Friday, April 13, 2007

What to Feed Your Parrot

Over the last few decades, a new trend popped up regarding pet nutrition, regardless of the type of pet involved. This trend focused on giving your pet the food that they would hypothetically eat in the wild if they were still feral. The supporters of this method argument it with the fact that eating raw, natural food keeps your pet healthy and lively, whereas stuffing him with commercial nutrients can cause some serious problems. At the same extent, supporters of the traditional diet methods say that the natural food diets don’t work, for the simple reason that the pet doesn’t get the amount of exercise, freedom and harshness he gets in his potential “wild” state, thus the natural diet has no effect. Parrots make no exception from the rule, as there have been many parrot nutrition disputes over the last few years, regarding the two types of diets.

So how should a parrot owner go about this problem? Should you only feed him natural stuff such as weeds, leaf buds, seeds and fruit parts? Should you try a commercial parrot food pack that boasts with having “all the nutrients your parrot needs”? Or should you try a combination of the two? Although it’s a matter of personal preference, one could conclude that a combination between natural and commercial food is the best, since it offers everything a parrot needs: tasty natural food and his daily requirement of vitamins from the commercial supplements.

When it comes to food, parrots are not picky at all. Although they might not enjoy everything you give them at first, they’ll usually get used to that food type in a short while. Still, you should note that not all food types are healthy for your parrot (although they’ll still eat them). Food holding large amounts of salt can be extremely unhealthy for your parrot, since he won’t be able to excrete all the salt. So avoid giving him any mashed chips, dinner leftovers and basically anything that you’ve salted beforehand.

Also, make sure your parrot doesn’t get a single type of food on his daily diet. Eating seeds may be tasty for him, but note that seeds are not that healthy and they definitely don’t contain the required amount of nutrients a parrot needs on a daily basis. Some pet dietitians compare seeds with junk food, since they will be eagerly eaten by your parrot, but they’re not the healthiest of options. Still, seeds have a very practical use. If your parrot got used to a specific type of diet and you want to switch to a healthier one (but usually less tasty) that he simply will refuse to eat at first, it’s a good idea to “sprinkle” the new food with some tasty seeds in order to tempt your parrot to eat. Once they get the taste of the seeds, they will dig right in to the new food type and eventually get used to it.

The amount and type of food your parrot requires is also heavily dependent on his species and his size. Make sure you try different diets for him and notice which one works, since the correctness of the diet is directly proportional with your parrot’s life span. A good, healthy diet can give him as much as an extra decade of life, so if you care about your pet it’s a good idea to make sure he gets what he needs from his food.

Teaching Your Parrot How to Talk

Parrots are famous throughout the World, not only because of their exotic, colorful and cheerful looks, but also for their unique ability to reproduce words with a precision that often knocks at the door between fun and scary. When you hear about a “talking parrot” don’t get confused thinking one could engage in minor chit chat with it, the words they reproduce are basically “recordings”, but admittedly, they will also learn how to respond to some sentences or words, with their own.

As long as you don’t overload their vocabulary, parrots can be thought to say almost anything you want them too, as long as you keep it clear and simple. It’s evident that you’ll have an easier time teaching your parrot to say “I love you” rather than the German “Luftschiffkapitän”, since it’s clearer and easier to pronounce (that doesn’t mean that parrots prefer English to German though). And yes, I know what you’re thinking, parrots can be easily trained to swear and they can even learn to swear without any training, simply by living in an environment where curses are used all the time.

The story of Charlie the Cursing parrot is of notoriety, the 50 year old parrot belonging to Winston Churchill being thought to throw curses at the Nazis during the Second World War.

But getting back to how you can teach your parrot to talk, there are basically two main strategies you can undergo. One would be to buy a training tape and place it near his cage. These tapes repeat specific sentences or words over and over again and many owners leave them on and on auto-repeat while they’re off to work. Eventually, your parrot will start to grasp and reproduce the sounds he hears, but this method is extremely annoying for him. Because it looks more like a torture method rather than a training one, most parrot owners tend to go the “hard way”.

The hard way means that you’ll have to personally take care of the parrot’s training. It’s obviously best if you start doing so while he’s at a younger age, relating an action (such as feeding him for example) with a word or sentence. For example, every time you hand-feed the parrot, say “Thank you!”. After a while, if you keep focusing on these words, he’ll form a link between them and getting fed and he’ll start reproducing the sounds when you hand-feed him. You could also give him a reward when you hear him “talking”, so he’ll be more eager to pronounce the words.

To conclude, you should take note that some parrots are less trainable than others in this regard. Amazons and Conures are known to be great talkers, whereas Lorikeets are commonly regarded as less likely to be successfully trained to reproduce sounds. Some species only start talking at older ages (such as the African Greys for example) whereas others are extremely chatty even in their first few years. Even if you own a parrot that is less likely to talk, training him in this direction is extremely fun (actually, experienced parrot trainers state that it’s more fun to successfully train a parrot that doesn’t have an affinity for sound reproduction, rather than one that’s considered chatty by nature) so you should make the best of it.

Parrots As Pets

When hearing the word “pet”, most people instantly think of a dog or a cat, since they’re the most popular choices for house animals. Parrots are more exotic and less demanding than a cat or a dog and they will probably be less involved in their owner’s life. Nevertheless, parrots make excellent pets for a number of reasons: they give your home an exotic touch, just like having an exotic fish tank for example; they are fun to watch and play with; they don’t require the same amount of attention and training as other pets; they’re not as expensive to maintain and their ability to reproduce sounds can be extremely entertaining, given the right training.

There are approximately 360 species of parrots but not all of them are commonly adapted to being pets. Some of the most popular subspecies in this sense are macaws, amazons, conures, lovebirds, cockatiels, cockatoos, budgerigars and parakeets. These species are the most appealing to be kept as pets because of their varied coloration, high trainability and the relative ease with which they can be taken care of in a closed environment.

One of the biggest problems of having a pet is that you can get extremely attached to them, sometimes even considering them close to a family member, their short life span (around 12-15 years with cats and dogs) being an extremely painful subject.

That’s not the problem with parrots thought, since most parrots have very long life spans, similar to those of humans. Statistics show that larger parrots such as macaws, cockatoos, or Amazon parrots can live up to an age of 75-80.

One of the oldest pet parrots in the world, Charlie the Curser is a blue and gold female macaw born in 1899. Charlie was the pet of Winston Churchill during his mandate as Prime Minister through the Second World War, the parrot gaining her nickname because she reportedly learnt how to curse Nazis, cheering up Churchill and his guests.

Although there are still doubts to whether or not this story is true (since Charlie’s old age hinders her from making any sounds whatsoever), the parrot’s old age remains undisputed. At present, Charlie the Curser is being taken care of at the Heathfield Nurseries in Surrey, United Kingdom.

When it comes to their nutrition, parrots are far from demanding and expensive. The “main course” in any parrot’s diet is usually comprised of grains and seeds, but recently, more and more commercial parrot food companies tend to have products that include vegetables, fruits, cereals as well as nutritional supplements. These fortify your parrot’s health, making them more playful and lively.

Take note however that parrots, as other pets, don’t take lightly to constant diet changes. Once they get used to a specific type of food, they’ll have a harder time adapting to a new diet so if you want to change it, try taking it slowly, one step at a time, constantly mixing the two diets until he gets used to the new one.

Parrot Training Tips

As with all other pets you might have, a parrot’s training is based on the reward/ignore/punish method. However, you’ll have to apply some specific training strategies that only work for our colorful friends, strategies that have proven to be extremely effective in numerous training programs. We’ve set up a list of short tips and tricks that could help you train and shape your parrot the way you want him. It should be noted that most of these tips work best if the parrot is still at a young age and hasn’t yet had the chance to “grow habits”, but with a little hard work, they can be adapted to adult parrots as well.

So here it goes:

1. Reward your parrot

Whenever you want to teach your parrot something new and you see him doing it right, reward him with his favorite food treat, a pat on the head and a congratulation, a short play session or whatever you see fit as a reward. Although he won’t know what’s happening at first, as most pets do, he will soon adapt and correlate his reward with the action he took. Make sure you don’t exaggerate with the rewards and also make sure the rewards are relatively unique, meaning that you should have some food treats that you will only feed him as a reward, making them special.

2. Ignore instead of punishing

Parrots don’t take punishing too lightly and they’re also not very susceptible to it as other pets are. Sure, you can give your pet dog a mild slap to the back when he poops in the house, but how are you going to apply that to your parrot? It’s best if you ignore your parrot’s wrong doings as much as possible and focus on his good deeds, rewarding him. If he notices he gets rewards for certain actions, he’ll contain himself from performing the actions that bring him a painful ignorance.

3. Make your training sessions frequent and short

With cats or dogs, it’s recommended that training sessions take longer, but then again cats and dogs have the ability to stay focused to such training for longer periods of time. Parrots are often more distractible and they might get bored quickly if they have to perform a single action for a longer time period. That’s why it’s best to keep training sessions short (10-20 minutes) but make sure they are performed regularly, 2 or 3 times a day.

4. Don’t over-reward your parrot

Parrots catch on really quickly and you’ll most likely be forced to give them a lot of praise and treats for their good deeds, in a short amount of time. In this case, the problem of over-rewarding can soon become a problem. That’s why you need to make sure that you don’t feed your parrot a treat with each good action and simply give him a word of praise from time to time. This is done in order for him not to get too used to the reward technique and “blackmail” you into a treat, by only performing the rewarded action when you have a treat handy.

How Much Is that Eclectus Parrot in the Window?

Of more than 350 species of parrot, the Eclectus is considered by many to be the most beautiful. Eclectus are not just beautiful, however. They are also great talkers, repeating many words and phrases, and singing songs. If you have more than one Eclectus, they will sing and talk to one another as well as to their human friends.

Which Eclectus Do You Want?

Eclectus parrot prices differ according to the Eclectus you want.

The Eclectus belongs to the genus Eclectus, and the species Roratus. There are 7 to 9 subspecies within the species. The three most popular are:

1. The Red-sided Eclectus from New Guinea, to the north of Australia. It is the most popular Eclectus in Australia, and highly popular in other lands as well. With plumage that seems to be hair rather than feathers, the male sports emerald green with blue in the bend of his wings When he flies, red flashes from beneath the wings. The female has a red head, maroon body, deep blue to purple breast feathers, and a tail that ends in a pale red-pink to orange.

2. The Solomon Eclectus native to Bismarck and the Solomon Islands, north of Australia. Males have yellow-tinted green bodies with dark blue wings, edged in green. The upper side of the tail is green with yellow edging. The underside of the tail is black, edged with a thin band of pale yellow. Females have stunning red plumage, with dark blue under-wings and a band of dark blue running to the nape. Wings are the same as the male – red tails have pale edging.

3. The Vosmaeri Eclectus native to Moluccas, Indonesia. Males have a bright green body, with oval patches of bright red on upper thighs, widening across the body when wings open. The tail is blackish blue, tipped with pale yellow. Females have bright lavender breasts, with red bodies and heads. The nape of the neck, upper mantle, and wing bend show deep lavender. The wings are deep red, tails cadmium-yellow beneath, dark red on top, and a band of yellow.

General Pricing

Eclectus parrot prices usually range from the Solomon Eclectus at the low end to the Vosmaeri at the high end.

Breeder Eclectus Parrot Prices

As of the writing of this article (February 2007), Eclectus parrot prices ranged from $800 to $1,200 each. Sample Eclectus parrot prices are listed here:

1. Solomon Eclectus: $800, male or female
2. Red-sided Eclectus: $845, male or female
3. Vosmaeri Eclectus: $1,000 for a male, $1,200 for a female

All Eclectus parrot prices given are U.S. breeders, U.S. dollars.

“Bargain” Eclectus Parrot Prices

When is a bargain a bargain? Eclectus parrot prices can be lower on eBay or other online auction sites. You can also find lower Eclectus parrot prices in local newspaper classified ads. These carry no guarantee, of course, and the parrots may not be healthy.

Whatever the Eclectus parrot prices you find, you will want to be more careful than the buyer in this bit of humor.

The Multilingual Eclectus

A man passing a pet shop sees 3 beautiful Solomon Eclectus priced at $1,500. He goes into the shop and asks, “Why such high Eclectus parrot prices?”

“Each of them speaks five languages,” says the salesman.

“Five languages!” exclaims the man. “Do they speak Yiddish?”

“Sure,” says the salesman.

The man looks at the Eclectus again. “My mother lives all alone in the Bronx,” he says, “and a bird would be good company for her,” He pays the $1,500, asks to have a parrot delivered to his mother, and goes on his way.

The next day, he calls his mother and asks, “Mom, how did you like the Eclectus parrot I sent you?”

“Oh son, it was delicious!” she says.

“What do you mean delicious?”

“I made soup out of it – came out great!”

“But mom, that parrot spoke five languages!”

“So, why didn't he say something?”

Hidden Eclectus Parrot Prices

Before you purchase, you should consider the fact that Eclectus parrot prices are only the beginning. You will also have the costs of a large cage, toys, food, and other needs. Hidden Eclectus parrot prices can mount swiftly.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]