Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any questions that Birdsville Bird Store can answer please email us and we’ll post the answer here alongside free advice that we’ll offer from time to time. Email your question to


Hand Raised Male Alexandrine playing around

Common questions we get asked from people around Australia


We find it extremely difficult to recommend a bird for someone else as it is like recommending what someone should eat. We are happy to provide information as to general characteristics of bird species but cannot tell you if a particular species is “right” for you.  If you are in Sydney we recommend you come into the shop and handle and see the  birds for your self and have a chat with us about what you want in the bird and we will help you in choosing the most suitable companion parrot.

My bird is moulting little fluffy feathers when even it shakes, is this normal?

Yes, this is normal, especially when they are molting. Make sure you keep the calcium and vitamins up, while they are going through this.

My Alexandrine parrot is plucking his feathers out, he is 18 months old and only started it 5 months ago what do i do.

This is a psychological problem.  Something i have never experienced with my own birds but sadly i come across this all too often.  Self mutilation sadly is very common it is very similar to people who chew on their finger nails.  The most common cause of plucking is simply boredom.  If this has been going on for sometime it is very difficult to stop.  There has been many ways in which ive seen people try and stop the condition spending a fortune to have little to no outcome.  A customer of mine who reported to me that he cut a sock to fit over his birds body in time cured the condition this was in conjunction with lots of toys and chew toys placed into the cage.  Another customer said everyday he rubbed grape seed oil into the birds skin and placed lots and lots of toys and branches into the cage to keep the bird amused.

Are your birds vaccinated?

No our birds are not vaccinated we do not feel that this is necessary but if you are concerned with wanting to vaccinate your birds please contact an avian vet.  There is a list of local avian vets on this website

My cockatiel love seed, but when I try it on fruit they pick at it and throw it on the floor. They then go nuts until I out the seed back in. Any tips on some fruit they will love?

This is completely normal as cockatiels are not fruit eaters, but veggies are an important part of their diet. Ours love spinach, raw broccoli, snow peas and corn on the cob raw. Some will have a little bit of apple.

Are your birds vet checked?

Only on occasion do our birds come vet checked but generally no our birds to not come vet checked but we recommend that all new birds purchased should be vet checked within the first 3 working days of purchase.  We have a list of recommended vets in store and on our website.


I have vitamins that you drop in the water, but haven’t seen them drink it and it makes water bit yellow? I’m worried the colour change puts them off.

I have never met a bird yet who won’t drink a little yellow water and it’s good for your bird. Wild birds happily drink muddy brown water, so I’m sure they will be drinking.

How are your birds socialized?

The babies are all handled daily by the hand-feeding staff. We touch them all over their bodies so that they are used to being handled and we put them out on play stands with other similar-sized babies so that they learn to play and exercise. As we are open 7 days a week there is not a day hat goes buy without them being handled and played with regularly through out the day. Our babies are sold tame, not trained just like a puppy that is just weaned but is not housebroken, does not know the “sit” command etc.


How do you read the ring on your birds’ leg?

Rings are only a way to determine individual birds in a private collection, or birds with cirtain breeding.  not all rings have the year they are born.


Can you recommend any avian vets?

Yes, there are two that I use. Rob Marshall at Carlingford Animal Hospital and Alex Rosenwax at Birds & Exotic Veterinarian. Both very good avian vets.


Is it ok that our bird mostly eats sunflower seeds?

Some cockatiel will prefer to eat mostly sunflower seed, where other wouldn’t touch
it, but be careful as it is very high in fats and unhealthy for birds in large amount. Best idea is to make sure he finishes all the seed in the cockatiel mix before replace with fresh seed.


I was wondering why my cockatiel is molting white dandruff when scratching or flying around?

That’s completely normal, especially when they are molting. It comes from the feathers of all parrots and cockatoos including cockatiels. The fine dust covering the feathers is acts as a water proofing agent.


How do you stop a bird from bitting?

First of all being scared of your bird when it bites will make the issue much worse. Try gloves or stick training, there’s some great clips on how to train biting birds on you tube. There are also so good tips on our Training Your Bird page and eventually I’ll be posting some clips on training biting birds when I get a chance, it takes time and patience.


How do I go about  bathing my eclectus parrot? Do I just spray them with a  water spray bottle or in a bowl or shower? How often should I bath them? And what are your recommendations for when they bite way to hard and not the playful bite?

All of the above methods are good. My girl is happy to splash around in a bowl of water and she enjoys a good spray from time to time. This is why it’s important to get them used to water from a young age as they can fear it when they are older, but with time should enjoy the feeling of being sprayed softly. As for biting there is many different ways and techniques. Some work better than others depending on the bird. Have a look at our Training Your Bird page and eventually I’ll put some clips up of some basic training techniques. If you’re scared of your bird, when this happens it’s the worst thing and your training your bird to bite as he gets what he wants. Try gloves if fear in an issue also tell the bird NO and place the bird back in the cage when he is naughty. Never hit the bird this only aggravates the situation.

When will my bird be ready?

We can only give a rough guide to when a bird will be ready as we can not predict exactly when a bird will wean.  Every season is different and sometimes birds breed late in some years and early in others.  We can give a rough guide but can not control nature.


My bird seems to be puffing and contracting his feather a lot and using his  feet and beak to scratch his neck and back of the head. On his head also appears to have some white odd l ooking feathers. What’s happening?

It sounds like the bird is molting, but there is a chance it could be lice. Keep an eye on it; if you see lice crawling around on the feather I would get lice spray. As long as his chirpy and active I don’t think there is a concern, the feathers will grow out and look nice again. All birds go through a molt at a young age. If the bird puffs up for long periods of time and is not active this is a sign that the bird may have a flu like symptom which all bird owners  need to watch out for so keep an eye on him.


My cockatiel has lost his tail feathers, is this normal?

It’s probably not a big issue, maybe his tail feathers were rubbing on the wire which is common or your bird is molting heavily. I recommend keeping up the vitamins during this period.  We find many young cockatiels with clipped wings have there tail feathers break off because they are on the ground more than normal.  When they go through a second moult they grow back perfectly fine.

Will a particular species get along with my spouse/children/other family members/other birds and animals?


This question is impossible to answer as bird behavior is as variable as is human behavior.  The more a bird is socialized and properly trained the less likely you will have issues with the bird. Always watch interactions when other animals are involved.


My alexandrine has been sitting on eggs for over a month. What do I do with  the eggs?

Month is a long time maybe they were infertile give them a bit longer and if nothing happens just pull them out and start again.


Do birds live longer with company?

There is evidence that some animals do live longer with company. I suggest if you want to get your bird a friend wait a few months at least, so your bird bonds with you and becomes very tame. Then if you decide to get him a friend he will teach the new bird good habits, then you will have 2 lovely tame birds.

Do you spoon feed or syringe feed your baby birds?

We syringe feed our chicks as we believe this is the healthiest and cleanest way to raise baby birds as it is much cleaner and does not leave mess which is much safer for the young birds. There is many arguments for and against with my experience I believe syringe feeding is the best way of all in feeding young birds from finches to macaws.

can you supply

How many eggs in one clutch will my canary lay?

Usually around 5.

My budgies i breed i often find some of the young with splayed legs.

This is a common problm i get asked regularly and is easily fixed by placing nexting material inside the nest box.  This gives the chicks the support they need to stop this problem from happening in the first place.

 Do you sell cages?

Yes we have a large variety of cages of different shapes and sizes to suit birds from finches to macaws.

Can you supply un-related blood lines in your birds?

Yes we can in all species.

When can I start my baby Lori on seed?

Lorikeets are nectar feeders, so seed is not an option for them. Fruit and dry mix is perfect for them. Another option, we sell a pellet which is for Lories. It also hardens there poo,  making them poo like a average parrot. This diet is for people who don’t like them squirting. Lorikeet food

Can I put two birds in one cage?

Yes if your cage has sufficient space, a great thing with birds once they are tame they will always be tame but may become moody if they become clucky.  Always be careful introducing new birds as all are different and you never know how they may act.  Mixing different birds

How can I tell if my cockatiel is male or female?

Only once your bird is 8 months of age you can really tell, males generally have bright orange check and female have a slightly duller colour. Females also have barring under their tail, but there are always  exception to the rules. Some mutations  are hard to tell visually and you may require a visit a vet and get it DNA or surgically sexed.

Are your babies incubator hatched or parents fed?

Our babies are parent born and hand raised from 3 weeks of age.  This ultimately produces a stronger adult bird when they become fully grown as it gives the baby a chance for the good bacteria to transfer from parent to baby for strong healthy digestion.

Should I give my budgie grit?

Absolutely grit and a cuttlebone is a must for budgies.


My cockatiel broke his beak last night it’s now stopped bleed, but he won’t eat any seed. What should I feed him?

That doesn’t sound good, maybe give him pellets in crumble form which are easier to consume, but I think you should visit a vet immediately. It is good the bleeding has stopped but birds have a high metabolism so it’s important they are able to consume food  properly/regularly.

Can you freight birds in hot weather?

No we do not ship our birds if the temperature is over 30 degrees Celsius


Do you ship to other countries outside of Australia?

Yes we do but we do not have an export licence.  We can put you in contact with companies that ship birds it is up to you to organise this with the export company, we only supply and box up the birds.  If you wish for us to send bird’s to you in another country you must organise this with dogtainers.


I have a breeding pair of green budgies which have had 3 clutches of eggs and i have seen them mating but none of them hatch.

It sounds like maybe the male is infertile it may be worth providing some vitamins and minerals to both the birds and if this does not work you may need to replace the male if you want them to breed.