Personal Suggestions For Your New Parrot

Grooming - Wing Clips

Handle and touch your bird frequently. Stroke the wings and gently expand them once a day so it becomes use to having its wings handled.

Every breeder and every Avian veterinarian has a personal preference concerning clipping a bird's wings.

Try to master this task yourself as it will be less stressful for the bird not to be handled by strangers. It will also enable you to keep up with the new feather growth when the clipping will be more frequent during those weeks following a seasonal molt.

Slender built macaws with a big wing span will require more outer flights clipped than a bulky bodied Amazon with a moderate wing spread.

You will have to pay attention to the effect of your clip.

Please realize that a bird might be perfectly clipped for a restricted indoor flutter and become a flying powerhouse outdoors with an adrenalin rush. If you have a bird that is clipped enough to take outside, that same bird might drop like a rock when trying to fly indoors.

If you take your bird outside, please check those flight feather every single time you get ready to go outside.

Grooming - Toenails

If you provide a lava rock or a concrete perch at the highest comfortable point of their cage, this is where your bird will most likely sleep for the night. If you notice the nails becoming too dull, take these perches down for a while until there is enough nail sharpness to allow for good perch gripping.

Grooming - Beaks

Unless your bird has a beak deformity or injury that produces unsymmetrical growth, you should never have to have their beak trimmed. In fact, if you continue to trim a beak, it encourages more growth ... or it makes the beak so sensitive that the bird will not do what all parrots are inclined to do ... chew wood.

All parrots should be encouraged to chew wood, it is a natural habit and necessary to maintain beak health. The need to chew is also correlated with the nesting instinct.

When you supply your bird with wood to chew, it is all well and good to invest in some of the colorful commercial chew toys. These are great fun for the bird and offers some wonderful diversion from your picture frames, door and window moldings, the baby grand piano, and the wainscoting. Also include some nice untreated pieces of pine 2 by 4's. These should not be hung and swung, but fastened securely to the inside cage wire and close to their perch so they can really get a good biting grip on it and not have to corner it to get in a good bite.

You can buy the combination hardware that is a wood screw at one end and a threaded wing-nut receiver at the other ... or the piece of wood can be drilled and attached to the cage with a piece of wire.

Many birds go for weeks without chewing and you question why you bother to furnish them with expensive chewing diversions. But one day you will notice that they have spent the better part of their day working on a piece and you will wonder if your vacuum will be able to handle the job of cleaning up what's left.

Stick Training

Do it.

Sometimes you will need to ask someone to service the cage or care for your bird while you attend to some unforeseen business that takes you away from home.

If your bird is stick-trained, the caretaker can open the door to let the bird out for a while and not have to brave their fear of beak-attack in getting them back into the cage.

You will also be teaching your bird that sticks, broom handles, mop handles and dusters are nothing to fear.

The Cage and Its Location:

Please provide a cage that is roomy enough to hold the bird, a few toys, and allow it to fully expand its wings.

Use natural branches made of bird-safe woods and at least one concrete or lava rock perch to help keep the nails dulled a bit.

I prefer having a separate, easily moved play stand so the bird does not become fixated on one area and end up territorial.

The cage should be in a visually stimulating position but located away from any doorways so it does not spend its whole life being "surprised" as someone enters the room.

Even if the bird is supposed to be a child's pet, it should be located in a "family" area and not in a bedroom.

Avoid round cages.

Make sure your cage has enough space between the bottom grate and the catch-tray so it cannot retrieve uneaten food or happily spend a few hours pulling tray contents, including paper, back into its cage.

A Separate Sleep Cage

Many people with one or two birds provide them with a separate sleep cage or alternative safety place.

Some use a pet taxi outfitted with a perch for this purpose as it also serves as a travel carrier the bird is totally familiar with.

There are many reasons to provide this option: You can stay up late without disturbing your bird's necessary sleep time. If you have guests over that are not bird-friendly or have troublesome children that might taunt the bird. You can still conduct business during your bird's normal time for vocal celebration.

I think it is healthy to have the bird comfortable in different areas of your house.

It gives them a broader sense of home and keeps them accustomed to change.