CARING FOR YOUR LICENCED CAPTIVE PARROT.
Many parrot species should live for more than 50 years. Follow this guide to give your licenced captive bird the best chance for a long and happy life in your care.
It is illegal in Belize to keep a wild-caught bird captive. You must apply for a licence from the Belize Forest Department and in order to qualify you must satisfy many strict criteria.
This brief guide outlines the basic needs of your bird and how best to fulfil them whilst he is in captivity
A parrot cage should be at least four feet around so he can stretch, flap and move easily. Use ½” wire mesh so rats, snakes and possums can’t get in. Chain-link and chicken wire is not suitable
Provide covered areas for protection from weather extremes and an open area so he can choose rain or sunshine.
Parrots hate to be at ground level; put the cage as high as you can. It’s more natural if his cage is under a tree.
Use different thicknesses and heights of perches for good foot health and exercise. Perches must be secure and not twist around. Parrots love to chew leaves so give fresh greens every day. Make sure you have enough perch space for everyone and take care if you have two or more birds: fighting can lead to fatal injuries. Never use plastic or metal pipe - it is bad for the feet.
Parrots are social birds. In the wild they live in large flocks. Boredom makes a parrot aggressive and miserable: he may even pluck out his own feathers. He needs toys and a friend (human or parrot) exactly like human children. Give him lots to do, love and attention: solitude is torture for a parrot.
Give sticks, leaves and berries to bring out his natural behaviours
Use craft beads, Popsicle sticks, wood blocks, small bush sticks, sugar cane, plastic bottle tops, leather strips, leaves, coconut, flowers, pasta pieces, toilet roll inners, clean rags, buttons, nuts, mango pits and baby toys,
Connect with chains, ropes, string, vines and cable ties (which are also excellent for securing branch perches)
Don't use anything rusty, you will kill your bird!
Warning signs of sickness
If he stops eating, or suddenly becomes really thirsty
He has discharges from the eyes or nostrils
His eyes are half-closed or shut most of the time
He sleeps more than usual
He has swellings or infections: especially in the feet, eyes and throat.
He limps or doesn’t use one foot.
If his normal behaviour changes e.g. he stops making sounds, stops playing or stops moving around
He’s puffed up for minutes at a time with both feet down, loses balance or is trembling
Heavy or irregular breathing, especially if his tail bobs at the same time
H loses weight loss. (If you don’t have a scale, feel the long ‘keel bone’ in his breast. If it sticks out and feels sharp, your bird is too thin and needs help. If he eats well and is still thin, he could have worms. If you can’t feel his keel, he may be too fat: cut down on the sunflower seeds!
Most fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and even flowers.
e.g. banana, mango, watermelon, papaya, unsalted nuts, sunflower seeds, sugarcane, figs, oranges, kinep, plums, celery, spinach, carrot, okra, craboo, hibiscus flowers corn, green beans, all apples & plums, grapes, peppers. Too many sunflower seeds make him fat.
Peanuts may carry a fungus that is toxic to birds: experts advise not to give peanuts.
NO salt, alcohol, fizzy drinks, sweets, sugary cakes, salty chips etc.
POISONOUS: chocolate, avocado, onion.
ALWAYS: CLEAN, FRESH DRINKING WATER
Do your own health check
Normal poop should be a mix of dark green, lighter green and white. Depending on what he’s been eating, it could be darker in colour (seeds) or orange (papaya) but the majority of the time it should look the same.
When to worry:
If the colour changes for more than three or four poops - especially if it’s dark brown, very pale green, yellow, black and sticky, or bloody
If it’s bubbly or is sticking to the parrot’s feathers
If it increases or decreases in size for more than a day or two
If it is watery, runny or smells bad
Cutting a bird’s wings does not make him tame. That can only be achieved through hard work and dedication.
He needs wings to keep warm and dry, protect soft body feathers, exercise his chest muscles and to control landings and avoid injury.
If you must do it, do it right. DO NOT cut all of the feathers. Follow the diagram for the best way to clip your parrots’ wings or check out one of the many You Tube videos.
Hazards in the Home
Dogs & cats attack and bite
Hot stove and pots, and hot food burn
Ceiling fans can break legs and wings
Slamming doors can kill a loose parrot
Birds can drown in open toilets
Electrical wires can kill if they are chewed
Strong chemical smells can damage tiny lungs, and even kill
Some paints, plastics, treated wood and natural plants contain toxins: be careful what he chews
Parrots quickly chew through window screens
Parrots chew everything –be aware of what you leave around the house with a loose bird