Blue & Gold Macaw

Choosing a Companion Bird

CHOOSING A COMPANION BIRD

The pro’s and con’s of the species listed below are only a guide, before buying a pet bird of any size, please research thoroughly as many parrots live for many years, so making a decision to by a parrot will probably be a lifelong commitment.

There are advantages and disadvantages to owning any pet, all captive pets need a long term commitment from the buyer and are entitled to a caring and loving home. If you bird is treated in this way it will always be a forefilling companion.

 

BUDGIES

Advantages

They are small and therefore only need a small cage and space.

They are gentle and can be easily tamed.

Suitable for beginners and kids.

They are inexpensive.

Many colour mutations to choose from.

Disadvantages

They do not talk

They can be left on their own at times and don’t normally demand much attention.

 

Cockatiels

Advantages

A good beginner or kid’s bird.

Easily tamed.

Males can whistle tunes and sometimes talk a little.

Live to between 25 and 30 years.

They are inexpensive.

Many different colour mutations to choose from.

Disadvantages

Tend to make a noise or whistle when people are around or the TV is on.

Like a lot of attention.

 

RINGNECK PARAKEETS

Advantages

Can be tamed, but hand rearing is the best way to tame these.

Many beautiful colours to choose from.

Not expensive although costs more than a cockatiel.

Needs a slightly larger cage.

May learn a few words or phrases.

Disadvantages

Screech fairly loudly.

Like a lot of attention daily.

Not always friendly to other pets, especially other birds.

 

LOVEBIRDS

Advantages

Good beginner’s bird.

Brightly coloured mutations available.

Cheap to buy.

Requires a small cage.

Can be kept in pairs and still remain tame.

Love snuggling and preening.

Pairs can happily be left while you go out to work.

Disadvantages

Must be hand reared in order to be tame.

Do not talk.

 

Conures – Small

Advantages

Hand reared they make delightful companions.

Some are brightly coloured.

Gentle.

Inexpensive.

Require a small cage.

Disadvantages

Not good talkers if at all.

Can be noisy especially around people.

 

Conures – Large

Advantages

Hand reared birds are playful and affectionate.

Some are colourful.

Medium priced birds.

Disadvantages

Not for beginners.

Require large cage.

Can be very noisy.

Not good talkers.

 

POICEPHALUS – Small African Parrots

Advantages

Hand reared birds make good pets which love to be handled regularly.

Not very noisy.

Less expensive than bigger parrots.

Not as intrusive on personal space as bigger parrots.

Disadvantages

Most are not colourful, except the Senegal Parrot.

Need regular cage time.

Lories

Advantages

Easy to tame.

Colourful-brightly coloured

Playful.

Disadvantages

They are fruit and nectar eaters, therefore their droppings are wetter and more frequent.

Need to be housed in a easily cleaned cage, preferably on a tiled floor and in a well ventilated area.

 

PIONUS PARROTS

Advantages

Generally quite.

Does not demand much attention.

Medium size parrot. Reasonably inexpensive.

Disadvantages

Not good talkers.

Not very colourful.

Don’t like cold or damp areas.

 

AFRICAN GREY PARROTS

Advantages

Highly intelligent.

Good talkers.

Good for first time parrot owners.

Not to demanding, but must have plenty of toys.

Disadvantages

Often prone to feather plucking if they get nervous or insecure.

Not brightly coloured.

Some will become one person birds depending on temperament or environment.

 

AMAZONS

Advantages

More colourful than the African Grey.

Good talkers. Very affectionate and are generally friendly to everyone.

Good outgoing personalities.

Disadvantages

Need a large cage.

Can be very loud.

Not for kids or beginners.

Expensive.

 

 

COCKATOOS

Advantages

Intelligent

Beautiful although not brightly coloured.

Extremely affectionate.

Playful and comical.

Disadvantages

Very, very demanding.

Prone to feather plucking if not given enough attention.

Can be noisy.

Destructive by nature.

Need a large cage.

Give off large amounts of feather dust.

Not suitable for asthma sufferers.

 

ECLECTUS

Advantages

Very intelligent.

Brightly coloured.

Good talkers.

Males make better companion birds than females.

Disadvantages

Can be noisy.

Generally not for kids or beginners.

Females can be touchy and unpredictable.

 

SMALL MACAWS

Advantages

Intelligent

May speak a few words

Hand reared birds make affectionate companions

Love attention

Disadvantages

Not brightly coloured.

Noisy.

Bored birds can be distructive.

 

MACAWS

Advantages

Beautiful colours.

Intelligent.

Very social.

Love playing

 

Disadvantages

Very limited vocabulary.

Expensive.

Require a large cage.

Need to be treated firmly.

Not for beginners or children.

Can be very destructive.

 

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Owning a Bird

OWNING A BIRD

A few pointers to keep your parrot happy:

  • Firstly, foods which are dangerous for all birds are Chocolate, avocado pears and onions. All can kill your parrot.

Feeding

  • In the mornings at 8am all our birds get Fruit and vegetables.  You can buy mixed vegetables and take them out in the evening for the morning feed (2 TBSP) of mixed vegetables and cut corn with fruit, any fruit will do) 2 x TBSP vegetables  and 1 TBSP Fruit.
  • Vegetables you can feed:  Carrots, cucumber, tomatoes (not too many), spinach, potatoes, pumpkin, marrow, butternut, gem squash, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, turnip, beetroot, cooked rice or cooked pasta and most other veggies, raw or par boiled are good. Green Veggies must be cooked.
  • Fruit you can feed:  Peaches, pears, apples, banana, grapes, strawberries, orange, naartjies, pawpaw, melon, kiwi they like most fruits but try not feed too much acid fruit all together.
  • Try to avoid Lettuce.
  • We do also sell a Soak mix with is another option for your birds Diet in the morning.
  •  Soft food/Fruit and Veg should be removed in the afternoon (anytime 15h00 to18h00), you can then feed seed mix consisting of mostly sunflower and other seed.  Cheapest place to buy parrot and other food is Ara Seeds in Cambridge off Queens Street.
  • Do not feed your parrots any peanut in the shells.  The shells contain a bacteria that can give your bird an infection in the crop.
  • Your parrot will need toys in his cage.  They are also available at different stores.
  • Buy toys which have leather or wood in them, try to avoid toys with coloured rope as we have found a few parrots getting stuck in the rope and also a tennis ball is not a good idea.
  • African Grey’s are destructive birds; they like to chew, so give them soft wood (Untreated pine is ok for some perches) but try to get Guava tree branches for other perches.
  • If you let them out of the cage (at least once a day for about 1 hour), make sure your furniture is protected. This applies to mainly African Grey, Cockatoos and other big parrots.  They can do damage.
  • You can put an old towel over the back of your couch which they can chew and I have no problems.
  • If your parrot should start biting, go buy the book “Why does my Parrot” or phone us we have a CD which we can make a copy for you, they really help, they also help with any other problems (feather plucking etc.)
  • Your parrot is tame, so handle him often.  And do try keep the whole family involved.  Remember the more you handle them and tamer they become.
  • Clip wing flight feathers and trim nails regularly.
  • Add a “ clay perch “ into the cage. This helps with long and sharp toe nails.  Sharp nails can penetrate skin.
  • Occasional your Parrot might use a bit too much force with his beak, don’t worry, it will not cause much damage…
  • Parrots can talk from a very early age, but we found that about 1 year of age is when  most start talking.
  • Should your parrot scream, don’t react, all parrots need about 5 min a day to scream, ignore it and it will stay at 5 min per day or even disappear.
  • Your parrot needs enough rest during the night. Cover his cage with a blanket from around 8.00 pm.
  • Your Bird is not well when
    • He goes off his food
    • Sitting quietly and fluffs up all his feathers
    • Regurgitates their food all the time
    • Very lethargic not moving around as normal
  • Our local Bird Vet is Nahoon Vet – Dr Peet Woods

 

Lindale Farm wishes you many pleasant moments with your bird.