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Your Parrot Questions For Television Vet Matt Brash

Do you have a question about Parrots you’ve always wanted answering? Perhaps you want to know what they should or shouldn’t be eating or their behaviour has changed and you want to know why.

Questions

We’re teaming up with Bucktons and their vet Matt Brash, who will answer all your Parrot questions. No question is too big or too small, so ask away!

Matt Brash is an experienced avian vet. He is the star of Zoo Vet At Large and worked with all kinds of exotic animals in his long and varied career.
 

Simply post your questions for Matt Brash as a comment below or email them to us under the subject line Parrot questions and we’ll pass them along to Matt. Here are some of the questions we’ve had so far…

Can Kakariki’s eat spinach?

Spinach in its own right is not poisonous to Parrots, however it does contain a lot of iron, and so should only be fed in moderation. Too much iron can lead to problems in the liver, and also can block the absorption of other essential minerals.

Can Kakariki’s eat pear tree branches?

Yes. Parrots really enjoy chewing, and any fruit tree branch, once it has been properly cleaned to remove any potential infectious disease, can act as a great source of something for them to play with and chew. This helps wear their beak down as well as acting as mental enrichment.

My bird is a male about 8 months old and has always been very friendly till a week ago. All he wants to do now is attack you, he used to fly to you and eat your food with you. He attacked me last week and nearly took my eye out, is this a normal part of becoming an adult?

Possibly. Parrots are very social animals, and enjoy eating with other birds. With a single pet bird, they are often imprinted, and so see you, their owner as another bird.  As they become sexually mature, an imprinted bird can become difficult and try to be ‘top dog’.

It is important that by using careful training, and positive reinforcement you train your bird to behave well, and socially, otherwise problems like the one you have described will only get worse.  So reward good behaviour and ignore bad behaviour. When your bird does something well, offer him a treat, stroke him, and talk to him kindly. When he does something bad like bites you, ignore him, or put him back in his cage. There are some very good pet behaviourists you can help you train your bird. It may be a good idea to speak to one of them for help.

Can I feed Parrots coconut?

Coconut is not poisonous to birds, so small amounts can be fed. However, like feeding all things to birds, they might not want to eat it. You should only offer small amounts little and often. Avoid dried coconut, as this might swell in their stomach.

I’ve got two Kakariki’s and they are brilliant and very funny but can you tell me can they eat lettuce (any sort) and any other fruits they can eat and what nuts can they eat?

Feeding fresh food to birds is a very important part of their diet. It provides both emotional and mental stimulation, as well as acting as a very good source of vitamins and minerals. Any lettuce that we eat, is safe for a bird to eat, and the same follows for fruit and nuts.

My ten-year-old Kakariki has just started shredding his sandpaper and putting it in his water. Could there be a reason for this?

Your bird might be bored, and so has learnt this as something that it enjoys doing. If you try providing other things for your bird to shred, like cardboard boxes or fresh vegetables this can fulfil that need.

How do I sex my two birds as would love to breed them?

Some birds, like the Eclectus, are sexually dimorphic, which means that you tell the males and females apart by their plumage. Other birds are harder to tell apart, for example the Cockatoo family, where the males and females can only be told apart from the colour of their iris, and even this can be difficult sometimes, or Budgies where the cere colour is different in males and females.

However, in many Parrots, it is not possible to tell the males and females apart, just by looking at them. It is easy to do this genetically. With just a small blood sample or plucked feather, sent off to a specialist company, they can tell you what sex your bird is. I would suggest that you pop in to your local bird vet, and they will help you.

Can I feed Kakariki’s boiled rice?

Yes, but in moderation.

Which other questions do you have for Matt Brash.

You can find lots of delicious Bucktons food here.





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