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Within the fabulous world of birds there are hundreds of species, but not all can be had at home. However, one of the most loved by lovers of bird care is the parrot, a perfect companion animal.

Types of parrots

What is a parrot?

Formerly all types of parrots were grouped into a single family, known as Psittacidae, but due to the huge variations that have emerged over the years and subfamilies, little by little the name of psittacoidea ended up leaving for the common parrot . These are spread across different continents, each with a feature that makes them unique.

As a general rule, parrots measure between 30 and 40 centimeters, have a curved beak with a lower jaw with some mobility and a big cranial capacity, which makes it one of the most intelligent birds together with lovebirds. They are very good flyers and can grab the branches of trees and climb them with great skill thanks to the claws of their legs.

The intense coloring of the feather is another characteristic of the parrot. As a general rule the predominant color is usually green, but in some species they have other tonalities such as blue, red or yellow. Most species are monogamous, walking in cavities of trees or as in excavated tunnels.

Some species can imitate a large number of sounds, including the human voice, which has earned them great fame among bird lovers.

How much does parrot live?

Compared to other birds that live in captivity, the truth is that parrots are very long-lived animals. Although the life expectancy depends on the species of parrot.

For example, a macaw parrot can reach 100 years of age if it has the necessary care, although its average life expectancy is usually 80 years. If it is a cockatoo, it usually lives between 60 and 20 years, while gray parrots and Amazons usually live 50 years. In the case of conuros, is usually about 30 years.

Although it is a long life expectancy, 70% does not reach the maximum life expectancy, due to the pollution of the environment of the cities, a bad diet or that suffer accidents when walking free around the house, like biting a cable, hitting with the glass of a window …

The parrot as a pet, is it good?

Parrots has been the pets of humans for many years. But, to the big question if a parrot is better than any other animal, the answer would be yes.

Keep in mind that a parrot is not an animal designed for young children, as they do not have enough knowledge and skills to take care of it. The parrot must always be in charge of an adult person who can cover their needs.

how to know the sex of a parrot

When someone want to have a parrot at home, it is normal he want to know if it is male or female, especially if he is thinking of breeding parrots.

The normal thing is that the females are a bit more aggressive than the males, so observing the behavior of this would be easy to distinguish. But if this is not enough, you can observe the size and color of its feathers. When they are adults, the males are biger than the females, especially the head, as far as the colors, have tones more garish and showy than those of the females.

Of course the simplest way would be through the pelvis of the parrot, since the females has the bones of the pelvis more separated so that they can lay their eggs.

Choose the right place for your cage

Before thinking about buying a parrot, first of all you have to know if you have an indicated place in the house where to locate your cage. Many novice owners make a big mistake by misplacing their parrot’s cage, which is why they live much less.

The first thing to keep in mind is the height. The cage should be located more or less at the same height as the owner’s eyes. Why? In the event that the cage is too high, the bird will look down when it will receive its owner, which will make it believe that it has the lead in the home and will not tolerate being disturbed or “punished” when doing something that its owner does not like.

For this reason, it is beter that it is at a similar point at eye level, so that it also feel the same as its new owner. In the case that the parrot is very aggressive or dominant, you can lower the cage so you understand that it do not have control.

The cage must also be located in a place where it receives the just and necessary sunlight. It is not good to give it directly, except for one hour a day at the most, it must also be a place where it does not receive strong air currents during the winter and can be quiet, far from noise. Therefore, places like balconies or kitchens are totally prohibited. The room can be a good place, especially because they like to watch TV and can learn a word by watching the programs.

In addition, when they gain confidence with the family, the parrots consider the human beings of the house their “flock”, and it must be located near where the great majority of the family activity takes place.

The cage, how does it have to be?

Having already made clear that you have a good place to place your parrot, now it’s time to buy the cage, which is important to be big enough for the parrot.

If you are going to buy a parrot of small size, a cage of 40x37x45 centimeters will suffice if it is going to be alone and 60x42x50 centimeters in case it is going to be in pairs. For a parrot of medium size, it will be enough with a cage of 70x60x80 centimeters and of 100x80x120 centimeters if it will be accompanied. Finally, for a big parrot, the cage has to be 90x80x100 centimeters if it will be alone and 120x100x150 centimeters in the case of choosing two parrots

As for its shape, it is beter to be rectangular. Many believe that a circular cage is the best thing for the parrot, but the truth is that they do not like this kind of cages, nor those that has the shape of a “house” because they can not hold on to the bars. The bars must not have more than 1 – 2 centimeters of separation between them, in order to avoid that they can put the head between them and they are stuck.

And what does the parrot has to have in its cage? Although many cages are already equipped with toys, it is best to remove them all and install a few fresh branches of trees so they can bite them or perch on them. A couple of hangers, which are made of wood, help them to clean their nails, in addition to other objects such as a plush toy with which to fix their feathers, a bell, a rope … From time to time the toys will have to be changed so that the parrot does not get bored of always being with the same toy.

Cleaning the cage, what products to use?

At least a couple of times a week you have to clean the floor of the cage to remove feces and food debris left by the parrot, and clean it three times a month. However, what kind of products do you have to use?

Bleach: It is one of the most common disinfectants, and the most effective to eliminate all types of viruses, fungi and bacteria. Ideal to clean the floor of the cage in which the stools fall. However, it must be taken into account that when mixing with water, its disinfecting power is reduced up to 200 times, so it is best to apply it directly, let the cage dry well for a few hours while the parrot moves through the home.

Phenols: You may not use them much, but phenol-based disinfectants are also very good at killing bacteria. Especially they are good for cleaning the walls and floor of the cage.

Ammonia: Another very good product to kill viruses and bacteria that may be reproducing. Once you have cleaned the cage is when you have to apply it and then remove it with a little water and let the cage dry at room temperature, to make sure you have done away with all the bacteria.

Formol: One of the best disinfectants available to clean parrot cages. Of course, to apply it has to be done in a well-ventilated room, with the parrots out of the cage. Once the cage is clean, let it dry for two or three hours.

  • In order to perform a correct disinfection, you can follow these simple steps:
  • Clean and remove all dirt from the cage, rinse it with clean water and then disinfect it with the disinfectant you have chosen.
  • Apply the disinfectant throughout the cage, in order to make it clean of viruses and bacteria.
  • The parrot must be outside the room where the cleaning is taking place.
  • The room in which it is cleaned must be well ventilated and rubber gloves must be worn to avoid danger.
  • After about 15 minutes after applying the disinfectant, rinse everything with water and let it dry at room temperature before returning the parrot to the inside.

Be friends with the parrot, what should be done?

Once the parrot arrives home it is normal to feel a little intimidated. it is locked in a cage in an area that it does not know and at first it can look very fearful, which leads to it being aggressive.

So, what can be done to establish links with the parrot?

To look away: When a bird is looked at directly, it feels threatened. So when you are going to make the first contact, you have to look away when the bird is watching. Once the bird stares at its owner, it is when it is necessary to look at it directly.

Become a statue: There are times when the parrot is immobile when its owner is looking at it. In that case, you must also be a statue and remain still, longer than this.

Blink: The parrots do not blink when they are scared. Therefore, the owner must send a series of messages to gain their trust. If when you look at the parrot is scared, you have to blink. If the parrot returns the blink, it shows confidence.

Removing the parrot from the cage, is it dangerous?

The truth is that there are many owners who raise their parrots in freedom for the house, so it is not really dangerous. However, when it takes time in its cage, there can be danger

Before taking it out of this it must to have a lot of trust with one of the family members. Along with body language, one of the ways to gain their trust is by feeding it with their hands, like lovebirds and parakeets. You may bite at first, so it is advisable to feed it with gloves. In the event that it attack, you do not have to withdraw your hand, as that will make it feel that it is in control. You also have to look a lot, because it may learn to leave the cage alone.

Once it has its confidence, the parrot will eat from your hand and even land on your arm. Once this is done, you can get it out of the cage or let it out of the cage by itself. At the beginning, you have to leave it loose for the room where itq cage is, with the windows closed, and so it can stretch its wings and know its surroundings. Later you can let it explore the rest of the house.

You have to avoid feeding it outside the cage, because then it may not want to go back to this.

What diseases can a parrot has?

Like the rest of pets, the parrot is not exempt from suffering from any disease. It is true that if you take good care of it, it do not has to suffer it, but you should never lower your guard. The most commons are:

Abnormal molting of the plumage: The parrots change their plumage, but do not has a specific season to do it like other birds. It is normal for feathers to fall on their own to make place for new ones, but one may realize that it is plucking feathers itself, leaving parts of its body naked or wounded. In the case of noticing this behavior, it is necessary to take it as soon as possible to the veterinarian.

French molt of plumage: French molt is a disease produced by a pathogen called Polyomavirus. It is transmitted from parents to children through the regurgitation of food and sometimes leads to the death of the animal. The parrot loses the feathers of the wings and the tail, presents edema under the skin and abdominal distension.

Pneumonia: In the case of not having located well the parrot’s cage, and that this often receives strong air currents, will end up suffering from pneumonia, which will lead to having bleak eyes, nasal secretions and noisy breathing.

Parasites: That the parrot is protected behind bars does not mean that it is exempt from the attack of parasites, both internal and external. The external ones can be the mites of the environment or even lice, which will cause restlessness and nervousness to the animal, with falling feathers and will not stop scratching. In this case, they must be dewormed periodically. In the case that they are internal, you must talk quickly with the veterinarian to know what treatment to follow.

Colibacillosis: It is a disease caused by the bacterium Escherichia Coli, which is transmitted by direct contact with a bird that is infected. It is the main cause of death of these birds. Among the different symptoms, the parrot will be tired, dejected, lose its appetite and be very restless. The sick animal must be isolated and maintain a thorough hygiene of its cage, changing daily the feeder and drinker, added to a series of antibiotics to fight the infection.

Coccidiosis: This disease is caused by an infestation of internal parasites known as coccidia. These can enter the body of the pet through the intake of contaminated food or water. Among the different symptoms, the parrot will suffer from diarrhea, which can be watery and accompanied by blood, and you will feel dejected and tired.

Salmonellosis: This is caused by the bacteria Salmonella Typhimutium, which enters the body through contaminated water or food. The bird will have inflammation, diarrhea with a very bad smell and injuries to several of its organs. You have to go to the vet quickly to prescribe the treatment for its cure.

What Can I Feed My Parrot?

As a general rule, the ideal diet of a parrot is composed of vegetables and fruits as a main component and with a little dry food.

Fruits has to be given based on the content of sucrose and glucose. Those that are rich in sucrose, such as banana, peach or melon, do not has to eat more than two or three times a week, especially the banana that is also very rich in glucose, being much higher than other types of fruits. You also have to be very careful with mangoes, cherries and grapes because of their glucose content. When you give fruit your parrot, you have to make a small assortment, because if you give it piece by piece, it may end up abhorred.

Vegetables are a big part of the diet of this animal. The green vegetables that it can eat are spinach, broccoli, chard or escarole. It can be given lettuce, but not often as it can cause diarrhea. If you choose roots, you have to give it carrots, young garlic or radishes. Other foods that can be given are artichoke flowers and cauliflower, tomato or red pepper.

Although the fruit and vegetables are very good for the bird, it also has to eat dry food to carry out an ideal diet. In this case, we must opt for a quality feed, according to the size and species of the parrot.

Besides, giving it in less quantities, it can also be given other foods such as pasta, legumes such as chickpeas or lentils, a mixture of seeds, cereals such as rice or oatmeal, strips of chicken or boiled fish (not very often), wholemeal bread without salt, boiled potato, boiled egg or homemade cookies that do not has animal fat.

As you can see, a parrot eats almost everything. However, there are a number of foods that are totally prohibited for these animals, such as sweets because of their high content of industrial sugar, salty foods, avocado (it is deadly for the parrot), coffee, parsley, milk (unless it is fermented), or pumpkin and potato without boiling. All these foods should be out of reach of the parrot when it is out of the cage.

What should you know about the parrots breeding?

The parrots as such have been living with the human being for more than 15,000 years, being one of the oldest companion animals along with cats and dogs. Caring for it can be easy, but, and breeding them? In this case you have to learn a little more to get them to reproduce.

In these cases we must take more care, taking into account a number of very important factors.  at the time of reproduction, the female and the male should be calm and feel safe, so if you have a cage with enough birds, it is beter to pass them to another module so that nobody bothers them. In addition, these has to be well fed, thus getting eggs receive the necessary nutrients.

The nest should be located in a high place. You can buy one in a specialized store or give the parrots the necessary material so they can make it. Once they have it, the female will be placed on the nest and can get between 3 and 6 eggs. After an average of 23 days, sometimes 25, the chicks are born without being able to fend for themselves. So you have to provide parents everything they need to take care of them.

When the chick has a month and a half of life is when he leaves the nest, and from two months begin to be more independent. Completed this age is when you have to separate the parrot from their parents to begin to fend for itself, so it is advisable to have a module in the cage for the young.

How to Teach Your parrot to Talk

The reason why many end up acquiring a parrot as a pet is because it’s funny to hear it speak. And it is not for less, since the parrots has a great capacity to assimilate the sounds and repeat them. However, it is not a simple task at all.

To begin with, you have to know that males are better talkers than females, being their singing and vocalizing ability better. So that he learns to speak, it must has a perfect state of health and be a young exemplar.

Ready to teach the parrot to talk? For that, first you have to earn its trust. This can be achieved by giving it a place where it can play and has plenty of activities to do, while being in touch with its owner. But you have to be patient, as it may take a while to get in touch with the owner. If you try to get it out of the cage, which will help you gain confidence with you, it is possible that the first time try to escape, in this case under no circumstances try to capture or scream to return to the cage. It is beter to leave it , closing doors and windows, so that it can explore the environment and, when tired, return to the cage.

Gaining its trust, it’s time to start teaching it to speak. For this, the best time of day is the morning or when it is getting dark. The first words to be taught are some that are easy to relate to an action, such as “that delocious” when you give it a treat, to say “I love you” when you caress the neck or “good morning” when dawn. To do this you have to repeat the word along with the action so that it is recorded daily, which can take a week as a month. For example, if you want it to say “that delocious” after eating, while you give its favorite snack repeats “that delocious” for about 5 – 10 minutes, and so daily until it repeat it.

In the case that the parrot is very easy to learn, you can teach some more complicated words, such as the name of its favorite food or the name of any member of the family. In addition, it can be taught to obey an order, such as “get up” to pose in the hand or “to sleep” when it is time to go to bed to return alone to his cage.

It does not seem so difficult, right? However, there are many parrots that never learn to speak, although they are able to imitate some sounds they hear through the TV, as well as the doorbell or the telephone, even the whistle of a microwave or singing of other birds. In these cases you can teach them some melody.

The most important thing for the parrot to learn is perseverance and not surrendering the first day. You have to work a little with it every day, also giving ittime to rest between lessons so it do not feel stressed.