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Old 03-18-2013, 05:49 PM
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Exclamation Concern for a roommates parrot

Hi there! I'm writing not as a parrot owner but as an animal lover. My friend's roommate has had his parrot for over a decade. They are quite bonded of course at this point but I've become rather concerned for how the parrot is taken care of. For a short summary it seems the parrot isn't getting the right diet, enough attention or hardly any mental stimulation, and his night-time (or when he's covered up in his cage) is too long of a period.

From my own reading on what the parrot should be getting I know it's not an ideal situation, but I'm having trouble finding real specifics on if I should really be concerned.

As for more detail, his diet is mostly, if not all, nuts. They are always good usually organic nuts, but still just nuts. I've seen that he has another kind of food that's more colorful and looks sort of like fruity pebbles, but I've never once seen the parrot actually eat it. I eat fairly healthy myself so I always have fruits and veggies with me and will always give him some pieces of my food that I've checked to see are approved, and he usually eats them but sometimes just looks confused at what it is.

During the days that his owner works he will sometimes never get time outside of the cage. And when he does it's at most for an hour or so. On his days off he will sometimes bring the parrot into his room with him while he works. But as far as mental stimulation or game playing there is almost none. Sometimes they will play different games where the owner holds his upside down but that's about as far as it goes. I bought him some kitty jingle plastic balls that he will play the toss and fetch game with, but that's only played when I get the balls out. The parrot often gets in trouble for making noises. I play games where I mimic all the noises he makes for a period of time and then he listens very well to me when I am leaving the room and tell him that it's now quite time (otherwise he will scream for me to come back in the room). There is never a radio or tv left on for the bird while he's gone as the owner has said he doesn't want the bird learning new sounds, and there is barely any light or heat left on for him as well.

He is covered at 8:30 every night, and the owner wakes and uncovers him at 9 or 9:30 the next morning (so about 12- 13 hours covered a day). However if he is leaving for the evening he will be covered up even earlier, like 5 or 6.

The owner will describe how they have a unique relationship and how the bird will often do things on purpose to upset him. I don't really doubt this as the parrot is probably looking for attention regardless of the repercussions. I feel at a bit of a loss because it's not my pet and unlike dog or cat owners I haven't found much information on what someone legally has to provide for birds. On top of this, my friend and I are fairly certain the owner is on the autistic scale and he would have a lot of issue with me bringing any of my concern up to him.

I know this is a hard one, but any advice would be greatly appreciated. Even just knowing that my concerns were valid or not would be helpful at this point.

Thanks!
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Old 03-18-2013, 06:55 PM
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Re: Concern for a roommates parrot

You & your friend are probably right about the owner getting upset if you broach your concerns.

Sounds like this is one of those proverbial rock & hard places. From what you've described, it's doubtful that any degree of abuse could be construed, though I'm sure you could easily get one of the AR periahs to take up the banner.

I would continue being as involved as I could & if the opportunity presented, make suggestions the owner might be receptive to.....otherwise I would remain mum.....
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Old 03-18-2013, 06:58 PM
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Re: Concern for a roommates parrot

Well, I'm hesitant to offer advice as I don't know all the specifics. Do you know what type of parrot it is? A diet of mainly nuts isn't healthy, but species like the hyacinth macaw do need a lot of them. As for sleep, a majority of people will recommend 12 hours of sleep a day. I personally don't think a bird needs this much, but most of the advice out there is to go for 12 hours.

Is the bird showing any signs of distress? Plucked feathers, stress bars, overgrown beak/nails, overweight, constant screaming, etc.

If you're concerned about the bird's overall quality of care, I would recommend you approach the owner in a friendly and helpful way. For instance, you can say "Hey, I was browsing the web and saw some sites that had awesome bird info, I bookmarked them for you since I know you like your bird so much."

If you know anyone else who owns a bird, having them meet up on a friendly bird day event would be good as well.
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:12 PM
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Re: Concern for a roommates parrot

Hmmm, unique post for a newcomer that doesn't own a parrot... Curious as to what made you research the subject at all and then post about it. I apologize for my line of reasoning but we do have our fair share of "trolls" around here. The only thing I see off is the diet really but how do you know they don't get anything else? Parrots do require a good amount of sleep and if there's no aggression in the bird then it sounds fine in that aspect as well. This is a "friend's roommate", I'm guessing most of your info is 2nd hand for the most part other than your visits?
I may be completely wrong but something ain't adding up or is missing here.
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:14 PM
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Re: Concern for a roommates parrot

Thank you both, that's good to know about 12 hours a day being ok for sleep time. I first tried looking it up when I noticed him being covered up closer to 5 or 6, but this isn't all the time. The parrot is around 15 a believe and is a lilac-crowned amazon. There's no signs of distress, and he's not over weight or anything. Overall it's mostly just not enough attention I guess at that point, which I guess I can't do much about other than play with him myself. I'm mostly concerned that it's ok for him to be left alone for such long period of time and to go sometimes days without any stimulation.

I'm glad to know the situation might not be as terrible as I thought.
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:23 PM
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Re: Concern for a roommates parrot

WharfRat- I'm sorry if I offended anyone by posting, this is my boyfriend's roommates parrot, so I am there about half of my nights. I was fine finding out my concerns were really just overreactions, as I really don't have any personal experience myself. All the information I found online said that they needed at least an hour of mental stimulation a day which is when I became a little more curious and what was needed. I felt like I should maybe reach out to what other parrot owners thought before jumping to any conclusions. I'm not sure what you mean by "trolling" in this case. But I appreciate what you wrote and again maybe it sounds like things are not so bad. So thank you.
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:25 PM
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Re: Concern for a roommates parrot

Are you sure he is not over weight? A sure way to tell is to touch the breast thoroughly, there should be no "cleavage" at all.

The fruity pebbles pellet is probably zupreem, or pretty bird pellets. Zupreem is a decent pellet if you use their natural pellets. Parrots should receive veggies and some fruit as a part of their main diet. A chop mix is a great way to do this. And although nuts(no peanuts) are a good source of protein and healthy fats too much is not good for a amazon. Too much fats, even if healthy fats, can cause fatty liver disease, fatty tumors, and even heart problems.
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:46 PM
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Re: Concern for a roommates parrot

The last time the parrot was taken to the vet the owner was told that he was healthy physically (which only eating nuts I wouldn't normally think so) but that he wasn't getting enough mental stimulation (which was what initially I noticed myself as well).

I will try to feel for if he seems over-weight but it's hard to pet him as he's only recently let me handle him regularly as only me and his roommate can pick him up. Would it be possible for him to not be overweight simply because all he's eating is the nuts? All I ever see happening with the other pebbly food is him fill is up and throw it out a few days later. He doesn't ever get fruits or veggies unless I give it to him which is a couple days a week.
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:55 PM
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Re: Concern for a roommates parrot

First, thank you for voicing your concerns when you feel an animal is in need and trying to get some good information about the matter. It does sound like your roommate genuinely loves his bird, but perhaps is a bit misinformed on proper care, especially if he may have some mental disabilities and/or never got good information to begin with (very common when birds are bought from commercial pet stores).

First off, parrots are naturally omnivorous animals and need a varied diet for good health. Too much of any one thing (be it nuts, seeds, pellets, produce, table food ect...) is not an appropriate diet for them. They thrive on a variety of seeds, fresh produce, healthy table foods (pasta, cooked grains, eggs, small amounts of dairy ect...). Fresh produce is especially important since it is their main source of moisture and a big source of vitamins for them. Nuts are definitely nutritious for them, but because they are so fatty, they should be reserved for treats only. They also need "staple foods" which can be high-quality fortified seed, cooked grains mix or pellets (the colorful things you see in his dish). I won't get into the great seed/pellet debate, but I personally will not feed my bird anything that is highly processed (so no pellets for Kiwi).

Whether intentional or not, a 12 hour sleep schedule is very common for parrot owners to use, and actually helps with hormones in the breeding season. So long as he's got 12 daylight hours, he's fine. During his "awake" time, he should have plenty of toys to play with, foraging opportunities, and time outside his cage with his owner.

Perhaps the guy is just a bit misguided, and gently putting some new information in his head on parrot care could help his bird be healthier and him be a better pet owner. Maybe say something to the effect you are considering a bird, and read (information you've found on diet/mental stimulation) and wondered if he had ever heard that. Don't say it in a way that makes him look like a bad person or feel you're attacking him, just make it like casual conversation where he may hear something he never realized before. Best of luck, and I don't feel your overreacting, just trying to help the 2 of them out.
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:56 PM
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Re: Concern for a roommates parrot

Perhaps you could just say something along the lines of, "hey, I noticed your bird seems to enjoy fruits and veggies when I feed them to him, maybe he'd like them more often?" Just try to be nonchalant about it.
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