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Old 01-25-2019, 07:35 PM
noodles123 noodles123 is offline
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Umbrella Cockatoo- 11 years old
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Re: Looking for advice

Your bird should eat more pellets than seeds, but cutting out seeds entirely is unnatural (in my opinion) and they provide a backup source of fat etc for a picky bird who may or may not eat your pellet variety. Safflower is a good base seed. Also- if you can find out what he was eating, I would mix that in to ease the transition. Some birds are picky enough that they will starve, rather than eating non-preferred foods...That having been said, a diet of only seeds is deficient in vitamins and can lead to liver disease.


Put dry food in its own cup! If you don't you will waste a ton of money---you still need to change and wash the dry food dish every 1-2 days (even if it looks full, as it may be full of hulls or stale food)--also, don't fill to the brim-- parrots LOVE to dig and throw food. Bottom line, when it comes to wet and dry food, don't mix them unless you want to throw everything out every 2-3 hours lol! Things like cut apples or carrots (harder fruit/veg) can last longer, so you might want a 4th dish for those...but even then, 8 hours would be my verrrry maximum...
Fresh/wet food dishes should not sit out for more than a few hours without removal/washing (with safe soap)
Water dishes should be washed (at minimum) 1x daily (with safe soap)---non-concentrated Dawn is a good one.
I recommend mixing a probiotic powder (like Bene-bac) with wet foods if you can---ask your vet about this, as it is a good preventative for various GI issues.

Put some sort of liner around the edges of your cage because your bird will poop off of it or throw food around---I got carpet protectors (long, cheap, spiked rolls) from Wal-Mart for next to nothing. They are made of plastic and they do have an oily feel, so I washed mine with white vinegar and water and allowed them to off-gas (unrolled in the open air...and then washed again) before cutting them to fit the perimeter of my cage. They are great, but don't let your bird chew them etc, and make sure you unroll them and let them off-gas outdoors first.


It will be crazy (total roller-coaster ride). I bet you will doubt your choice at least a few times within the next 3 months, but DO NOT FRET....Research parrot behavior (ABA is helpful) and as long as everyone responds in the same way, things will get easier. If you slip up, start over (do not assume all is lost). It is crazy, fun, amazing and terrifying. PATIENCE will be the most difficult thing to maintain at certain points, but just know that everything worth doing is difficult at times
Be very very very careful about Teflon/PTFE/PFOA and any scented products (as I have stated before).

Final few things: Birds hide illness better than any other animal I know. They would get killed if they didn't. Look out for: tail-bobbing when perched, open-mouth breathing, audible breathing, clicking in the chest (not the beak) when breathing, a generally fluffed up appearance, discharge from nares (nostrils), poop sticking to vent (butt-hole ), undigested food in poop, changes in poop color/consistency (poop should consist of 3 parts: urates, urine and feces---you can google this in depth), crusting on the feet/beak, any sores on the skin, red/droopy eyes, changes in behavior (like increased sleeping, biting, screaming or plucking).
If a bird is showing decreases in weigh/appetite, shows labored breathing or is on the cage bottom for no reason (sitting there), you have a serious medical emergency on your hands. Birds hide it until they cannot hide it any longer. Also, other (seemingly healthy) birds can be a source of illness for your bird, as many serious diseases are hosted by asymptomatic carriers..so avoid contact with other birds whenever possible. Disease can be spread by things like feather dust very easily--on things as benign as human clothing, toys from shops etc.

Last but not least: When birds grow new feathers, all of them come in these little transparent "straws" (like a clear coffee straw) and that "straw" encases the growing feather. These "pin feathers" (or "blood feathers") have an active blood supply. If you look at them, the bases will be pink (because there is blood in them at that point--when the feather is fully mature, the blood will recede into the skin completely). Birds preen off the "straw " coating on the parts that are white, but the coating (keratin sheath) needs to stay over the pink part. In the wild, birds with a bond will help preen the other bird's head/neck, as they cannot reach it themselves. It will be too early for you to help your bird with this right away, but if you see these weird white, pointy, tubes, they are newly-forming feathers and they may itch and/or hurt at times (a parrot can pick off the keratin from the white part on a blood feather, but that picking should stop right before the pink part of the feather starts). On a related note, if a bird cracks a blood feather and there is blood coming out, it is vital that you take your bird to the vet (after first stopping the bleeding temporarily with cornstarch). A badly broken blood feather (if located on the wings or tail/main feather areas) can cause a bird to bleed to death and must be looked at by someone who knows what they are doing. These feathers must often be pulled, but not always. The point is, when broken and bleeding, it is like a shunt to your birds insides, and it can start bleeding again when bumped etc. This was something I didn't know about birds when I got mine, so I am telling you (not so that you worry) but so that you know ahead of time that this can happen and that it can be serious...especially is a bird is slamming into things when flying etc.

Last edited by noodles123; 01-25-2019 at 08:20 PM.
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