There are basics to the care of any parrot, whether you have a Parakeet or a Macaw or are hoping to acquire a companion parrot. Your companion will need food, housing, enrichment with toys, foraging opportunities and vet care to start the list.
Parrots need a healthy and varied diet including pellet, fresh vegetables, small amounts of fresh fruit, small amounts of seed and other items. No bird should be fed a strictly seed diet as seed contains high levels of fat. Just like humans parrots can become obese and develop complications from obesity. Seed does not provide the proper amount vitamins and minerals to keep your birds healthy. Pellet diets have been formulated over the years to better meet the dietary needs of your parrot, but even pellets cannot supply it all. Fresh vegetables should be included your parrots diet to help supplement vitamins and minerals. The point here is that your bird needs a variety of foods to maintain a healthy diet. Parrots also require sunlight I order to help production and absorption of certain vitamins but should never be left in direct sunlight without shade being available.
Parrots require their own housing that is suited to their needs. Cages are expensive as any parrot person will tell you.Cages should be large in comparison to the species of parrot you have, while having the appropriate size bar spacing and diameter. Your companion’s cage needs to have at least 2 sides with horizontal bars to provide for appropriate climbing for your companion. Another item that’s need for proper foot health is perches. You will need to supply your bird with multiple perches made of different textures and of different sizes. Unlike us, our parrots are on their feet 24/7/365 days a year. Foot health is vital to the overall health of your bird.
Parrots are extremely intelligent and inquisitive animals. You need to supply your bird with size appropriate toys to keep it entertained. You will need to purchase toys of different sizes, shapes, textures and mediums such as wood, acrylic, paper, etc. Your parrot WILL destroy its toys and that is the purpose of toys! It takes thought to provide a changing challenge for your bird to keep its mind engaged, happy and healthy.
Parrots require time out of their cages to interact with their humans. Several hours a day should be spent with their “family” playing, cuddling or playing a play stand specially built for parrots. Spending their life in a cage without human interaction, touch and stimulation leads to boredom, depression, plucking and even self mutilation. Make sure you have time to dedicate to your companion to maintain good mental hygiene for your feathered friend.
Parrots nails and wings need trimmed on a regular basis by a vet or an experienced bird groomer. They also require the yearly well checks by your vet which may or may not include blood work. An ill parrot can easily cost over $500 in vet bills.
As you can plainly see caring for a parrot can be time consuming and expensive but it can also be one of the most rewarding relationships you will ever have.
Parrots have life expectancy comparable to no other companion pet. Macaws are said to be able to live for 80 yrs if properly cared for throughout their life. Parakeets can live to be 15 yrs. old. Before acquiring a parrot of any size you should consider its life expectancy and your own. Should you choose a species that will outlive you then you will need to make arrangements in your will for your companion to be cared for upon your death.