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Pet Bird Supplies Checklist

All pet bird owners need certain bird supplies for their feathery friend!

You probably need more supplies than you know. For this reason, below is a simple checklist in order to make this as painless as possible.

Must Have Items

  1. Appropriately sized cage
  2. Cage lining (newspaper is best)
  3. 3-8 Perches
  4. Cage Covers
  5. 1 Therapeutic perch
  6. 1-2 Wood Perches
  7. 1-2 Rope perches
  8. 0-1 Heated perches
  9. 0-1 Shower perches
  10. 0-1 Dowel perches
  11. The right Food for your specific pet bird
    • Grain products
      • Pellets
      • Whole Grains
    • Vegetables & Fruits
    • Dairy & Meat
    • Treats
  12. Full Spectrum Lighting appropriate for Birds
  13. 3 or more appropriate Toys for your pet bird
  14. Bird-safe Cleaning supplies
  15. Food and water Dishs
  16. Travel Cage Especially the Wingabago
  17. Avian Veterinarian

Nice To Have Items

  1. Books on your pet bird's species
  2. Stand
  3. Spare food and water dishes
  4. Spray Bottle for showering your bird

The Toy Mistakes That Hurt A Parrot

Experts believe that toys are a necessity for parrots because it encourages them to grow intellectually. The best comparison would be an adult playing a quiz or trivia game, something that makes you think. No matter the age of the parrot that intellectual stimulation and growth is a necessity. The best way to stimulate your bird is to give or create forage toys. defines forage as going in search of food. Forage toys encourage birds to use that natural “hunt” abilities in a cage, but poking around into boxes, or nests to gain their favorite toy, or sometimes even food. The activity helps the bird stay alert and challenges it to find new treats.

The toy mistakes that hurt a parrot are choosing a toy that is inappropriate for a pets size, and the materials used to create the toy. Bird toys should be free of toxins such as smoke, formaldehyde, zinc to name a few commonly used toxins. Giving your bird a toilet paper or paper towel roll would be harmful because of the zinc possibly used to attach the first sheet to the roll. Small parts or small toys you may not want to consider as a toy because your bird may choke on it. Here's just a few mistakes, when you go shopping for your next toy keep these in mind, and perhaps you will spot other mistakes as well.

About the Author: Ms. Maxwell is a member of the Association Professional Business Writers. She lives with her two children on the East Coast of the United States. How To Get Ahead With Resumes (revised) is her first published book.


From "Ask Polly Please"

Bird owners must be aware of the dangers of Teflon (PTFE) and other name brand non-stick coatings on cookware and other items. When it is heated to medium high temperatures, it releases a gas that is deadly to birds. PTFE is also in some new appliances, space heaters, ranges, ovens, heat lamps, irons, griddles, bread makers, woks, waffle makers, electric skillets, crock pots, popcorn poppers, coffee makers, roasters, curling irons, and hair dryers, and more. Check labels before purchase.

PTFE-treated burner liners or bibs on your range are dangerous with normal usage. One such bib under a burner set on high can kill all the birds in your home.

Walnut shell litter and corn cob litter can cause impaction if ingested by birds, and they harbor fungal spores when wet and soiled.

Foods that are dangerous to birds are avocado, guacamole, chocolate, cocoa, and the pits of apricots, peaches, plums, prunes, and Cheri Moya fruit. Alcohol, caffeine, and foods containing large amounts of salt, sugar, preservatives, and artificial coloring also can be toxic to birds.

Do not allow your birds access to toxic metals such as lead, zinc, copper, and iron. Some sources are house keys, (especially gold colored ones), galvanized wire, lead-based paints, paints with zinc, linoleum, vinyl mini blinds, foil from champagne and wine bottles, lead weights, bells with lead clappers, stained glass, improperly-glazed ceramics, costume jewelry, mirror backing, copper pennies, zinc oxide, artist paints containing toxic cadmium, and cardboard or paper with high gloss inks.

Cats and birds do not mix. The slightest cat scratch will infect birds with Pasteurella bacteria and vet treatment must be started within four hours to save the bird's life. Never allow birds and other pets to interact without close supervision.

Wing clips should be checked on the first day of each new month to prevent flight-related accidents and escape into the outdoors.

If your bird has full wings, before allowing free flight in your home, be sure that all windows and mirrors are either covered with curtains or blocked from the flight path. Some birds can be trained to avoid flying into large expanses of glass by showing them the windows and mirrors and lightly pressing their beak, feet and body against the glass.

If your birds are flighted, be extra vigilant about ceiling fans, open windows and doors, hot pots and pans, hot stove burners, open containers of water (sinks, toilets, tubs, boiling water), poisonous or thorny houseplants like cactus, electrical wires, and any toxic substances that birds can reach.

If you keep birds in your kitchen, remove them to a safe area when cooking. Smoke from burned foods and overheated oil has caused the death of birds.

All new and used toys should be cleaned and examined for loose parts that could lodge in your bird's throat, as well as loose strings and threads that could trap and cut off circulation to necks, legs, and toes. Replace key rings, spring clips, and regular quick links with stainless steel quick links.

Do not use cedar, redwood, or other toxic woods (nor pressure treated wood) for aviaries or shavings. The aromatic fumes of cedar can be deadly. Aspen and pine are better choices.

Keep all houseplants out of the reach of birds. Here are only a few of the poisonous houseplants to avoid: Azalea, Oleander, Castor bean, Sago palm, Yew plants, Dieffenbachia (Dumb cane), Asparagus fern, Daffodils, Flower bulbs, Mistletoe, Poinsettia, Philodendron, and potato sprouts or "eyes".

Electronic nursery monitors sold for use in infant nurseries cost $20-$30 and can be used in bird nurseries and aviaries to alert the owner to unusual sounds. If the monitor is used around the clock, it can be as effective as a watchdog in the prevention of wild animal attacks, theft, and vandalism. No matter how soundproof your home might be, the monitor will alert you to disturbance in outside aviaries. The sounds of chicks hatching can be heard if the monitor is placed near nestboxes. Nursery monitors are the next best thing to closed-circuit TV monitors which are useful but which cost from $200-$400.

You might save the life of your bird by preventing their access to the following miscellaneous items: Aluminum cooking bags Automatic dishwasher detergent Bleach Carpet freshener Cigarettes and cigarette smoke Cleaning solutions Coffee grounds Chocolate candies Epoxy glue Essential oils Ethylene glycol (antifreeze, film) Flea collars and sprays Furniture polish Homemade play dough (toxic levels of salt) Leather protectant sprays Linoleum (contains lead) Matches Mothballs Medicines (both prescription and over the counter) Oven cleaners Personal care products Pesticide strips, sprays, foggers Pine oil cleaners Plant spikes and all fertilizer Plug-in air fresheners Potpourri oils Poisonous plants (inside and outside) Spray starch Tea tree oil (Melaleuca) Thermometers (contain mercury)

Keep veterinary and hotline numbers near your telephone and advise all family members and bird sitters what to do in the event of an accident or poisoning. ~Pet owners seeking immediate help for pets exposed to poisons or other toxins can call the National Animal Poison Control: 800 222-1222 ~For consultation services about animal poisoning call The ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center at 888 426-4435 ~For online information about the ASPCA/NAPCC visit the web site at

Please help to educate other bird owners on bird safety.

Understanding Parrot Nutrition

Wild parrot diet

Parrots living in the wild spend much of their day foraging for food, which may consist of whole grains and nuts, fruits and berries, vegetables and seeds.

How does that break down into nutritional value?

Whole grains have three layers: bran (the outer layer), endosperm (the inner layer) and the germ (embryo).

The bran and the germ contain many of the necessary elements needed for a healthy diet including fiber, B Vitamins, vitamin E, trace elements, a small amount of protein and unsaturated fats. The endosperm contains carbohydrates, protein and soluble fiber.

Fruits mostly contain a certain amount of fiber and provide a good source of carbohydrates, folic acid and vitamin C. Fruits do not have such a high nutritional value as vegetables.

Vegetables provide many of the vitamins and elements necessary for the good bones, vision, hearing and the mucus membranes. Included in this group are calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, and E.

Seeds are a source of protein and vitamins A, B, D and E

Domestic parrots should maintain a diet similar to their wild counterpart. This is not always possible due to cost and seasonal supplies but their diet should vary.

Varying your parrot's diet

To ensure your parrot's energy levels, mental health and overall appearance remain good, it needs a balanced diet of a wide range of nutrients.

Providing an imbalanced diet is a common problem parrot owners face and is one of the most common causes of illness. Trying to find a good balance, for many of us, is a case of trial and error with the parrot on the receiving end of any wrong decisions we make when buying parrot food.

Maintaining a varied diet

It is important to know what parrot food you are buying. Some parrot foods available today lack many of the vitamins and nutrients necessary to sustain a healthy life. For instance, refined grains have the bran and germ removed thus reducing fiber and vitamin content while fortified foods often contain as much as two times the level of folic acid found in natural grains.

Much of the nutritious bird food available today is the result of many years research led by avian nutritionist Tom Roudybush. Roudybush spent 16 years researching avian nutrition in the Department of Avian Sciences at the University of California.

In 1985, Roudybush set up shop in an 800 square foot building to manufacture bird dietary foodstuffs. His facilities now cover a 32,000 square foot warehouse and installed with state-of-the-art equipment. The results of his research are a variety of nutritional foods designed to keep your bird healthy.

Roudybush nutritional foods are the most preferred bird foods among bird owners because they contain all the nutrients necessary for a healthy diet. The most popular are the pellets and the blends, specially formulated for full nutritional value and the Roudybush Maintenance formulas keep birds happy and healthy.

Which diet is right for your parrot?

Owners must make a choice based on their particular breed of parrot, its age and its general health, but one thing is certain, if your parrot is to remain healthy it needs a regulated diet that is proven to work.

You Need an Avian Veterinarian, Now.

Maintaining your bird's health with proper nutrition, suitable environments, and mental stimulation is vitally important. The general health of your bird should also be a concern. Avian medicine is advancing rapidly. It has been recently estimated that our knowledge of avian medicine and surgery is doubling every five years. This means that avian veterinarians are more equipped with cutting-edge technology, more blood tests, better diagnostic tools, and access to more reference material than ever before. If your bird becomes ill, the chances are better than ever that a cause will be found and treatments can be prescribed. We have advanced medically to lengthen the pet bird's life by many years. However, you should not wait until your bird is ill to see your veterinarian. The key to a long healthy life for your parrot is regular preventative check ups.

The recommended schedule for good-health maintenance is once annually. Regular visits will establish normal parameters for your bird. It is important that your veterinarian be familiar with your bird in a state of good health to more easily recognize problems. An important part of an annual examination is the physical exam. A physical will provide your bird's body weight, a critical gauge in measuring health status. When a bird is sick, the body weight will decrease before any other clinical signs appear. The physical exam will also provide visual clues to a trained professional that reveal sub-clinical signs a bird may be trying to hide. The physical exam is only part of the annual check up. Blood work, bacterial cultures, and fecal gram stains provide the necessary information to establish normal values and to screen for sub-clinical disease. The most important part of a preventative maintenance program is annual vaccination against polyomavirus. Annual visits are also a good time to get wing clips and toe nail trims.

A preventative maintenance program will provide our pet bird with the longest, healthiest life possible. A good program consists of a balanced diet, a clean environment, a roomy cage, proper handling techniques, and proper veterinary care including annual check ups and vaccinations.

Dr Greg Burkett, Board Certified Avian Veterinarian

What is Disinfecting and Why Should I Do It?

The message that I would like to convey with this handout is that disinfection and routine sanitation are the cornerstones to a healthy pet bird. These two components of a daily care program add very little time to an owner's chores, but contributes tremendously to a bird's overall health. A good sanitation program is one of the major ingredients in an all-around excellent preventative health program and is equal in importance to sound nutrition and psychological stimulation.

Disinfection by definition is the act of freeing something from the presence of disease-causing organisms. These organisms include bacteria, fungi, yeast, viruses, and Chlamydia. Organisms such as these are found abundantly in the environment in which our birds and we live. A healthy immune system is he first line of defense against these diseases. A healthy immune system depends on proper nutrition, a good health status, and a clean environment. Even with a healthy immune system, an overload of disease-causing organisms or a constant, low-grade exposure to disease-causing organisms can lead to an infection.

To help your bird maintain a healthy immune system you should feed mainly a formulated (pelleted) diet with fresh food supplements, and prevent disease exposure through proper sanitation and lowered exposure to disease-carrying birds. Proper sanitation includes washing water bottles, fresh food bowls, cages, and cage accessories regularly with water and a mild detergent, then disinfecting them with a safe, effective disinfectant. Regularly means daily for the fresh food and water bowls and weekly for the cage and accessories. We have spare dishes so there is a clean dish in the cage while the dirty dish is soaking in the disinfectant solution. The disinfectant should be rinsed afterwords to insure that there are no residues. See the particular disinfectant label for specific use directions.

Dr Greg Burkett, Board Certified Avian Veterinarian

Water Bottles and Birds

One of the most common health problems that veterinarians encounter in birds is bacterial infection. And, the most common source for infection is the water bowl.

An open dish is a breeding ground for bacteria. Most birds will poop or dunk food in their water dish. These organic materials feed the bacteria and cause them to grow even faster. Bacterial growth is measured in doubling time - the time it takes for bacteria to double in number. Doubling time for many bacteria is 2-3 hours. This means that when you put a clean water dish in the cage at 9:00 AM, by 1:00 PM there is enough bacteria growing in the water to potentially cause illness, even in a healthy bird. This situation is completely avoided when using water bottles.

When putting the bottle on your bird’s cage, mount it above a perch the height of your bird’s head. Be sure to fill the bottle completely to prevent leaking. One or two drops will escape to form the vacuum.

Switching your bird is very easy. After all, hamsters drink from a bottle and we all know that birds are much more intelligent than hamsters. It is my theory that birds are able to smell water. Simply showing birds where the bottle is in the cage will be enough to get them to switch. Just tap the little ball on the end of the drinker when your bird is watching. The noise and bubbles will make your bird curious. When your bird beaks the ball, water will come out and your bird will immediately be on a bottle. If not, then remove the water dish in the morning. In the evening offer your bird water in a dish. If your bird does not drink form the dish, then it probably drank from the bottle during the day. If it does drink from the dish then it likely did not drink from the bottle during the day. Repeat demonstrating the bottle to your bird until you are comfortable that your bird is drinking during the day. Nearly all birds will drink during the first day.

The bottle must be changed every day. The bottle and tube need to be scrubbed and disinfected daily.

One of the most often concerns expressed is that 'My bird likes to wet its food'. No problem. Birds can still wet its food with the bottled. Candy, our resident Congo African Grey nearly always wets her pellets and treats. She simply gets the food in her beak and then drinks from the bottle.

There is no reason not to put your bird on a bottle.

Dr Greg Burkett, Board Certified Avian Veterinarian

Pet Guardian Angels of America,
a national pet rescue and adoption assistance service
also offering general and health related articles
and resources for all types of pets.

The Minnesota Companion Bird Association is a bird club based in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, providing a social, informational, and commercial network for over 300 parrot (and other pet bird) owners, aviculturists, business owners, avian veterinarians, and ornithologists throughout the Twin Cities, Minnesota, and the Midwest. Whether you are just starting to look for your first bird or you have many years in aviculture, the MCBA welcomes you!

The purpose of the Northwest Bird Club is to join together people who share a common interest in keeping and breeding exotic birds in captivity. To educate our members and the general public in the best care, keeping, maintenance and breeding of their birds. To support bird conservation. Together we can make a difference.

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