Small Parrot Guide
Small Parrot Guide: Everything you need to know before buying your Small Parrot – Quaker, Conures, Princess Parrot.
Carry Enclosure – Every parrot owner needs one for safe transport, also useful for birdy adventures or to hold during enclosure cleans. A cardboard box is not recommended, as they can chew through one very quickly.
Quality Seed – Avoid low grade seed mixes with filler, as it decreases your bird’s health/survival rate. Our Birdsville Small Parrot mix has no filler, not only keeping your bird healthy but saving you money.
Millet Sprays/seed bar – Millet sprays are great for training & getting young bird eating while transitioning to their new environment. Seed bar is a forage toy.
Healthy Treats – Birdsville Gourmet Tropical Small Parrot Blend and Birdsville Gourmet Healthy Parrot Blend, both with added fruits, greens, nuts and legumes and vegetables, arguably the healthiest treats you can get your bird on the market.
Enclosures – Please consult staff on enclosure recommendations. Different parrots require different wire spacing and dimensions.
*Remember – there is no such thing as an enclosure that’s too big.
Toys – 1 Ladder, 1 swing per bird in their enclosure, with a minimum 4 appropriate toys for chewing, preening, and playing.
Perches – Minimum of 5 perches, including at least 1 grit or concrete perch, 2 natural perches and two perches usually will come with a new enclosure, making 5 perches in total.
Substrate – Grit or sand sheets, great for birds to forage in and makes it very easy to spot clean your enclosure. View substrate in our aviary bird enclosures.
Calcium / Iodine – essential for birds and come in the form of perches, bells, buttons and cuttlebone. Pink ones contain iodine, white ones are for calcium and perches contain both.
Vitamins – outside parrots use Multivet and inside parrots use Calcivet, Ornithon or Soluvite D. Very important for their health, as parrots cannot absorb vitamin D through glass, they need direct sunlight.
Wormer – Worming needs to be completed 10 days after bringing your bird home. Simple to use just follow the directions on the bottle.
Lice & Mite Spray – Lice & Mite spray is recommended 10 days after purchase. Simple to use, point and spray avoid birds’ eyes – directions also on the bottle.
Sulphadim or Spark – helps prevent stress from transition, which may lead to them getting diarrhea and reduces dehydration. Mix in drinking water for 10 days upon bringing your parrot home. Simple directions on bottle
Cage Cleaner – Avicare, F10 or Arisopet are all bird safe, nontoxic disinfectant and makes it easy to remove poo and dirt from enclosure, toys, perches, and bowl. Normal disinfects can be quite toxic to parrots.
What you may like to consider:
Enclosure stand – some large enclosures already come with a stand and all enclosure suitable for a parrot can have a stand available. These are great to lift the enclosure off the ground, to an easy level to interact with your pet.
Enclosure Cover – some people like to cover their bird of an night time, this can decrease early wake ups.
Enclosure Tidy – these are great for reducing mess, but won’t eliminate completely.
Spare bowls (food & water) – swap bowls, if normal one gets dirty and need a soak (easy cleaning) or to add an addition food. Additional bowls are also recommended in the first 7 days of bringing your new bird home.
No Mess Feeder – these also reduce mess and prevent your parrot from spreading food everywhere.
Drink Bottle – they can’t poo in them, reducing the amount of time you have to change the water and less mess.
Cuttlebone, Fruit & Millet Spray Holders – an additional way of suppling cuttlebones, fruit and millet that can make them more interacted for your parrot and keep them off the ground, reducing waste.
Bathing – Bird baths (large, shallow feeders can also be used), shampoo, spray bottle and shower perches.
Tent/hide – tents, pouches, hammocks, and hides. You will be surprised how much some parrots love these.
*Check the reptile and small animal sections upstairs, as there are some great products that could be used for bathing, hides, toy and so on.
Bird Stand and Play Gym – Excellent for parrot training, as well as giving them a place to hang out and play. Additional toys can be added to create environmental enrichment.
Synbiotic / Probiotic – can boost immune system, support digestive function when used daily.
First aid – Spark, Sulphadim, Triple C, F10 barrier ointment, heat lights
The Good Oil – great for improving liver function in your parrot and overall health. These is mixed with the seed mix.
Harnesses – provided an added safety when outside with your parrot. Harness training does take time and should never expect your bird to expect it straight away.
Important Bird Note
Environmental enrichment (toys) keeps your parrot entertained when you are away and they’re in their enclosure. It also helps prevent behavioural issue down the track, such as plucking, noise level and aggressive behaviour. It will help creates a tamer, friendlier and happier parrot. Toys need to be rotated regularly, so budgie does not get bored. If your parrot destroy their toy, it means they like it and should be replaced.
Are you ready to be a Parrot Guardian?
Please, all new parrot owners read all the below.
We have detailed all the important non-sugar-coated facts of parrot ownership. Please follow these details below, as occasionally people find different opinions online and sadly your parrot may pay the ultimate price.
Our goal for our customers’ pets, is to thrive physically and mentally. This is how we and our breeders keep our parrots happy and healthy.
Congratulations on your new family member, from our Birdsville team.
For the first 3 days: Your parrot will be naturally scared, because of the changed environment. Some of our baby parrots have never been in a cage before and have never been away from other parrots. Many parrots may not eat much for the first day or 2 due to stress of new environment.
Offer extra millet sprays on the floor to encourage your baby parrot to eat. Millet sprays are great because they are a fresh. Recently harvested millet is a little bit soft and excellent for encouraging your new parrot to eat. When your parrot is eating properly and feels at home then it is time to start training. Handle your parrot gently for 20 minutes, no more than 4 times a day. Choose somewhere that is soft like on a bed or a couch to avoid injury. Encourage your parrot to eat its favourite treats. Handling of hand raised parrots is important to create and strengthen your bond with your parrot.
*Tip – if your parrot is spooked and runs away, gently pick up and continue calmly handling your parrot with 2 hands and bring them close to you, before teaching them to step up. Repeat this process until your parrot relaxes.
A hand raised parrot is tame but not trained.
*Remember that your baby parrot needs to adjust to the new environment. So, be calm and patient and your parrot will bond with you.
Many new parrot owners who are new to birds, can be scared when they flap their wings. Parrots are very perceptive creatures; this fear can set back you’re training and bonding. A parrot knows if you are scared of them. It is very important to not be scared of your parrot and be a calm leader.
The first 10 days: When bringing your parrot home, we recommend all parrots have sulphadim in the water every day, for the first 10 days. This is important because it reduces the chance of your new parrot from getting diarrhea, due to stress. Sulphadim also reduces the chance of your parrot dehydrating, which can open your parrot up to more complications.
Moving into a new environment is stressful for any parrot and this stress can easily make them susceptible to diarrhea, quickly leading to dehydrate. Dehydration reduces a parrot’s immune function and leaves them susceptible to illness.
As your parrot becomes more confident and use-to its’ new environment you can increase the amount of time you handle your parrot, as they bond to you. Once your parrot starts to become confident, handling is no longer stressful for the parrot.
On the 10th day of bringing your parrot home, your parrot is ready for worm treatment and lice and mite spray. Details below.
Introductions: If you have existing parrot, it is recommended to keep new parrot quarantine for at least 2 weeks in a cage close by or inside the aviary. This is so both parrots can get to know each other and not be harassed too much, when they are introduced.
Enclosure set up: For the first 7 days, make sure there is an extra seed bowl and water bowl placed on the floor for easy access. It is still important to have food and water available in normal feeders on the side of the enclosure.
We recommend each enclosure should have at least 4 feeders as minimum, one for seed, one for pellets, one for water and spares for treats, fruits and veg. Do not be surprised, if your baby parrot only eats seed in the beginning. It can take some parrots a month or more to learn how to eat pellets, mineral supplements, fruits and veggies properly. During this learning phase, your baby parrot must have a constant supply of seed or it may starve, but it is also, very important they are offered a varied diet. So, they learn how to eat different foods. All you can eat buffet for the first 3 months!
Many options are available for dispensing water that are great, will save you time and prevents your bird from defecating in the water. Ask our Birdsville team. Parrots must always have a constant supply of fresh clean water.
Perches: Make sure your perches are placed in a good position, so your parrot is comfortable and won’t hit its’ head. Common sense in this area is important. Make sure perches are appropriate sizing for your parrot species. We recommend a minimum of 5 perches.
*Remember – most enclosures come with 2 dowel perches, we suggest adding in 2 natural perches to keep feet healthy and free of bumble foot. Different sized perches are good for their feet. Also, 1 extra grit or cement perch to wear down the nails.
Environmental Enrichment: Toys and play equipment are a must from the start to get your parrot use to them and not scared. A ladder and swing per parrot in the enclosure and minimum 4 to 6 appropriate toys for chewing, preening and playing.
To get the best usage of space when it comes to toys, think of the enclosure as 3 levels.
You want to utilise all levels of your enclosure, the top, middle and bottom (floor) with toys. For example: hanging chew toys and natural toys at the top, bell and forage toys for the middle and foot toys (bar bell or balls) on the bottom.
Do not use the same toys, as variety makes it much more interesting and entertaining for your parrot.
Environmental enrichment is to keep your parrot entertained while you are away and when they are in their enclosure. It also helps prevent behavioural issue down the track, such as plucking, noise level, aggression and general bad behaviour. It will help creates a tamer, friendlier and happier parrot in the long run.
Toys need to be rotated regularly, so your parrot doesn’t get bored. If your parrot destroys their toy, it means they like it and should be replaced. Watch for wear and tear, discard when they become damage or rusty.
We have different toys arriving at Birdsville all the time.
Diet: We recommend a ratio of 40% high quality pellets, 50% high quality seed and seed blends and 10% fruit, veg and greens.
Baby parrots should be given an all you can eat buffet, as baby parrots cannot over eat. Birdsville stock high-grade seed mixes and also have specialty mixes with added greens, fruits, veg and legumes. All our healthy seed mixes are great value to our customers, as they are mixed and bagged fresh on site for unbeatable prices and quality.
After about 3 months, we recommend changing how you feed your parrot, by decrease the all you can eat buffet and make sure they finish their pellets before replenishing their seed. To do this we recommend having separate bowls for your pellets and your seed blends. This allows you to know exactly what they are eating.
Never feed your parrot lettuce, cereal, avocado, onion, garlic, sugar, corn, beans, breads, sweets, chocolate, biscuits, coffee and some garden plants can be toxic.
If you need help with your parrot diet or transitioning them on to pellet, please come instore to see our team.
*Remember – baby parrots will mostly eat seed and will learn to eat the pellets and vegetables in the coming months.
Worming: Parrots that are kept indoors should be wormed every 3 months and outside every 6 weeks.
Baby parrots shouldn’t be wormed until 10 days after moving to their new environment, by this time they are the right age to be wormed. Worming a parrot too young can upset a baby parrot’s crop (stomach), causing them to stop eating, as they have only just learnt how to eat on their own.
Common house flies are known to spread a large number of parasitic worms. The fly would pick up the worms from wild bird/rat faeces, fly inside, landing on your birds’ water, food bowl or on your parrot and infects them.
Humans and other pets can get and spread the same worms as parrots. Worms can kill your parrot so it’s important to get them wormed. Not only to protect them, but also the whole family and other pets.
Application is very easy, simply follow instructions on the packet and add solution to water.
Mite and lice spray: Parrot that are kept indoors should be sprayed every 3 months and outdoor every 6 weeks. Lice and mites can unfortunately spread everywhere and parrots in an inside environment are still susceptible.
Lice & Mite Spray is recommended to applied the same time you worm your parrot, making it easier to remember.
Application is very easy, simply follow instructions on the packet and spray parrots’ body, under wings and avoid the eyes.
However, some parrots need them trimmed, which we can do in store.
Parrots usually need a nail trim at least twice a year, if they are not being worn down by perches.
No need to book an appointment, we can check your parrots’ nails anytime we are open.
Wing trimming: There are pros and cons to both sides and having your parrots’ wings trimmed will not ensure it can’t fly away. Done correctly, it can reduce flight, allow them to glide safely to the ground.
Some owners allow their parrots’ wings to grow out. This is great too as the parrot gets plenty of exercise, however there is a greater risk of losing your parrot. If you choose to have your parrot fully flighted, make sure all windows and doors are closed while your parrot is out. It is also a good idea to harness train your parrot for outings.
We get asked all the time, if a wing trim is painful for a parrot?
Parrots’ feathers are made out of keratin, the same as our hair. So, when a wing trim is done correctly, it’s about as painful as getting a haircut. Our parrot experts know how to trim a parrots’ wings with as little stress as possible on your parrot.
Most birds go through a moult at least twice a year and re-grow their flight feathers. If you have a bird with trimmed wings, keep an eye out for when they moult and flight feather start to grow back. They go from 0 to 100 very fast.
We do wing trims in store, no need to make an appointment. We do walk ins any day of the week.
Signs of illness: If you ever notice a change in behaviour, appearances, your parrot sitting on the floor of the cage fluffed up, swelling around the eyes, faeces covered vent or just generally down-spirited, we suggest adding antibiotics to your parrot’s water supply and a heat lamp. This is a first line of defense and is available over the at Birdsville. Broad-spectrum antibiotic is an easy-to-use powder, that is added to your parrots’ food or water.
If you are not sure how to tell what a healthy parrot looks like or how to perform a visual health check, we will happily show you. Please bring your in parrot in-store to Birdsville, we do not charge to do this. This is a great skill set for any parrot owner to have, as you can have a much better ability in spotting if your parrot is not 100%.
If you do use antibiotics, it’s important to have a heat lamp as an ill parrot cannot produce enough body warmth. As a first line of defense broad spectrum antibiotic will often fix many common parrot ailments, if your parrot doesn’t appear to be improving, we recommended seeing a vet. We have a list of vets at the bottom of this page.
Unweaning risks: There is always risk of a baby parrot reverting or unweaning (stop eating food on their own). There are several reasons why a baby parrot may unwean, some of the reasons listed below.
– High level of stress, such as over handling by kids or excited owners, incorrect handling or over stimulation. We understand it is an exciting time getting a new pet and it is hard to not want to play with them, but it is important to remember they are young and everything in new to them. Please follow our instruction for the first 3 and 10 days to ensure your baby parrot isn’t over handle, incorrectly handle or over stimulated.
– Playing with a baby parrots’ beak. This can make the parrot think you are feeding them and encourage them to beg. It is recommended not to play with a baby’s parrot beak and it begging behaviour happens you may need to re-introduce hand raising formula, which Birdsville always has in stock.
– Change of diet. We always recommend our baby parrots go home with the same food they are on prior to purchase, or food we know they have already been introduced too. A baby parrot may not recognise a new food as food when you quickly change diet, causing them to start begging.
– Worming your parrot too early can upset a baby parrot’s crop (stomach), causing them to stop eating, as they have only just learnt how to eat on their own
– Low-quality seed – some seed mixed are full of filler seed or cheaper grains that have been store for long periods of time. These mixes are low-grade, because the filler seed has low nutrients and the stored grain loses nutritional content. It is in there to bulk out the seed mix and look pretty. Baby parrot may not to recognise it as food or get the nutritional contents they require, causing the baby parrot to revert.
– Other animal/bird – Other animals and parrots can stress out a baby parrot that has recently weaned.
– Cold/chills can slow down the process of the crop’s digestion of food. This slowdown of the crop can cause a young parrot to unwean and stop feeding them self. If this has happened you must warm up your parrot and offer hand rearing formula.
– A combination of all the above.
Recognising the sign of reverting: The first signs of reverting is a head bobbing motion, flapping wings while standing in one place and a begging noise. They baby parrot may do all or one of these and if you are concern, bring the parrot in for us to check or get it on some hand rearing formula.
If you think, your parrot has unweaned it is important to act fast, as it will no longer feed itself and will starve within a few days. An unweaned parrot must be feed hand rearing formula morning and night, our Birdsville team always have this product in stock.
Our Birdsville team will not sell a hand raised parrot that hasn’t been self-sufficient for at least a week.
Keeping your baby bird warm: It’s important to keep an eye on your new parrot, as they are more susceptible to having a chill. Especially, if you only have one parrot, even in summer.
Parrots in a wild or aviary environment huddle together to conserve heat. More often than not when someone brings a new parrot home, they buy one parrot to create a strong bond with the human family.
It is very bad for your baby parrot to get a chill, because it weakens the parrot’s immune system and can lead to an illness. A baby parrot that is warm, with a healthy food supply, has a much stronger immune response. Baby parrots are very delicate and a parrot with a compromised immune system can die from a whole host of pathogens. Adult parrots are less susceptible to the cold, so it’s very important you keep a baby parrot in a dry area where there are no wind drafts.
Laundries are not a great place for parrots.
Substrate – Grit is the most recommended. It is great for parrot to forage in and makes it very easy to spot clean your enclosure. We use grit in out aviary enclosures at Birdsville, if you would like to see what it looks like.
Substrate only needs to be about one inch deep.
Calcium / Iodine – Calcium perch, bells, buttons and cuttlebone are essential for parrots.
Pink ones contain iodine, white ones contain calcium and calcium perches contain both. All these items only need to be present inside the parrot’s enclosure and the birds will sample them when needed.
As parrots have hollow bones, they are unable to store calcium and they use a lot of calcium for feather production, bone growth and strong beak and nails.
Iodine is especially important for parrots as it is used by thyroid gland, which helps regulate body temperature digestion, growth, heart rate and reproductive system.
Vitamins – Recommended outside parrots use Multivet and inside parrots use Calcivet, Ornithon or Soluvite D. Adding vitamins to your parrots’ water is very important for the health and vitality, as pets’ parrots cannot get all require vitamins from diet alone.
Vitamin D helps absorb calcium to promote feather production, bone growth and strong beak and nails. Parrots can get vitamin D from direct sunlight, but indoor parrots are found to be deficient, as vitamin D cannot get through glass.
Handling/training: Basic training has huge benefits for you and your parrot. It requires dedication in the first few weeks, repetition and persistence is the key.
If your parrot bites you, do not pull away. Wear wool gloves, if you need to and continue to gently handle it. When your parrot isn’t nibbling your gloves, they can come off.
Ignore bad behaviour and reward good behaviour. If your parrot runs away, gently pick up and continue calmly handling. If you allow your parrot to run away and not be handled, it will not form a bond.
The parrot being close to you, will create a bond and your parrot will get used to you. Then when your parrot is getting used to you, start training your Parrot to step up. Once your parrot is stepping up this shows your Parrot is trusting you and getting used to its new environment.
Boarding: We can board your parrot, if you go away on holidays. Boarding is available throughout the year, please visit petsvillehotel.com to check it out and book your parrot in.
Don’t hesitate to come and see us in store if you have any concerns, or questions and bring your parrot for us to see.
02 9516 0234
60 Princes Hwy, St Peters
The Wild Vet
1300 9453 838
22A Bridge Road, Glebe
Carlingford Animal Hospital
02 9871 6036
772 Pennant Hills Road Carlingford
Small Animal Specialist
Hospital 02 (9190 6806)
Level 1, 1 richardson place North Ryde
02 9436 4884
57-63 Herbert St Artarmon