Bird of the Month
Amazon Parrots - March
Amazons include about 30 different individual birds. Their body length can range from 10-18 inches in length depending on which variety you choose. Although, they reach sexual maturity at 4-6 years, they do have a life expectancy of up to 80 years, making them a very long term commitment as a pet! Being of larger size, they can be considered one of the more hearty pet birds as long as proper safety is considered. They are very curious so supervision is required to keep them from harming themselves after investigating things they shouldn’t.
Many hand raised birds are available via breeders which offer a tamer bird. Friendly and curious by nature, they can also be aggressive when not handled commonly enough.
Amazons can be great talkers, mimicking many sounds ranging from human speech to electronic sounds. They can, however, also be very good screamers and bird owners can expect periods of loud and continuous vocalization. They may not be ideal in an apartment setting for this reason. They are both climbers and chewers so adequate space is necessary.
Amazons love to chew and require a safe selection of items to occupy them mentally as well as provide appropriate opportunities for maintaining their beak. As with most pet birds, nail, wing and beak trimming may require the assistance of a veterinarian to prevent problems.
A good diet is key in health and longevity providing appropriate vitamins and minerals as well as fresh selections at the recommendation of your veterinarian. After adoption, plan to schedule an appointment at our office to have your bird evaluated for maximum health and care! Call us today with any questions you may have about your new Amazon parrot at 407-297-7528.
Lovebirds - February
Happy Valentine’s Day
Lovebirds make a colorful and vibrant addition to any aviary. Average body length is approximately 5-7”. Although they are by no means a large parrot, they are of a heartier size when compared to finches or parakeets and have even been known to mimic some sounds. Hand raised birds can be quite tame but birds which have not been hand raised can be difficult to tame. Lovebirds do best in pairs in interest of their social nature, however, this does lead them to look to one another for companionship as opposed to their human handlers. This means a commitment to handling is necessary to keep them tame. Lovebirds do have a lifespan of 10-12 years so they are a long-term commitment as a pet. Lovebirds even commit to one another and can pine the loss of a mate.
Housing should provide ample room for climbing, including perches at multiple levels. Non Toxic chew toys that are size appropriate are recommended to eliminate boredom and promote beak health. Your bird may need periodic nail trims, wing clipping and beak trimming, all of which we are happy to help you with here in our office.
Malnutrition can lead to a variety of health problems affecting lovebirds. A high quality pelleted ration supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables and continued access to fresh water meet their basic needs but we recommend you bring your bird in for a complete evaluation with our doctors. Often, after an evaluation, vitamin supplements may be recommended for optimum health.
Lovebirds will breed in captivity and in the wild they actually live in hollowed out holes! A nesting box is an added comfort for your pets.
Finches - January
Finches are small, active birds available in a wide variety of colors and varieties. They are very social birds that do better when coupled or in small groups. Gender is often distinguishable by color or sometimes song. Finches are prolific breeders so be prepared for potentially finding homes for future offspring!
Because of their high activity level, finches need a large cage allowing for them to achieve horizontal flight. Once you think you have acquired an enclosure large enough, find one that is larger! They really do best with a lot of horizontal flight space. Although, they are social, cages should include spaces for birds to obtain a certain level of privacy to avoid bullying from other birds. Their diet should include a well formulated pellet and some finches enjoy meal worms as a supplementation in addition to finely chopped, fruits and vegetables. Due to their high activity level they need access to a lot of food to consume to avoid issues with low blood sugar and collapse.
Finches are not usually considered for handling. Although, they can be quite tame, recognizing and responding to their favorite people, they are a bit too skittish for regular handling. They are also somewhat delicate when considering their size. They are long term family members with life expectancies reaching up to 17 years!
Be sure to call us at 407-434-1840 for information and advice about your new finches!
Macaws - December
Macaws are certainly one of the most visually striking choices for pet birds! Common color types are the Scarlet Macaw, which is a primarily red bird with primary colored accents and the Blue and Gold Macaw, however, numerous hybrids are now commonly seen making their vibrant colors quite broad. The sex of your Macaw will need to be determined by our doctors via laboratory methods, or endoscopy.
Macaws are not an appropriate bird for everyone as they do entail a time commitment. They have a life expectancy ranging from 20-50 years making them a long term member of your family. Housing will require a significant investment. Minimum space for a bird which can range in size from 20-42” in length, including tail, require a minimum cage space of 36x48x60 inches. Cages should only be a temporary confinement area since macaws need opportunities to climb as well as socialize. Aviaries are ideal. Any housing for a macaw must be built in consideration of the bird’s ability to break, twist and destroy most materials! Construction should be of sturdy, non toxic materials with birds of their size and stature in mind. Similarly, toys must also be durable and non toxic. Macaws love to chew so they need to have options which are free from sharp edges, splintering or toxicity.
Macaws are strong birds with the ability to inflict injury. Hand fed birds are an ideal choice but they can be aggressive and temperamental, not to mention LOUD! They are not suggested for apartment dwellers. They can be great “talkers” mimicking words and phrases with relative ease, but they will alternate this with some hearty screaming making you an unpopular neighbor!
Macaw diets should be broad and varied! They are scavengers in the wild composing much of their diet with seeds, nuts and fruits. Your bird should have access to a high quality pellet to insure proper vitamin and mineral intake. You can then supplement with fresh fruits, seeds and vegetables. Many Macaw owners offer a little of whatever they are eating. This is great, as long as you make them healthy offerings and avoid: Chocolate, caffeine, salt and sugar.
Please call us at 407-434-1840 for lots of great advice and counseling in the care of your Macaw!
Parakeets - November
Parakeets or budgerigars, as they are also referred to, are one of the most commonly accessible avian pets. Commonly available in pet stores at reasonable prices, they are frequently a “first bird” for many enthusiasts.
Parakeets have a life span of 2-8 years, though some enthusiasts have reported life spans closer to 10 years with good care and a varied diet. Due to their small size they are considered fragile when compared to larger common birds. Although, they can tolerate some cooler temperatures, they cannot tolerate drafty or damp environments. Appropriate housing should be considered large enough for ample movement and wing extension, safety from direct or strong sunlight and an area free of drafts from windows, vents or fans.
Many excellent seed sources are readily available to feed your parakeet but some supplementation of fresh fruits and vegetables in moderation is advised to provide optimum nutrition. A cuttlebone should be provided for birds to be able to file and trim their beaks; however, not all birds will appropriately utilize this. Observe not only your parakeet’s beak for overgrowth but also his/her nails. You may need to call our office at 407-297-7528 for assistance in trimming and maintaining your bird’s nails and beak!
Parakeets can be quite tame but children should be supervised when handling. They have also been known to mimic voices and talk a little. Males are often more talented talkers than females. Your parakeet’s gender can be visually determined. Ask our doctors for help with this.
Please call us for lots of help and guidance in the care of your parakeet! We can’t wait to meet you both!
Cockatiels - October
Cockatiels are an excellent “first bird” choice in that their size (approx. 12” long) makes them a little hardier and less delicate than a similarly available bird such as a parakeet. They are very appropriate for young children as long as their handling is supervised by an adult to insure gentle care. They have a curious and active nature which makes them interactive and entertaining as pets. They commonly mimic whistle s and tunes and are even known to talk a bit!
Popularity of the species allows for a lot of options when selecting a cockatiel. Hand raised varieties are often more friendly but even birds who have not been hand raised are receptive to handling with time, a gentle nature and patience. Several color varieties are available and an experienced and knowledgeable enthusiast can even breed them with some education and study. Males and females are differentiated by color without the need for surgical sexing. Cockatiels can often be acquired, here in the south, from local breeders in addition to pet stores. Anytime you purchase a new bird ask the seller if they offer any kind of health guarantee and plan to bring your bird in for an exam not only to detect any potential problems, but also to discuss the highest quality care and diet with our doctors.
A varied diet of high quality seed in addition to fresh fruits and vegetables should certainly be on the menu for your cockatiel! Like many birds they can be messy so frequent changing of water to allow for a constant and clean supply should be part of your bird’s daily maintenance.
Plan to provide plenty of space and species appropriate toys to entertain your cockatiel. During your health check our doctors will provide you with lot of specific knowledge about your bird’s care:
- Proper Diet/Supplementation
- Whether to clip his/her wings
- Appropriate housing
- Potential household toxins and common risks to your bird’s safety
- Warning signs of poor health
- Everything to promote happiness, health and longevity!!
We can’t wait to meet your new cockatiel!!
Call our office today to schedule an appointment. At that time we can also offer you valuable tips on safe and low stress transport. We can't wait to see you!
Quaker Parakeets - August
Quaker Parakeets are considered to be one of the hardier pet birds. They are small to medium sized parrots most commonly bright to variegated green in color with a lifespan of 25-30 years. Their temperament can range according to their environment and upbringing. Of course, hand raised birds tend to be much more socialized, however, it is important to consider that consistent time and socialization will be part of your Quaker's care throughout its lifetime.
Quakers tend to be very active and are notoriously good eaters. Dietary offerings should be broad to include the best nutritional sources for your bird. They can also be quite territorial, this coupled with their high activity level should be considered when providing an appropriately large play space with lots of safe items to stimulate your Quaker's high energy level. In spite of their small to medium size, ample and spacious housing is necessary for these birds.
Quakers can be aggressive and vocal! Depending on their upbringing (hand raised vs un handled) they may or may not be appropriate for families with small children.
Whether you acquire your Quaker from a breeder, pet store or rescue, please plan to schedule an exam to discuss proper care, diet and most appropriate considerations for your new feathered family member. What can you expect on a vet visit? The doctor will examine your bird and assess any obvious health problems. At that time, we will be able to make appropriate recommendations for diet and overall care. Establishing a relationship with your bird's veterinarian can be a valuable factor in your Quaker's health, wellbeing and longevity.