Can parrots eat baby food

How To Take Care of A Baby Parrot (from Hatchling To Juvenile)

(Last Updated On: November 11, 2022)

Caring for baby parrots (chicks) is a rewarding experience, but it requires knowledge and commitment. Baby parrots shouldn’t be purchased until they’ve been weaned to avoid health complications.

Once weaned, baby parrots should be fed soft seeds, fruits, and vegetables until they’re old enough to eat pellets and dried seeds.

They must be kept at a temperature of 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

When choosing a cage, ensure the bar spacing isn’t too wide. Provide perches of varying widths and position them throughout the cage.

Wild parrots care for their young for at least a year, which involves more than feeding as parrots teach their chicks how to become independent.

Parrot Growth Stages

There are five development stages of a baby parrot’s growth:

  • Neonate (hatchling)
  • Nestling
  • Fledgling
  • Weanling
  • Juvenile (pre-adolescent)


During the first stage of life, newly-hatched parrots are born with closed eyes. They’re also naked, blind, and deaf, so they depend on their owners.

In the wild, hatchlings are fed food that their parents regurgitate. Without a mother and father, owners must give chicks a special hand-rearing formula through a syringe.


When the parrot reaches the nestling stage, it opens its eyes but remains dependent on its owners.

Imprinting occurs during stage two. When the chick first opens its eyes, it bonds deeply with its parents. If another parrot isn’t present, the baby parrot will imprint on its human owner.

This stage is vital for development, as it needs visual, touch, and sound stimulation.


The fledgling stage is when a parrot begins to learn how to fly.

Some parrots start to lose weight as they’re more preoccupied with flying than eating. As a result, they’re dependent on their owners or parents for food.

Once the parrot has learned how to fly, it’s a good time to clip its wings. However, doing so too early will prevent a parrot from learning to fly.

Wing clipping partially stops a parrot from flying away and protects it from dangers around the house, such as windows, ovens, and ceiling fans.


In the weanling stage, parrots consume solid foods independently. Weaning parrots begin to forage and develop skills that allow them to care for themselves.


Parrots become pre-adolescent birds and can fend for themselves. They’ll be on solid food without the need for formula. They’ll be independent of their parents but won’t have reached sexual maturity yet.

At this stage, juvenile parrots won’t have their full adult color. This develops after the molting season, so don’t be alarmed if your baby parrot doesn’t look how you’d expect it to.

The parrot should be at least 8 to 12 weeks old before it’s given a new home.

What Do You Feed Baby Parrots?

Hagen Avicultural Research Institute artificially incubated psittacine eggs, and babies without parents must be hand-fed for 3-5 months.

To do this, mix your chosen hand-rearing formula in boiled water that’s been allowed to cool. Stir all the lumps and bumps to form a smooth, thickened mixture.

When hand-feeding baby parrots, the temperature of the food must be below 45°C before feeding; if the food is under 40°C, there’s a risk of it fermenting and causing infection.

However, most chicks will be cared for by their parents during their initial life stages. Get parrots that have been weaned, as hand-feeding has complications that can compromise the parrot’s health.

Once the parrot has reached the weaning stage, it needs seeds and vegetables. Safe foods include:

  • Soaked and sprouted seeds
  • Cooked sweet corn kernels
  • Soft vegetables
  • Fresh fruits
  • A selection of greens, including chickweed and dandelion leaves

It takes a while for a baby parrot’s digestive system to become robust enough to cope with dried seeds and pellets. However, leaving a small dish of pellets that parrots can forage through is safe.

Also, ensure a shallow bowl of fresh water is left in its cage.

Baby parrots shouldn’t be fed water orally as they can drown. They receive hydration through regurgitated foods and hand-rear formula, so they only need water bowls once they move onto solid foods when they’re around 4 weeks old.

Baby Parrot Feeding Schedule

According to VCA Hospitals, how much and often you feed the baby parrot depends on its age and growth rate. Young birds need regular feeding and eat more often than older birds.

The following guidelines set out how much food the average baby parrot needs. All feeding should be carried out between 6 am and midnight:

  • 1-2 weeks: Feed 6-10 times daily, every 2-3 hours.
  • 2-3 weeks: Feed 5-6 times daily, every 3-4 hours.
  • 3-4 weeks: Feed 4-5 times daily, every 4 hours. The bird can be put into a cage with a low perch and a shallow water bowl at four weeks old.
  • 5-6 weeks: Feed twice daily. Soft seeds, fruits, veggies, and pellets can be put in the cage.
  • 7 weeks: Place the bird in a large cage with pellets in cups scattered across the floor.
  • 8 weeks: The weaning process should be started. Then, provide nutritionally complete pellets.

After feeding, examine the crop. While the bird has few feathers, you can see when it’s full. However, an examination using the thumb and index finger can also help you check the crop’s fullness.

Healthy parrots should respond well to every feed, and the crop should empty between feedings. They should also produce regular droppings.

How To Keep A Baby Parrot Warm

When a parrot is old enough to live in a cage, the ideal temperature is 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures below 40 degrees are dangerous for birds and can cause health problems.

Similarly, temperatures above 85 degrees cause heat stress, and parrots also need appropriate ventilation to remain cool and comfortable.

However, keeping young chicks warm is more complicated, as even the slightest temperature change can be fatal. However, in the absence of parents, you’ll need to provide the baby parrot warmth to ensure it survives. To do so, follow these steps:

Make A Brooder

You’ll need a container for the parrot to live in. Commercial brooders are expensive, but you can easily make one with a fish tank or plastic container. Opt for metals or plastics that are easy to sanitize.

Choose a brooder that allows the parrot to move about as it grows.

Fill It with Substrate

You’ll need to cover the floor of the container with a substrate. Small parrots do well with folded-up newspaper on the bottom of the brooder, but you can use paper towels.

Avoid wood shavings or cat litter, as curious chicks will try to eat it. 

Heat The Brooder

If you’re using a commercial brooder, it’ll already have a thermostatically controlled heating function.

If you’ve made your own, you’ll need to line it with a heat mat. Ensure your chosen heat source has a thermostat so you can amend the temperature.

You can also use a desk lamp set up over the brooder, which uses a red bulb that won’t disturb the chicks. The temperature inside the brooder should be:

  • 1-5 days: 96°F
  • Days 5-10: 95°F
  • From 10 days until they’ve developed some feathers: 91°F
  • When they’ve most of their down feathers: 84-89°F
  • When the wings and head are mostly covered by feathers: 78-82°F

Once the chick reaches 3 to 4 weeks of age, it can regulate its body temperature.

At this stage, you can remove the heat source. To keep a baby parrot warm, ensure the room the parrot lives in is maintained at the right temperature.

Do Baby Parrots Sleep A Lot?

The majority of parrots are either tropical or subtropical.

They live near the equator, which gets 12 hours of darkness each night. So, parrots are awake from sunrise to sunset and need between 12 to 14 hours of uninterrupted sleep each day.

Baby birds need more than this as they’re growing and developing. Although it’s hard to know how often they’ll sleep, chicks will rest as much as they need to.

It’s not uncommon for baby parrots to only wake up when they’re being fed, sleeping at all other times of the day until they’re older and stronger.

How To Set Up A Parrot Cage

Parrots live in cages from around the age of 7 weeks.

Because they’re still growing, selecting a cage that’ll provide enough room for your parrot to be comfortable when it’s fully grown is important.

Follow these cage setup tips to get started:

Determine the Space of the Bars

Parrots can get their heads stuck or escape from cages with bars set too wide apart. You shouldn’t risk it if you’re out of the house and can’t supervise it constantly.

  • Small parrots, like conures, need bars spaced ¾ inch apart.
  • Medium-sized birds, like parakeets and cockatiels, need bars spaced ½ inch apart.
  • Large parrots, like Amazons and Macaws, need 1 inch between the bars.

Find a cage that allows a parrot to roam freely without too much restriction.


Parrots are always on their feet, even while sleeping. Therefore, perches are an essential part of the cage’s setup. In the wild, trees and branches provide resting spots of all shapes, sizes, and widths.

Allowing your parrot to adjust its feet to the widths of the perches ensures that it stays supple and flexible, preventing health problems later.

Rope perches can be adapted to fit the cage. Also, add a Pedi perch to the cage so your parrot can keep its claws filed down and its beak under control.

When adding perches to the cage, space them out so the cage doesn’t become crowded. Parrots prefer high perches and tend to ignore all others in the cage.

To start with, place the perches around the mid-level of the cage to allow your parrot to get used to them. Then, move them higher once the parrot has settled and the perches feel familiar.

Food and Water Bowls

Most cages come with at least one food and water tray.

However, with trays that rest on the bottom of the cage, it’s easy for parrots to drop empty seed husks back into it, especially while learning how to forage.

This leads to a risk of starvation, so it’s a good idea to put a couple of upright feeders in the cage. That way, you’ll know that there’s always food available for your parrot.

Position them close to your parrot’s favorite perches so it can easily reach its food.


To make your parrot’s cage easier to clean, line the bottom with a layer of substrate. Newspaper will make removing old seed husks and feces easier when it’s time to sanitize the cage.

How To Train A Baby Parrot

The breeder will have done most of the work when it comes to training. However, to get your parrot used to your presence and encourage it to behave appropriately, you’ll need to perform training.

It’ll take time and patience, and training is essential if you want a sociable, tame parrot.

To successfully train a baby parrot, follow these steps:

Start Handling Your Parrot

Your parrot will need to become comfortable with you touching and holding it. It’ll believe it is in charge if you don’t do this right.

Always stand above your parrot so that it knows you’re in control. Then, encourage it to move onto your finger by placing it against its lower breast. You can begin to add commands such as “step up.”

When your parrot does what you want, reward it with a treat to reinforce the message.

Once you become comfortable around each other, practice laddering with your hands, which involves moving your hand to a higher position while encouraging the parrot to step up onto it.

Don’t Overfeed Treats

If you feed your parrot treats too often, it won’t associate them with training. There’s also too much potential for over-feeding, and your bird may reject its regular food.

Discourage Biting

Parrots should never be allowed to bite or behave aggressively. Biting is different from a gentle nibble, in which your parrot will use its tongue to touch your skin.

Also, many parrots use their beaks to balance and may use human hands to coordinate themselves. If your parrot moves toward your hand, don’t assume it’ll bite you, or it may become nervous.

Don’t shout at your bird if you get nipped. Instead, remain calm and say “no” firmly, placing your hand (palm facing forwards) in front of your parrot’s face as a stop gesture.

If your parrot bites you and refuses to let you go, blow on it with a sharp puff of air to make it release. Then, place it back in its cage without a treat.

How To Entertain A Baby Parrot

As parrots spend a significant amount of time in their cage, you must provide entertainment and enrichment to keep your baby parrot mentally and physically healthy. Birds without stimulation can become irritable and destructive.

There’s plenty you can do to keep your parrot occupied, including:


The first stages of your parrot’s life are crucial to its environmental awareness and development. The bird could grow up with various behavioral problems if it isn’t nurtured.

One of the best ways to combat this is to provide toys such as:

  • Puzzles
  • Toilet paper for parrots to shred
  • Paper sticks
  • Chewable objects
  • Ladders
  • Preening rope
  • Bangles
  • Building blocks

Putting all toys into the cage at once is impossible, as it’ll cause confusion and take up too much space. Instead, regularly rotate the toys and games to keep your parrot alert and entertained.


Let your parrot out of the cage daily for a change of scenery.

Parrots that spend too much time in their cage may become withdrawn and reclusive. Allow them to walk around the house to stretch their legs and wings.

Assign time each day to interact with your baby parrot. This will help you form a bond that the parrot will take through to adulthood.

When your parrot is in its cage, place ladders and other games inside it to encourage your parrot to keep moving, as this will stimulate its mind.

Parrot Playlist

Create a music playlist for your parrot to listen to when you need to leave the house.

Current Biology confirms that parrots can process the sound of music. They also spontaneously move to music, meaning they can dance. A study by Dr. Franck Péron found that Parrots seem to enjoy:

  • Pop music
  • Rock music
  • Folk music
  • Classical music

Avoid high-tempo electronic dance music because the same study discovered that parrots subjected to this type of music squawked in distress.

Signs A Baby Parrot Is Sick

Wild parrots avoid showing signs of sickness. Sick birds are the first to be attacked by predators if they sense the parrot is weak and easy to kill. As a result, it’s hard to tell when chicks are unwell.

That said, many symptoms indicate when a parrot is sick:

  • Poor feather quality
  • Unusually fluffed feathers
  • Changes in appetite or eating habits
  • Changes to drinking habits; drinking more or less often
  • Weakness and lethargy
  • Crop not emptying
  • Crop not getting full
  • Vomiting
  • Drooped wings
  • Refusal to move
  • Increased sleeping
  • Inactivity
  • Depression
  • Bleeding or signs of injury

If you notice one or more of these affecting your baby parrot, take them to an avian vet.

When Can Baby Parrots Leave Their Mother?

In captivity, baby parrots are normally ready to leave their mothers at around 7 to 8 weeks of age. Once a chick hatches, it matures quickly and, once weaned, is ready to leave the nest at around 8 weeks old.

Some breeders prefer to wait until 12 weeks before allowing a baby parrot to go to its new home.

Why Is My Baby Parrot Shaking?

Baby parrots shake and shiver when cold, scared, excited, or sick.

The most common reasons why a baby parrot would shake include the following:


Baby parrots must be housed in temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The baby parrot will shiver to generate heat if the room is too cold.

A parrot shakes after having a bath. A parrot’s muscles contract involuntarily to generate heat and keep it warm. As soon as the parrot is warm, it’ll stop shivering.


The parrot will lift and shake its feathers to move cold air around its body to cool itself down. It isn’t technically shivering, but it appears that way.

Scared or Stressed

After moving your baby parrot to its new home, it might shake out of nervousness or stress, especially when it’s away from its mother for the first time.

Birds are sensitive to their environments, and small changes can unsettle them.

When around your new pet, speak gently and move slowly to avoid frightening it further. Work on building your bond but move at your parrot’s pace.


Baby parrots hide their sickness, so it’s difficult to determine whether they’re unwell. Parrots can’t tell us when they’re ill and rely on us to pick up on it through their behavior and body language.

My Baby Parrot Is Scared of Me

Understandably, baby parrots take a while to adjust, especially after moving to a new environment.

As prey animals, they’re hard-wired to fear their surroundings until they know you don’t pose a threat. Until that time, they’ll be wary and fearful of you.

Some parrots don’t enjoy being handled and never will. Attempting to win your parrot’s trust by touching it more often is unlikely to help and will only make it more scared when you’re nearby.

However, baby parrots are young enough to adjust to your presence if you follow these steps:

  • Don’t make any loud noises.
  • Let it live in a quiet, neutral room.
  • Don’t handle them too often.
  • Keep it away from other pets.
  • Don’t disturb them while sleeping.

Over time and with care and attention, your baby parrot should start to trust you, allowing you to begin building a bond with your new pet.

How To Wean Baby Parrots

Weaning is a wonderful, delightful and fascinating time in a young pet bird life. It is also the most important time, as it will significantly shape the way that a pet bird relates to its environment.

When hand-feeding parrot chicks, feed them as soon as their crops are empty or just before their crops empty. Once parrot chicks are on only two hand-feedings a day, they begin refusing formula, taking less and less at each feeding. They become increasingly difficult to feed as they refuse food; they would rather run off to play. They sling formula around the room or dribble huge puddles of baby food on their feet. This is when weaning begins.

Weighing Baby Birds

Weigh young birds every morning when their crops are empty. Record each pet bird weight and the amount of parrot bird food at each feeding. By reviewing the records, you can determine if it is safe to stop hand-feeding a chick and allow the chick to become food-independent. When the parrot chick progresses to only two hand-feedings a day, it will peak in weight and then begin to lose weight. After fledging, the parrot chick regains some of the lost weight, and then its weight stabilizes. Healthy young baby birds are round, chubby and cute, with fat toes and wing tips. They must burn off this baby fat in order to spread their wings and lift themselves into the air to fly (fledge). They practice by flapping their wings so hard that they scoot across the floor in a line or in circles.

Their refusal to eat can be terrifying, especially to the novice hand-feeder. The baby bird may begin to feel light and look terribly thin compared to the plump chick it was a couple of weeks earlier. The baby that once begged for food and pumped so furiously when fed now pulls away and refuses to eat. These times can be nerve-racking, yet I cannot stress how important it is not to force-feed a baby bird. Too many baby have been killed by well-meaning people who tried to force an uncooperative chick to eat.

Maintain weight records to be clear how much weight the chick has lost. Comparing weight records of chicks of the same species helps to determine if a particular chick is underweight for its age.

Weight loss after a baby reaches its peak weight should range from 10 to 25 percent, depending on the species. Large species and large chicks within a species lose a greater percent of their weight. If a baby loses too much weight, consult an avian veterinarian; an advanced aviculturist involvement may be necessary.

Offering Solid Foods

I offer solid foods just prior to fledging. Baby birds being raised by their parents would not have the opportunity to eat any solid food until they fledge, so it is the natural time for solid foods to be available. At fledging, chicks will remember items offered as food at this time for a lifetime. Therefore, offer a tremendous variety to fledglings.

You can tell which foods are eaten and which are not. Continue to offer foods that are ignored, but increase favorite foods so that the chicks begin to learn to eat well on their own.

Hungry parrots are a paradox; they often will not eat until they are offered something that they really want. A parrot chick that is begging for hand-feeding formula might not eat any solid food until it is hand-fed. Immediately after hand-feeding, it might consume an entire bowl of food.

I offer large pieces of corn on the cob to chicks that are just beginning to wean. At first they view the corn as a toy, jumping on it and mouthing it. They quickly discover that it has a smooth, bumpy texture and sweet-tasting kernels. Another wonderful weaning food is peas in a pod. The chicks love to pick up the pods and feel the peas inside. They instinctively tear open the pod and devour the peas. One of my favorite weaning foods is a mixture of mashed sweet potatoes with peanut butter and coconut milk. This soft, mushy combination can be fed warm and is a gradual step from formula.

Difficult Weanings

Some parrot chicks may refuse to become completely food-independent. Very few chicks will not attempt to eat some food on their own; however, they may continue to beg for hand-feeding. Some species simply take longer to wean than others. Hyacinth macaws and black palm cockatoos may take up to one year to wean. Cockatoos as a whole tend to be difficult.

Illness, injury or deformity can prevent the chick from weaning at a normal age, and that chick will not have the independence and confidence to wean at the appropriate time. Yet, even in the most extreme case I have seen, the baby eventually was able to eat by itself.

Single chicks are much more difficult to wean than chicks raised with clutch mates. In the wild, it is more difficult for the parents to feed all the chicks, and some may die. Becoming food-independent as quickly as possible increases the chance of survival for the entire clutch. The larger number of chicks encourages competition for food and thus instills independence.

If a baby is past weaning age and is showing no signs of becoming food-independent, take the chick to an avian veterinarian with experience in avian pediatrics. These chicks often have a mild infection that may not prevent them from growing normally, but prevents them from thriving without hand-feeding.

If a chick receives one small hand-feeding a day, it is consuming enough food by itself to meet the nutritional requirements for proper growth. Hand-feeding at this stage is a psychological dependency. If a healthy chick persists in begging for food, then reduce the amount of formula given, and slowly lower the temperature of the formula to 80 degrees Fahrenheit from the normal temperature of 101 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

When you eliminate a hand-feeding, use that time period to interact with the chicks and provide them with attention to develop poise and independence. Chicks also should be handed solid foods. In fact, birds should be offered healthy treats from the hands of many people throughout their lifetime. This helps keep birds sociable and friendly to many people and encourages birds to continue eating a healthy diet.

The Flight Connection

When a bird is about to fledge or is newly fledged, it becomes so difficult to control that some people decide to trim the bird wing feathers. Trimming the wing feathers of an unweaned bird is a big mistake. The chick will not understand that he cannot fly because his wing feathers are trimmed, and he will refuse to eat in order to lose weight and fledge.

Weaning will be prolonged, the psychological effects can be devastating, and the chick will never develop the strong muscles and bones, the good balance and the healthy respiratory system of a well-fledged chick. Do not trim a bird wing feathers until the bird is completely food-independent. A proper wing-feather trim allows the bird to glide gently to the ground.

After baby parrots fledge, their weight continues to drop for a short period of time. Once parrot chicks develop some skill in flying, they will beg for more food, because flying requires more energy and better nutrition than walking or perching. At this time, parrot chicks might look like adults, but they still are in a stage of rapid growth and will need the extra nutrition.

Behavioral Problems

If you force baby pet birds to wean, there is a strong possibility that they will develop behavioral problems. Those problems also might develop if hand-feeding continues well past weaning age.

It is vitally important that birds are weaned at the time that nature intended for them to become independent. Babies weaned at an improper age eventually may exhibit behaviors associated with a lack of self-confidence and fear, such as biting, excessive screaming and poor eating habits. Sexual behaviors will become problematic in birds that are hand-fed well into maturity.

Weaning Foods For Ill Birds

Warm, soft weaning foods can disguise medicines. The occasional offering of weaning foods with a spoon will accustom adult birds to accept food in this manner. Do not use a bent spoon or syringe, because it will encourage pumping and mimic hand-feeding.

Posted by: Chewy Editorial

Featured Image: Papooga/Flickr


Important aspects of keeping parrots in captivity

Volgina N.S. veterinary ornithologist, cbn, "Centre", Moscow

Parrots are the most amazing, intelligent and unusual birds on Earth. “What would one of those wonderful rainforests be without parrots? A dead wizard's garden, a silent graveyard, a wilderness. Parrots wake up and support life there, acting both on sight and on hearing,” notes the German zoologist, naturalist Alfred Brehm, “parrots can be figuratively called “monkeys among birds”, and Jacques can be represented as “man among parrots”. nine0003

There are more than 300 species of parrots, distributed on all continents except Antarctica. One of the most beautiful in plumage color is the parrots of Australia, New Guinea and other nearby islands. There live cockatoos of white, black, pink and other colors, amazingly luxurious handsome lorises and rosellas. The sizes of parrots are also very diverse: the smallest representatives are woodpeckers, which are barely 10 cm long. And the largest parrots in the world, such as the hyacinth macaw, reach 110 cm. One of the most popular misconceptions is that parrots can survive up to 100 years or more. However, in reality, their life expectancy rarely exceeds 50 years. The age of medium and small parrots is much shorter than 10-15 years. Cockatoos are recognized long-livers among parrots, there are reports of parrots living to 65-70 years. nine0003

Often, when choosing a pet, the choice stops at one of the representatives of the order of parrots, as a rule, these are small or medium parrots: budgerigars, cockatiels, lovebirds, less often grays. Why? There are many answers:

  • You shouldn't take your parrot outside twice a day
  • No need for large rooms
  • No unpleasant odors
  • Parrots live long
  • The high level of intelligence of parrots allows communication with humans
  • Cheerful and cheerful companion, etc.

And so, if you really decide to get a parrot, let's start equipping his home. It is necessary to choose the right place in the apartment: the cage should not be placed near heating appliances, in a draft, near a TV, computer monitor, music center. The cage should be located in a bright place, it is desirable that one side of it adjoins the wall, where the bird will feel out of danger. nine0003

The cage must be spacious, the length must be greater than the depth and height. The minimum size of the cage should allow the bird to fully open its wings without touching the walls of the cage. A good cage is made of non-toxic materials, it is convenient to maintain, easy to clean. It is desirable that the bird be in absolute darkness at night, but it is better not to close the cage at night so as not to deprive the bird of fresh air. The ideal option is a combined aviary with an outdoor section and a part located indoors, when the bird itself has the opportunity to choose where to be. It is desirable that there are perches of different diameters in the cage, so the smallest diameter should allow the claws to almost touch when sitting on the perch, and the largest diameter of the perch should be such that the bird's claws rest against the tree when sitting on it. nine0003

It is necessary to let the bird out of the cage every day. Only in flight does adequate ventilation of the lungs and air sacs occur, and blood supply to internal organs and tissues improves. In the absence of flights, the bird will inevitably suffer from respiratory diseases, such as aspergillosis, etc.

A very important point in creating optimal conditions for the bird's life is lighting. Usually the bird does not have the opportunity to be outdoors and is completely deprived of sunlight, especially in the autumn-winter season, when daylight hours are short and the sky is often covered with clouds. Therefore, your pet will need the short-wave part of the solar spectrum (ultraviolet). Under the influence of ultraviolet rays in the body of most vertebrates, including birds, vitamin D3 is synthesized. Vitamin D3 is a precursor of the hormone calcitriol, which regulates the metabolism of calcium and phosphorus and contributes to the proper formation of bone and cartilage tissue. In addition, the production of many hormones of the anterior pituitary gland: thyroid-stimulating, adrenocorticotropic, growth hormone depends on the degree of illumination and the length of daylight hours. Birds have a special gland surrounding the eye, the Harderian gland. This gland is responsible for the bird's perception of daylight hours and transmits a signal via a neurohumoral connection to the hypolamute and pituitary gland. Hormones of the anterior pituitary gland are responsible for the normal growth and development of the bird, regulate all types of metabolic processes. In addition, in birds, special cells (cones) located in the iris, in addition to the three primary colors perceived by humans: blue, green and red, are also able to perceive light in the ultraviolet part of the spectrum. Without the ultraviolet lighting component, the world looks dull and colorless to birds (Fig. 1). nine0003

Fig.1 For a bird, the world becomes colored if there is an ultraviolet spectrum in the illumination (the bird on the left) and black if there is no ultraviolet (the bird on the right).

To meet the need of parrots for low-frequency ultraviolet, you will need a lamp with a color index (CRI) above 90 and a temperature coefficient (K) from 5000 to 6500. According to experts, the best lamp for birds, today, is the TL950 model Philips firm. However, they are not always available. Therefore, amateurs can find lamps from OSRAM, Sylvania, Hagen, Arcadia, etc. in Moscow pet stores (Fig. 2). You can use any luminaire, it is enough that it is equipped with an electronic ballast (PRA). Ordinary magnetic gear used in fluorescent lamps is not suitable for birds. The relatively low frequency of the alternating current in the circuit (50 Hz) creates a stroboscopic effect. We don't notice it. However, parrots, whose eye registers 10 times more pictures per second, perceive such light as a series of flashes. Moreover, the use of electronic ballast significantly extends the life of the lamp. nine0003

Fig.2. Lighting for birds.

We must also take care of air humidification - large and medium parrots mainly come from humid tropical and subtropical regions, and their usual humidity level is 75-85%. With low humidity, a number of diseases of the respiratory system can occur in a bird and the plumage will become dull and brittle. Indoor flowers, fountains, bowls of water and wet towels on the radiator will not solve this problem. A humidifier is needed. Of the humidifiers present on the Russian market, ultrasonic ones are the most productive, but even in winter, with the heating turned on, they barely maintain humidity at the level of 50-60% - this is the minimum allowable value for parrots (therefore, the humidifier should be installed as close as possible to the cage). nine0003

If you have a cold apartment, you will also need to take care of an electric heater. A comfortable temperature for parrots is 22-25 0 C, a temperature of 18-20 0 is the minimum allowable, and with a long stay at this temperature, the bird may catch a cold. Sudden changes in temperature (more than 5-7 0 ) can also lead to a cold. The best option is an oil heater, although it dries the air. However, it should not be placed close to the cage. nine0003

After creating a comfortable home for the bird, you must take care of its diet. At the moment, the food of most domestic manufacturers not only leaves much to be desired, but can often be dangerous to the health and even to the life of our pets. Russia does not have its own technology for fortification of feed and funds for the introduction of imported technology. Therefore, in two different packs of grain feed from the same manufacturer, there may be an amount of vitamins that does not correspond to any standards or their complete absence. Some foreign manufacturers of ready-made feeds (Fiory, Padovan, Vitakraft) have proven themselves well in the world market. These brands are represented by several types of mixtures for different types of parrots (african, amazonian, australian, etc.). Of the domestic feeds, Rio mixtures are well recommended. Complementary foods are also available, such as mixtures of nuts and dried fruits, which can be added to the main grain mixtures or given to the parrot as a treat, crackers, mineral supplements, vitamin supplements, shedding supplements, etc., etc. In addition to the main grain feed, germinated grain should be present in the diet of parrots. Thoroughly washed grain pour a little warm water (you can just room temperature) and leave at a temperature of 20-22 0 degrees for 4-5 hours. Then drain the water, rinse the grain again and leave it at room temperature again for 8-9 hours. You can cover the grain with damp gauze, or place it in a plastic container, in the bottom of which you first make a few small holes (this will greatly facilitate the process of regular washing). Insert a container with holes into another one that is suitable in size. After 8-9 hours, rinse the sprouts again and put them in the refrigerator - this will stop the growth of sprouted sprouts and protect against mold. Every morning, before offering the sprouts to the parrot, they should be washed. Many parrots do not like wet grain - in this case, it should be dried with a hairdryer, on a radiator, or simply by blotting with a paper or cotton napkin. In addition, heavily moistened food can become moldy quickly at room temperature. Every day the parrot should receive juicy food. Fruits, vegetables and greens are absolutely essential in a parrot's diet. You need to accustom a bird to them from the first day of its stay in your house. All fruits and vegetables should be thoroughly washed, especially those that cannot be peeled - such as grapes, berries, greens, cabbage. Fruits and vegetables can be given with the exception of: mango, papaya, avocado, potatoes, parsley and other herbs. Any boiled vegetables from your table (from soup, stew, etc.) should not be given to the bird, because, in addition to the fact that the vegetables from your table are usually salted, they may have a fair amount of fat, which is completely contraindicated for parrots . nine0003

It is possible and necessary to accustom the bird to ready-made fruit and vegetable purees produced for baby food. This is a good addition to the diet of a parrot, especially in winter. Ready-made purees, the composition of which is very diverse, should not contain vegetables and fruits from the prohibited list, sugar, cream, milk, as well as fish and meat. It is necessary to teach the bird to eat from a spoon, you can dilute the puree with water and offer the parrot as a drink. For many years, fermented milk products have been considered an important part of the diet of parrots, due to the content of calcium in an easily digestible form and microorganisms that normalize the intestinal microflora, but at present this point of view is no longer unambiguous, since there is documented scientific evidence that birds are very unwell. digest milk sugar (lactose). This is due to the fact that in the small intestine of parrots, the enzyme lactase, which is responsible for the breakdown of milk sugar, is synthesized in insufficient quantities. The fat content of fermented milk products should not exceed 1%. Kefir, yogurt, fermented baked milk and yogurt can be given to the bird no more than 2 times a week. Low-fat cottage cheese is recommended to give no more than 1 time per week. Well suited for this purpose is children's cottage cheese, completely fat-free cottage cheese, and dietary cottage cheese. nine0003

Branch food is also essential for parrots. It is best to give branches of fruit trees and shrubs: apple trees, cherries, plums, raspberries, hawthorn, elderberry, viburnum, currants.

Parrots need mineral supplements. As a source of calcium and phosphorus, it is necessary to use crushed shells of marine mollusks. The best source of calcium is pressed cuttlefish shell, or sepia. Parrots accustomed to this feeding (getting used to any new food takes time and patience from the owner of the bird) are happy to gnaw sepia themselves. Sepia can be given to the bird up to 5 times a week, let it hang in a cage until it is completely destroyed. nine0003

Of the vitamin preparations, Vinka (Beaphar), vitamins from the Quiko company have proven themselves very well. These are liquid vitamins that are added to the drinker. It is better to give vitamins in two-week courses 3-4 times a year.

If your bird does not get enough calcium and vitamins, it will be susceptible to bone disease. These diseases in the English-language literature are called Metabolic bone disease (Metabolic bone disease). Young birds develop rickets, and adults suffer from secondary nutritional hyperparathyroidism, osteoporosis, and osteomalacia. The pathogenesis of these diseases is different, but ultimately the diseases lead to the destruction of bone tissue, a decrease in natural resistance and the development of secondary infections (enteritis, nephritis, hepatitis, etc.). nine0003

Boiled or filtered water is best for drinking. You can add a small amount of freshly squeezed juices or a drop of honey.

Feeders and drinkers must be kept clean. Birds like to soak their food in the water and it gets dirty quickly. In such a nutrient medium, bacteria begin to multiply, which can be pathogenic for birds.

If your bird is sick.

If your bird falls ill, contact your veterinary ornithologist immediately! Do not try to cure the bird yourself and do not seek advice from friends or pet store sellers. Assistance must be provided by a qualified professional. nine0003

Distinguishing a sick bird from a healthy one is not difficult.

  • A cheerful, mobile bird suddenly became quiet, sleeps for a long time, resting, sits on a perch on two legs, lies on a perch or on the bottom of the cage.
  • The bird fluffs up, closes its eyes, breathes heavily.
  • Bird yawns frequently (all birds yawn, but do so before going to sleep or during daytime rest and quite rarely during the day).
  • The bird has lost or vice versa, an excessive appetite has appeared, the bird drinks more than usual. nine0012
  • The bird is nauseated and regurgitates undigested food. (Males of many bird species regurgitate food while courting a female or an object that replaces a female, but it is not difficult to distinguish between sexual behavior and illness - the courting male is cheerful and energetic, the sick bird is lethargic and weak)
  • The bird scratches nervously and often
  • The bird that made the sounds was silent or hoarse
  • The bird freezes for a long time in an unnatural position, for example, upside down,
    • The bird is losing weight
  • The bird is limping, although not injured
  • Poultry has convulsions
  • Bird sneezes
  • The bird breathes rapidly with its beak open.
  • Respiratory movements are accompanied by the movement of the tail.
  • A neoplasm has appeared on the body or limbs.

There are diseases in birds that can be dangerous to humans and other mammals:

  • Influenza
  • nine0011 Tuberculosis
  • Salmonellosis
  • Ornithosis (chlamydia)

Timely contacting a veterinary ornithologist will help save your pet and protect you from dangerous diseases.

Feeding a parrot

Buying a parrot as a pet is a big responsibility. In case of improper care, the chick will constantly get sick, slowly losing vitality. Making the right diet is the main point that needs to be constantly given due attention. nine0003

Grain mixture is the main component of nutrition

On the shelves of the pet store you can find many packages of ready-made food for different types of parrots: large, medium and small. In addition to grains, they also often contain dried fruit pieces, nuts, and mineral supplements.

In order to have a balanced diet, you should not trust manufacturers too much and buy food only for a certain type of parrot. The best option is to mix the food yourself, making the food more varied. It would also be useful to add inedible components, such as sawdust and shavings, cone husks, cardboard pieces, which will provide the necessary load on the beak and brain received by the parrot while sorting the contents of the feeder. nine0003

When buying, pay attention to the packaging date and expiration date. It is worth giving preference to feed packed in plastic sealed containers. In case of improper storage of the grain mixture in cardboard packaging, it quickly deteriorates and subsequently negatively affects the health of the parrot.

Vegetables and fruits are a source of useful vitamins

If the daily diet consists only of grain, then the parrot can become lethargic and constantly exposed to various diseases. Therefore, from the first day after the purchase, the chick must be taught to vegetables and fruits. Over time, the feathered pet will choose its favorite treats for itself and will eat them with great pleasure. nine0003

It is worth remembering a short list of foods that should not be given to parrots: avocado, papaya, mango, potatoes, herbs.

If there is a baby in the house for whom baby fruit and vegetable puree is periodically bought, the rest of the servings can be given to the parrot.

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