Care of the pet bird- Psittacines
are birds characterized by a hooked bill and feet with two digits that point
forward and two- backwards. These structures are well adapted to arboreal
living. Most parrots are tree living diurnal birds of tropical and subtropical
areas. They often forage for food in early morning and at the end of the day.
They are social and vocal creatures and therefore make wonderful pets.
will lay eggs, which may or may not be fertile. It is fairly common for captive
females to lay numerous infertile eggs without the presence of a male.
eliminate urine and feces through a common opening- the cloaca. The urine
portion is in a form of urates and normally is an off white paste. A diet rich
in water or colorful fruits will cause the urates to be more liquidly or stained
make great pets because of their personalities, beautiful colors, playfulness,
mocking abilities and social interaction. They are interesting, entertaining and
often loud. They enjoy and need people's company and they easily integrate into
their owner's life.
are highly demanding in regards to knowledge, social time and care. Many birds
are captive bred and have specific requirements that need to be met. A minimum
of one to two hours a day is required for the care they need. Parrots usually
live long and make lifetime companions.
Should be confined while unsupervised. Most cages in the market are not exactly
ideal in shape and material. A good cage is rectangular, tall and ample. It is
better to have only one side open and a large enough door to have easy access
and to avoid injuries on the way in or out. Perch material should be natural
branches of harmless trees. The floor can be covered with newspaper or similar
material, which is changed daily. Avoid grit, wood chips and corn cub litter
material, they can cause impaction (blockage) if ingested.
should be kept away from the kitchen, where they are exposed to Teflon fumes,
gas or smoke.
not allow freedom around the house. This increases the risk of accidents, poison
ingestion, encounter with cats or dogs or flight through an open window. If the
parrot has a leg band, it is a good idea to remove it. Leg bands can catch on
objects and cause serious damage or fractures to the legs.
possible expose the bird to sunlight. The ultraviolet light facilitates calcium
absorption and is beneficial for the overall health of the bird. Avoid sudden
temperature changes as they are stressful.
should contain no more then 20% seeds and the rest should be a variety of table
food items such as:
Animal Protein Sources: Cooked meat (red meat, poultry, fish, etc) dog/cat kibble, cooked eggs (yolk and white), cheese, cultured milk products (cottage cheese, yogurt). Raw and even pasteurized milk should not be offered because they contain coliform bacteria. Furthermore, many caged birds are sensitive to milk sugar, which is present in milk but not in cultured milk products.
Whole Grain Products: Dry cereals, cooked cereals, rice, uncooked oatmeal, granola, breads (whole wheat in particular), muffins, pasta (cooked or uncooked), crackers.
Nuts, Trail Mix: In moderation (nuts are rich in oil and fats).
Fruits and Vegetables: Fresh, frozen-thawed or canned are all acceptable.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are the most nutritious.
should take place twice a day, morning and evening. Do not leave food over the
day as it easily grows harmful bacteriae. Wash the dishes before any feeding.
and beak grow continuously and should be trimmed periodically. Wing trim is
daily bath or shower is recommended and is important for keeping the feathers
distension is a serious problem. It may be caused by organ enlargement (liver),
tumor, fluid accumulation or egg binding.
The beak can be deformed because of
congenital malformation, trauma, tumors, infections, parasites and liver
disease. It is common in budgerigars.
Green urates indicate liver problems.
Bright yellow or lemon yellow is often seen in birds affected with chlamydiosis,
which is a zoonosis and represent a public health hazard.
Bleeding require immediate attention.
Trauma and damaged growing feathers are common causes. Bleeding from the cloaca,
oral or nasal cavities may indicate a serious internal disease.
Female budgerigars and cockatiels often
develop overgrown brown cere. This is a benign age related condition.
Inflammation of the tissues surrounding the
eyes often indicates upper respiratory disease. It can also be caused by
irritants or trauma.
prolapse can be seen in birds straining to lay eggs. It occurs in some cases of
abdominal tumors. Some cloacal tumors that look like prolapse may be seen in
Amazon parrots and macaws.
stasis is common in hand fed baby birds. It is seen in adult birds suffering
from certain systemic diseases or foreign material impaction (grit, feathers).
or lethargy indicates serious systemic problems. Infections, toxicities,
metabolic diseases or tumors are common causes.
loss is a common problem. It can be localized or general. Diseases associated
with feather loss include low thyroid hormone, Viral and bacterial infections.
Barbering by cage mates and feather picking are frequent problems. Some of the
causes of feather picking include psychoses, nutritional deficiencies,
allergies, parasites and systemic or localized infections.
mites, nutritional imbalance and metabolic diseases are common causes of leg
dysfunction. Leg bands, artificial perches and sandpaper are often associated
with leg trauma.
and bumps are common in birds and can be caused by tumors, cysts and infections
lesions can be traumatic or caused by infectious diseases. Vitamin A deficiency
and tumors may also be involved.
Seizures occur in cases of toxicities
(lead), liver disease and various infections. Low calcium levels are a common
cause of seizures in African grays and Red-lored Amazons may have epilepsy.
infections represent an aspect of upper respiratory diseases. Vitamin A
deficiency predisposes birds to infections. Various bacteriae and viruses are
responsible for upper respiratory diseases, including Chlamydia.
thorough initial examination is necessary for newly acquired birds. The
veterinarian will discuss specific issues of husbandry regarding your bird. A
stool examination and a gram stain should also be done. Birds can carry
zoonosis- diseases transmitted to humans, such as Chlamydiosis, Salmonellosis
and Tuberculosis. Owners must exercise extreme precautions in handling and
keeping birds and provide frequent high level veterinary care.
should have a yearly physical examination and a stool exam at the least.