Guest Author - Diana Geiger
The Amazon Parrot is a bright beautiful bird that is highly social. The parrot will require a great deal of attention and social interaction. He will also require a great deal of stimulation from toys. Without the mental stimuli of social interaction and toys, he will become a parrot with behavioral problems. People who are willing to devote a considerable amount of time to their parrots will have a delightful companion pet for many decades. The Amazon parrot can live to be 30 to 50 years old. Some Amazon parrots have lived as long as 80 years.
The Amazon parrot is the most trainable of all parrots. The parrot is highly intelligent. They have the capacity to learn a large vocabulary of words. I have had Amazons that spend hours mumbling to themselves and then all of a sudden blurt out a completely new phrase. The parrot loves to learn new tricks and well be glad to show the tricks off to you.
The downside to the Amazon parrot is that they can be very noisy and they can also be very destructive. They will chew up wood furniture, moldings and anything else, they want to chew.
Picking up your bird
Most important before you even worry about the health of the bird is make sure it is a banded bird. Most captive-bred birds are closed banded. It is a bracelet steel or aluminum band, with a letter and a number code stamped on it. The band is worn on the leg. If it is not banded it could be an illegal, smuggled bird.
Before you buy and bring home your bird, have him tested by an Avian Veterinarian. These tests should include a complete blood count, (CBC) Chlamydia Screen and a culture of the throat and vent. Make sure a signed vet certificate accompanies the bird. Make sure he looks healthy, with bright and healthy feathers. Not ruffled up, or puffed up. Check his vent and his droppings.
It is usually wise to choose a bird that has been weaned and is eating on this own. Leave hand feeding to the experienced. An inexperienced person hand feeding could cause torn or burned crops, infections and other problems.
Some cages can be a danger to your bird. The bars are improperly spaced. You will find screws and other tiny parts the bird will work loose and it can kill him. Birds chew constantly and will chew at the bars. The paint must be non-toxic. Birds are notorious for opening birdcage latches. The latch must be of a good design and secure. Keeping a cage clean and sanitized is a very important issue. Some cages are impossible to keep clean, even harder, yet sanitizing. The cage must be the proper size for the bird, the larger the better. I will not buy a cage unless it has a playpen on top. Cages are fine when you are not around to watch the bird. Nevertheless, birds need their freedom. Birds will love their playpens and will spend most of their time on top of their cage. Rectangular and square cages are much better than a round cage. The parrot needs perches of various thicknesses for healthy foot development. Cages need to be secure and big.
Diet & Health Issues
The basic diet should be a special pellet or commercial Amazon food formulated especially for Amazons. Commercial foods need to be supplemented with any healthy food that you eat. They can have fruit, pasta, vegetables, nuts, seeds, cooked beans, hot peppers, and bell peppers. The parrot can eat almost anything healthy that you eat. Our birds ate for dinner whatever we were having for dinner. Fruit is their favorite treat. They should be provided with a cuttlebone and a mineral block.
Keeping an Amazon healthy is a complex issue. Toenails need to be trimmed. The wing feathers may need to be trimmed. You could accidentally cut a blood feather and the bird can bleed out very quickly. The parrot should have a yearly check up with an Avian Veterinarian.
Sleep deprivation can lead to serious behavioral and health problems. A parrot should have 12 hours of darkness every day year around. If his cage is in a room with others, cover his cage with a cage cover.
Amazon parrots are intelligent and complex. The need for toys is immense. Boredom is unhealthy for a parrot and can be fatal. Puzzle toys made for the destructive parrot are great. There are some great interactive toys where a nut needs to be extracted. Chew toys are needed for these chew happy birds. Get untreated blocks of wood at the lumberyard. Color them bright with the sugar variety of Kool-Aid, minus the sugar. They love to swing on ropes. Anything new and different that is safe for a parrot. Anything that will confound him or her for a little while, because it does not take long for them to figure out each new game or puzzle. They love to interact with you. I taught my parrot how to be rocked in my arms like a baby. I also trained him to lie still on his back in the palm of my hand. He loved his head scratched and soon would ask for a scratch in his well articulated, but nasally voice. We learned many games together. We spent many hours on the floor playing.
Amazon parrots must have a great deal of specialize attention. It is not a good pet for someone that cannot devote his or her entire life to him or her. Amazons are very different from other pets, and each parrot is different from another parrot. Each one is unique!
Lafeber's Nutri-Berries Classic Parrot Food Tub
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Has your bird gotten a new toy recently. Boredom causes serious problems. Buy your bird a new toy today! Rotate toys often.