Direct Dispatch - 7 days delivery

Rosemary Low Answers Your Questions

Rosemary Low Answers Your Questions

Posted by Parrot Health & Safety, Parrot FAQ's, Parrot Advice, Parrot Tips on 9/1/2024

Thank you to everyone who sent in their question for Rosemary Low. Below you’ll find answers to some of those questions, we’ll add more as soon as we can.

Question:

My Conure Jessie is about a year old and is afraid of EVERYTHING. We try introducing things slowly, not making sudden movements or loud noises but nothing seems to work. All our other birds are so confident. I tried to offer him a small piece of par boiled carrot and he screamed until we took it back out of his food bowl. He has toys in his cage but we like to change toys around for enrichment but he won’t accept any new toys even if we get him used to them outside the cage. We are a bit lost for ideas! He came from a large local breeding aviary when he was around 4 months old and ‘out the back’ with the others past their cute sellable age , he had no experience of toys just a plain aviary with a single perch and 8 siblings. Just to add he has bonded to us really well, loves to cuddle, but won’t come near us if we are holding anything in our hands, even if it’s a simple tissue. We did question whether I may have been mishandled in the breeding aviary at some point?

Answer:

You are right. This is a problem due to past care, or lack of it, and mismanagement at the previous location. Obviously there was no environmental enrichment, there, which is very sad. He has been badly handled, I think, and will never accept your hands. You have to accept this and just be pleased he loves to cuddle.

Question:

We have a lovely little Meyers Parrot called Lola who is 8 and a half years old. When she was younger we taught her lots of words and she often spoke. As she’s gotten older she just doesn’t seem to speak anymore. She will occasionally still say nite nite’ when it’s bed time but other than that she just doesn’t pick up new words and doesn’t say any of the old words she used to, even with encouragement and repetition. She’s still very vocal, but not with words. Is there anything we can do to encourage her to repeat words again?

Answer:

Have any circumstances changed, such as the introduction of a new pet, a new baby, moved house,etc. It could be that something is causing her stress.

Question:

Any reason why a bird should have clipped wings or is your training with birds in flight?

Answer

In my opinion, a Parrot should be trained with love and patience, not by depriving it of its most basic instinct, which is to fly. This makes a Parrot anxious and fearful, often resulting in feather plucking or other behavioural problems.

Full flight is especially important for young Parrots which cannot develop their pectoral muscles if the wings are clipped at an early age. The usual reason why people misguidedly clip the wings of a companion Parrot is because they do not have the patience to gradually acquire their trust. On the other hand, to shorten two or three flight feathers in an aggressive bird which attacks people can be considered until it calms down and moults out the cut feathers.

Question:

When training my Conure or even just trying to give him a new treat he is so skittish and goes to the point of flying away from me continuously. Just the other day we were practicing recall training and he wouldn’t even look at me because I was holding a sprig of millet spray rather than an individual little bud/ball of it. And there’s also repeating cases of him not going near a food bowl because I’ve not added one of his favourite ingredients into a chop due to not having it on hand or adding a new ingredient. I’m aware patience is always seen as key but I don’t get the chance to allow him to adjust as he will always avoid whatever it is he’s faced with and I really don’t know what to do.

Answer:

This is a difficult case. I would like to know more about the history of this bird and whether you had him when he was young or if he was re-homed – perhaps from an unsympathetic home. There must be a reason why he is so nervous.

Question:

What is the best floor covering for our cages, we use substrate and then change to newspaper and then back but what should we be using for our Black Capped Conure and Budgie

Answer:

In my opinion, the best floor covering is simply newspaper. Also, some birds – Conures – like to sleep underneath it. Must be changed daily, Put extra sheets where they normally place their droppings so you can easily remove those throughout the day.

Question:

Hi, we’ve had our Indian Ringneck for 12 years now & he still won’t let us anywhere near him. He’s very timid, & tries to bite us…..has succeeded a few times. Unless we have food, then he will land near us until we give him some. We got him at 6 months old.

Answer:

How do you know he was six months old? Was he closed ringed? Did you buy from a dealer or a breeder? If from a dealer he could be a wild-caught bird who will never become tame. He would be better in an aviary with a female.

Question:

Good Morning, My house needs redecorating. I wonder if you could tell me which paints are safe to use on walls and wood trim while my Sun and Jenday are living here in my bedroom?

Answer:

Today’s paints do not contain lead. Contact Lakeland paints for ECOS ORGANIC PAINTS – zero carbon paint – Eco Paint – Organic – Natural – Breathable Paint – zero emissions paint – Odorless Paint – Chemical Free Paint – Paint for Lime Plaster

Question:

I’ve had my Ozzy 3/4yrs now he is 5. He is not a cuddly bird less it’s on his terms. However he gets overly excited and then he tries to nip or pinch you. He is definitely all beak. I’ve tried over the yrs to stamp out this behaviour but nothing works. My older one you don’t know you got him. He is bonded to another older macaw who’s 16. And lately trying his luck with him. Although the older one will take so much then put him in his place. You don’t know you’ve got him tbh. I can’t have him on my shoulder as he will sit for 5 then get what I call these energy busts and then the nipping or biting comes. He’s far from stupid in fact he learns pretty quick. He is on the go all day and has to be occupied all day, he’s also a ex-plucker which I’ve got control over now… Is there any way to calm down these energy busts he has and how as I’ve tried everything. Both are ex rescue birds

Answer:

Which species is Ozzy? A Macaw? It is never a good idea to have a Parrot/bird on your shoulder. As soon as you cease to give it attention it will nip you. He needs constant environmental enrichment in the form of fresh branches to gnaw every day.

Congratulations for his plucking habit ceasing. This is so hard to stop. You are doing a lot of things right but without knowing the circumstances it is very difficult to advise.

Questions:

My Quaker Parrot keeps looking underneath himself when he’s out of his cage. Why? Sorry – no idea.

He is also reluctant to eat sprouted seeds, but does eat fruit and vegetables. If he eats fruit and vegetables that is good. Some birds do not like sprouted seeds. Every bird has different preferences. I would not worry about this. You could try adding some chopped fruit to sprouted seeds but I really doubt this will work.

He’s very hormonal at the moment and possessive of his toys and food.

Well, that is not unusual. You just have to wait for the phase to pass and don’t touch his toys. Is anything triggering the phase, such as an item he could nest in? How do I deal with this. He is a very intelligent bird, can talk in context, with a vocabulary of over 209 words/ phrases and is very affectionate. He sounds like a happy bird. Perhaps you worry too much.

Question:

Hi my B&G Macaw had five eggs over few weeks and she doesn’t have a mate. Will this happen now every year thanks.

Answer:

Try to discourage the incentive to breed. Is she in the main living area? Reduce light levels and hours of artificial light. Or cover the cage early. Is she handled a lot? Do not stroke or kiss on her back.

It is not possible to predict if this will be an annual occurrence. The important factor now is to increase her calcium supplementation as after laying five eggs her calcium levels could be depleted, unless she is fed pellets which should provide a good level of calcium. It is a waste to put a calcium supplement in the water as she will not drink enough. Buy a powdered avian calcium supplement and sprinkle on her favourite food or feed in a teaspoon with yoghurt.

Question:

My main issue at the moment is getting my Conure back into his cage. He’s OK to return at dusk, but during the day he’s a nightmare.

Answer:

Yes, I had a Conure like that and eventually for him an outdoor aviary and a companion was the best solution. I let him out only at night so that I could turn out the light and gently put a towel over him. He actually loved being in a towel. If I put his favourite foods in the cage he went back very quickly. So withhold favourite foods until you want him to go in. But mine was a rescued adult and had never been trained to step up.

Question:

I was proud owner of a Severe Macaw from the time it was 4 months old to 25 years old. The bird was strongly bonded to me. Not that I believe it matters for my question, but the bird was a female, and I had to give her away because I was found to be allergic to Parrots and as result I developed permanent lung damage. As soon as I learned this from a pulmonologist, I gave the Parrot to a nice 20-year old girl who had smaller birds of her own and loved birds. She lives in a house with her mother and brother, and I know the bird to be well-adjusted and cared-for. I miss the Parrot, and would greatly enjoy seeing her and holding her. The girl I gave the Parrot to lives in my city and told me I would always be welcome to come to her house to visit the Parrot. It has been more than two years since I gave away the Parrot. I wonder if it would be harmful to the Parrot in any way if I were to visit her – that is my question.

Answer:

If the Macaw is now a happy bird, bonded to her new owner, I doubt it would be harmful to visit her. However, do not try to handle her. Only talk to her when she is in her cage. She might attack you if you went near when she was actually with her new owner, and this would be very upsetting for you. It would not mean that she did not like you but it could be a natural reaction – how she would behave to anyone.

Question:

Hello, I have a black capped Conure, I. She’s two years old and although she loves her cuddles she has always bitten, often for no reason at all.

Answer:

Under what circumstances does she bite? Is she on your shoulder? Do you put your hand in her cage and touch her toys? Are all feeders accessible from outside the cage? Is it when you try to rub her head? Is it when you are approached by another person and she is with you? There must be a reason why she bites.

Question:

Is no nails solvent free original adhesive safe to use on the landing upstairs. Sparkie is in the room downstairs he will be in a other room while this is been used then put back in the for bed time thanks

Answer:

I cannot answer questions about the contents of products. You would need to contact the company who produces it.

Question:

Hello. Pls help I have a 3yr old G.W parent reared. I tamed in a week using positive reinforcement. I think I did a too good of a job as now when I leave the room he chews his flight and tail feathers. I’ve tried foraging toys every time I leave but I worry about him having too many nuts in a day. He has a good diet 12 plus hours sleep 12 hours out. Has a huge cage but he can’t be shut in it except to sleep or he chews. Loads of toys and has the window set out with full length perch and toys there as well. Pls any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Diet. Mikey and Mia Fresh veg a little fruit and nuts as treats. Sprouted seeds.

Answer:

Is a GW a Green-winged Macaw? He is a Macaw. He can’t have too many nuts. It seems he has become too bonded to you and is stressed when you leave the room. Give him branches of willow, etc, or even cardboard to distract him. Or anything that he enjoys destroying.

Taming the bird (if it has not been socialised by the breeder to be kept as a pet) in a week using positive reinforcement seems a very short time. It usually takes much longer to build a relationship on trust and equality. If the bird chews his feathers and also cannot be shut in his cage for some time without any fear or any problems, then something went wrong here.

So I wonder if the bird really gets to make a free choice in what he wants or does not want and if that choice is being respected. Has he learned to play with toys? If he has not learned that, he does not know what to do with all the toys he has and cannot entertain himself. Have you built up a daily routine, so the bird knows what to expect when he has to keep himself occupied?

It is very important that Parrots have freedom of choice and have a daily routine as this prevents stress. So have you really been using positive reinforcement during the taming process and never forced the bird to do or go anywhere he does not want? Are you spending the same time with the birds on a daily basis or are you now spending less time with the bird?

I assume the bird is not trimmed and can fly around whenever it wants to, as trimming its wings could make the bird insecure and also enable you to force yourself on the bird without it having the freedom of choice as it cannot fly away when it does not like something something. It the location of the cage suitable for the bird’s needs?

It is not so easy to win the trust of a bird who has not been properly socialised and having proper understanding of the bird’s needs (both its physical and social needs). The relationship has to be built on trust and mutual respect and equality, which takes time (a lot more than one week).

Question:

Our African Grey under his wings there is bald spots is this anything to worry about? He hasn’t been out of his cage for years so he is a bit of a nightmare to look properly but there is bald spots underneath both wings. He seems his happy self but I don’t know if we should be worried.

Answer:

Bald spots under the weeks can be the symptom of a disease problem. Do you mean actually on the wings or on the skin under the wings? I would recommend that you consult an avian vet. It is very worrying that he has not been out of his cage for years. You need to address this serious problem. He cannot be really healthy if he can never fly. Why is he never let out?

Question:

Apollo is a Blue and Gold hand reared Macaw. We took him to the vets about 4 weeks after we got him as he had a unilateral li.p with his left claw. The vet said it was tight ligaments due to being hand reared, anyone else had anything like this? Doesn’t seem to bother him, no pain just a funny gait, it isn’t bumblefoot.

Answer:

Do you mean that he has a constricted toe? This usually happens when a Parrot is still in the nest and when it is adult there is nothing that can be done. After that, it could happen due to an accident, such as a fibre from a toy becoming wrapped around the toe. All you can do is to keep an eye on the toes in case it needs veterinary attention. You are right – it is probably not painful.

Question:

My African Grey did not have a great life before she came to us at the age of 10 and she loves saying the word “bitch”. How can I persuade her to stop?! I’ve tried repeating what she says with the word “bird” instead of “bitch” but her favourite phrase is still “it’s bedtime bitch” and she’s been with us nearly 2 years.

Answer:

This is a sad story of a previously unhappy household for her. This is the correct way of trying to erase swear words but if you have ben trying this for two years I doubt you can be successful now. You could try: “ It’s bedtime itching”. I know this is very distressing. People who are foolish enough to teach Parrots swear words should realise that this can have a bad effect on their future lives and result in them ending up unwanted.

Question:

I have 2 Amazon Parrots, 1 male, a Red-lored who is 21 and a female Blue-fronted who I adopted 2 years ago, she is turning 7 soon. I cannot get them out together as the female attacks the male quite badly. They are both bonded to me. Is there anything I can try to stop the attacking?

Answer:

The problem is that they are both bonded to you so it is quite normal that the Blue-front attacks the Red-lored. The sad truth is that you should not have acquired the second bird. This is very stressful for the Red-lored. Please find another home for the Blue-front or keep them in separate rooms and never let them out together.