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How to Keep your Parrot Healthy?

Updated on October 25, 2014
Frederick Green profile image

Frederick Green grew up with a variety of species of parrots. He loves to research and share his experience with other parrot owners.

Why Keep your Parrot Healthy?

Everyone who has owned a pet will know the importance of keeping your companion in great health. There are many obvious benefits you and your pet will receive from doing this. The most obvious reason: your parrot will live a long life. In addition to reaching its maximum lifespan, other benefits include but not limited to the following: cheerful personality; more inquisitive and intelligent; better ability to learn and less likely to bite and scream. The list is endless.

There are two types of health: physical and mental. Both are equally important but most owners only care about the physical side. Physically healthy parrots will live longer, have a more active personality and will have a smaller chance of catching diseases. Mentally healthy parrots will be more happy and cheerful, more loving and less likely to bite or scream.

Now that you know why you should keep your parrot healthy, why not start doing so?


How to Tell if a Parrot is Healthy?

Healthy parrots have very clear and sharp eyes. Cloudy eyes may indicate sickness, though not always.
Healthy parrots have very clear and sharp eyes. Cloudy eyes may indicate sickness, though not always. | Source

The Physical health

Here are a few ways to make sure your bird is physically healthy:


Diet

Making sure your bird receives the best food and nutrients is a great way to keep your bird in good health. Different parrot species will need different types of food. If your parrot is not a Lorikeet or Lory, the preferable diet is 40% fortified pellets, 30% grains, 25% fruits and vegetables and 5% seeds and nuts. If you own a Lorikeet or Lory, you are probably already aware that they have a different diet. They feed mostly on watery fruits and vegetables and the pollen and nectar of flowers. Some owners only feed their parrots seeds which is a terrible mistake as seeds are fat and oily. Parrots can develop many harmful diseases from a poor diet.

Exercise

There are a lot of fun ways to exercise your parrot. Like humans, your bird needs to keep fit. Exercising of the beak is easy. Grab yourself some safe, natural toys from the pet store and let your bird chew on them! It is healthy for their jaw muscles and obviously very fun! In the wild, parrots need to fly miles to seek out food. As a pet, we provide them food which eliminates the need to fly. Climbing, walking and flying are great methods to keep your parrot in good shape.

Trips to the vet

Going to a certified avian veterinarian (avian means bird, avian veterinarian is a formal term for "bird vet") for regular health-checkups is a great idea. Birds can hide their sicknesses very well. If your bird is sick, the vet will be able to reveal that and give your parrot treatment right away. As I am a vet myself, I have been in many situations where the checkup discovered that the bird was sick even though the bird showed absolutely no symptoms or sick behaviors.

A bird that is mentally healthy will always be cheerful, alert and playful. A mentally unhealthy bird can show signs such as (but not limited to) biting, screaming, self-mutilating, feather-plucking and more.

A Healthy Diet!

An Amazon Parrot enjoying his healthy meal. A good diet will include fruits, veggies, grains, cooked legumes or beans, small amount of seeds and occasionally cooked meat or eggs.
An Amazon Parrot enjoying his healthy meal. A good diet will include fruits, veggies, grains, cooked legumes or beans, small amount of seeds and occasionally cooked meat or eggs. | Source

How often do you visit the vet?

See results

Fun Facts about Parrot health!

  • Macaws and Cockatoos can easily reach 70 years of age if the owner provides quality diet, exercise, vet check-ups, interaction time, etc. Most only reach 25 years of age due to accidents or poor care.
  • The oldest parrot was a female Blue and Gold Macaw that reached 112 years of age! The bird was called "Charlie".
  • Seeds such as sunflower seeds can cause liver and kidney failure disease because it contains a lot of fat.
  • It is recommended to visit the vet one time a year for larger birds and twice a year for smaller birds.
  • Birds can eat almost every food that humans can besides a few (such as chocolate and avocado) which should be avoided.

Food Ranking

Avoid
Limited
Good
Great
Avocado
Seeds
Fruit
Pellets
Chocolate
Nuts
Pasta/Noodles
Grains
Apple seeds
White Bread
Vegetables
Whole Grain Bread
Caffeine
Cheese
Egg
Vegetables and low-sugar fruit
Milk
Meat
Some seeds and nuts
Low-sugar Cereal

Why Visit the Vet?

Mental Health


A bird that is mentally healthy will always be cheerful, alert and playful. A mentally unhealthy bird can show signs such as (but not limited to) biting, screaming, self-mutilating, feather-plucking and more. Here are some ways to ensure your bird is mentally healthy:

Interacting time

Some owners are not well aware that parrots are extremely social animals. In the wild, they live in huge flocks. Your parrot will not see you as an owner; they will see you as a member of their flock. Training them is a good way to interact with your parrot. Tricks such as "step-up", "turn around", etc are very easy and fun tricks to learn, both for the parrot and the owner. Training them to talk or bathing them is a great way to bond with your bird. If you don't provide a minimum of an hour (2 hours for larger birds) of interaction time a day, your parrot will become depressed and self-harm themselves. Interacting with your parrot prevents him/her from feeling bored and depressed: two of the unhealthiest emotions.

A friend!

If you spend a lot of time at work or school and can't provide quality time with your parrot, it is a good idea to get your parrot a friend! The new friend should be the same species or at least the same type of parrot (for example: macaws with macaws, conures with conures, and cockatoos with cockatoos). The gender depends on species. Some types prefer to bond with the same gender but for some, the opposite gender. There are plenty of YouTube clips of parrots and dogs being friends but that is very risky and dangerous therefore should be avoided. Be aware that tossing a parrot into a cage with another parrot without making sure they get along can result in fighting: sometimes fatal. Keep them in separate cages next to each other first. Then you can gradually let their relationship grow.


Feather-plucking!

A plucked Cockatoo. This is the result of a depressed, unhealthy bird self-harming itself. One of the consequences of not interacting with your bird.
A plucked Cockatoo. This is the result of a depressed, unhealthy bird self-harming itself. One of the consequences of not interacting with your bird. | Source

Online researching and experimenting with your parrot will definitely result in the discovery of other methods that will ensure that your pet lives the happiest life it possibly can. Keeping your parrot healthy is not difficult yet rewarding. What are you waiting for? Get started!

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      Barbara 3 years ago

      Wow, what a great article! This is super useful for me as a parrot owner! Keep it up :)