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The Parrot Companion: Caring for Parrots, Macaws, Budgies, Cockatiels and More
The Parrot Companion: Caring for Parrots, Macaws, Budgies, Cockatiels and More The Parrot Companion: Caring for Parrots, Macaws, Budgies, Cockatiels and More The Parrot Companion: Caring for Parrots, Macaws, Budgies, Cockatiels and More The Parrot Companion: Caring for Parrots, Macaws, Budgies, Cockatiels and More The Parrot Companion: Caring for Parrots, Macaws, Budgies, Cockatiels and More The Parrot Companion: Caring for Parrots, Macaws, Budgies, Cockatiels and More The Parrot Companion: Caring for Parrots, Macaws, Budgies, Cockatiels and More

* Book Type:

Publisher: Firefly Books

Author Statement: Rosemary Low
Audience: Trade
Specs: 220 color photos, sidebars, index
Pages: 192
Trim Size: 6 1/2" x 8 5/8" x 5/8"
Language code 1: eng
Publication Date: 20061109
Copyright Year: 2006
Price: Select Below


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The Parrot Companion: Caring for Parrots, Macaws, Budgies, Cockatiels and More

A well-illustrated guide to caring for 25 of the most common breeds of parrots with a focus on choosing the right bird and keeping it healthy. Includes principal characteristics of each breed, tips on training, equipment, nutrition and grooming.

Quick access to comprehensive information and expert guidance for parrot owners.

Parrots are loved for their intelligence, sociability, longevity and humorous, almost-human characteristics. These same attractive qualities demand serious consideration and commitment when acquiring a parrot.

The Parrot Companion provides practical knowledge gained from an expert's decades of experience with these birds. The author examines the 25 most common breeds, which include Greys, Amazons, caiques, conures, cockatiels and budgerigars. The data for each one compare principal characteristics such as voice shrillness, mimicry and potential behavioral problems.

The author emphasizes responsible ownership, with a focus on choosing the right bird and keeping it happy and healthy. Topics include:

  • Socializing a parrot
  • Safety tips
  • Avoiding behavior problems
  • Finding an escaped bird
  • Step-by-step training
  • Trimming flight feathers vs. clipping wings
  • The right equipment
  • Feather plucking, biting and screaming
  • Feeding, nutrition, health and grooming
  • Re-homing a parrot.

This comprehensive reference is filled with color photos and will be welcomed by new and long-time parrot owners.


Rosemary Low is the author of more than 20 books and a cofounder of the World Parrot Trust, which advocates against the trade of wild-caught parrots. She lives in England.


from Chapter 1
Parrots as pets

Parrot ownership is a much great responsibility than most new parrot owners realize. The level of commitment necessary to prevent a parrot from developing behavioral problems is extremely high. Many potential owners tend to regard a parrot as a beautiful or amusing object, not as an individual that is almost as complex emotionally as a human. It is a highly social creature whose need for a close relationship, either with a human or with a member of its own kind, is central to its existence. When it is happy it can be the most wonderful companion known to humankind, but when denied this relationship its life will be sad and stressful and it could become unwanted and impossible to rehome.

The decision to take on a parrot must therefore be thought through with great care. A number of factors should be considered with honesty.

Before buying a parrot you should ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you an experienced animal/bird owner? Parrots are the most complicated and difficult birds to look after in the home. Experience with easier birds or animals is essential before taking on the most difficult.
  • Can you commit yourself to caring for a parrot (or other psittacine bird) for 30 to 60 years? Finding a new home for a parrot is difficult and change of ownership causes stress to the bird.
  • Can you dedicate one hour of one-to-one time with your parrot each day? Spending quality time with your bird is the best way to ensure a strong bird.
  • Will you or other family members be in the house for at least 19 hours daily? A parrot should not be left alone for more than five hours daily during the day. (A young bird will need 11 hours sleep at night and it will doze for two or three hours more during the day. An adult parrot needs at least nine hours sleep at night and it will doze during the afternoon.)
  • Will you research the essential components of your parrot's diet so that it will not die prematurely of a dietary deficiency?
  • Can you tolerate some damage in the house?
  • Will you be able to stand the noise -- especially when you are watching your favorite television program or attempting to have a telephone conversation?

If you answer "no" to any of these questions, think again. If all your answers are "yes," you could be a suitable person to look after a parrot, but you now need to consider more questions. If you smoke, can you give up smoking or never smoke in the vicinity of your parrot? If not, secondary smoke could kill your parrot after three or four years.

Do you have asthma or another respiratory problem? If so, the feather dust that parrots emit could exacerbate the condition and may harm your health. In the home, ventilators (or good ventilation) and ionizers are important aids to a healthy atmosphere. These pieces of equipment will minimize the dust that accumulates in the air from a parrot's plumage. Manufacturers state that ionizers can even attract virus particles out of the atmosphere. There is no doubt that they remove dust. For this reason, you should frequently wipe the area around an ionizer with a damp cloth. Seek professional advice on the correct size of ionizers and ventilators for the room in question. This is very important for anyone who suffers from asthma. Nevertheless, the most effective way of eliminating dust is to spray and bathe your parrots frequently (especially Grays and cockatoos).

The reason why many people find that a parrot tries their patience beyond endurance is the noise. Also consider that some parrots are clever at mimicry. Could you live with a parrot that emits the sound of a car alarm a dozen times a day, or the cuckoo clock, the birds in the garden, or the microwave timer? It might copy the telephone so realistically that you would not be able to distinguish its mimicry from the real thing.

Nevertheless, living with a parrot can be a great source of satisfaction and entertainment. For people who live alone, or at least housebound, a tame and affectionate parrot can give them a reason to get up every morning and face the day with pleasure. Depending on the species, parrots can be playful, humorous, loquacious, mischievous, and affectionate. They can even prevent troubled people from becoming self-occupied and depressed. This might sound like an exaggeration, but they can even save lives. Just like dogs, parrots have been known to warn their owners of fires at night or of the presence of intruders.

  1. Parrots as pets

    A look at some of the hightlights and pitfalls of owning a parrot and the responsibilities involved.
  2. Which species is right for you?

    A highlight of the range of popular genera and species with a focus on their respective characteristics and specific care requirements
  3. What you need and where to buy it

    A focus on the supplies need to look after a parrot and the process involved in identifying and purchasing one.
  4. Your parrot as a family member

    A guide to integrating a parrot into your household with tips on creating the ideal environment for it, and a discussion on socialization.
  5. Behavior: how to avoid problems

    An analysis of some problems, such as screaming, biting, and feather plucking, with guidelines on how to manage them.
  6. Basic training

    An introduction to establishing your parrots basic behavioral ground rules, with a feature on step-by-step training procedures.
  7. Feeding for health and longevity

    Understanding the influence of diet on the health and longevity of parrots, and their specific nutritional needs.
  8. Health and beauty

    A look at common diseases in parrots, the maintenance of their nails, feathers, and beaks, and their health requirements as they age.
  9. Rehoming your parrot

    A review of the procedures involved in relocating your parrot and what options owners have in this unlikely event.

Contacts and publications
Credits and acknowledgments

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