Parrots: 8 Things to Know Before You Get One

Limited exposure to light and people may lead to feather plucking. It can also be a sign of a poor diet. Fortunately, this is an easy problem to solve. “One of the best treatments for birds with feather plucking,” says Dr. Harrison, “is to put the bird on a higher quality diet, take them outside for a minimum of 30 minutes of sunlight per day and interact with them regularly.”

High-calorie treats can trigger mating behavior. “Pet store employees often recommend nuts, seeds, sugary fruits and corn for a reward,” says Dr. Harrison, but high-fat, simple carb foods “stimulate the bird to go into breeding mode.” The bird may come to see the person offering the treats as a mate, which can lead him to become aggressive with other humans. In addition, these types of snacks can cause health problems, including heart and liver issues and obesity. “Birds should be fed a formulated diet and treats should consist of green, leafy veggies, parsley, spinach and veggies that are dark, yellow and meaty, like sweet potatoes, given in moderation.”

A bird’s diet greatly affects his wing health. Your parrot’s wings are sensitive — and his diet can make them more so. “A diet with the proper amount of omega-3 fatty acids will lead to better wing health,” says Dr. Harrison. A poor diet, however, may lead to health problems and potential discomfort. “Each feather is like a raw nerve in these birds,” he explains, “extremely sensitive to touch,” and feathers may form improperly if birds are fed poor diets. Check with your veterinarian to be sure your bird is eating the right things.

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