walls and the floor of the cage.
- Ammonia: Another very good product to end up with viruses and bacteria that may be reproducing. Once you have cleaned the cage properly it is when you have to apply it and then remove it with a little water and let the cage dry at room temperature, to make sure you have finished with all the bacteria.
- Formaldehyde: One of the best disinfectants that exist to clean the parrot cages. Yes, to apply it has to be done in a well ventilated room, with parrots outside the cage. Once the cage is cleaned, let it dry for about two or three hours.
In order to perform a correct disinfection, you can follow these simple steps:
- Clean and remove all dirt from the cage, Acláralo with clean water and then disinfect with the disinfectant you have chosen.
- It applies the disinfectant throughout the cage, in order to leave it clean of viruses and bacteria.
- The parrot must be outside the room where the cleaning is being done.
- The room where it is cleaned must be well ventilated and rubber gloves must be used to avoid the danger.
- After about 15 minutes after the disinfectant was applied, acláralo it all with water and let it dry at room temperature before storing the parrot back inside.
To be a friend of the parrot, what to do?
Once the parrot arrives at home it is normal for him to feel a little intimidated. He is locked in a cage in an area he does not know and at first may seem very scary, which leads to them to be aggressive.
- Divert the gaze: When a bird is looked at directly, it feels threatened. So when you are going to make the first contact, you have to divert your gaze when the bird is looking at you. Once the bird is staring at its master, it is when it is necessary to look at it also directly.
- Become a statue: Sometimes the parrot remains motionless when the owner is watching. In that case, you have to be also a statue and stay still, longer than this.
- Blink: Parrots don’t blink when they’re scared. That’s why the owner has to send him a series of messages to earn his trust. If when you look at the parrot is frightened, you have to blink. If the parrot returns the blink, it shows confidence.
Taking the parrot out of the cage, is it dangerous?
The truth is that there are many owners who raise their parrots at liberty for the house, so it is not really dangerous. However, when he takes time in his cage, there can be danger.
Before you get him out of this you have to be very confident with one of the family members. Together with body language, one of the ways to earn his trust is by feeding him with his hand, like lovebirds and parakeets. It may bite at first, so it is advisable to feed it with gloves. In the event that you attack, you do not have to remove your hand, because that will make you feel you are in control. You also have to watch a lot, because you may learn to leave the cage alone.
Once you have your trust, the parrot will eat by the hand and even sit on the arm. Got this, you can take it out of the cage or let it be the same who comes out. At the beginning, you have to let go of the room where your cage is, with the windows closed, so you can stretch your wings and know their surroundings. Later you can let him explore the rest of the house.
To return to your cage you can use your favorite food as bait and when you are hungry he will return home. You have to avoid feeding food out of the cage, because then you may not want to go back to this.
What diseases can a parrot have?
Like other pets, the parrot is not exempt from suffering any disease. It is true that if you care well you do not have to suffer, but never have to lower the guard. The most common are:
- Anomalous moult of plumage: parrots moult their plumage, but do not have a specific season to do so like other birds. The usual thing is that the feathers fall by themselves to make way for the new ones, but one may realize that he is rippinging the feathers himself leaving parts of his body naked or with wounds. If you notice this behavior, you have to take it to the vet.
- French moult of plumage: The molt prancesa is Na disease produced by a pathogen called Polyomavirus. It is transmitted from parents to children through the regurgitation of food and sometimes leads to the death of the animal. The parrot loses the feathers of the wings and tail, has edema under the skin and abdominal distention.
- Pneumonia: In the case of not having placed well the cage of the parrot, and that this often receives strong draughts of air, it will end up suffering pneumonia, which leads him to have bleared eyes, nasal secretions and a noisy breathing.
- Parasites: That the parrot is protected after a few bars does not mean that it is exempt from suffering the attack of parasites, both internal and external. The external ones can be the mites of the environment or even lice, which will cause restless and nervousness to the animal, with falling of feathers and will not stop scratching. In this case, they should be dewormed periodically. In case they are internal, you have to talk quickly with the vet to know what treatment to follow.
- Colibacillosis: It is a disease caused by the bacterium Escherichia Coli, which is transmitted by direct contact with a bird that is infected. It is the leading cause of death for these birds. Among the different symptoms, the parrot will be tired, dejected, lose his appetite and be very restless. The sick animal must be isolated and maintain an exhaustive hygiene of its cage, changing daily the trough and drinker, added to a series of antibiotics to fight the infection.
- Coccidiosis: This disease is caused by an infestation of internal parasites known as Coccidia. They may enter the pet’s organism through ingestion of contaminated water or food. Among the different symptoms, the parrot will suffer diarrhea, which can be watery and accompanied by blood, and feel dejected and tired.
- Salmonellosis: This is caused by the bacteria Salmonella Typhimutium, which enters the organism through contaminated water or food. The bird will have inflammation, diarrhea with very bad smell and lesions in several of its organs. You have to go to the vet quickly to prescribe treatment for your cure.
Feeding the parrot, what is there to give?
As a general rule, the ideal diet of a parrot is made up of vegetables and fruits as a main component along with a little dry food.
The fruits have to be based on the content of sucrose and glucose. Those that are rich in sucrose, such as plantain, peach or melon, do not have to eat more than two or three times a week, especially the banana that is also very rich in glucose, being much higher than other types of fruits. You also have to be very careful with mangos, cherries and grapes because of their glucose content. When you are given fruit, you have to make a small assortment, because if you are giving piece in piece, you may end up hating some.
Vegetables do form much of the diet of these animals. The green vegetables you can eat are spinach, broccoli, chard or endive. You may be given lettuce, but not frequently as it may cause diarrhea. To opt for roots, you have to give carrots, tender garlic or radishes. Other foods that can be given are artichoke flowers and cauliflower, tomato or red pepper.
Although the fruit and vegetables are very good for the bird, it also has to eat dry food to carry out an ideal diet. In this case, you have to opt for a quality feed, depending on the size and species of the parrot.
Apart, given in less quantities, you can also give other foods such as pasta, legumes such as chickpea or lentils, a mixture of seeds, cereals such as rice or flakes of oats, strips of chicken or boiled fish (not often), wholemeal bread No salt, boiled potato, boiled egg or homemade biscuits that do not have animal fat.
As you can see, a parrot eats almost everything. However, there are a number of foods that are totally forbidden for these animals, such as sweets because of their high content of industrial sugar, salty foods, avocado (it is deadly to the parrot), coffee, parsley, milk (unless it is fermented), or Pumpkin and potato without boiling. All these foods should be out of the reach of the parrot when it is out of the cage.
Helping him raise, how to do it?
Parrots as such have more than 15,000 years living with the human being, one of the oldest companion animals along with cats and dogs. Taking care of them can be easy, but what about raising them? In this case you have to put a little more started to get them to play.
In these cases it is necessary to more extreme care, taking into account a number of very important factors. To begin, at the time of reproduction the female and the male should be calm and feel safe, so if you have a cage with enough birds, it is best to pass to another module so that nobody disturbs. In addition, these have to be well fed, thus getting the eggs to receive the necessary nutrients.
The nest must be located in a high place. You can buy one in a specialized store or give the parrots the material necessary for them to manufacture. Once they have it, the female will be placed on the nest and can be placed between 3 and 6 eggs. After an average of 23 days, sometimes 25, the chicks are born without being able to fend for themselves. So you have to provide parents with everything they need to care for them.
When the chick has a month and a half of life is when she leaves the nest, and from the two months begin to become more independent. Fulfilled this age is when you have to separate the parrot from their parents to begin to fend for itself, so it is advisable to have a module in the cage for the offspring.
Teaching to talk to the parrot, what is there to say?
The reason why many end up acquiring a parrot as a pet is because they are amused to hear him speak. And it is not for less, since parrots have a great ability to assimilate the sounds and then repeat them. However, it is not a simple task at all.
To begin with, you have to know that males are better speakers than females, their ability to sing and vocalize better. To learn to speak, you have to have a perfect state of health and be a young specimen.
Ready to teach the parrot to speak? For this first you have to gain confidence. This can be achieved by giving it a place where you can play and have enough activities to do, while you are in contact with the owner. But you have to give it patience, as it may take a while to get in touch with the owner. If you try to get it out of the cage, which will help you gain confidence with you, it is possible that the first time you try to escape, in this case under no circumstances should you try to capture it or squeal it back into the cage. It is better to leave it to the air, closing doors and windows, to explore the environment and, when tired, will return to the cage.
Gained his trust, it’s time to start teaching him how to talk. To do this, the best time of the day is the morning or when you are dusk. The first words to teach you are some that are easy to relate to an action, such as “rich” when you give a candy, say “I love you” when you stroke the neck or “Good Morning” when dawn. To do this you have to repeat the word together with the action to be recorded daily, which can take a week as a month. For example, if you want me to say “that Rico” after eating, while you give him his favorite candy he repeats “that rich” for about 5 – 10 minutes, and so on a daily basis until he repeats it.
In the case that the parrot has a lot of learning ease, he can be taught some more complicated words, such as the name of his favorite treats or the name of one of the members of the family. In addition, you can be taught to obey an order, such as “climb” to sit in your hand or “to sleep” when it is bedtime to return to your cage alone.
It doesn’t seem that difficult, does it? However, there are many parrots who never learn to speak, although they are able to mimic some sounds they hear through the TV, as well as the doorbell or the phone, including a microwave whistle or other birds singing. In these cases they can be taught some melody.
The most important thing for the parrot to learn is constancy and not give up the first day. You have to work a little with each day, leaving you also time to rest between lesson and lesson so you don’t feel stressed.