Within the fabulous world of birds, there are hundreds of species, but not all of them can be had at home. However, one of the most loved by bird care lovers 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 enormous variants that have emerged over the years and the subfamilies, little by little the name of Psittacidae ended up being left for the common parrot. . These are spread over the different continents, each one with a characteristic 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 large cranial capacity, which makes them one of the most intelligent birds along with the lovebirds. They are very good fliers and can grasp the branches of trees and climb them with great dexterity thanks to the claws on their feet.
The intense coloration of the feather is another of the parrot’s characteristics. As a general rule, the predominant color is usually green, but in some species, they have other shades such as blue, red, or yellow. Most of the species are monogamous, walking in tree cavities or as in excavated tunnels.
Some species can mimic a large number of sounds, including the human voice, which has earned them a great reputation among bird lovers.
The life expectancy of a parrot, how long is it?
Compared to other birds that live in captivity, the truth is that parrots are animals that turn out to be quite long-lived. Although life expectancy depends on the species of parrot it is.
For example, a macaw parrot can reach 100 years of life 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 conures, the hope is usually around 30 years.
Although it is a long life expectancy, 70% do not reach the maximum life expectancy, due to pollution of the environment in cities, poor diet or suffering accidents when walking around the house, such as biting a cable, hitting each other. with the glass of a window …
The parrot as a pet, is it good?
Parrots have been 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.
Of course, parrots have their character and can sometimes be very aggressive if they see fit. Also, they can develop preferences towards some type of people, which can lead to developing a behavior problem that can lead them to act in one way or another to attract attention. In the case of having a parrot for the whole family, be very careful that it only shows affection for a single member of the family.
It must also be taken into account that a parrot is not an animal designed for young children, since they do not have enough knowledge and skills to take care of it. The parrot must always be in charge of an adult who can meet its needs.
Female or male, how do you know?
When you want to have a parrot at home, it is normal that you want to know if it is male or female, especially if you are thinking about breeding parrots.
The normal thing is that the females are a little more aggressive than the parrots, so observing the behavior of this it would be easy to distinguish them. But if this is not enough, you can observe the size and color of their feathers. When they are adults, the males are larger than the female, especially the head, in terms of colors, they have more gaudy and showy tones than those of the females.
Of course, the simplest way would be through the parrot’s pelvis, since females have their pelvic bones further apart to lay their eggs.
So what can you do to be able to bond with the parrot?
- Looking 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 looking at you. Once the bird stares at its master, that is when you have to look directly at him as well.
- Become a statue: There are times when the parrot freezes when its owner is looking at it. In that case, you also have to be a statue and remain still, longer than this.
- Blink: Parrots do not blink when scared. Therefore, the owner must send you a series of messages to gain your trust. If when you look at it, the parrot is scared, you have to blink. If the parrot blinks back, it is showing confidence.
Taking the parrot out of the cage, is it dangerous?
The truth is that many owners raise their parrots in freedom around the house, so it is not really dangerous. However, when it has been in its cage for a long time, there can be a danger.
Before taking him out of this you have 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 hand-feeding them, like lovebirds and parakeets. It may bite at first, so it is advisable to feed it with gloves. If he attacks, do not withdraw your hand, as that will make him feel in control. You also have to be very vigilant, because it may learn to get out of the cage alone.
Once trusted, the parrot will eat from your hand and even perch on your arm. Once this is achieved, he can be taken out of the cage or left to himself. At first, you have to let him loose around the room where his cage is located, with the windows closed, so he can stretch his wings and get to know his surroundings. Later you can let him explore the rest of the house.
To get him back to his cage, his favorite food can be used as bait and when he is hungry he will go home himself. Avoid feeding him food outside the cage, because then he may not want to return to it.
What diseases can a parrot have?
Like the rest of the pets, the parrot is not exempt from suffering from some disease. It is true that if you take good care of it you do not have to suffer from it, but you must never lower your guard. The most commons are:
- Anomalous plumage shedding: Parrots shed their plumage, but they don’t have a specific season to do it like other birds. The normal thing is that the feathers fall by themselves to make way for the new ones, but you may find that you are pulling the feathers yourself, leaving parts of your body naked or with injuries. In the case of noticing this behavior, it is necessary to take it as soon as possible to the vet.
- French plumage molt: French molt is a disease caused by a pathogen called Polyomavirus. It is transmitted from parent to child through regurgitation of food and sometimes leads to the death of the animal. The parrot loses its wing and tail feathers have edema under the skin and abdominal distension.
- Pneumonia: If the parrot’s cage has not been correctly located, and that it often receives strong drafts, it will end up suffering from pneumonia, which will lead to bleary eyes, nasal secretions, and noisy breathing.
- Parasites: The fact that the parrot is protected behind some bars does not mean that it is exempt from being attacked by 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 it will not stop scratching. In this case, they must be dewormed periodically. In the case that they are internal, you have to speak quickly with the veterinarian to know what treatment to follow.
- Colibacillosis: It is a disease produced by the Escherichia Coli bacteria, which is transmitted by direct contact with a bird that is infected. It is the main cause of the 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 exhaustive hygiene in its cage, changing the feeder and drinker daily, in addition to a series of antibiotics to combat infection.
- Coccidiosis: This disease is caused by an infestation of internal parasites known as coccidia. These can enter the pet’s body through the ingestion of contaminated food or water. Among the different symptoms, the parrot will suffer from diarrhea, which can be watery and accompanied by blood, and will feel dejected and tired.
- Salmonellosis: This is caused by the bacterium Salmonella Typhimurium, which enters the body through contaminated water or food. The bird will have inflammation, very foul-smelling diarrhea, and lesions in several of its organs. You have to go to the vet quickly to prescribe the treatment for its cure.
Feeding the parrot, what is there to give it?
As a general rule, the ideal diet for a parrot is composed of vegetables and fruits as the main component along with a little dry food.
The fruits have to be given based on sucrose and glucose content. Those that are rich in sucrose, such as banana, peach, or melon, do not have to eat them 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 him fruit, you have to make a small assortment, because if you give him piece by piece, he may end up hating some.
Besides, giving it in fewer quantities, you can also give it other foods such as pasta, legumes such as chickpeas or lentils, a mixture of seeds, cereals such as rice or oatmeal, chicken or boiled fish strips (no very often), whole wheat bread without salt, boiled potato, boiled egg, or homemade cookies that do not have animal fat.
As you can see, a parrot eats almost everything. However, several foods are totally prohibited for these animals, such as sweets due to their high content of industrial sugar, salty foods, avocado (it is deadly for the parrot), coffee, parsley, milk (unless it is fermented), or unboiled pumpkin and potato. All these foods should be out of reach of the parrot when it is out of the cage.
Helping him raise, how to do it?
Parrots as such have lived with humans for more than 15,000 years, being one of the oldest companion animals along with cats and dogs. Caring for them can be easy, but what about raising them? In this case, you have to put a little more started to get them to reproduce.
In these cases you have to take extra care, taking into account a series of very important factors. To begin with, 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 best to move them to another module so that no one bothers them. Also, they have to be well-fed, thus ensuring that the 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 that they can make it. Once they have it, the female will be placed on the nest and can lay between 3 and 6 eggs. After an average of 23 days, sometimes 25, the chicks hatch without being able to fend for themselves. So you have to provide parents with everything they may need to care for them.
When the chick is a month and a half old it is when it leaves the nest, and after two months they begin to be more independent. Once this age is reached, the parrot must be separated from its parents so that it can start to fend for itself, so it is advisable to have a module in the cage for the young.
Teaching the parrot to talk, what is there to tell him?
The reason why many end up acquiring a parrot as a companion animal is because they find it funny to hear it speak. And it is not for less, since parrots have a great capacity to assimilate sounds and then repeat them. However, it is not a task that is at all simple.
To begin with, you have to know that males are better talkers than females, their singing and vocalizing abilities being better. For him to learn to speak, he must be in perfect health and young.
Ready to teach the parrot to talk? Well, for this you must first earn trust. This can be achieved by giving it a place where it can play and has plenty of activities to do while being in contact with its owner. But you have to give them patience, as it may take a while to get in touch with the owner. If trying to get him out of the cage, which will help him gain trust with you, the first time he may try to escape, in this case under no circumstances should you try to capture or yell at him to return to the cage? It is better to leave him to his air, closing doors and windows, to explore the environment and, when he gets tired, he will return to the cage.
With her trust gained, it is time to start teaching her to speak. For this, the best time of day is the morning or when it is getting dark. The first words to teach him are some that are easy for him to relate to an action, such as “how delicious” when you give him a treat, say “I love you” when you caress his neck, or “good morning” when he gets up. To do this, you have to repeat the word along with the action so that it is recorded daily, which can take a week or a month. For example, if you want him to say “how delicious” after eating, while you give him his favorite treat repeat “how delicious” for about 5 – 10 minutes, and so on daily until he repeats it.
If the parrot is very easy to learn, it can be taught some more complicated words, such as the name of its favorite treats or the name of one of the family members. Besides, he can be taught to obey a command, such as “get up” to pose on your hand or “to sleep” when it is time to go to bed so that he can go back to his cage alone.
It doesn’t seem that difficult, does it? However, many parrots never learn to speak, although they are capable of imitating some sounds that they hear through the television, as well as the doorbell or the telephone, even the whistle of a microwave or singing of other birds. In these cases, they can be taught a melody.
The most important thing for the parrot to learn is consistency and not giving up on the first day. You have to work with him a little each day, also giving him time to rest between lessons so that he does not feel stressed.
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