What size cage is best for my bird?

I often get asked about the correct size of cages for parrots, and other small birds, for breeding.

Many years ago, when parrots weren’t hand reared in such great numbers, it was said that the biggest cage you could get would be the best thing for the parrot. If you have a very tame hand reared parrot, in many households they spent a lot of time outside of the cage in the house – and they also tend to get very tired as well. Therefore the parrot being in the largest cage possible is not so important anymore. If the parrot is being naughty, it can be put away, but many customers I speak to say that their parrots spend up to eight hours a day outside of their cage and will only sleep inside the cage because they are not very active at night.

I also get asked about cages for breeding, and this is a vast subject. Most parrots, when it comes to breeding, want a large area, but that’s being very general. Species like African Grey parrots actually breed better in small areas. In my previous role as a travelling Avian Consultant, I once came across a large number of breeding pairs of African Greys that had a large inside area, and a large outside area – however after two years, only a very small number had actually bred. I designed some much smaller enclosures and in a very short space of time a large number of pairs were breeding. This is the exception to the rule for breeding birds, and I’m happy to answer any questions that you may have about this topic.

When it comes to breeding smaller species of birds such as finches and canaries, often a large cage is better, but birds do all have slightly different requirements and many will breed in smaller cages too.

If you have any problems or questions, please contact Rob Harvey using the details below:

+44 1252 342533

rob@robharvey.com

Rob Harvey on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest

Advertisements

Putting your parrot outside

I’m often asked at this time of year about putting birds outside, for example if someone has a parrot in the house whether they can put the bird outside, and they imagine there won’t be any problems at all. With taking some care, there shouldn’t be.

The bird might be used to being inside, in a nice constant temperature of 20 degrees centigrade, and not being in a draft or in the sun. This bird could have been inside for many years, and to suddenly take that bird and put it outside we have to consider several things.

First of all, make sure the bird is not in full sunlight, if it’s not used to it. The bird may be a species that lives in the tropical rainforest or places that are used to sun, but it won’t have had sun for a long time and a sudden change in environment can be very dangerous.

Also, they’re not used to drafts and the weather outside, if there’s constant breeze from one direction they can catch a chill and do themselves some harm. Make sure the aviary is partly covered from the breeze and make sure half of the roof is covered as well, as a sudden downpour from a storm of something like that can actually kill a bird even in warm weather. The wind and the rain tends to cause so much more damage to a bird than just having a low temperature.

The other thing to keep in mind is cats, dogs and foxes. You might think they won’t get problems during the day, but this isn’t the case because foxes, for example, are now out during the day and don’t actually have to get hold of your bird to kill it – and cats can be even worse. They only have to run round the aviary, or climb over the top of it, and this can be enough to scare your bird to death.

Please don’t think I’m trying to put you off putting your bird outside, but it is far better to tell you about all the problems you can have, so that when you do move your bird outside you are aware of these so nothing goes wrong. In the next few months, we will have some very strong aviaries designed by Rob Harvey Specialist Feeds available to buy, which will be perfect for outdoor use, and they also come with a cover – watch this space for further details!

If you have any problems or questions, please contact Rob Harvey using the details below:

+44 1252 342533

rob@robharvey.com

Rob Harvey on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest

 

Should I spray my parrot with water?

A recent question, and a very common question I get asked is how often should I spray my parrot, or should I spray my parrot with water?

This is something that I wouldn’t really recommend at all, but it seems to be common knowledge on the internet that it’s good for parrots. After travelling around the world as an avian consultant and visiting many of the largest parrot collections, of birds that are in perfect condition, with a lot of these collections the birds are never sprayed at all. Also some parrots, if they suddenly get sprayed get very scared indeed, especially nervous parrot species like African Greys. If African Greys, and some of the Cockatoo species get suddenly shocked by being sprayed by water, this can cause feather problems. Many times at Bird World we had African Greys come in, and other parrots, and the cause of their feather problems was because they got scared by someone suddenly spraying them two or three times a week, because they’d heard that it was a good thing for their parrot.

If you spray your parrot now, and it’s enjoying it and loving it, there is no need to stop. But, your parrots don’t need to be sprayed with water, so don’t start suddenly doing it and scaring them, because rather than making their plumage better (which is maybe what you were hoping to do), you can stress them so much that they start losing some of their feathers.

If you think your parrot would like a bath, by all means put a large bowl of water in the cage, and if they need to preen or soak themselves with water they will probably make an awful mess and thoroughly enjoy it.  If you can cope with that, that won’t do them any harm at all.

If you have any problems or questions, please contact Rob Harvey using the details below:

+44 1252 342533

rob@robharvey.com

Rob Harvey on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest

What can you do if you have a noisy parrot at home?

A question we get commonly asked by people is what they can do if they have a noisy parrot at home, and it’s nearly always for the same reason.

It can be a new parrot, or a parrot that someone has had for years and their behaviour seems to have changed. These are very intelligent birds and often it starts by accident. We’ll get phone calls where the bird is screaming, talking, shouting a lot, various things going on when the owner isn’t in the room. Now what’s happening with this situation is quite simple – the parrot wants attention, having similar intelligence to that of a young child. At some point the parrot realises that when the owner leaves the room, and it is by itself, if they start screeching and making as much noise as they can, then the owner comes back into the room to see what’s wrong with the parrot – and this can be the start of the problem.

As soon as the bird clicks, and with their intelligence it’s very quickly, that they can do this and the owner comes back in the room, they’ve got the attention that they were looking for – and then this happens all the time. Unfortunately the only thing you can do about it is try to retrain your parrot. So the first part of it is to completely ignore your bird when they’re screaming and shouting, until the point that they give up. When they stop screaming, and it all goes quiet, it can be time to walk back into the room perhaps – just to say hello to your bird and give them a treat. This retraining programme can take a very, very long time – so be warned that if your bird suddenly starts to make a noise, it’s not always a good idea to go and see if their ok as it could be the start of a very long and noisy process.

If you have any problems or questions, please contact Rob Harvey using the details below:

+44 1252 342533

rob@robharvey.com

Rob Harvey on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest

What is the best age to buy a hand reared parrot?

A very common question I get asked by someone who is interested in having a parrot as a pet, and is going to buy a hand reared bird, is where to get it from and what age they should be bought from.

f51b9e7c3526f7fb1c4936a652f7fc0a

If you can buy the bird direct from a breeder, that is the best thing to do, but there are many pet shops in the UK that actually breed their own birds and sell them, and they can make wonderful pets.

The most important thing is getting the age right – the bird must have finished being hand reared. You do not want to buy a bird which is eight or ten weeks old and still being hand reared, but instead you should buy a bird that has finished being hand reared and is at least 12 weeks old. At the age of 12 to 15 weeks old, the birds are very happy to be moved to new premises, they’re very young and they seem to enjoy it. Up to 20 weeks old may not be a problem, but you need to be careful, because the more time the bird spends where it was hand reared, the more settled it becomes there and the more difficult it is to then move the bird and settle it down.

However saying this, there are birds that are 1 or 2 years old and are completely tame, and are moved with no problem, but if you have a choice try and get one that is between 12 and 15 years old as that is the best time to buy a parrot and move them to new premises. Always make sure that the bird is absolutely, completely tame, otherwise when you move it, moving will stress them out slightly and when you get it home you could have problems.

If you have any problems or questions, please contact Rob Harvey using the details below:

+44 1252 342533

rob@robharvey.com

Rob Harvey on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest

Perches

Another very common question I get asked is:

What is the best perch to use for my bird?

39a0f2e1ce64f8f78009abe0690027ec

With small species of birds in breeding cages, it is important to have the correct size perch for your bird and often these perches are 10 or 12mm.  You can have a variation of perches in their cage, which is very good for your bird.

For example with any specie of bird, from small birds to parrots, if you think of their situation in the wild, they never ever have a set size of perch.  They spend their life wandering around trees, landing on all different sizes of perches at different angles, as you can imagine.

855b21240d853b0312f33654cfac93e4

This is where, if you think of larger species such as parrots in a cage, perches which are all different shapes and angles, like Java perches for example are perfect. Java perches are natural perches which have been dried in ovens for three months and are very, very hard so they last a long time even with species which will destroy wood, like larger parrots.

But from all sizes of birds, from small to large, Java perches or natural perches can be very good for them.  Over 20 years at Birdworld, we used all sorts of perches from the trees that we had within the gardens, everything from beech to oak to fruit trees to silver birch trees – we used all sorts of things – the only ones we kept away from were perches that were very, very sappy, if they had just been felled.

Java Tree (available at shop.robharvey.com)
Java Tree (available at shop.robharvey.com)

With all these perches, we would clean them and wash them down first of all, before we put them in with the birds.  As you can imagine parrot species would destroy these perches very quickly.  

This isn’t a problem.

I often get calls from people trying to find perches that a parrot can not destroy, Java are very good at this as their perches are so hard.  But we need to remember that it is natural for parrot species to chew wood.  It is one of the things they do regularly in the wild and it helps to keep them in good condition, so there’s no problem, even if it makes a bit of a mess, in adding new perches in there for them.

In a flight outside, I can remember we would often put half a tree in there, if the flight was big enough and the birds would thoroughly enjoy it and within a few weeks the birds would destroy most of the small branches on the tree.  But, they got great enjoyment from doing that, so this is good for the birds.

08ddbee671449311823b918b839850c3

There are other perches that are very useful such as Polly Pastel perches.  When the parrot sits on these perches, which have a course outer layer, there is a very gentle process in wearing down their claws so then the claws don’t have to be clipped.

Pollys-Pet-Products-Pastel-Perches1

 If you suddenly put one of these perches into a cage you may find that the parrot will not like it because it is something new and they are available in various colours.  Its a good idea to introduce these perches slowly, and eventually to put these perches in such a place that they would have to sit on this perch when they start to feed and so they will naturally use this perch and naturally wear down their claws.

We can supply all sorts of perches, from small perches for finches and canaries, plastic ones, wooden ones, right up to Java perches and even Java trees.  There are all sorts of perches available depending on what species of bird you have.  Please click here to take a look.

Any questions on perches, how to introduce them, when to introduce them, or how to clean them, by all means please do contact Rob Harvey on 01420 23986 or comment below.

46589cbf99b4c001e1ac6f9ea003dde8 (1)

This year has been a very bad year for mite problems.  And with small perches, one thing we would recommend for canaries and finches if you have those problems during the breeding season is to use ARDAP.  Often you can not remove the birds but you can change the perches and if you spray the perches with something like ARDAP, which is a completely safe pesticide to use, you can spray the perches and put them safely back inside again.  Then if you have any mites or other small dangerous insects crawl over these perches, the insecticide in ARDAP lasts for six weeks, so any bugs coming into your cage will be killed and your parrots will be completely safe using the same perches.  Always something to keep in mind, if you think there are any mite or tick problems as ticks can be very dangerous for all birds, including parrot species.

Any questions, again please do contact Rob Harvey on 01420 23986 or comment below.

Follow Rob Harvey on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.