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Parrot Questions and Answers
The following Parrot Questions and Answers are the most common questions we are asked here at Priceless Parrots. All answers are a guide for you but please remember all Parrots are individuals and should be treated as such.
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Will I make a good Parrot Owner?
When deciding if you will make a good Parrot Owner, You must first be aware that these birds are very demanding and require much attention during each day. There is a saying, The 'P' in Parrot is for Patience and from my experience this couldn't be more true. Patience is one of the main attributes you must possess. If you are not a patient person then a parrot is not for you. You must have time each day to spend with your parrot both to monitor your feathered friend when out of cage and to spend quality time playing and entertaining your parrot whatever species. Obviously Budgies and Cockatiels are less demanding than the bigger species of parrot i.e. Blue and Gold Macaws, African Greys and may require less one to one time than a bigger parrots. The cost of keeping a parrot is not that expensive once you have paid the initial outlays e.g. Cage, Bird, Toys, Vets Fees. So as a new Parrot keeper you must always allow yourself some monies every month within your budget to pay for parrot food, toys, supplements. Please take time to research the costs of the above before deciding whether to invest in a Parrot or not. Parrots to buy are not cheap (Excuse the Pun) nor are cages and Toys. And please make sure you have time to spend with your parrot each day.
What Species of Parrot should I be looking for?
The Species of Parrot that you may be thinking of buying in the near future really depends on your experience. I would not recommend any one to just go out and invest in a Blue and Gold Macaw, Cockatoo, or Amazon. It goes a little like this, The larger the Parrot, the more experience you really should have with Parrots. If you are a beginner to Parrot keeping then please start out with a smaller friendly natured bird like a Budgie, Cockatiel, Rosella or may be a Ring neck Parakeet. Then as time goes by and you gain more experience you may be able to look at adding to your family with a larger more demanding bird. When thinking about which species of parrot you are going to adopt please remember these Birds can live for a very long time sometimes outliving owners. This is all very well if you have a family member who is willing to take on such a bird once you have left this world. Its a big responsibility so please think about this when buying a bird, Generally Bigger Parrots tend to live longer. A Budgie may live 10 to 20 years but a Large Blue and Gold Macaw may live 80 years plus. I would also like to remind any potential parrot owners about children. Please bear in mind that not all parrots are as friendly to the whole family as you would like. Most Parrots look to there favourite person within a household as the flock leader and will protect them a certain amount. With training and a lot of patience your bird will get to know everyone within the family. Please bare this in mind also.
What Food can I feed my Parrot?
This is really a personal choice, Most Parrot Species require a mixture of Seeds, pulses, Sprouted seeds, Pellets, Fresh Fruit and Vegetables every day. Not forgetting fresh water. You will find many different parrot seed diets on the market, The best advice I can give you is to buy the best quality seed mixture you can. Or alternatively you could feed a complete pellet diet which contains all the Nutrition Parrots require. Please remember that all parrots should be given fresh fruit and vegetables every day on top of the seed or pellet diet with lots of fresh water. Be experimental with the food you offer, Most human grade food is ok for parrots but there are however some definite NO NO's. Avocado and Chocolate for example can be killers. Please see this LINK for a list of all Parrot Poisons including poisonous foods, plants, and household poisons. It is a real good idea to talk to other parrot owners and breeders for advice. You may ask your local pet shop but please be aware that there are some pet shop owners out there that do not know alot about parrot keeping and just stock cheap parrot mixes. Please visit our links page for reputable parrot food stockists and dont forget to ask.
Are there any Poisons I should be looking out for?
IMPORTANT! Please visit the following link which will take you to the relevant Toxins and Poisons page on our website Click Here
What Size Cage should I buy my Parrot
The ideal home for a bird needs to be comfortable, secure, offers exercise, playtime, and a place to hide when necessary. Their home should also be light and airy, not dark and stuffy. If this is not provided, a bird can become physically ill or depressed from stress.
The cage should be large enough that a bird can stretch out its wings without touching the sides, while on the perch, their heads should not touch the top, nor should their tail touch the sides or floor. The shape of the cage is also important. Birds should have a little room in their cage to fly from perch to perch. Birds fly straight across, not up and down. For this reason a cage that is wider is preferred to a cage that is tall and narrow.
The spacing of the cage bars should not be so wide the bird can slip between them, or even get their head caught attempting to escape. Cages with bars running in a vertical direction (up and down) are best for Budgerigars. Horizontal bars (side to side) are best Canaries. It is also preferred that the roof of the cage have bars rather than be made of solid material. Birds love to be able to climb all around the inside of their cage, and this includes hanging upside-down.
Some bird species will require a very strong cage, large birds, such as amazons, cockatoos, and macaws will easily destroy a wire Budgerigar cage or any other type of cage with plastic pieces. An all-metal (or even wrought iron) cage is a must for larger parrots because or their powerful beaks.
Cage doors and the way they are fastened are also an important consideration. Doors that are kept shut with simple spring action may be appropriate for a Budgerigar or Finch, but will not be secure enough for a lovebird or parakeet. Larger birds such the African Gray or a Macaw will learn to open or break anything less than a strong chain and padlock or combination lock.
Cages with doors that are hinged on the bottom are best. This is best because the open door can be used as a ramp in and out of the cage. This type of cage door will also serve as a “ landing perch” to help the bird find their cage after a quick flight around the room.
The condition of the cage is critical, especially when dealing with used cages. Metal cages should be free of rust because a bird can ingest rust particles and cause damage to their crop. Used cages should also be completely cleaned and disinfected in case the previous ‘occupant’ had an infectious disease.
How long will my Parrot Live?
The length of life your Parrot will live depends on the species of parrot you have bought or are thinking of buying, the type of diet your parrot is going to live on and general living conditions. The list below gives an average lifespan of different Parrot species living in captivity.
Budgie 10 -15 yrs
Cockatiel 15 -20 yrs
Conure 25 - 30 yrs
African Grey 50 - 60 yrs
Amazon 50-60 yrs
Macaws 50 - 70 yrs
Cockatoo 60 - 70 yrs
Can I bath or Shower my Parrot?
Parrots need to be showered or bathed with water that is room temperature ; too cold could shock them ; they can also be water misted from a clean spray bottle kept only for this purpose ;
this will keep your parrot very busy with the preening and also help with it moult.
How much does a Parrot Cost?

The Cost of a new Parrot will depend on a couple of factors. The first is how old the parrot is , whether its a Hand reared baby, bought from a Pet shop or a Rescue Parrot from a Sanctuary or RSPCA. Secondly the Species of Parrot you buy will also affect the cost. Lets take for example an African grey. I would expect to pay for a Hand Reared baby from a reputable Breeder anything from £450 to £600. The same bird from a pet Shop would probably cost me approx £700 - £800. Obviously a Rescue bird from the RSPCA wouldn't cost you a thing apart for a donation. You would be checked of course for experience and your home would also be checked. Below are some approx costs for different species.
Budgie - £20,Cockatiel - £35, African Grey - £500, Blue and Gold Macaw - £1000, Cockatoo - £1000+.

What do I do if my Parrot gets Ill?
The Answer to this one is easy,
Take your Parrot to a Avian Vet Immediately.
Parrots are very good at hiding Illness so please please be vigilant at all times, If in doubt visit the vet as soon as you suspect any health problem with your bird.
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Should I Clip my Parrots Wings?
Clipping your birds wings is most definitely a personal choice. Mainly for safety reasons will you clip your birds wings so reducing the birds capability to fly for a long distance, Clipping the wings properly will allow your Parrot to gracefully fly to the ground without crashing. An improper cut will have one of two effects, either crashing straight to the ground which will possibly cause injury or the opposite and the bird will be able to escape because the flight feathers have not been cut correctly. Lots of people are against clipping as they feel that a clipped bird can create stress and anxiety for your bird, Some do Clip as they feel that the risk of escape is to high. The decision is really yours but please make sure you have them professionally clipped or by someone who really knows how to clip a Bird successfully.
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How do I care for my Parrots Nails and Beak
Please visit the following link which will take you to the relevant page on our website Click Here
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My Parrot keeps Biting, How do I STOP this?
Please visit the following link which will take you to the relevant page on our website Click Here
Can I Train my Parrot?
With Time, Effort and lots of Patience most parrot species can be trained to a certain extent. Different species will reward you in different ways. Lets take the budgie for instance. The budgie will learn to whistle, and some may talk if lots of time is spent training the bird. You can teach your bird to Step up and down on command. The African Grey and most of the larger parrot species will learn to mimic you, the telephone and even learn to talk. Not all parrots will talk or even perform tricks. Most parrots have a natural instinct to whistle, so this may be a good starting point for you and then you can develop a training regime to teach him/her to talk and perform tricks. Lots of patience is needed as training a parrot is an ongoing process that both you and your bird should enjoy. More info...
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How many hours a day should I let my Parrot Out?
This is a easy question to answer. Parrots need out of the cage time for a minimum of 3 hours per day, ideally as long as you can each and every day. personally I feel if you cannot accommodate the above then a parrot may not be for you.
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Basic Avian First Aid +

There are some "musts" for your kit. The following are items we suggest for inclusion in a Basic First Aid Kit, with a brief description of their uses.

Towel - for wrapping and securing your bird
Scissors - for cutting tape, bandages...and strings which can wrap on birds toes
Quick-stop and/or Styptic Pencil (silver nitrate stick) - to stop bleeding from broken blood feathers or cuts. Avian blood has very few clotting agents in comparison to human/ mammal blood. A bird can literally bleed to death from a broken blood feather
Haemostats and tweezers - for removing broken blood feathers, and/or splinters
Pliers, needle nose - for pulling blood feathers or unbending chains and quick links which birds are known to injure themselves with
Wire cutters - once again, birds are known to wrap themselves in chain and/or wire
Gauze pads - for covering wounds, burns
Cotton balls - for cleansing
Q-tips - for cleaning out small wounds, get stuff out of a bird's mouth or throat
Vet wrap (cut into strips and rolled) - for wrapping broken bones, wings, or binding gauze pads to wounds
Microspore tape (paper surgical tape) - for holding gauze in place
Penlight or small flashlight (A head-mounted light is even better)
Magnifying glasses or "jewellers loop" - especially necessary for those of us at "that certain age".... but since birds are so small and delicate, a pair of magnifying glasses can come in handy for anyone trying to do detail work
Sterile water - for flushing wounds or mixing with food
Pedialyte (or generic equivalent)- for rehydrating a dehydrated bird. Can be mixed with food.

Pedialyte contains sugars and electrolytes, which avians quickly lose when dehydrated or sick. Must be discarded within 24 hours of opening since it is a wonderful media for bacteria to grow in. An alternate to Pedialite such as Gastrolyte, Graptolite powders can be used. These should be mixed with sterile water. Both are available through veterinarians. Pedialite, however, is readily available at any grocery store in the baby food section.
Hand feeding formula, jars of human baby food such as veggies, cereals or squash. Often sick or injured birds will be too weak to eat on their own for a few days.

During this period of time we may find ourselves having to spoon or syringe feed the bird to help keep their strength up.
Feeding syringes, spoon with bent up sides to facilitate feeding (for above)
Pellets/seeds - If your bird needs to stay at the hospital, they may not have the type/kind of food your bird is accustomed to. It is a good idea to have several baggies of fresh seed and/or pellets available to take with you.
Betadyne or hibitane (chlorhexidine) - as non-irritating disinfectant. Avoid hydrogen peroxide, which is caustic to skin
Aloe Vera - for very minor burns. Many creams and lotions made for humans are toxic to birds, so make sure that you get 100% pure Aloe Vera
Additional Supplies:

For those who are more experienced you may want to add:
Popsicle sticks - for immobilizing broken legs
Ophthalmic ointment - for scratched eyes, minor conjunctivitis Suturing materials (surgical needles and thread)
Gel foam - stops bleeding from flesh wounds. Available from your veterinarian
Tegaderm dressing - helps healing for burns and certain open wounds. Encourages granulation (healing/scabbing)
Lactated Ringer's solution - used for IV rehydrating of dehydrated avians and flushing wounds
Syringes - for inject able medications and irrigation of wounds
Danger Signals and Emergencies
There are many problems, which you should be prepared for. We do not intend to list them all. Any time a bird has any of the following symptoms: stops eating, sits fluffed on the bottom of his cage, is bleeding from mouth or vent, has uncontrollable bleeding, has runny eyes, can't breathe, sneezes with discharge, has diarrhoea, has constipation (straining to defecate), has loss of balance, depression, lethargy.... do not wait! Take your bird to the veterinarian!
Birds do not have much clotting agent in their blood. A broken blood feather, or a minor cut can be life threatening. The blood feather must be removed, or bleeding stopped by use of Quick-stop or a styptic pencil. If bleeding does not stop, apply pressure and rush the bird to the veterinarian.
A small Red Cross type first aid booklet may be kept in the avian First Aid Kit. An avian book with descriptions of first aid procedures may be even handier.
For the more experienced bird owner, a copy of Avian Medicine; Principles and Applications by Ritchie, Harrison and Harrison, (1995), Wingers Publishing Inc., which is considered the standard of avian veterinary care, is a "must" for the aviculturist's library.

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