We’ve received more fantastic questions from you, and once again Feathered Friends have kindly taken the time to answer them. Here is the latest batch of questions for you.
This first question was left as a comment on our blog by Lynda Lempriere.
Q1: I have a 2 year old Umbrella Cockatoo. He has an excellent diet toys etc to keep him amused, a harness to take him outside on yet he keeps putting his wing either through the bars of his cage or round a certain toy thus damaging the wing feathers. I cannot work out why or what to do, have you any ideas please?
A: Hi. It's really difficult to say what's happening without seeing but from your description I'd say this is some sort of mating/hormonal behaviour. I personally would remove the toy he is too attached to and keep him busy.
Regarding the cage bars I'd ensure they are the correct spacing so as to eliminate as far as possible the risk of a wing getting caught in them. I would also be aware of how you handle him, avoid touching him under his wings/ his back and tail area. Hopefully his damaged feathers will be replaced when he moults.
This second question was left as a post on our Facebook page.
Q2: Hello all. My hubby bought me an Amazon Red Lored Parrot called Joey three weeks ago and he is 6 years old. He is all for me.....well was. He used to come on my arm all the time when I went to him and used to sit with me on the settee. My brother in law came around and now he seems all for him. If I now go over to him he moves away all the time as if he doesn't want to be near me. Any one got any ideas? I've read a bird can change his temperament when you change his environment. Do I just keep doing what I am doing or do some good different? TIA Kerri and Joey
A: Hi, Parrots often form a close bond with one person. This special person may be the only one allowed privileges such as giving head scratches, stepping up and hanging out with. Parrots can also change who this special person is. Often these changes happen as the bird matures. In the wild as youngsters they will be bonded to parents and at maturity that bond will change to someone they perceive as a mate.
To help prevent this happening it's important the bird is socialised with all family members and everyone takes part in the care and everyday tasks including play time. Joey is still settling into his new home and things will still be strange to him. It's important at this time to develop a routine and let Joey get familiar with all family members at his own pace. This is a link to a note we have written on one person birds on Feathered Friends.
The next two questions were left as comments on our Facebook post:
Q3: Is it ok to give my Indian Ringneck kale if she can’t digest cellulose from vegetables? According to Mishele Piachion, the author of the book, you can’t take the rain forest out of the bird.
A: Cellulose is the chemical name for fibre, an important part of most diets and is found in the majority of whole foods such as fruit and vegetables. Birds do not secrete the enzymes for the breakdown of cellulose but, like many mammals, at the end of their small intestine they have small blind ended pockets called caeca. These caeca contain bacteria which breakdown the cellulose and allow the bird to digest it in turn.
Fruit and vegetables are important for the health of Parrots and are more nutritious given raw as this allows the vitamins to stay intact, minerals will survive cooking. Cooking does breakdown cellulose if this is a major concern to you, however I would recommend you continue to give vegetables such as kale raw as the cellulose won't cause any harm and will allow more nutrients to be taken on board by your Ringneck.
Q4: How can I get my Amazon to stop chewing picture frames? I've tried distraction tactics, plenty of chewable alternative toys and destructibles, telling her off, giving her time-out, and removing her with the minimum of fuss and reaction - and nothing works....
A: Amazons and all Parrots instinctively chew. Chewing keeps the beak in trim and I'm certain provides great pleasure. Telling her off could reinforce the chewing as she will see that attention as reward.
Providing lots of suitable chewing opportunities such as phone books, catalogues and safe wood as well as suitable shredding and chewing toys and perhaps introducing foraging into her daily activities may help. Some birds most definitely develop destructive behaviour due to boredom and as a way of seeking attention, keeping her busy and increasing your interaction with her may also help.