Special Needs Parrots — Limited Sight and a New Home!


Supporting Member
Jul 10, 2015
Western, Michigan
DYH Amazon
Special Needs Parrots — Limited Sight and a New Home!

By: Steven (SailBoat)
As Part of the Amazon Forum and from the Sticky Thread: I Love Amazons, November 2016

Recently, I was contacted regarding an Amazon that has lost sight in one of its eyes and was also presenting signs of depression resulting from the combined lost of sight and its home. When a combination of losing half of one’s sight is pared with the loss of one’s home would bring about depression in most Humans, why not in an Amazon. To address the many needs of this Amazon, I when back and found selections of past writings and combined them for this Parrot’s new owner. For everyone else, reading this, enjoy.

There is this almost universal want not to acknowledge a beloved Parrot as Special Needs. As if by not acknowledging this reality, it will simply not be or somehow magically go away. If your Amazon has Special Needs, it will always be important to classify your Amazon as a Special Needs Parrot. To that end, I would recommend an Internet Word Search using: “Special Needs Parrot” and “Special Needs Birds”. My reasoning in requesting this action is to provide an understanding of what other families are doing to support their beloved Parrots. At this point, please consider it as a knowledge source for future reference.

If your Amazonhas limited sight, it will be very important to introduce New Things slowly. Stuff just showing-up can be unsettling for a Parrot with limited sight. The best way is to include your Parrot in the assembly of a new cage, play stand, etc. Yes, like working with a two year-old Human, it would be much faster to do it by your self, but speed is not the goal! With toys and other things, having them show-up in the general open area away from your Amazon and slowly working their way to your Amazon prevents the new item seen as a threat. I believe in the ‘Real Estate Agent’s’ approach of touring your home at least once a month with your Parrot. Introduce everything to him, pictures, tables, chairs, TV, radio, etc, etc, etc… Anytime, anything new comes into the home or something has been moved use both methods of introduction. Even four years from now! The tour of the house should be a common event, completed regularly!

Remember that the vast majority of mid to large Parrots are Social, not Flock Birds. This means that they develop Strong Social Bonds with members with in their group and it is a very important part of their comfort zone to know that their group is safe. As a new Parrot enters your family, you’re new Parrot will be faced with developing a NEW Group Bond, including all of your family members, it is very important to target those things that will grow Social Bonds and avoid those things that would harm that growth. Consider how a young child would react if suddenly torn from its family and thrust into a totally different family.

I believe strongly that the new Parrot will need a very extensive Medical Examination including full blood testing and a DNA Sex Test as part of that blood testing. The Avian Veterinarian will need to also check your Parrot’s stool as part of this testing. Commonly, an Amazon will provide a fresh sample during the Avian Veterinarian visit (by luck or good fortune, mine have always provided such a sample for the Avian Veterinarian). It will be very important to know if your Parrot is a Boy or a Girl. The Diet for a Girl is a little different from a Boy and knowing, which you have will allow you to target that small difference. In addition, Boy’s could face some additional behavior issues during Hormonal Season. Also remember to get your Parrot's weight checked. If for some really good reason, the Avian Veterinarian visit is not completed with in the first couple of days, and you are a single Parrot home, target a Avian Veterinarian visit in the first two months, this to allow time for your Parrot to adjust to his NEW social group and for you to save up the money to cover the Avian Veterinarian’s cost. If you have other Parrots, before you come home with a new arrival, please visit the Avian Veterinarian first and remember to keep the new arrival separated from the flock for three or more weeks at a very minimum. If you have existing Parrots, I view it as mandatory to complete an extensive medical examination and the test results reviewed prior to the new Parrot coming into your home!

Since, most households are somewhat handy, lets get started ASAP in moving your Amazon away from dowels and on to natural wood perches. For medium and larger Parrots, target natural perch sizes starting in the 1-1/2" (38 mm) and range in diameter variations and surfaces over their length up to 4" (100 mm), staying away from fruit trees and any grove trees. Look for hard woods, like Maple or Oak. Remove the bark and ‘lightly’ sand the surface. Do Not Use Dead Wood Branches! Any ‘sandpaper’ dowels must go, ASAP, for the reasons in my segment "Getting to the Foot of the Problem". Although I like soft Pine for toys, using natural Pine branches presents too many problems in preparation, so avoid them in this application. Late Fall, Winter and ‘very’ early Spring (prior to leafing) is a great time of year to trim branches, since the sap is out of them. Commonly these will not be the final choice of perches for your parrot, but to keep costs low at this point, what is nearby will work. If you order a play stand, request natural perches in place of dowels and also be specific regarding the diameter. First, vary the diameters in the perches you have and, Second, the larger the Parrot, the larger diameter group. The more variation in diameter as part of any single branch, the better it is for your Parrot.

Since, your Amazon may have been getting a minimum amount of sleep, it will be very important to ensure that the sleeping area it is as dark and as quiet as possible. First, see above regarding new things. Ensure that your Amazon's cover is a darker, thicker material, and adjust the sound of the TV lower at night, targeting ten to twelve, plus hour of sleep at first and then adjust to the current Sun based day. At this point, unless a behavior or medical problem surfaces let’s not make too many changes. As most homes are active, your Parrot will catch a nap or two during the day, while you’re out. During the day, keep a radio on low volume. A lite musical station of your liking will be fine. Not Hard Rock, etc… the goal is a relaxed time period for your new Parrot.

I like a very healthy direction in any Parrot's Diet. Use the information in an earlier segment provided to make adjustments to your Parrot’s current diet. Remember that Amazon’s are Social Parrots and ‘EATING’ is part of that social stuff. If he sees you eating something, he is much more likely to try it. A Healthy Diet for your Parrot will also be a Healthy Diet for your family as well. Your Avian Veterinarian will be able to better determine if your Amazon is over-weight or not, once his examination and weighting is completed.

Let's remember that your Amazon is faced with a New Home and lots of New Things already and there is no need to add more stress to his life. I would target the perches first and then move on to the other changes. The combination of the wrong type of cage and life on dowels has me deeply concerned for the health of any Parrot’s feet. Since, our Parrots are spending the vast majority of their day on their feet, properly sized natural perches are critical to their health and happiness.
Please remember that Amazons do not always connect our Heads with our Hands, this is even more so with a Parrot that has limited sight. Our Hands could be seen as a Predator, like a Snake. Keep your Hands closer to your Head /Body to allow the connection to be made. I do not mean that you should get your Face into his Face, but to help him connect them to you.

Slow Down, remember if your Amazon has limited sight, he cannot see as well as you and he has been separated from his group and has not yet made the tie with his new family. He is going to be a very Loving Amazon, let’s give him the time to become that Parrot.

FYI: The Term Amazon can be changed to "Parrot"!

Last edited: March 6 2023

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