The First Night
Remember, he/she is a baby taken away from all he knows, and he will be a little intimidated by it all. Be patient and spend time with them. Leave your baby in his cage for at least a day, to allow for them to adjust to the new environment, and to find the food and water. Leave out toys and swings for the first week or so. Do no put him/her outside, as he/she is more likely to catch a cold while young and escpecially when stressed. We recommend waiting until 6 months of age, before leaving them outside unsupervised.
Ensure wild birds do not have a chance to visit, as they can carry diseases (eg Psittacosis, Coccidiosis). Baby birds that have been hand raised have not been exposed to disease, and can easily catch diseases when exposed. If you leave your cage outside, ensure the wire is small enough so the wild birds cannot enter the cage, and put a cover on the roof of the cage to stop wild birds defecating into the cage. Be wary of hawks, cats and snakes also. If in doubt, do not leave outside unsupervised. Be careful that the bird is not exposed to draughts, as that will make a bird sick very quickly.
Never let out a bird that screams, as he/she will always do it if he knows you are going to give in. Think of a two year old child, that is basically what you are dealing with, and they will train you, if you do not train them!! Put him back into the cage for a time out period. Cover the cage with a dark sheet if you need to.
Birds are like small children, and can get boisterous and cranky. A small amount of Dettol on your fingers will often deter a bird, as it burns their tongue, and will make them wary of doing it again. If he is getting over excited or aggressive, put him back into the cage for a time out period. Cover the cage with a dark sheet if you need to. Some birds with bite or screech so that you put them back in the cage, in these cases a 'punishment cage' may be needed. Set up a small bare cage with no toys or yummy foods, just a fresh bowl of water, and put your bird away in here for 5-20mins. Birds are very intelligent animals and will learn quickly to associate the bad behaviour with the punishment if you are consistent.
We generally use the ???softclip??? method on birds because it allows them to land safely in emergencies, or if they fall or jump. It prevents them from getting height when flying, but gives them some mobility to help escape predators. This involves clipping the first few long wing feathers, and then every second feather on both sides. This needs to be fine tuned for each individual bird, however, as some are better flyers than others. It should be reassessed after a couple of days, as they can adjust their flying pattern. Heavy bodied birds, such as galahs, often need less clipping, light birds such as cockatiels and budgies need heavier clipping. If you need to, you can remove more of the longer outer feathers. Never clip past the covert feathers, ie the second row, as this will cut into the live portion of the feather and cause bleeding. With the soft clip, you will need to carefully monitor your bird, as a couple of feathers grown back can make a difference overnight. If in doubt, ask a staff member to assist you, we offer wing clipping as a free service at Pet HQ.
You will need to monitor his/her eating, to ensure seed is being cracked. Look for husks in the seed dish and do not change the seed unless it has all been eaten or it has gotten wet or dirty. Your baby will pick out the seed it likes the most, and if you change the seed daily, they will not get a balanced diet. Instead blow off the husks and put the dish back. Most parrots like the sunflower seed, but it is high in fat and low in essential proteins. Birds can become obese and get heart disease, just like us! A balanced diet includes items such as seed, fruit, veges, specially designed bird pellets, and meat. Seed is not a complete balanced diet, and needs to be supplemented. Give egg and biscuit daily for the first few weeks. By the time he/she is 6 months old, he/she should just be having it once a week, more as a treat. Overfeeding egg and biscuit can cause obesity. Try fresh fruit and vegies immediately, but don???t over do it!! Introduce it into the diet gradually, as sudden diet changes can cause diarrhoea. Try grated blanched carrot, raw or blanched broccoli, spinach, fresh or frozen corn, apple and roasted peanuts. Dark green vegetables are excellent sources of minerals, as are the orange, yellow and red fruits. Items such as lettuce and the light coloured areas of celery are very high in water content, and have very little nutritional value. Millet sprays are a good natural treat for birds, and they can also be given small quantities of dog biscuits as a treat - they are a good source of protein. Cooked fish and chicken and chicken bones are also a good source of protein. If your bird does not immediately take to new foods, try mixing them with egg and biscuit or the seed. Be aware that each species may have different dietary needs and you should check with the staff or do your research to be sure that your bird is being fed correctly.
Ensure that any fresh or cooked foods are removed from the cage after a few hours, so they don???t spoil. Feed cooked foods only under supervision, as birds have been known to stash items for later. The following should never be fed to birds: chocolate, caffeine (tea and coffee), rhubarb or avocado, as they are toxic. If you would not eat it (too old, sour etc), don???t give it to your bird.
Lorikeets (click here see the full article on lorikeets)
Lorikeets should be feed a lory dry or wet mix instead of seed as seeds can damage their tongue bristles making it difficult for them to feed. Nectar should be given at least once a week as a treat, as that is closer to their natural diet - you can buy nectar mixes or supply fresh native flowers to achieve this. Food should only be changed if it gets wet, dirty or is getting low. They should also be given various fruits but keep in mind, the more wet food you give, the more liquid the poos are.
Is very important for all birds. It is especially vital for baby birds, as their bones are still ???green???, that is, the calcium has not yet been fully deposited. You will need to supplement, either with cuttlefish, and if they will not eat that, you can get excellent dietary supplements, such as calcivet. In order to process the pure calcium, birds need to access direct sunlight to produce vitamin D3. Most supplements have vitamin D3 already added. Shell grit should also be supplied every now and then as it contains minerals and calcium and is an important part of the diet. It can be fed freely, sprinkled on the floor, or added into the seed mix.
As you want the bird to bond with you and not another bird, do not give a mirror or play mate until they are at least six months old. If you give them a mirror, they will become friends with the bird in the mirror as that bird is always there, and you are not. Parrots natural instinct is to chew, so give him toys he can chew and groom e.g. cotton toys and wooden toys. Natural, pest free, native tree branches are a good choice for native parrots.
House Dangers ??? some obvious and not so obvious dangers
If a bird flies into a glass window or mirror, they can break their neck so either keep their wings trimmed, or cover the windows (eg curtains).
Keep the lid to the toilet down, as a curious bird cannot get out of a toilet.
Knives away, and drain the kitchen sink, as birds can drown or get burnt in the hot water.
Keep the lid on cooking pots, and keep birds away from Teflon appliances. Teflon fumes are extremely toxic to birds, it causes irreparable damage to their lungs.
Be careful of houseplants, as often they are toxic, and of course are very inviting to chew on!
Fish tanks, power cords, fans, open ovens, hot stoves are other items for concern.
All parrots love chewing, so put away any valuable or poisonous items.
Do not smoke near you bird, as nicotine is also toxic.
Sometimes, with the stress of changing environments, birds can get diarrhoea. If he/she does, it can be treated with ???sulpha??? remedies, if the bird looks otherwise healthy. If you have recently purchased the bird, contact us first! We want to know if you have any trouble. If your bird is depressed, or not acting normally, it is a good idea to take your bird to a vet. It can also be caused by a sudden change in diet, and by a diet high in fruit and vegies. Some species, such as lorikeets, have loose faeces naturally, and is not normally a cause for concern.
Birds need to be wormed every three months fom six months of age (Worm at ?? strength before 6 months of age). Worming is very easy,and is simply a medication added to their drinking water. Some birds dislike the taste as it can make the water a touch bitter, for fussy birds add a squeeze of orange juice or something similar to help mask the flavour. Do not worm in wet weather, give a bath, or give fruit or vege, as the bird will use that as a source for water instead. In hot weather, you may need to dilute the wormer further, as birds will tend to drink more on hot dry days. It is very important to keep up with worming, as a large burden of worms can cause weight loss and inefficient absorption of nutrients health problems (eg feather loss, deformity). In tropical climates worms and other parasites thrive. Birds get worms from seed, fruit and vege, visiting birds, YOU (on you hands etc), grasses, and branches. It doesn???t matter how careful you are, the eggs are always in the environment.
- Cage band/cover
- Cuttlefish/shell grit
- Cage cleaner
- Feed/Fruit/Water dishes
- Bird bath
- Trimmer perch
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As a member of PIAA, Pet HQ does not condone puppy farms and we are dedicated to the sourcing of our puppies from responsible breeders that are subject to independent audit each year. By registering our puppies with PIAA we also ensure that any puppy purchased from our store that becomes unwanted or abandoned, at any age, is re-homed. See here for more information.