Common questions we are asked
Do parrots bite?
The defense system of parrots is the same as that of animals. When faced with a situation they feel threatening, they may react by standing still, trying to leave, or attacking. Attack is never the first reaction. They will first try to leave and express their discomfort through their body language. It is our responsibility to observe their language, learn, and respect their limits. The parrot will show us its likes, dislikes and limits. It is through trust and progressive steps that they will accept things that they may not accept at first (such as a hug from a stranger).
Parrots do not want to be touched like a mammal.Mammals like to be touched from above and from behind (their back). Now, parrots work differently. In their innate reaction, it is their predators that would make this kind of approach. So, while you are establishing the bond of trust with your parrot, it is important that you approach him from the front and from below.
According to the theories of conditioning explained by academic psychology, a behavior when repeated many times is learned and integrated as an automatic behavior even if it is not appropriate for the context. This is important because if your parrot learns that every time you approach him he must bite you so that you understand that he does not want to be touched in a certain way, with time he will bite you without you perhaps having the intention of touching him.
It is therefore important to respect their times, limits and personal spaces. Remember that the cage is their place of security and that each parrot has its own temperament and personality.
Do they make noise?
Parrots make different noises than mammals. There are species of birds that are more loud than others and each species makes a different noise. The sound may even vary between individuals of the same species.
In general, parrots like being loud trying to get our attention. Set aside some time in the morning and some time in the afternoon to play with him/her. This will reduce the amount of screaming significantly.
It is also true that some days they are noisier than other days and it seems that they simply want to make noise. Outside time, i.e. to place the cage in the garden or terrace, is a very helpful option for those days.
Are they smelly? And dirty?
No more than a dog or a cat. This is where it comes into play how clean we keep their space. Under the cage put an absorbent litter; we recommend wood pellet, shavings or corn cob. Change the litter and clean the lower grid at least every ten days. Also clean up the poop that remains dry on the sides of the cage.
Some people put a mat under the cage to make it easier to clean up what falls on the floor. Other people prefer to mop more often. With your own experience you will find what works best for you. Always look for the simplest solution because the simpler it is, the more you will do it.
Can I keep them in the cage all day?
More than been able to, it is a matter of it not being advisable. Parrots need to feel a certain amount of freedom or expansion to feel at ease. Besides, he will be eager to be with you and spend time with you. If you do not have this need supplied, this discomfort will begin to generate stress and at some point it is going to show up in behavioral problems. Remember that plucking the feathers is largely due to stress and boredom.
Therefore, set aside some time in the morning and some time in the afternoon to play with him. Remember to change cage elements as well as environmental enrichment on a regular basis. This keeps them entertained.
Is there any problem if I also have another pet, i.e. a dog?
Species can learn to coexist. An example of this is the cat and the dog. However, we recommend that you are always supervising them. If you are going out of the house or are going to be in another room, it is better to put the parrot in the cage and take the opportunity to give him a piece of fresh fruit for example.
Can I shower him?
In general, when it is warmer parrots bathe more than when the temperature is low. In nature, birds shower in two ways: by rain and in puddles/rivers/shores. We recommend therefore two types of showers, and please note that it is equally important that the parrot can decide whether he wants to bathe or not.
1) Place a feeder a bit wide on the ground with fresh water. You can place it once or twice a week.
2) With a bottle of spray. It is very important to not point directly at the parrot, but upwards. In this way, the drops will fall as if it were rain. Leave a space so that if he doesn't want to shower or when he is finished, he can step away.
3) Bring him close to a gentle stream of water (such as a tap) and let him play and bathe.
We do not advise to put him literally under the shower as the water jet is large and falls with a lot of pressure. It is not a circumstance that occurs very often in nature. And we insist that the shower must be an act of the parrot's choice.
The use of the harness is very interesting. Here we recommend two things. First, parrots can see the color of ultraviolet light. This means that when they go outside in sunlight their vision changes. They should also get used to seeing the sky, its features and everything that happens. It is normal that the first few times they sit under the naked sky they are afraid even of wild birds. Make slow and progressive advances, always striving to make their experience a positive one.
Second, if you intend for him to wear a harness, put it on from a young age. Don't wait until he is older because then you will have to teach him that the harness is not a scary thing and the process becomes more complicated. It is preferable that you buy a more expensive brand of harness, but one that you are confident is safe and durable.
We recommend the brand Aviator https://www.aviatorharness.com/
I want to learn more about training
Training has two equally important parts: the technique and the establishment of the bond of trust between the animal and the person. When you receive your parrot, work on establishing the bond of trust. Make sure there is always positive encouragement and reinforcement. In order to indicate a boundary, teach him what the word "No" means. Remember that the most important thing you can give your parrot is your attention.
The book that we recommend for training is "Don't shoot the dog! : The New Art of Teaching and Training" from Karen Pryor. You can buy it wherever books are sold.
I want to learn more about birds
These are some of the books we recommend:
The Conrell Lab of Ornithology. Irby J. Lovette, John W. Fitzpatrick. (2016). Handbook of bird biology. Wiley-Blackwell.
Joseph M. Forshaw. (2010). Parrots of the world. Princeton University Press.
Tony Silva. Psittaculture. ISBN 978-80-270-4276-0
Elaine Radford. (1988). Cockatiels. ISBN 978-08-662-2284-6
When do I need a vet?
When you notice your parrot's attitude and temperament change in a short period of time, specially if s/he becomes apathetic; that's a red flag. Other red flags include but are not limited to the following:
Beak swelling or accumulations
Fluffed, plucked or soiled feathers
Sitting on the floor
Wheezing or coughing
Runny or discolored stools
Favoring one foot when not sleeping
Eye or nasal discharge
Red or swollen eyes
Loss of appetite
Have at hand the contact of a trusted exotic veterinarian and keep frozen a bottle of Psittacus General Recovery. When they are needed, they are urgently needed. It is important to be well-prepared.
List of recommended avian vets
Rainforest Clinic For Birds. Veterinary: Susan Clubb. Location: Loxahatchee, FL 33470. Telephone: +1 (561) 795-4878
Exovet Veterinary Services. Veterinary: Danilo. Location: Miami, FL 33256. Telephone: +1 (954) 802-6717
Backos Bird Clinic. Location: Deerfield Beach, FL 33442. Telephone: +1 (954) 427-0777
You can check at the Association of Avian Veterinarians for vets in other locations https://www.aav.org/