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4/9/2020: Welcome to my new blog. I hope to provide some new ideas for keeping your feathered friends physically and mentally healthy.
4/10/2020: Exercise! Parrots are athletes in the wild. Help them stay fit in captivity. More on this tomorrow.
4/11/2020: Imagine our birds in the wild. Many parrots wake up in their roosting tree with their flock around them greeting the sunrise (very loudly). A search for breakfast is likely to involve flights to other trees. Climbing, hanging, and balancing are all part of the process of finding the best things to eat. Branches, some thick some thin, sway as they move across them.
I would imagine they never wake up on a branch perfectly sized to their feet, with a huge bowl of high calorie seeds within inches of their beak. Let’s get creative about how we can best serve our naturally wild pets.
For starters, take your birds out and encourage them to flap their wings as you move them to another part of the house. You may use a play stand or even a natural basket to let them hang out as your prepare a piece of fruit or vegetable for them.
4/18/20: Meal feeding is a technique recommended by vets, used by zoos, trainers and even farmers to entice animals into eating new things. (With farm animals its more about getting them to eat more :\ ). The point is, when you put something into an empty bowl it sparks their curiosity. Hmmm, what's that? First thing in the morning offer a tiny bit of fruit, maybe some oat meal, share your breakfast without the white toast and butter! Size appropriate portions. Remember we are roughly 150 times larger than the average medium parrot. Think of the tip of your pinky when offering a piece of egg. After 20 minutes remove the first offering so it doesn't spoil. I typically free feed a quality pelleted diet, so if my schedule gets busy they always something to nibble on. Cooked beans and rice for lunch. One almond, bell pepper, carrot, cooked sweet potato (makes the sweetness pop). Remember, just because they love something, even if its good for them, doesn't mean they should have too much of it.
4/25/20: I believe malnutrition is the cause of most pet bird illnesses. Nutrition has become a complex subject these days. I am sure there is much to learn about avian nutrition, but I think simpler is better, or most of us will give up. Parrots come from different countries, islands, and continents. How could they all have the same nutritional requirements? Even if you’ve converted your birds to a pelleted diet, you need to be aware that no one diet is appropriate for all parrots. Feeding trials to test these diets sufficient to include every species over a timeline of generations of breeding birds do not exist. That said, they are a better option than seed alone. I offer a pelleted diet as the base of my birds’ diet but “meal feed” many other nutrition packed foods along with them. They probably consume about 30% pellets.
So back to simple. I’ve likened my recommendations for avian nutrition to how our heart doctors tell us to eat. Often called the Mediterranean diet, plant based, lots of brightly colored vegetables, whole grains, healthy nuts (almonds & walnuts are great), small amounts of healthy protein (beans and rice combine to create a complete protein), and occasional bits of fruit (beware of too much sugar).
5/3/20 Parrots are naturally vocal creatures. That is one of the reasons we love them. Their ability to talk is unique and fascinating, but can become obnoxious to other members of our family, who may not be so enamored with our beloved. This relationship can turn into a screaming match if misunderstood. In the wild, parrots call each other from great distances. Sometimes it’s a warning, sometimes simply a greeting. A return call reinforces the behavior. Parrots love drama! This is important to note. Every time we respond to our parrot’s vocalism or call, it reinforces that behavior. If the call is desirable, then be sure to reinforce it with attention or a tiny treat. If it is not, do not, in any way, respond. This may be difficult in many cases but it will pay off in the long run. Calmly turning your back and ignoring the behavior is the strongest discipline you can provide.