It is important to know what is “Normal” regarding your feathered friends behavior.
I know each day our Amazon “Kiwi” is going to chew on wood or plastic….it only depends on which toy will be his target. If there is a day or two when he doesn’t play which can happen…..I go check to see if he is eating properly, see if there is anything go on with his feathers etc…
It is always good practice to keep a “watch” on certain aspects of your parrot(s) behavior. Certain behaviors like vocalizing, preening and playing activity are a good sign of your birds overall health. Once you have lived with your feathered friend for a while you will get to know his or her habits and it will become very easy for you to spot any inconsistencies in their behavior.
On the link below is an article from Robyn Bright from Pet Business Magazine entitled “Bird Watch” where she details what to “look” for in spotting changes in your bird’s behavior.
Bird “Watch” by Robyn Bright
Marshmellow.....Our Umbrella Cockatoo
I remember when we bought our first parrot an Umbrella Cockatoo named “Marshmellow” 18 years ago. She was only 3 months old when we first brought her home. She was such a smush…..as most Umbrella Cockatoos are.
As I look back, we formed such a close bond which we still have today. I am still able to file her nails with an emery board and trim her wings.
I also remember when we brought our baby Double Yellow Headed Amazon named “Kiwi” home for the first time. I worked hard with him teaching him with the “Up” and “Down” commands and teaching him about the word “No”. Kiwi is now 11 years old and he to this day remembers these commands without question. We have the most loving relationship and he is definitely a “momma’s boy” (LOL)
Here is an article from Bird Channel that elaborates more into teaching your bird when they are young:
Training Young Pet Birds by Elise Kaplan
If you are new to birds or if you have had birds for a long time, one has to wonder why does my bird molt (lose its feathers every couple of months and new ones grow in). Every bird or parrot molts….it is just a question of when. Depending upon the species, hormones and the age of the bird, all molts are different.
Below is a link (PDF file) for an interesting article I found written by Dr. Susan L. Clubb for Pet Age Magazine entitled “Molting 101” Also this article explains some of the different types of feathers a parrot has. My Amazon “Kiwi” has eyelashes which are called Bristles. Amazons are known to have Bristles.
Why Does my Bird Molt? (PDF File)
Sun Conure Sleeping
As I was putting my birds to bed tonight I started thinking about how important it is to have daily routines for our birdies. Every night, I sing to our flock but not just a song to the group. Each of our birds gets a separate song just for them. No, I am not a good singer and no I would never try out for American Idol but my birds love it. I guess they are tone deaf (LOL).
It is important to establish routines for our birdies so that they can feel secure that certain things will happen at certain times of the day or night. I always try to put my birds to bed at the same time every night. I know that sometimes that is hard to do because life just gets in the way. Nevertheless, I really try to be consistent with their bed time. I never miss a night of singing to them even when I am really tired. Tonight I realized that from start to finish (cleaning their cages, changing water and pellet dishes and of course singing) it takes me and my husband about 1 hour to get all my guys tucked in for bed.
All my birds seem to look forward to this nightly ritual and I think it helps them feel secure that they are safe and that their flock leaders (my husband and I ) are safe.
Turkey Veggie Meatballs
This is the second part in my series of how to get your birds to eat their vegetables. Birds are a lot like children, most of them do not like to eat vegetables unless persuaded. My Double Yellow Headed Amazon Kiwi never has to be persuaded, he just loves his veggies. He is such a Momma’s Boy! (LOL)
My second idea is to mix the veggies in a turkey meatball. We make turkey meatballs (ground turkey instead of ground beef) for ourselves so we started giving them to our birds. Our birds just love turkey meatballs.
Again, we started with plain turkey meatballs to make sure they liked them. Then we started adding the vegetables. You can use fresh vegetables or you can use frozen mixed vegetables, which ever is easiest for you. Cook the frozen mixed vegetables (if using fresh veggies there is no need to cook them) and then place the cooked or fresh vegetables into a blender. Blend the veggies. We try to grind the veggies up though not as much as with the eggs.(See Part 1 of How to Get My Bird to Eat Vegetables) Just enough so that your bird can’t easily eat around the veggies. Birds are so smart they can easily tell when something looks like a veggie.(LOL) Cook in pan or in oven until fully cooked, well done. We like to cook ours in the oven since we can avoid using cooking oils. All off my birds love the Veggie Turkey Meatballs. (Please note this technique is meant to be used for a short time period……Just to help your bird get used to the taste of the vegetables. As your bird becomes accustomed to the vegetables discontinue the use of the Turkey meat in his or her diet.)
So the next time you make ground turkey for your family put aside some meat for your feathered friends. Mix in some veggies, cook and watch them go to town.
Add some Lafeber “Avi Cakes” to top it off. Has anyone ever made a veggie turkey ball for their birds? I would love to hear your comments.
Cockatoo Playing with Bird Toy
There are many different opinions about this subject. A lot of bird owners will say “my bird doesn’t like to play” or “my bird destroys his/her bird toys right away so I don’t want to buy that many toys for him”.
The truth of the matter is that birds need at least 10 to 14 toys in their cage at one time. The reason for so many toys is simple. Imagine for a moment that you were trapped in your house with nothing but some food, water and only one book to read. How fast would you finish that book? How bored would you be after you finished reading that one book? What would you do next? The answer is simple, nothing. Now look at it from your bird’s perspective. They have one or two bird toys in the cage and some food and water. After they play with the one or two toys, what can they do next? The answer is the same as for you, nothing.
When I bought my first bird 20 years ago I did not know that she needed so many toys. I did the usual 3 to 5 toys at one time. What I noticed was that my Umbrella Cockatoo was bored. She would often scream for my attention. After researching about birds and bird toys, I realized I had not provided her with enough stimulation to make her a happy and healthy bird. I then started providing her with more and more toys and she became a more playful and happy bird.
Now I am sure after reading this you are asking yourself, where am I going to put all these toys and how will my bird be able to move around in their cage with so many toys? The answer is simple you can place several bird toys along the back wall of the cage. You can also place the toys on the left or right side of the cage as well as hanging a few from the top of the cage. Remember to provide a perch near the area where the toys are so your bird can easily reach the toys. Another interesting spot to put some toys is hanging from the outside of the cage. Your bird can grab the toy from inside and this will become a whole new way to play for him. My mom actually does this a lot with her Cockatiel and he just loves to tug at the toy outside the cage and try to pull it into the cage.
Remember that birds are a lot like kids. They get bored very easily and need a lot of stimulation. In the wild they would spend most of their days foraging and running from danger. In our homes they have nothing to do but sit in their cage. This is why it is essential to provide our beloved birds with as much stimulation in the form of bird toys as possible.
Green Leafy Veggies
It is so important for a parrot even a small parakeet to have a diverse diet. No bird should ever just eat seeds alone. The trick is how do I get my bird to start eating a well balanced diet filled with Pellets, fruits and green leafy veggies? This can be easier said than done. This is my first tip on how to get your bird eating greens.
My Cockatoo Marshmellow loves scrambled eggs. Did you ever give your bird scrambled eggs? If not then you should try scrambled eggs plain for 2 to 3 times and make sure your bird is really loving them before going to the next step. Marshmellow already loves eggs so I was able to move right into putting some veggies in a blender. I make sure the veggies are really ground up. Then I mix in the eggs with the veggies and scramble them. Marshmellow always comes right over to eat her Veggie Egg combo. It is great because I know she is eating her veggies while she is eating her egg. Some weeks I try to really put a lot of veggies in but I do notice that when it is too green she seems to run away so I have to watch my mixture. (Please note this technique is meant to be used for a short time period……Just to help your bird get used to the taste of the vegetables. As your bird becomes accustomed to the vegetables discontinue the use of egg in his or her diet.)
TIP: You can either use fresh veggies or plain frozen veggies which ever is easiest for you. I have used both and never had a problem.
Once your bird is happily eating the veggie egg combo you can slowly substitute egg whites for the yokes and really make a healthy scrambled Veggie Egg.
I would love to discuss other recipes and ideas for getting our birds to eat healthy. Please leave me a comment so we can share ideas.