Parrots And Other Species/Precautions And Emergency Procedures


Well-known member
Oct 27, 2013
U2-Poppy(Poppy lives with her new mommy, Misty now) CAG-Jack, YNA, Bingo, Budgie-Piper, Cockatiel-Sweet Pea Quakers-Harry, Sammy, Wilson ***Zeke (quaker) Twinkle (budgie) forever in our hearts
I could probably find numerous topics that are far less debatable than this one but few that are more important or more basic to parrot care.

From time to time this subject comes up and tends to cause great drama and controversy. ParrotForums welcomes all parrot owners, we censor content only when necessary.
Unlike many forums, we allow photos of parrots with various other pets to be posted publicly. That's not to say those same photos don't make us cringe or worry for the safety of the parrot involved.

It may be easier to consider the matter as a forum member, it's more complex for moderators and forum staff. Often our responses are directed to the viewers that read but do not participate in active chats. Threads are archived, there is no way of knowing how many future readers will see the post, it is our responsibility to keep that in mind. I often run across a post with a photo or a remark that makes me question the safety of the parrot, in many cases I am pretty sure the OP involved has everything under control, it's the unseen readers and their parrots that concern me more. I usually err on the side of caution and mention the danger even if there's a chance I'll offend the OP.

We have a bereavement section, like many of you, I have posted a heartfelt memorial there, the understanding and empathy is genuine, I don't cry easily but I often cry while reading bereavement threads. The last thing I would want to see is anyone heaping blame on a bereaved owner. I think it's far better to make owners aware of life threatening situations before a tragic accident occurs.

Parrots are currently the third most popular pet in the U.S. Parrot popularity is rising worldwide. It's no surprise that countless conflicts occur between parrots and other family pets.

It's pretty certain when someone adopts a parrot, they do so with only the best of intentions. Most of us consider our pets as honorary family members. It's easy to become complacent with family members and take a lot for granted.

Avian vets see parrots for well checks on a regular basis but lots of office visits are for emergency care after an accident in the home, any avian vet can verify the sad facts. Parrots are attacked by dogs, cats, ferrets, rats, snakes, other birds, or other pets. Other common accidents not caused by family pets but perhaps due to an unrealistic comfort level include being squeezed, stepped on, sat on, or reclined on by human family members, parrots get closed in doors, they fly into ceiling fans, they can be caught between the two sides of an open topped cage. These all too common accidents are that much more heartbreaking because with proper precautions they are all preventable.

After such an event, many parrots don't survive long enough for a vet visit, some that do require life saving procedures, including amputations and in some cases long term antibiotics that can permanently weaken their fragile immune systems and major organs. The financial cost can be tremendous and that's nothing compared to the parrot's pain and suffering. Veterinarians are only human but I've seen a few perform what looks like miracles. Please don't give up hope until you have no other choice. An amputated wing or leg does not always mean the end.

In some cases, I think the problem may be that we know our pets too well rather than not well enough. It's hard to believe beloved Trixie would suddenly see precious Polly as a possible food source rather than a long time friend, in the right situation it can happen in a matter of seconds. That's only one example.

A major pet peeve of mine is to see a pet teased or mistreated. I've heard people joke about parrots aggravating, chasing or biting family dogs, cats, even guinea pigs. What is funny about that? It isn't funny when our parrots bite us and I don't think it's at all funny when they bite another pet. It's never a laughing matter when the pestered pet reaches it's tolerance level and turns on the parrot. Even a small dog can kill a parrot in a heartbeat. Yes, it's quite possible the parrot may inflict pain but often the parrot will pay with it's life.

Visiting pets in a parrot's home is another volatile situation. Your parrot's safety should always be a priority. True friends will understand.

Stress should also be mentioned, some parrots are never comfortable around natural predators, they are constantly hyper alert, this can cause severe health issues over time, plucking is just one.

Pets often show us they feel empathy, compassion, anger, joy, frustration and various other human emotions, this can be deceiving. Our pets are not humans in disguise, they are the products of centuries of evolution, they have adapted to our lifestyles but they are still exactly what their DNA demands, to expect them to constantly override what their natural instinct dictates is expecting a lot.

If you live with multiple species including parrots you are constantly taking a chance, If you allow your pets to interact, you are taking an even bigger chance, this should be taken very seriously, never taken for granted. I have three dogs and six parrots, I'm not throwing stones while living in a glass house. First and foremost we OWE our pets a safe environment to live in.

When the worst does happen, time is of the essence. When a parrot is attacked by an animal and survives the attack the parrot needs to be seen by a vet as soon as humanly possible. It's not a choice it's a matter of life or death.

Some of our members get angry when a vet visit is suggested. It's been said before but it bears repeating, we are not veterinarians, we only have the information you have provided to work with. Your parrot's health is ALWAYS our first priority. We will provide you with advice to the very best of our ability, if we believe your bird needs a vet visit, we will say so every time, it's what we would do for our own birds in the same situation.

I hear over and over again, there's no available vets in my area. I understand, my closest Av Vet is more than an hour away. Just like with children, emergencies usually happen at night, over the weekend or worse, a holiday weekend. Have an emergency plan in place, talk to your closest vet in advance, ask if they will provide emergency care for a parrot even if they don't normally treat parrots. Don't hesitate to call a vet after hours, most clinics have a 24 hour emergency number.

Keep a first aid kit and a travel carrier prepared for a hasty trip to an animal E.R. A sanitized puppy crate with a clean cloth liner will work fine.

If your bird is bleeding, the first thing you need to do is stop the blood flow. Apply corn starch or flour, you can also apply pressure with a gauze pad or a clean cloth in one or two minute intervals. Try to remain calm, your bird is already traumatized, a rise in blood pressure will increase bleeding.

As gently as possible, secure your parrot in a travel carrier, according to the injury, you may need to wrap the bird in a towel and limit space so the bird can't thrash around and cause further injury. If you suspect broken bones, use folded towels to keep the wings or legs in a stable position during the ride. Make sure you do nothing to restrict the airway while the bird is immobile. If possible have someone go with you to drive or to hold the parrot's carrier.

When a parrot is attacked by an animal, an immediate vet visit is required! It is very common for a parrot to die of septicemia within 24 hours of an attack. Even if the attack was minor and the parrot has no visible wounds or shows no signs of trauma, the tiniest scratch can cause infection. Only a licensed vet should prescribe antibiotics.

Reading over this I noticed I've left out the best part. I love having my dogs and my birds, to be without a flock or a pack, for me is unthinkable. With pets, one size or one species does not fit all. There's room for everyone in our hearts and our homes. It can be done and done well. Be safe, be happy!
Thank you so much for posting this. It's easy to take the safety of our birds for granted as it's a much different world for us as apex predators.
Thank you so much, Allee, for a comprehensive and beautifully written synopsis. It is a wonderful background for the new parrot owner and a timely reminder for the veteran parront.

Mentally rehearsing a plan for the unexpected is a sure way to streamline the inevitable stress when an emergency strikes.
Alle, thank you. Especially on the care if something does happen. We moved out of state and had an incident when their cages hasn't arrived yet and I just started making phone calls until I could see an avian vet asap. It was scary but reinforced how cautious we must be always. Prey drives are real and it's not malicious towards the family but a natural drive. All is well and we are grateful. We are also blessed to have several avian vets in the area...
Eloquently spoken. I don't have other pets, however; I always look around my home for safety issues that I need to take care of before letting my bird out to play.

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