We have developed this section of our web page in anticipation of some of the questions we are often asked. We have also added tidbits of information we feel to be important for you as a new owner to know about your new friend.
Q) What do I feed my new bird?
A) Birds need more than just seed for a longer, healthier life. We feed our birds a balanced mix of seeds as well as plenty of fresh fruits,vegies and cooked pasta. We also give them a liquid vitamin in their water and spirulina and wheat grass sprinkled on their fresh foods. Other things that are good for your bird are (but not limited to) peanut butter, wheat bread, chicken, popcorn, dandelions (make sure they are free of pesticides) and almost anything you would eat minus the extra sugar, salt and seasonings of course. Things not to give your bird would include avocados (it is argued that they may be poisonous to birds) and lettuce (with the exception of parakeets) as the lettuce tends to sit in their crop to long and turn bad. Birds store their food in a crop until it is digested and they use the food in the crop from the top down so any old food will just sit and turn bad and cause illness or even death. If you are wondering about a certain food feel free to call on us for advice.
Q) Is wing clipping good or bad?
A) It is good for your bird"s safety if done properly. We here at The Parrot Shop believe that a bird should still be able to fly somewhat so that they don't plummet to the floor if they were to fall from somewhere and for general exercise but not enough for them to get out of your reach (the tops of curtains are always a favorite spot) or fast enough to break their neck soaring into a window. Birds usually need another wing clipping every 6 months or so. If you are not confident enough to do your own wing clipping bring your bird to your local avian vet. It is quick and completely painless.
Q) What do I line my cage with?
A) We line our cages first with a layer of newspaper or paper towel and then a layer of corncob bedding. Corncob bedding is easy to clean and looks nice on the bottom of the cage but it also keeps the moist yukkies away from your bird. Just plain newspaper is just fine as long as you use black and white print only and not the shinny ones. Colored ink is toxic to birds if they ingest it and so is the "shinny" stuff. Black ink is made from a vegetable dye and is safe. I prefer not to use the gravel paper, as I believe personally that it is not comfortable for the bird.
Q) What about those sandpaper perch covers?
A) Imagine walking barefoot on sandpaper day in and day out every day for the rest of your life in hopes that it will keep your nails short. Need I say more? OK, I will. I have seen many birds with terrible little sores on their feet from these perches and birds that just refuse to use them electing for the bars on the side of the cage instead (smart birds). It is much easier and more humane to just clip your friend's nails when they need it. Again, your avian vet can perform this painless procedure for you.
Q) Is grit important?
A) With the little birds it is vital. It breaks down their food so it can be properly digested. Without it your friend could even die. We like to use the crushed oyster shells. They do not need much. Just a pinch a day will do.
Q) Will females talk?
A) Yes, we have many females that talk. Males tend to be naturals as in the wild verbal communication is what gets them what they want (mates,status and intimidation) Females tend to naturally be cuddlers and not care as much for reaction as much as affection. But they do have all the necessary equipment and if they have the desire, they will talk every bit as good as a male.
Q) What size perch should I provide?
A) Provide many different sizes. To prevent sore feet and arthritis you need to provide different size perches for your birds exercise.
Q) Does my bird need a "friend"?
A) It depends on the species. Finches are a definite yes. Other birds normally will bond to their friend more than to you unless you handle them a lot. If you are gone a lot or don't have the time to spend handling them everyday then yes, it is recommended. Make sure you have a cage large enough to house two of them happily however, or they will fight.