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Concerns and FAQs

Concerns and Frequently Asked Questions

Getting a new member of the family can be very traumatic for you and your bird.  You can't understand him and he doesn't know where he is or what's going on.  Here we have put together a few of the questions and concerns we are most often asked about.

Q: I bought my baby parrot home this morning and he doesn't seem to want to eat?

A: Often your new parrot will eat sparingly, if at all, the first day due to the stress of being moved to an unfamiliar environment.  Do not be overly concerned, but if the bird has not started eating within 24 hours of arrival contact your breeder.  An easy way to check if your bird is eating is to check his droppings.  If it is clear/clear and white the bird is not eating, it's an idea to keep an eye on this for the first few days.

A: My baby parrot doesn't seem to be drinking?

Q: Most birds do not drink huge amounts, so do not be concerned if you do not see your bird drinking.  If he is eating he is getting his moisture through the fresh product in his diet.

Q: Why is my baby parrot sleeping on the floor of his cage?

A: Although parrots normally sleep balancing on a perch with one leg, baby parrots will sometimes lie down and go to sleep, expecially during the first few days before he gets used to his cage.  A small cuddly toy would be a comfort to him as he is probably missing the other babies.  He will also enjoy lying in your lap for a cuddle.  If there is a lot of activity and noise in the room where the cage is, covering it on three sides with a sheet or towel will give him some privacy.

Q: Why is my parrot scratching on the bottom of the cage?

A: This is something that parrots, normally African Greys, sometimes do.  It may be that they just want to come out of their cage, although it does seem that they just enjoy doing it.

Q: How much food should I give him?

A: We believe that parrots should have access to food at all times.  Baby parrots eat more than adults, so it is worth checking their food dish a couple of times a day.  Babies do waste a lot of food but this will stop as they get older and you will be able to establish a feeding regime that suits both you and your pet.

Q: What is the swelling that seems to go up and down under his chin?

A: This is his crop.  It is where he stores his food.  If you touch it you can actually feel the food that he has just eaten.  As the food is digested the swelling reduces, this is perfectly normal it is just more noticeable in babies.

For the first few days do not keep your bird out of his cage for long periods with no access to food or water.  Initially it is very important that his food and water is accessible at all times as he may not feel confident enough to search for it if he is hungry.

Please talk quietly to your new bird, and make slow movements, this will help to reassure him.  It is important to make him feel safe and secure in his new home.  Please handle him gently, reassuring him at all times.  He may be clumsy in his new cage at first, this is because it is new to him, and the spacing between the bars is probably different to the weaning cages and playpen he is use to.

When you take your new parrot home he may take a little time to gain confidence in both his new environment and with his new family.  The best way to make him feel secure is not to surround him with too many visitors until he has started to respond to you and your family.

Parrots feel and test everything with their beaks, do not allow family and friends to pull their fingers and hands away when he mouths them or he may eventually distrust fingers and hands and end up nipping.

Routine is very important for your new pet.  Always start as you mean to go on.  If he can be supervised and have his freedom all day so much the better.  However do not begin this routine if in a few days or weeks you will be unable to continue it.  If is better for both you and your pet to start a routine that is easy to keep to.  He will be happy if he has set periods of liberty, maybe an hour in the morning and a few hours at night, whatever suits you best.  He will soon learn to look forward to these times with his new family.

Hand reared parrots can be handled by anyone, and once he is confident in his new home this should be encouraged, rather than allowing them to become the pet of one indiviual.  Some birds do however develop a preference for one person, occasionally to the exclusion of all others.

We spray our parrots daily to ensure that their feathers remain healthy and would recommend that you adopt this practice.  Use a plant mister with warm water, it is best to do this in the morning as they will have all day to dry off.  You could of course take your pet into the shower with you, some of ours enjoy their morning shower and have their own shower perch.  Spraying not only keeps the feathers in good condition but helps to wash away any feather dust from the skin and feet.

When purchasing toys for your parrot please be sure that they are suitable, that there is not string or wire that they can get caught up in, or twisted around their feet or necks.  Rope perches are a hazard when the rope start to fray.  An old cotton reel, keys or the inside of a kitchen roll or egg box will keep them happy for hours.  If you are out for long periods try leaving the radio or television on, parrots enjoy listening to music or the television.

Most parrots are able to mimic both the human voice and various sounds that they hear on a regular basis.  For our hand reared babies the first sound they hear is the human voice, and occasionally some of our chicks are talking before they are weaned.  Some species are more adept than others but the key to teaching your pet to talk is patience and repetition.  Initially it is best to set aside some time alone with your pet, to get him to concentrate on his learning.  Remember that repetition is the key and be patient, it can take quite some time before some birds begin to repeat words and phrases.

What you teach him now will be the foundation for his future.  Remember behaviour is built on experience and we do not want him to learn from any bad experiences.