Top Three Parrots for Kids

January 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Pet Birds

Most people purchase their child a parrot without realizing the full responsibility of caring for these creatures. While this does not mean parrots make poor pets, they are a challenge to care for, especially the larger ones, who easily feel neglected, bite hard, and can scream loudly. There are a few birds that can be considered suitable as a first time bird, however.

Budgies

These little parrots have been pets for a long time, and great ones at that. The small birds easily learn to step up and will love spending time with you. However, they need to have their cage washed every two months, have the papers changed every day, and such. If you would like an easy-to-work-with little friend, these are the right birds for you. English budgies live for about 7 years, while American budgies usually live about 15/20 years.

Cockatiels

Cockatiels are another favorite with young bird owners. These friendly birds are not as colorful as other parrots, but they learn to talk more readily than budgies (well, males talk; a talking female is rare) and are very sweet. They are also good at tricks and can learn step up, wave, and can be potty trained. They usually live at least 15-17 years, but more commonly live about twenty years.

Parrotlets

Parrotlets are small – but they make it up with huge personalities. These little guys are feisty and can have a big bite, but are great pets – usually for slightly older kids. They are energetic little green machines and are sure to charm anyone. They are good at talking, especially males, but can learn tricks too. They are fine pets, and once you get to know them you are sure to adore them. They live 20+ years – the oldest on record was thirty years old.

Explore what would be right for you and your child’s lifestyle. Always be sure the parrot is getting adequate care from your child. If you would like a parrot for your child, go to a local parrot shelter or a breeder. There will always be a right one for you.

Article contributed by: Eliza Kuklinski.

Sun Conures

August 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Pet Birds

Sun conures are a medium-sized parrot. They are green with a yellow head and breast. They look similar to Jenday Conures and the now extinct Carolina Parakeets. Sun conures are known for having moderate talking ability and being very good at tricks. They are very loud so they are not recommended for apartment-dwelling bird owners. However, they are not usually aggressive so they are good for a multi-bird household, and are actually generally bossed around by smaller birds! They can be kept in an aviary with other sun conures or other similar parrots. The loud shrieks they emit may bother neighbors, so make sure to tell them in advance you have outdoor parrots. You may want to invite your neighbor to meet the bird as the bright coloring and intelligence generally wins them over.

These parrots can still pack a powerful and painful bite, even though they are not known for nipping, so be careful as you would with any other bird. They will generally not bite, however, so they are good for families with slightly older children. Their cheery whistles even win over teens. If you are worried about biting, teach your bird to step onto a wooden dowel instead of your finger or hand. The birds are known for making bigger messes than small birds like parrotlets and budgies, so if you like things nice and tidy they may not be for you.

These birds can easily be occupied by a foraging toy or in-shell almond, but even so, remember to let them have at least an hour a day with you, their flockmate, otherwise they may begin screaming throughout the day for you. Sun conures are very intelligent birds and need stimulating activities so they do not get bored. You may want to get a very large cage and house them with other non-aggressive conures, lovebirds, or even cockatiels. Do not house them with other Aratinga conures besides other sun conures that are not the same sex, as they may mate and have a fertile egg which will hatch a hybridized baby. These contaminate the gene pool of the few captive birds we have and the baby may have health problems due to the odd genes. Even though they are very loud, do not cover the cage during the day in an effort to stop screaming. While it does work, it is cruel to the parrot. Even if they are loud, sun conures are great pets and are lovely birds.

Article contributed by: Eliza Kuklinski.

The Pacific Parrotlets

August 3, 2011 by  
Filed under Pet Birds

Pacific Parrotlets are a somewhat uncommon species. While they are actually the most common of their genera, they are not the everyday pet. The Pacifics are the friendliest of them all, although feisty and occasionally nippy, and make great companions.

They are 5 inches long at full maturity. The males have light blue streaks behind their eyes and darker streaks on the wings and rump. The female is plain green and may or may not have the light blue streak behind the eye. While they are not recommended for young children because their occasional nips can be painful, they are noted for being good at tricks, such as flying to the owner on command, the ‘wave’, and going through a hoop on command. They are also good talkers and may speak in complete sentences, although the voice is not as clear as some other parrots. They are very cute, but are known for eating as much as the larger cockatiels.

They are not recommended for aviaries as they may kill their mate or cagemate. If you put a Pacific in an aviary be sure they have lots of room to fly and do not put them with other birds as they will attack other birds regardless of size. They cannot be housed in a small finch or budgie cage and need a very large cage with about ½ inch bar sizing. They need at least 3 toys and 3-4 perches (more is always better!). Though they are small their nutrition should not be overlooked and they should be fed at least three vegetables and 2 fruits every day. They are good apartment birds because they are relatively quiet.

Pacific Parrotlets come in several color mutations such as blue, white, albino, American yellow, and gray-green. They are rarely obtained at pet stores and usually have to be bought from a professional breeder. They are good show birds as they are generally comfortable with traveling, and like all the attention they will obtain from the attendants and the judge.

Parrotlets may be small, but they are very messy. Just as the large parrots typically do, they will fling fruit and such on everything in their paths, including walls, the cage, cagemates, and the owner! They love to be with you and are very affectionate. They will (somewhat begrudgingly) let you softly stroke them in most cases. Most will gladly step onto your hand if you prompt them. Pacific Parrotlets make great pets. If you would like a parrotlet find a local breeder in your area or check a nearby shelter – you may find the right parrot for you.

Article contributed by: Eliza Kuklinski.

Monitoring Your Bird’s Body Condition

April 12, 2011 by  
Filed under Pet Birds

Even though our pet birds are domesticated, there are still some natural characteristics that remain in them, such as the instinct to hide weight loss. In the wild birds are able to mask illness and weight loss as their lives depend on it. It is a survival feature that allows them not to look like the most vulnerable bird, thus protecting themselves from predators. Even in captivity birds can still do the same, and monitoring their weight will allow bird owners to establish if their bird is hiding illness or is in good body condition.

Body condition refers to the weight of your pet bird. If a bird is too thin, it could show signs of illness. If a bird is overweight, owners will be able to monitor their feeding habits to assist them in losing weight. It is vital for the bird owner to monitor the bird’s weight, as obesity can also lead to a number of health problems. The most effective and convenient way to monitor a bird’s weight is to buy a bird scale or any scale that is able to measure weight in grams. It is usually recommended that birds be weighed once a week when they are adults, and daily in younger birds, enabling owners to monitor their weight closely. When weighing a bird, owners should take into account whether the bird has been given a treat and depending if weighing times vary, the weight could vary too.

Another method of ensuring that a pet bird is in top body condition is to feel its keel bone. The keel bone is stands out from the chest bone and runs down the front of the bird, from the chest wall, at right angles. By gently moving one’s fingers across the keel bone, moving from top to bottom, the body condition can also be assessed. There are muscles attached to the keel bone, so in healthy birds, the edge of the keel bone should be able to be felt, while in obese birds, the keel bone will be harder to feel. In sickly birds, suffering from weight loss, the feel bone will be sharp and extremely prominent. Monitoring the body condition of a bird is vital to the overall health and welfare of domestic birds, and by assessing their weight and keeping notes on their weight variances, owners will be able to ensure that their birds are always healthy and happy.

Atlanta’s Exotic Bird Fair

October 29, 2010 by  
Filed under Events

Taking place on 4 & 5 December 2010, the Atlanta Exotic Bird Fair provides an opportunity for bird enthusiasts to sell and purchase canaries, macaws, finches, lovebirds and other popular pet birds. Also on offer with be pet bird supplies, such as cages, feed, toys and more. This is a great way to learn more about birds, as you speak to a number of bird experts at the fair.

Date: 4 & 5 December 2010
Times: Saturday – 9am to 5pm; Sunday – 10am to 4pm
Venue: North Atlanta Trade Center, 1700 Jeurgens Court, Norcross
State: Georgia
Country: United States of America

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