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      06.08.2012 04:54
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      A brilliant pet parrot to have

      INTRODUCTION

      I have chosen to write about Eclectus Parrots because my gorgeous little Oscar is one of the most wonderful pets that I have ever had the pleasure of owning. I absolutely adore him! I got him about a year ago just before Christmas and not long before moving into my first home. He is not even one year old yet and already has an extensive vocabulary. When I got him I was still living with my Mum. She got a female Eclectus which she has named Nikita at the same time that I got Oscar.


      GETTING OUR EKKIES

      When getting Oscar and Nikita we found two lovely people who breed birds of all kinds and we arranged to get our Parrots. We went to the breeders house and visited Oscar and Nikita to see how they were doing before the wonderful day when we finally were able to bring them home. On the visit I walked over to Oscar in his cage and he walked right towards me. Well maybe walked is the wrong word to describe it. He marched towards me. Yes that is a much better way to explain it lol! He does this little walk and it is like he is marching and he even hops. The first time I saw him he tilted his little head inquisitively as if to say who is this? I fell in love with him in a heartbeat. The whole experience of getting our Parrots was great and one I will never forget.


      The people who bred the Parrots had so many different types of beautiful birds and in such beautiful surroundings too. They made us feel really welcome for the duration of the time we were there. I even got to see a Hawk Head which was great. It was so comical and cute and I have never seen a bird like it before. The breeders always kept us up-to date on how our Parrots were doing. Going home without Oscar on the day that we visited was really difficult though. I wished I could of just brought him home straight away but we had to wait another few weeks until they were both ready. While we waited until the day when we could finally pick them up. Mum and I prepared everything required for their arrival. We got a large shiny new cage. We made sure it was more than big enough for them both and that it had plenty of perches for them to climb on and toys to keep them entertained. Mum rang the breeders to ask about our ekkies and was told that Oscar loved showering and even done belly flops in the shower and heard about her Eclectus Nikita too of course.


      BRINGING THEM HOME


      On the day when we were getting them I was so excited. So much so that I did not even sleep the night before. We were told that Nikita (mums bird) was the tame one but my Oscar still needed a little bit of work. I did not let that deter me though and I was handling him from the very first day that I got him home. When we got them in their cage (they already knew each other) as they are Brother and Sister and that helped a great deal with them not biting each others heads off. They looked so beautiful standing next to each other. Each has their own very bright and different colorings making their feathers stand out even more and they really complement each other when they are together because of that. Handling Oscar from that first day was easy because he learned so fast and now he never bites. Well unless play biting and that does not hurt at all. All parrots including the Eclectus use their mouth in a similar way to how we use our hands. So sometimes you would be forgiven for getting confused and thinking that your parrot is biting you. In that instance it is actually just trying to grab onto you and probably wants to climb onto your hand, arm or shoulder. It took them a few days to feel at home and really settle in. This was seen in how they behaved towards us. They went from being a little shy to making a lot more noise once they had settled in and they wanted out of their cage much more. Whereas to begin with they retreated back to the comfort of their cage very quickly.


      RESEARCH


      As with any type of animal it is important to know exactly what you are letting yourself in for. Me and my Mum studied a great deal on how to keep, feed, train and keep our Ekkies happy. We also got a book which was of great use and helped us to feel more informed but it seems no matter how much research you do. Every day you are still learning new things about your parrot. I am not ignorant enough to think after less than a year that I know everything but I can share my experiences and maybe inspire someone else to let one of these wonderful little parrots in their life. They really are such a rewarding animal to have.

      Ultimately research led to us feeling more comfortable with our little friends when we got them home and I feel we maybe would not of felt so comfortable if we had not done it. In light of that I would definitely recommend researching these Parrots before giving one a home because it is important to know which sex you want. Male and Female Eclectus are so different from each other. Often Females are reported to be nasty and Males are said to be more laid back and friendly. There is always exceptions of course and it is best to form your own opinion and decide which you prefer. In my experience though I have found Oscar to be a sweetie because he is so loving. Nikita has a bad temper and has bitten me under the eye. She bites mum regularly and has bitten my Dad and my Brothers on several occasions.

      Oscar has attacked me only once and I believe it is because of his protective instinct. I was brushing my hair and he was on his cage right in front of me. Something about the motion of the hairbrush hitting my head really made him uncomfortable and it seems he just does not like anything to touch my head. He kept growling at the hair brush and eventually he flew at me. I spun around to try and stop him biting me but he kept flying until he got me. He sunk his beak into the right side of my face and it was cut and bleeding quite badly. I told him off and put him in his cage and he has never done anything like that since. Eclectus picks up on things very quickly and are really intelligent. In my experience with Oscar once they know you are not happy with any particular behavior they desist.


      FEEDING MY ECLECTUS


      When we first got our Ekkies the breeders gave us a special mix of food just like baby food and Oscar and Nikita loved it. They would of done anything for it and as soon as they saw the syringe full of the special mix they came running and would always make this adorable little noise when they were getting it. Once Oscar and Nikita were the correct age we stopped giving them the special formula. The correct age to stop feeding them the formula is between four and five months and we chose to stop feeding them it at around five. It is important to feed Eclectus a healthy diet and not give them foods that do not agree with them. Oscar loves Corn and Fruits. Chopped apples, bananas and strawberry's. Occasionally I treat him to some scrambled egg which he goes nuts for. He lifts his food in his claw just like we humans do with our hands and munches away on it. It is entertaining to see an Eclectus eat. It turns its head and its eye dilate and it looks like it is extremely deep in thought every time it eats. I currently feed him a mix of fresh fruit and vegetables and Jollyes Premium Parrot Food which has ingredients such as SunFlower Seeds, Whole Oates, Flaked Maize, Whole Maize, Flaked Peas, Sultanas, Banana Chips, Pineapple, Pasteurized Egg Powder, Chilli's etc. And I always keep his water topped up. I never give him Chocolate or avocado as those are two of the many things toxic to parrots. http://birds.about.com/od/feeding/tp/poi​sonousfoods.htm That website is helpful for owners of parrots or potential owners doing research as it lists ten of the most toxic foods.


      DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MALE AND FEMALE EKKIES


      The differences between the Male and Female Eclectus are actually very profound. The Male has a lovely green plumage with varying colors under his wings. Oscar has light blues and red and yellow colors on him. Nikita mums Eclectus has reds, blue and purple coloring and a yellow tail. Oscar has a bright orange beak with some yellow on it but Nikita's is all black. As previously mentioned there are rumors in regards to the difference in temperament between the Male and Female Eclectus. I personally have found my Male Eclectus to be much sweeter but I am sure there are gentle Females Eclectus out there too. I have also noticed my Male Eclectus speaks much more than mums Female one. Another thing is that Oscar seems to be quite more trusting with new people and he will climb on them without biting but Nikita does not let anyone hold her except mum. Oscar is only really cheeky to someone if he is being protective of me.


      VOCABULARY


      I wanted so much to get a parrot that could talk a lot and was not sure which one to get. I got Oscar after seeing Riley the Eclectus on YouTube. I just had to have one and once my mind is set on something there is no changing it. Riley spoke loads and was hilarious to watch and I knew I would benefit greatly from having a lovely little bird like that in my life. At the time I was ready for leaving mums and moving out into my own home and was nervous and very aware of how lonely it could be. I needn't of worried because Oscar has been a wonderful companion pet and I can only hope to have loads more years with him. Now I have Oscar, my BF and our dog Magnum I feel much more content but it was Oscar before they entered my life who kept me company and brought smiles, laughter and happiness into it. Oscar has in an incredibly short time learned so many words. I am amazed but then I did spend a lot of time with him. Talking to him constantly has paid off. He use to sit on my shoulder all night until he fell asleep and seemed to start talking most just as he was getting sleepy but now much to my delight he never stops talking. He currently says the following. Hello, Omg, What are you doing?, What's your name? My name is Oscar, I love you, Whose a gorgeous green birdie?, Night night, Ouch, Hahahaha, Danielle, Wheres my gorgeous Paul?, Hiya, Peekaboo, I'm sorry, Wolf whistles, Whose a good boy?, Good birdie, Scary grudge noise, Ooooh, are you being cheeky?, Are you being a cheeky bird?, Naughty, Oi, Wheres my gorgeous wee bird, Hello Oscar, Owww, No, Screams, Where were you?, Mumbles, Paul, Ok, What? And he also sings Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.


      CAGE


      The cage you house your Eclectus in should be to be at least 30" wide, 24" deep, and 36" high. Oscar now has his own cage and seems much happier. Even though he had plenty of space in the one he shared with Nikita. He seems to have come out of his shell a lot since moving to my new home with me and having his own cage. Ideally they should have lots of toys and things to climb on. Oscar has a swing and he loves it and it is an added bonus that it is so enjoyable to watch him use it. His cage needs cleaned out regularly and becomes mucky very fast seeing as Oscar is a messy little green devil. It helps to put newspaper or something like it in the bottom of the cage because then all the mess falls onto it and it makes cleaning much easier. Cages vary in price the one Oscar has cost over one hundred pounds but you can shop around if you want better deals.

      OVERALL PRICE


      Eclectus are not cheap to keep but neither are most animals and I am lucky in that my mum gives me half of the food that she gets for Nikita. That means I do not have to buy Oscar food because the bag is so big it feeds them both easily for a month at a time. Buying fresh fruit and veg and the odd treat here and there can be expensive. You may want to insure your parrot as they are very expensive animals and particular sites offer cover for an accident, sickness or disease, up to £2,500 or £5,000 etc. Oscar and Nikita cost 600 pounds each. Expensive but so worth it and I know mum would agree as she loves Nikita as much as I love Oscar. I once bought a pinata for Oscar on Ebay because I read that parrots love to forage. I was so looking forward to when Oscar finally opened it all up and found all of the parrot style treats inside. Instead it had just one tiny bit of food for him and I was really disappointed because I spent around 15 pounds on it and it was Santa shaped and I got him it for Christmas.


      OVERALL


      Eclectus like any pet can be prone to different types of illness and some of those include foot tapping, feather plucking, bacterial, viral, or fungal infections. Some illnesses can be avoided by keeping your Ekkie on a healthy diet. Some like feather plucking can happen if the Eclectus is distressed and to avoid this you should keep your parrot contented. Eclectus are intelligent and need a lot of attention and they are a big commitment because they live so long. They need a lot of love, mental stimulation, space and they need to exercise. The fact that they are referred to as companion parrots really is true to them. If you get one of these birds it will quickly become your best friend. They are such expressive and intelligent birds and getting mine was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

      Different Species

      Grand Eclectus (Eclectus roratus roratus)
      Red-sided Eclectus (Eclectus roratus)

      Solomon Island Eclectus (Eclectus roratus solomonensis)
      Vosmaeri (Eclectus roratus vosmaeri)

      Biaki or Biak Island Eclectus (Eclectus roratis biaki)
      Sumba Island Eclectus (Eclectus roratus cornelia)

      Australian Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus macgillivrayi)
      Tanimbar Islands Eclectus or Riedeli's Eclectus (Eclectus roratus riedeli)

      New Guinea Red-sided Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus polychloros)
      Aru Island Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus aruensis
      .
      Westerman's Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus westermani)

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        15.12.2007 14:53
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        The care of my little grey friend, and why I luv him so.

        AFRICAN GREY PARROTS...

        Where to begin ?
        Well I for a time had a Yellow-Crowned Amazon and a Grey which my mum inherited when grandma died.
        I knew those birds virtually all my life and loved them to bits. I was gutted when my mum re-homed them after I moved out, but I was expecting little boy, no way could I have coped with a newborn and 2 parrots in the small place we had.

        Anyway this is mostly why I ended up taking on an African Grey about this time last year, and wouldn't be without him.
        When I got him the poor guy had plucked himself bald and was not a happy birdie. Woman who had him couldn't cope with him and wanted to find him a new home. She didn't like to let him out and he didn't have much of a life sitting in his cage 24-7 bored out of his mind. She had got him from a pub somewhere and that's all I know of his life before he came to me. Ended up taking a very old cockatiel as well as parrot who also needed sorting out - Mug that I am.
        If you're thinking of taking in or buying a Parrot then do your research and think long and hard before you do, they can be bloody hard work at times and NEED amusement attention and a decent diet.

        To start with not everyone knows it but there are 3 different types of 'African Grey' parrot

        There's the standard Congo Grey which has a Black beak and Bright red tail feathers.
        Then there's what I've got which is a 'Timneh Grey'
        A bit smaller than the standard 'Congo Grey' and has a flesh coloured beak, also has a duller/darker red tail.
        There's another type too which are more unusual and have scattered red feathers on the wings and body not just the tail.

        African Grey parrots can live a long time, as I said my grandma's Grey out lived her and ended up with my mum. Approx. lifespan is about 50-60 yrs + so your investing in a real life-long friend, even if you get a 'pre-owned' bird like me - chances are your going to be together for a long time. There are many things to consider before getting a Grey:

        SPACE
        This is important as your bird is going to need a fair sized cage to call it's own, the minimum size has to be large enough for the bird to stretch and flap it wings in each direction but you are best going for the largest cage you can 'fit' into your house and life. Its not always biggest is best though, a small play stand will provide a new interesting playtime place to view the world from. There are many cages and stand to choose from out there, it's just a matter of finding one that suits both you and your birds needs.
        My bird came with a big cage but not a lot in it - which was slowly sorted out so as not to completely freak him out. He was one messed up bird when he came to me but more on that later.


        MESS

        Lots of.
        Parrots are not the tidiest of creatures. If you can't deal with mess and destruction you'd be better off going with a goldfish.
        Greys are intelligent creatures and need amusement, this comes in many forms. Chewing and destroying things is a favorite pastime of many parrots, it's a natural behavior. In the wild Grey's live in big flocks and spend much of their time finding and opening their food - nuts and suchlike. Domestic birds have it too easy most of the time, with food provided in a bowl 24-7 no effort required on their part, so they have more time to fill. More on this in Diet.
        In the past 6 months since we moved my grey has stripped a whole wall virtually bare of wallpaper - even though he's got other things to do if he's left to his own devices its one of his favorite pastimes - plus he learnt it bugs the hell out of me and gets him attention - well it used to at the old place as I liked that wallpaper, and wanted it to stay on the walls... here I hate the wallpaper and am past caring anyway !!
        You will find bits of bird food on your floors everywhere no matter how often you hover up, and be prepared to clean up a fair amount of bird poop too, off your clothes yourself your furniture, floor etc as well as cleaning out your feathered friend cage most days.
        Something else to mention is some people can be sensitive to bird 'dust' for want of a better term, Grey's in particular can cause allergic reactions in people - coughing etc basic respiratory trouble. Which is something to bear in mind if you have asthma or existing conditions.


        TIME

        As well as all that extra cleaning up and cleaning out feeding and watering your going to be doing a Grey requires 'quality time' with its pet human and things to do at play time !! A Grey will not be happy left alone with no entertainment, it wouldn't be fair to get a Grey if you don't have the time to enjoy it's company.
        Well that's the main three bits covered and if your still with me so far then lets go on.


        CAGE, TOYS, DIET...

        As I already mentioned a big cage is a bonus as you can fit in more thing for your Grey to mess with and climb on.
        The bar spacing is also important and should be about 2/2.5 cm space between bars for a Grey. The cage must also be placed out the way of excessive heat draughts and disturbance, mine is next to my computer table in the living room so he
        is rarely lonely !!

        Toys and Perches

        Are essential whether you go for expensive shop bought stuff or homemade amusements toys are a must.
        Personally I did my homework and came up with my own toys for my Grey, a toy doesn't have to be expensive to be enjoyed and many hours of amusement can be had from shredding paper and playing with bits and bobs.
        Untreated natural pine wood is great for making blocks to string up and destroy, sisal rope is ideal for tying together bits, cotton reels etc as is non toxic and safe, and shreds up nicely ! my grey enjoys preening plucking and generally playing around with a thick knot of sisal rope - keeps him happy.
        Perches are a big thing to consider too, it is important to have a variety of perches to choose from rather than all same width hardwood dowel perch.
        Natural branches make for wonderful perches once dried and stripped I use Birch - If you are going to do this yourself check out what woods are safe to use as some can be toxic, a quick Internet search will set you on the right track. Most pet shops stock a variety of perches - I recommend the concrete sea shell type ones as are invaluable for beak and nail trimming, allows your bird to file its own beak which is better than having to take it to a vet to have a beak trim.

        FOOD and WATER

        A Grey requires more than just 'parrot food' even if you buy one specifically designed for greys that clams to be complete. I tried one of these, it was expensive and my Grey already set in his ways and bad diet did not eat half the bits in it - mostly the 'good' bits - the pellets with all those added nutrients.
        So I went back to standard parrot food and again did my homework and began adding to his diet.
        Fruit and Veg are an easy place to start, apple carrot and general salad stuff were easily introduced and accepted by my Grey, these days if he sees me eating something he wants some !
        My Grey is fed standard parrot seed mix, whatever fruit or veg is around Apple, Banana, Grapes, Cress, Carrot, Celery, Lettuce, Peas, Sweetcorn etc. The odd bit of egg, hard cheese, and of course I'm bad and feed him the odd bit of biscuit and toast and suchlike - but I figure it balances out !!
        Some foods are TOXIC or harmful so its well worth doing asking around / search the net to find out whats what - specific things to avoid are : avocado, chocolate, rhubarb.
        Other things like Caffeine, Alcohol and anything high in sugar, salt, or fat is not good - which is common sense really.

        I find another good occasional treat are large nuts in shells - almonds walnuts etc - Stock up at Christmas time !! - It takes some time but they get into them eventually - My Grey learnt to soak them in his water bowl for a while to make them
        easier to open !!

        The only other thing I feed is Egg-food or Egg Biscuits which you can buy from most Pet shops, it just gives them extra nutrients and vitamins that they can benefit from. My Grey was plucking badly when I first got him and I swear by Egg-food for helping get his feathers growing back.
        It is also a very good idea to make them work a bit for their 'treats' something as simple as a few bits of carrot or favorite nuts hidden in a cardboard tube or box (fold tube ends over) can keep a Grey amused for a while. My grey has a Kong which is a small hard rubber hollow thing you can stuff with food, like the ones you get for dogs just in miniature.

        Fresh water should always be available, and if you get a big bolt-on stainless steel bowl like I have then your bird can bath in it too, mine prefers to bath himself rather than be showered with a mister.
        Though if you haven't got room a Squirt bottle set to fine mist will do for giving your Grey a shower every other week or so ( be careful to make sure the room is warm enough / your bird isn't going to be wet and cold especially when its not nice weather)
        Or you can get large bird baths that fit over the cage door OR just provide a shallow dish of water your Grey can climb in and out of to bath and play in ( paint roller trays are pretty good for this job )

        PLUCKING

        This is a big parrot problem not Just for African Greys but depending what you read Greys are very prone to plucking out their own feathers, there are many reasons why birds may do it. Stress, Boredom, and frustration as well as a poor diet to name a few. There is no one set cause, and it is not an easy problem to solve.

        My Grey had plucked his front bald when he came to me, he had no feathers or fluff to his front at all.
        My grandmas Grey that we 'inherited' had the same problem - he was a proper plucker and needed more help than I had time to give - 20 odd years of my Grandma screwed him up and think it would have took another 20 years to sort his head out, though if I hadn't got little boy I would happily have spent the rest of my days loving the pair of them and sorting them out myself.
        I read something which made sense to me at the time - which is when a bird has been plucking out its feathers - even if it now has a good diet and otherwise happy - it may continue to do it purely out of habit - like a human biting their nails.
        This was the case with George my Grandmas Grey, the other parrot Sinbad the Amazon was a bit overweight - but otherwise a beautiful bird. They were re-homed to a guy with the space and time to spend with them - which I just didn't have.

        SO about 3 years on and I get offered a Grey.....Barney though he's now most lovingly referred to as BIRD...lol
        General signs of a healthy happy Grey will be alert with bright clear eyes, and good plumage (feathers)


        Health

        Small bit on health -The most common sign a bird is unwell is if it just sits uninterested with its feathers 'puffed' up. Though Birds - Greys included are generally very good at hiding illness until they get really unwell its just a natural thing.
        There are obvious signs of illness such as swelling on the feet, and discharge from nostrils or eyes.
        Though generally if a Grey is fed a good diet and cared for properly you should have little trouble with it.
        Smoking around them is not good as Greys / Parrots / Birds are sensitive to strong odours, aerosols and such are bad and should not be used around your bird. Also if you have dogs check any flea treatments powders sprays etc you may use as some can be harmful to birds.

        Love
        I was determined to give my new Grey a better life and set about improving his diet, introducing him to new toys, adding new perches, and most important thing for him was OUT time, time outside his cage. He was very happy just to sit on top of his cage !
        It took him a while to explore and venture onto the sofa...make himself at home and start ripping off my wallpaper...

        It took weeks - months to build up the trust I have with him now. Parrots have strong Beaks and will bite if scared, threatened, startled, annoyed - .the list goes on.
        They are a prey animal and quite fragile really, so its natural they are wary of things when faced with new things and situations. Though when settled and safe and happy they are the most entertaining curious characters.

        Freedom
        He always has the option of coming out his cage as i removed the door - its his choice
        The only reasons I ever clip his door back on and shut him in are really for his own safety - for example if I go out and have to leave Buster Dog in
        - as BIRD sometimes goes on the floor and bugs the dogs which normally would be fine as Dizz dog just goes upstairs if he won't quit bugging her - but new dog Buster wants to play and I worry he might squish silly mad BIRD by accident if left alone !!!
        Other than that its up to him he rarely flies around and is quite happy on his cage and stand that I made him. He amuses himself climbing around and messing with his stuff, sitting on my knee while I'm on the computer ( his stand makes for a good place to put my feet up while typing)


        Not Just a Pretty Boy...

        African Greys are well known for their intelligence and their reputation is well deserved. My Grey talks when it suits him and spends his days whistling weird tunes, clicking, barking, sometimes screaming -when boy screams Bird screams...V.funny ! - Tweeting at the cockatiel, making mobile phone noises, sirens, squawking, car alarms, kisses. The list of sounds is endless - and there's always a new noise or word....They're a never ending source of entertainment !
        There's nothing more special than sitting stroking a bird either, my Grey will sit for an hour or more just having his head tickled and being petted and stroked and can be super sweet and soppy sometimes.
        A parrot is nothing like a cat or a dog or other animal make no mistake about it. If you are lucky enough to have your Grey from a baby then you have the chance at a special bond from the start as you are its first human.
        If like me you get an older bird with its own past and history, it takes more time and a lot of patience, but to me it's SO worth it all to see my Grey now compared to when I got him he's a different bird and most of all for the special bond I have with my Birdy Boy now. He's still a little plucker, sometimes has a bald patch on his front - but least he's not bald like he used to be and most important he is an active noisy happy little thing !

        I'm sure I've not covered everything but hopefully provided enough to give you an idea of what kind of commitment an African Grey needs to be healthy and happy and how rewarding it can be.
        There is loads of information out there about Greys all it takes is a quick search to discover more about these birds and what they need to be healthy and happy.

        Thanks for taking the time to read,
        Manda.

        (review can also be found on ciao *with photos* under same username)

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          03.01.2007 21:01
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          Think twice, three even four times before buying a parrot

          I agree with alot of what you have said, i have a Sulpher Crested Cockatoo who is 6 years old named Bonnie, and yes she is very, very demanding wants to be out on my arm or shoulder all of the time which is of course impossible, she does however spend at least 8 hrs a day out of her cage more if i get the chance, even sitting here now trying to write this she is jumping up and down on my arm, i too ask people to think twice about keeping a parrot, even three or four times if need be, please dont get me wrong i love bonnie she's my little girl, i think and hope she is happy and she is very well looked after, spoilt really.
          Even though she was bred in this country and was hand reared, and tame you still have to keep your eyes on her she will still have a nip if your ignoring her, give her half a chance and she'd chew up anything, vet bills well luckily i have not had to many of those she goes once a year for a check up, i must say i have to travel quite away to get her to the nearest avian vet, so please take this into consideration and look into it before buying a parrot. As for food well i buy it by the sack it does work out cheaper she has a Very good seed and fruit mix plus her daily fresh fruit and veg and of course just one or two little treats when she's out her cage, also be aware when a parrot is out of the cage they do need access to food and fresh water, which is common sense to me.
          Well cages the larger the better and plenty of toys puzzle toys, chewable toys and i have a couple of the acrillic ones but find she don't like those as much, her cage is 6ft 6 tall, 4ft wide and deep.
          Hope this helps people to think before buying a parrot or NOT buying a parrot!!

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            20.12.2006 00:42
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            Noisy, messy and plain crazy...and still they enchant us.

            This is a story about a parrot called Mack, a blue-and-gold macaw, one of the most common species of macaw parrot kept in captivity. Born in the eighties, after being lovingly hand-reared by his breeder, Mack’s first home was with the rich owner of a shooting club, who had a members-only bar. Mack lived alongside Sprocket, a sulphur-crested cockatoo. Both birds lived inside the kind of fashionable parrot cages that are totally unsuitable for the birds living inside…tall and round with hardly enough room to stretch their wings. The club was also a smoking one, and this of course was very unsuitable for these delicate birds’ lungs. Despite this, Mack and Sprocket became very tame and lived reasonably happy lives…as happy as a bird in a cage ever could be. Sadly, after the club closed, Mack and Sprocket were separated and sold on, this was in the nineties. Mack was passed from home to home. Owning a parrot was and still is a very fashionable thing,but what most people don’t realise is how difficult parrots can be…they are like a destructive two year old, only with a beak that is strong enough to break your fingers. They screech, scream, clatter their wings, bite, throw tantrums and spill food everywhere. If kept in a cage all the time they become bored and start mutilating themselves by pulling out their feathers. Mack was clearly treated awfully, by the time he came to a close friend of mine), he was a nightmare. The minute anyone came near the cage he would bite and scream his head off. It took my friend two years to make a decent, tame pet bird out of him. My friend never intended to keep him long term as a bird the size of a blue-and-gold macaw (they are not far off a metre in length from beak to tail tip) cannot generally fairly be kept as a household pet. In the end he was given to someone with an aviary, and fortunately he now has a happy life living with a mate. This is one story with a happy ending…there are many more that are not nearly so happy.

            I don’t know what is wrong with people. They see a beautiful coloured tropical bird or a giant snake on a tv programme, and they have to “own” it. They aren’t happy seeing these wonderful creatures in their natural environment, doing what they were always supposed to do. They have to catch it, traumatise it by shipping it all over the world, shove it behind metal bars and start breeding it, turning it into nothing more than a factory item to make an obscene amount of profit (you can pay up to a grand for a parrot of Mack’s species, and one of the rarest, the Hyacinth macaw, goes for thousands of pounds). Fortunately for some species, many adapt to captivity pretty well. Two of the most common pet lizards, bearded dragons and leopard geckos, seem to enjoy human company and become incredibly tame and loveable, and a properly raised chinchilla or chipmunk is a delightful pet. Sadly many more species are totally unsuitable as pets, and this goes for almost all parrot type birds kept in captivity. In order to keep a Mack happy, you have to not work away from home and spend HOURS a day with “your” bird. Even small species like a cockatiels and budgies need a couple of hours of your time a day to keep them happy. Most people just do not have this type of time to commit to a bird, which is why many birds are shunted from owner to owner for years. So I’m compiling a list of all the reasons you SHOULDN’T have a parrot.


            Big parrots are dangerous and not at all suitable family pets. Most of the macaws and cockatoos can easily break your finger, those beaks are designed to crack open the hardest of nut-shells, and a bird like the hyacinth macaw has been known to rend its cage bars into little bits. If you tick that bird off, you WILL pay the price. And almost ALL parrots, even the tame ones, bite occasionally. These are very destructive birds that can, and will tear and rend wood and fabric. Very few can be totally trained out of this.

            Parrots are generally speaking, very loud. Even the little ones like parrotlets can let out an unholy screech, although birds like budgies and canaries tend to whistle and chirp rather than scream. A lot of screaming in parrots is out of happiness, in the wild birds scream at each other when they are enjoying themselves. If you shout at a parrot for screaming, he’ll think your enjoying it and screech louder. Some parrots can be trained out of screeching but the vast majority will still screech every now and again, if not a lot more often. Even if you don’t care, have a care for your neighbours.

            They are messy. When they eat they crack seed shells and toss them everywhere, they often flutter to the bottom of their cage and toss sand and droppings. Because in the wild, any waste they produced just falls to the ground, they have no sense of cleanliness like many animals can, although on the other hand they are fastidious about washing themselves. They can never be housetrained.

            It is cruel to keep a parrot in a cage and not let it fly outside the cage daily for a couple of hours at least. When you factor in the risk of the parrot flying into windows, escaping, hurting itself and pooing all over your living room, this is not a minor inconvenience.

            Parrots are extremely valuable animals, this makes them very prone to being abused for the sake of hard coin. Many breeders don’t give a toss about them. Factory breeding them, over and over, is their style. They don’t care about health they just breed the birds as often as possible. By buying a baby bird you are fuelling a nasty trade. And although importing wild birds is still illegal, they are very often smuggled in, and there is little way to tell if this is your bird or not. Again, even if it isn’t, you are still contributing to the demand and therefore the supply of these birds. Parrots are also often stolen, and of course this is heart breaking for anyone who loves their pet.

            Birds live a long time. A VERY long time…if cared for properly. A budgie can live a good 15 years, a small parrot like a caique can live thirty, the larger macaws commonly reach 50 and above, if they are given good care. The oldest recorded parrot is over 100. A large parrot will often outlive you. Even if you can care for it for your whole lifetime, how can you say what will happen to it after you die.

            A note on the above…parrots pair-bond for life. If you keep a sole parrot in captivity and care for it properly, YOU will become its mate. And it can and will become jealous of other people. Many parrots hate their owners getting new partners, new friends or new animals. They often will attack the perceived threat. A young parrot CAN be taught to accept all people, but this sort of training needs to take place if things are to go well for you. Again, if your parrot outlives you, what happens to it? Because they form such close attachments, selling a parrot around is upsetting and stressful for it. Keepers consider splitting a true pair of birds very cruel, but don’t think twice about shunting a parrot from here to there, not giving it a chance to put down roots.

            Parrots are very intelligent animals and as such can show prejudice. There are parrots that don’t like people of other races, and many parrots show sex-preference. They can also decide they just don’t like you. What happens if your bird decides it hates you and you are stuck with it for fifty years? Parrots frequently manipulate their owners into getting them anything they want.

            Parrots consume a LOT of your time, especially if you only keep one. They have the flock instinct ingrained in them and they need plenty of time to interact with their flock. That can mean a couple of hours of your time if your bird is a small bird like a parrotlet or a budgie. If you have a larger parakeet or small parrot, such as one of the amazon parrots, a conure or Senegal parrot, I would suggest three to four hours daily of your time is needed. African grey parrots, cockatoos and macaws are the most impressive, the most coveted, the most rewarding if treated correctly and the most expensive. They are also the most demanding of time and attention. If you work more than four hours a day, I wouldn’t suggest you get one of these at all. Neglected birds often mutilate themselves or pluck out their own feathers. This is the sign of a desperately unhappy animal.

            Parrots are expensive. Hand-reared African greys often pull in hundreds, and many of the macaw and cockatoo species run to thousands. A cage for a larger bird will also be incredibly expensive, not to mention the specialised diet of many of them. Vet care can be expensive for a parrot.

            Most vets are not specialised in birds and will rarely see anything more uncommon than a budgie. If you want a bird you really have to take the time out to find a specialised avian vet.

            Parrots are stroppy little gits. Owning a parrot is like having a toddler…one that will live up to 70 years and never grow up. Even if a parrot is perfect for you now, who can say how things will be for you even five years from now. What if you have to move to a place that doesn’t allow pets? What if you settle down with someone who doesn’t like animals? What if you have children and the bird bites them?

            Even if you get a species famed for its talking abilities, like the African grey, it may never learn to talk. The best talking birds are some of the most demanding to keep. Most species have some ability but its all down the individual.

            Some of these statistics speak for themselves…the average parrot has five homes before it settles into a permanent one or dies prematurely. Captive budgies live an average of two years, despite having a natural lifespan of eight to fifteen years. Parrots often only live five years, despite their natural longevity.

            Some of the most popular birds are the hardest to keep. The beautiful Eclectus parrots are very temperamental, especially the hen, who has the nicest colouration. African grey parrots and macaws are highly destructive and highly intelligent, very demanding of their owners. Cockatoos demand attention all the time, and are very prone to becoming ill and stressed if they aren’t given enough of it.


            In my opinion, the number one reason for not keeping a parrot is this…a wild bird does not belong in a cage. Whilst it is true that a well-socialised, loved and cared for parrot is likely very happy, the vast majority of pet birds are none of the above. Confining something that naturally flies miles in groups of up to hundreds of individuals inside a prison just to satisfy human want (because it could never be considered “need”) is just unfair. While I have met a few happy birds with owners who truly have the knowledge and love to care for them, I’ve seen many more who are desperately unhappy. Birds are so intelligent that they will develop mental disorders if kept in a cage, just as a human would. There may be some people who are fit to be guardians of these incredible creatures, but I’d say that 99.9% of the population just isn’t up to it. It takes a very special person to make a proper parrot mum or dad. I myself, after spending lots of time helping my friend out with his birds, and owning a couple of the smaller species myself, would honestly admit that I am part of the 99.9%, and I truly adore all animals and have great patience for them…but parrots are too much even for me.

            On the other hand, a loved and well-treated parrot is a pet like no other. They become touchingly devoted to their owners (Stockholm Syndrome?) and can be a real joy those who own them. And is always the case, some are more suited to captivity than others. Budgies, canaries, cockatiels, conures and caiques are some of the birds that make good pets if you have the time and the effort to put into it.

            If anyone reading this still wants a parrot after everything I’ve told them, my best advice is to start small, and preferably rescue birds that are in need of a home rather than fuelling an evil trade by buying a baby bird from a shop or a breeder. The smaller birds like cockatiels can make charming, lovely pets if you have the dedication for them. After this if you want to move up to the more “impressive” birds, again remember that there are hundreds of unwanted parrots out there looking for someone who will love and care for them properly. If you have the dedication, keeping parrots can be very rewarding if expensive, time-consuming and tiring. And never, ever feather clip your bird. Birds were born to fly, squirrels were born to climb. You wouldn’t cut off a squirrels feet to stop it climbing, so what gives you the right to prevent a bird doing what it was designed to do?

            All birds deserve to be free. But of course once tamed this is not possible, so the next best thing is a loving, caring owner, preferably one who understands that they are keeping a tiny prisoner in their home, one who looks to them for everything they need.

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              03.05.2006 15:49
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              Owning one can be stressful at times but the love they give makes up for it!

              The oranged-winged Amazon is found situated in northern South America, where they occupy a large area. This area includes many parts of Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia and nearly all of Peru. This particular species of Amazon is the most widely imported into Europe and is considered to make an excellent pet as well as being a good talker. Being roughly 13 inches in length this makes it a lot easier to house for anyone considering bird keeping. Their plumage is mainly green with black, blue, yellow, orange and green wings.

              Why choose this particular species?

              I chose this particular parrot over all of the others as they're an easy to handle size for the first time parrot owner, they're slightly less noisy compared to others, due to having a living room of average size this species was perfect as I didn't need an over ally large cage, and finally the relatively cheap price of purchasing and keeping them. When purchasing any parrot I would strongly recommend obtaining them as a baby and preferably one that has been hand reared as new parrot owners will find it easier to handle and tame them.

              What do I need to buy, and what is the cost?

              Starting off with the obvious you need to acquire your feathered friend from a reputable pet shop or bird centre. When viewing the birds you should check for mites, any missing toes, the nostrils should be clear and dry; it should have an intelligent look and be interested in its environment. An unhealthy bird is likely to have its eyes closed and discharge coming from them as well as having dry and dull looking feathers which when slouched will have them puffed up.
              When I chose Madison (named after a parrot in a children's television series a few years ago) after leaving the bird centre I took her straight to the vets to have her checked over and was happy that she was given a clean bill of health. My advice would be that if you spot an unhealthy bird or are distressed by its living conditions that report it to the R.S.P.B so that they can investigate. At the time of purchase back in July 2002 a 14 week old Madison cost me just under £200. This included the cage, 2 water bowls, a feeding bowl and a small bag of food. This price I believe is still pretty general today and I would advise to shop around first.

              The cage

              When it comes to purchasing a cage the minimum guidelines for size are that the height needs to be at least 2 inches of space when the adult bird is on its highest perch, and when on its lowest there should be at least the same amount below its tail feathers. Please note a cage any smaller than this for your bird will not only be cruel, but will affect the birds' health and may lead to death. My advice would be to buy the biggest cage that you have got room for and can afford, with a cage door for easy access for you and the bird. Your bird must have plenty of room to stretch its wings fully, so with regard to style I would recommend a rectangular shape that will provide length as this is more important than height. Cages can cost anything between £150 - £500 for this species.

              You will also need to buy a cage cover which is large enough to block out all of the light so your bird can have the minimum requirement of 12 hours undisturbed sleep.

              Other bits and bobs

              Water bowls, a feeding bowl, perches (preferably natural ones of varying length and thickness to keep its talons trimmed) I usually place 2 bowls in Madison's cage, one for seed, and the other with a salad.

              Toys

              A variety of colorful and interesting toys is a must to keep your bird healthy, occupied and happy. It's important to choose toys appropriate for the size and species of your bird so as they won't get destroyed so easily and are not too small/big for your bird to handle. Madison almost has a huge toy box which includes bells, wooden ladders, swings, bricks, and even an abacus so that she can learn how to count (I'm expecting a call from MENSA any day now). Chewable toys are high on my priory list as it's important to keep her from chewing her feathers instead.
              Prices do vary but can range from £2 - £30. Although toys are important to stimulate birds it's important to remember not to over crowd the cage, as space to flap their wings is just as important.

              For the lining of the cage tray I personally use old newspapers, but sand sheets can also be purchased for this purpose.

              Diet

              On to the favorite part of Madison's day, feeding time. Madison's diet consists of a bowl of dried food which is mainly sunflower seeds, currents, dried fruit, chilies, and peanuts. She also has fresh fruit and veg daily. It's important to provide them with fruit as well as dry food to maintain a balanced diet,and after all this is what they'd have in the wild.
              I personally change her food every day although some just blow the husks off and replenish, this to me is wrong as you don't know what nasties I.e. mites or droppings might be lurking amongst the food. I buy one 15kg of parrot mix food roughly every 3 months which costs me £15.

              Are they easy to train?

              As I purchased Madison at such a young age and started the training the day after I purchased her I haven't had too many problems in taming her. It's always important to remember that they're wild and therefore can be unpredictable. Having read many books on parrots in general there is one issue that is very highly debated and that is whether or not to get your parrots flight feathers trimmed. The so called advantages of this are that if you do have this done then they will be easier to handle. I however could not do this to my baby as I feel that she should be left as nature intended it. I admit that when training her it's frustrating when she flies off up onto the curtain tracking, but I'm able to get her day easily and so it's not a problem with her. If you're undecided as to what to do then have a talk with an avian vet who will advise you on this.
              The basics of training is offering the bird food with the door open to tempt it to take it from you, and then eventually this will lead to you being able to get it to step up onto your hand so that you can show it round the rest of it's home. This is important as your parrot needs to know that its cage isn't a prison and that it has to share the home with you.

              Breeding

              Having no experience of this as I don't keep an aviary of birds, I have done a little research.
              Female Amazons will need a nest-box placed in their cage which is made out of strong wood and lined with peat. Light within the box should be limited and the box itself should not be overly spacious. Your bird should not be disturbed when the eggs have been laid and should be left to incubate for roughly 28 days.If the eggs haven't been expelled from the parrot then for novice owners an immediate visit to the vets is vital so that the hen and egg have every chance of survival. If in any doubt always seek professional help.

              Health

              I have already told you what signs and symptoms to look out for in a healthy bird, but please note that a bird that appears to be healthy can rapidly deteriorate and die in a very short period of time. Once you have had your parrot for a while and got to know his or her habits then it should soon become apparent to you when something is not right. If in any doubt take your parrot to your local vet who will check them over.
              It's a good to idea to find an avian vet as they will have been especially trained in dealing with birds and so therefore will have a better knowledge and understanding of them.
              In nearly 4 years in owning Madison she has visited the vets only 3 times. Once to have her checked over after buying her and twice to have her talons clipped. If you've never clipped a birds talons before or aren't confident in doing them properly then you need to let a vet do them.
              It's important to keep an eye on the length of their talons as untrimmed ones can be life threatening to them if they get them caught in the cage bars, this can lead to them breaking a leg and dying of shock. If the talons are long and are starting to hook right round, then they need trimming.
              To maintain them I purchased some perches for Madison that are specially designed to keep them trimmed for around £10 each.
              To keep her beak trimmed Madison has cuttle fish on a regular basis as well as calcium blocks. Madison has only needed to have her beak trimmed once as a result of having access to these things.
              A clean environment is also important in maintaining your parrots' health. I clean Madison's cage out every day with hot water to sterilize it along with her water and feeding bowls. When it comes to her toys, I wipe over with them with a dry cloth everyday and any washable ones at the end of each week I put in a bowl of hot water and then leave them to dry. If a thoroughly clean environment is not maintained then it can lead to your bird suffering with mites. Luckily Madison hasn't had any unwanted guests yet and I strive to keep it that way.
              To keep her feathers moist and healthy looking I spray her daily with lukewarm water to avoid them drying out and resulting in possible feather plucking.

              How long do they live for?

              " With proper care, nutrition and good genetics Amazons can live a human lifetime and enjoy good health and a ripe old age." A quote from amazonasociety.org.


              So who is Madison?

              Madison is just over 4 years old and is definitely a female. I have been told that as her identity ring is on her left leg then she is a hen. Also around this time of year she starts to get broody and wiggles her bum up and down the newspaper. I have made the decision not to let her breed as I lack the experience of this and also there is always the worry of finding homes for the babies.
              She is reasonably tame although she does have her moments. Although Amazons are supposed to be excellent talkers Madison's speech is somewhat slurred, for instance my name is Lisa and it comes out as "eeeeeeea"!
              She has plenty of out of cage time and loves to torment the cats and roll her bricks up and down the living room. During the summer months I put her outside in the cage so that she gets to see something different and to compete vocally with the other birds. Her favorite food is cheesy pasta and she is notorious for pinching mine. When I go to work I always leave the radio on for her and this has resulted in her liking the Black Eyed Peas and some rather peculiar dancing.

              Summing up

              I hope that I have covered everything that you would need to know when considering this species, although I'm sure that you will appreciate that most of my advice covers owning and looking after any bird. I would definitely recommend purchasing an Amazon for the first time owner as well as the more experienced parrot owners out there. Amazons are a good size to handle, very loving, easy to train and aren't quite as noisy as other parrot species, although they do have the odd screeching session.
              As most parrots screech and some point or another during the day they can't be left alone for long periods of time so this needs to be thought about when considering a parrot.
              Always make sure that your home is fully prepared and safe for bringing a parrot into your life and that you keep its environment very clean to hopefully avoid mites lodging in on your parrot and affecting its health.

              Books to consider purchasing

              Guide to a well behaved parrot by Mattie Sue Athan
              Parrot training by Bonnie Munro Doane
              The guide to a happy healthy pet parrot by Arthur Freud
              Amazon parrots by Paul R Paradise
              Why does my parrot …? By rosemary Low

              All of these books can be found on Amazon for around £5


              A favorite parrot website of mine is www.24parrot.com as you can purchase food, toys, cages, books, accessories plus many other things for you and your bird at very reasonable prices.

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                02.03.2003 06:36
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                My little african grey is called Bilbo he is 16months old and is so intresting. he always wants to be in the same room as me so he follows me round the house i cant even go to the toilet in peace. African greys are very intelegent and have a very good memory so if you annoy and tease one they might not bite you then they will wait till later but they will get you. African grey parrots dont start to talk till there about a year old but they learn to whisle from a very early age, at the age my parrot is now he says hello billbo bill alright up out help an african grey will like one person the most and will want to be around that person more. If you decide to get a parrot beware they need lots of love care and attention and can be very messy and talk all the way through your favourite tv program if you can put up with this you will have a good exsperience. African greys need quite large cages the bigger the better so they can have lots of toys to keep them occupied, if an african grey or any other parrot gets bored and depressed it will start to pull out its feathers which is not a good thing. African Greys eat a mix of nuts and seeds but likes to eat alot of food we eat. Daiey products are like poison to parrots and most parrots love them put please dont feed them dairy products or you will have a dead polly. A had reared africen grey meaning hand trained is the best type to get and can cost between £500-£900. When an african grey matures its eye colour goes from a black to a yellow colour and they grow do about 30-50cm high. The funnest thing my parrot has done is i taught it to burp after it has a drink. These are fun pets to have if you dont mind spending some time but please do not buy one unless you can give this pet plenty of love care and attention.

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                  03.07.2002 05:53
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                  • "A bit pricey"

                  "Hello ugly b**ch, you old sl***er!" Yes its another beautiful morning and Saracen wants to let me know he cares! Saracen, or Sarry, or Saz depending on how naughty he is being is a five year old African Grey, the third we have owned. Our first and second unfortunately died and believe me these are devastating events and I cried for weeks. But Saracen is the love of my life despite having language that would put a navvy to shame and an unfortunate propensity to kiss you after eating chilli's! We bought him five or six years ago after moving back from Germany, still only a young baby. These parrots are about a foot tall (I think but I'm not the most accurate person in the world) and are grey with a beautiful red tail and a blackish grey wicked beak. They are born with black eyes which gradually lighten to grey before turning yellow. When we bought Sarry he was still a black eyed boy but is now fully mature with yellow eyes. They have an unparalleled mimicing ability and Sarry has a vocabulary we have worked out of approximately 200-330 words. They also have the ability to make certain mental links meaning Saracen will always say Bye Bye to me if I put my coat on and begin a full fledged conversation complete with mm-hmm's if the phone rings. He has an annoying tendency to imitate the smoke alarm just as I've put the grill on and many a time has seen me dashing out into the hall waving a tea towel only to find the noise stops and the parrot shouts 'HELLO!' He is a huge football fan and will woohoo along with the crowd and turn loop the loops on his perch but his favourite program is countdown as he loves to imitate the countdown clock. His favourite song is crazy horses by the osmonds as he can make the wailing noises at the beginning. And his favourite book? Why any with a colour picture of an African Grey he can blow kisses at of course! He has an unparalleled range of swearwords
                  - not the nicest choice of words in the world but he says them with such love and affection that you have to forgive him. As our house is a bit of a menagerie he can call me and my sisters by name, imitate the cats and call them by name (scolding them with 'bad cat' if neccesary) and imitate our guinea pigs. I could go on for hours describing his vocabulary but will reign in my enthusiasm. African Greys live for fifty to eighty years in captivity with the right care and have a diet of seeds, nuts and fresh fruit and vegetables. Chocolate is to be avoided as it is poisonous to them but try as we might Sarry can hear a crisp packet being opened in the next room and sets up a dreadful racket if we dont let him nibble a tiny piece. They need fresh water every day but occasionally more often after a particualrly vigourous bathing session when you will find water running down your walls and furniture. They do require a lot of space and make a lot of dust but if you have the time and resources are a fantastic companion for life. They tend to bond to one person although in our house Sarry has made an exception and has adopted both me and my mum. My dad is a deeply loathed figure for some reason however and Saracen often plots how to get him - I swear you can see it in his eyes! The downside to this affection is that he tends to believe I am his 'mate' so whilst I can take great liberties with him that would lose other people their fingers - rubbing his belly and under his wings etc. I do have to beware of him attempting to feed me with regurgitated food - loving it may be, attractive its not! He also enjoys eating dried chillis then offering you a kiss that leaves your lips burning! They are expensive birds, anything from £700 upwards plus the cost of a very large cage and regular toys to prevent boredom - a highly intelligent parrot such as the Grey can be easily bored which will lead to behavioural problems, and it takes
                  some patience and a few sticking plasters possibly to tame a wild one but if you have the money, space and patience you will be rewarded a hundred fold in terms of love, companionship and moments of laughter. The most rewarding momensts of owning a parrot come when your parrot allows you to kiss it for the first time or masters a new word you have been trying to teach it. Oh and the mexican hat bird? Just the latest song he has mastered whistling and is now driving us mad repeating! Happy Hunting

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                    02.05.2002 08:50
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                    • "can bite"

                    I own a 3yr old african grey male named Dude.Well he is no dude thats for sure. I have had him sine he was a baby i bought him from a breeder who hand rears them. When i first had Dude he loved me, i would speak to him all the time and take him out of his cage. He started talking a few weeks after i had bought him which i thought was really cool of him.By the time he reached his second birthday there was no stopping him he would talk non stop and sing. Thats when he changed, as soon as he reached that terrible two stage. He is three years old now and he hates my guts, i cannot go into the cage if i walk past his cage he hurls loads of abuse at me. But he lets my husband into his cage he even gives him a kiss and talks nice to him. I have not done anything i know of to upset this bird he just changed overnight. Parrots in general are very good pets to have. They can keep you entertained for hours,and if looked after will live a good full life. My parrot has never gone through the stage of feather plucking, which is quite a common thing in these birds. The breeder i got him from says that feather plucking is mainly due to the diet and boredom. I keep dudes cage full of toys and change them every week so he never gets bored.Loads of toys can be entertaining for them but like children they get bored with the same toy.Parrot toys can be very expensive, i use good sturdy baby toys which i picked up from markets etc, and he loves them. The African Grey which Dude is are the best parrots to go for as they are the best talkers.They mainly mimic people. When i first had Dude i used to leave a cassette running which i had done for him to teach him to speak. But he never ever said anything that was on the tape, he just sat and listened to our conversations and started mimicking us. The downside to having a parrot is that they only have one owner. So if you are a female wanting to buy a parrot you are best buying a male, and a female if you are a guy
                    wanting one. I dont know whats happened to my Dude i was gauranteed he was a male but he will only take to my husband. If anyone has any suggestions on how i can get him to be friends with me again, i would be very grateful. Thanks

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                      18.02.2002 14:08
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                      Parrots are very sociable creatures and like to be involved in everything that is going on around them. My parrot, Darwin (a rock pebbler), is no exception and likes to help me write my dooyoo opinions. Unfortunately, however, his typing skills are not on a par with mine (I expect the lack of thumbs has something to do with it). He also likes to sit near the mouse and peck at the button with his beak but normally at the most inopportune moments. CONSIDERATIONS Before purchasing a parrot you must ensure that it will be the right pet for you. Small parrots can live for 20 years but large parrots can live up to 80 years, so it is a long term commitment inviting a parrot into your home. Parrots are extremely intelligent; they are on a par with a five-year-old human. It is important to bear in mind, therefore, that they will need a lot of stimulation. They like human company and need to be out of their cage for several hours a day. Darwin is out of his cage whenever I am in the house, so normally at least 7 hours a day. Having seen how adventurous and curious my parrot is I can see how awful it would be for such an intelligent creature to be caged all day. In this respect I think they need as much companionship as a dog. COMPANIONSHIP Parrots love to be with people. As I speak (or rather, type), Darwin is sitting in front of the keyboard, balanced on my cup of herbal tea, sharing my beverage with me. I can predict that within minutes he will be trying to eat buttons off the keyboard. Darwin will follow me around the house all day; yes, you guessed it, even to the bathroom. Such close prolonged contact is bound to lead to an affinity between man and bird. It is important that you do not allow your bird to become overly attached to one member of the family, as they may then become jealous, to such an extent that they may attack others who try to approach their favoured human. You
                      should ensure that the bird has as much contact as possible with all members of the family, who should all be involved in the handling and disciplining of the bird. Most of important of all you should not encourage your parrot to become sexually attracted to you (no, I’m not accusing you of bestiality). If this does happen then the bird’s aggression towards other people may be very threatening. Do not stroke your parrot on the stomach or tail, as these are erogenous zones! HANDLING You should not allow your parrot to sit anywhere where it is above your eye level, as they will then be in a dominant position. If your parrot is being disobedient then it is worth moving its cage to the ground for a couple of weeks, to re-establish its place within your family’s pecking order. You should not allow parrots to sit on your shoulder. Partially because this will often put them above your eye level, but also because parrots, just like young children, can be temperamental and throw tantrums. There have been numerous incidents of parrots lashing out in anger and causing terrible facial injuries to their owners. SPEECH As satisfying as hearing your baby’s first words is, this cannot compare to the happiness you feel when your parrot first speaks! Darwin was not very original in his first word: ‘hello’. His vocabulary has now extended to: ‘Hello Darwin’ ‘Good Morning Darwin’ ‘Step up’ ‘Good boy’ ‘What are you doing?’ ‘Loxley’ (the name of my pet house bunny!) ‘Broccoli’ (bizarre I know) and, briefly remembered after a visit from my mother, ‘Oh bloody hell’ Parrots also like to imitate noises and Darwin’s favourite trick is to impersonate the telephone. It is a brilliant impression but, as you can imagine, causes much confusion.
                      He has also begun to repeat the noise of the modem dialling. What a clever parrot! POOH Unfortunately birds produce a lot of pooh and wee. A fact of nature I’m afraid! However, it is possible to house train them. When you let your parrot out of its cage, time it to see how long it takes to pooh. Parrots normally pooh at regular intervals. Then the next time you take it out, put it back into the cage just before it is due to defecate and wait until it has done so before taking it out of the cage again. Once a bird has been house trained it will stick to its routine rigidly. If you train your bird to go to the loo in a location other than its cage, you must be very careful to ensure that you give it regular access to its bathroom, as there have been incidents of parrots holding in their faeces for so long, while waiting for access to their allowed pooh area, that they have died. Honest! GAMES Parrots love to be entertained by you and to play games. Darwin’s favourite game is ‘peek-a-bird’; you have to hide behind your arm and then pop your head up and say ‘peek-a-bird’ before disappearing behind your arm again. This normally results in frantic head bobbing from Darwin. Parrots love to listen to your voice and especially like to hear their name. If you tell them a story involving a parrot with their name, they will be rapt for hours. The most useful discovery I have made so far is that singing soothes Darwin. So, when he is having a strop I just start singing and he calms down and sits intently listening. FOOD Anything! Don’t think you’ll ever eat in peace again. Balanced dry parrot food can be bought from all pet shops and a handful of this can be fed to them in the morning. In the evening you should feed them some fresh food (fruit and vegetables). It is, however, imperative that they are not
                      fed avocado, as this is toxic to them. You should feed your parrot at the same time as you have your own meal and it should be in the same room as you, so that it can see you eating. This is a very important social occurrence for parrots and your bird will suffer behavioural difficulties if this is not done. MAN AND BIRD Your parrot will slowly become a true member of your family. He will speak to you, want to be with you and miss you when you go away. Don’t forget the downside of families though; you will also get tantrums, arguments and moods! A parrot is a very stimulating pet but also extremely demanding and time consuming. You will develop a real relationship with your parrot and, at the end of the day, that is very rewarding. Happy flocking from both Darwin and me.

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                        17.02.2002 17:14
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                        I kept a pair of Lovebirds for 3 years & had much enjoyment out of them. However, the same feeling was not had from my partner and father due to the racket they would make early in the morning. They make a piercing squawking sound which can become irritable. In saying that, in my opinion, this disadvantage far outweighs the good things about Lovebirds. Here's some info: 1. They are very cheap to keep - you can buy a pre-made bird mix from most pet shops and also treats and supplements. You can add your own fruit, vegetables and nuts to their feeding tray which they will enjoy. My birds loved a bit of salty popcorn too and milk and egg were also favourites. 2. They are VERY cute - and as their name suggests they are very affectionate towards each other and normally sit cuddled up beside each other. Although my male and female often took things a lot further than just a cuddle! Infact at one point it seems as though they 'were at it' 24/7! 3. Mine loved to be let out of their cage in my bedroom to fly about. But be warned that they have VERY strong beaks and love nothing more than to peck into things - so keep all valuables and dangerous items out of reach. You will find that you will be able to teach them to return to your cage when you want them back in. Infact, if you percivere you will be able to teach your lovebirds small tricks and they will eventually become quite tame. Mine had no problem with hopping onto my hand or flying through the air to catch popcorn. They also learned to immitate whistles. At when you attempt to handle them I'd advise wearing sturdy gloves - I aint exagerrating when I say they have VERY strong beaks & until they get used to you they will test your hand out - ouch! 4. Make sure you place their cage in a relatively warm and draughtproof area in the house and at night place a blanket or some sort of cover over their cage - both to keep them warm and also to quiet th
                        em. 5. Mine loved to use their birdbath but equally enjoyed their cage being placed under the shower and lukewarm water turned on. 6. In the summer they will love to be taken in their cage outside. If you do this remember to keep their cage placed high so no dogs or cats can get to it. 7. Cleaning their cage is relatively painess too - I did this at least once a week. I used old toothbrushes to scrub the base. Apart from the noise and their tendency to bite into things lovebirds do make really good pets especially if you give them a good bit of your time and they become tame and affectionate towards you.

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                          30.09.2001 02:42
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                          In my opinion, a parrot is not a pet. It's independent and is much more of a companion than a pet. Humans have been keeping parrots for thousands of years (including pirates), and the requirements of care for them are quite often updated or changed. Parrots can be reasonably difficult to live with. There are quite a lot of parrots who are in care and need loving homes, so if you're thinking of adding one to the family, consider looking into this option as opposed to a pet shop. A parrot must have a healthy balance of nutritious foods. They need good quality porteins, such as Nonfat plain yogurt, nonfat or lowfat cheese, tofu, nonfat cottage cheese, and very hard boiled eggs. Well-cooked chicken, white fish, turkey, or very lean meats are ok too. They also need some vitamin A vegetables. Vitamin A is essential for skin and feather condition, eyesight, and helps the body fight infection. They also require whole-grains and carbohydrates. When buying a parrot, a book on caring for a parrot is essential, especially to learn about their diets. Parrots should live in a large metal cage, where escaping is impossible. They must have much space to be able to hop around in. There should be a fair amount of toys in there. A hanging bell is good (can be noisy though) and a couple of hanging perches are a favourite with parrots. There is a wide range of parrot toys available out there so this should not be too much trouble. Parrots can be quite expensive, maybe up to a few hundred pounds. The cage and accesories needed for him/her will also require the removal of quite a few notes from your wallet. Parrots are quite noisy at times, but this is usually when you're ignoring them or away from them at that moment. Some parrots can talk, but to help them achieve this skill, you have to talk to them quite a lot first. Before you do, the sound they make is a loud squeak. The parrot cage should be in a r
                          oom of normal temperature and somewhere which isn't too quiet, as they can become terribly lonely. They need lots of company and attention, so try not to ignore them too much. They make great pets, with the drawbacks being expense and attention needed.

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                            15.09.2001 19:14
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                            • evil

                            First: find out which breed of parrot you are looking for and be aware that some of them can be very noisy! Ok, parrots ARE fun. They really are, and they can be quite tame aswell. My friend, who has a parrot, always brings it along if she is just going down to the shop. And everybody knows her parrot and talks with it as they walk by. However, they can also very cruel little creatures! I took care of my grandmas parrot once. My grandma had a little, evil parrot, with NO cage, and that snapped after me every time I walked by. As that wasn't enough, this evil creature would also start yelling :"Congratulations!" every time she saw people with fancy clothes on TV. This can be very disturbing if you are actually trying to watch something. The parrot looked sweet. She was very sweet and cuddly with my grandad, would sit on his shoulder.. and snap at me whenever I walked by calling me "Hey Stupid!" For some people she would even dance, or try to sing, but that was just for a well selected elite. The rest of us she enjoyed terrorizing. She also had an incredible vocabulary, and would basically never shut up. That bird even tortured the dog, by saying: "Sit!" The dog would sit. The parrot would say: "Come here, boy!", and the dog would jump towards the parrot just so the parrot could bite its paws and laugh. During breakfast time it would yell and yell and yell, and would shut up unless someone gave her a bit of sugar with coffee on. Then she would eat that, and start yelling again. Once she begged when we ate icecream, and she turned out to love it. After that she would yell every single time someone ate anything. My dad got quite fed up once, and gave her a teaspoon with congac... it doesn't take more than that to get a parrot drunk. You should also be a bit careful with what you say to a parrot. They pick up things you might n
                            ot want it to pick up. When my granma picked up her parrot when she came home, the first thing the parrot said was : "Shut up! If you bite me, I'll cook you for dinner!" Then she sat on my grandmas shoulder and gave a sweet little laugh before she nicely put her head to the side saying : "Can you talk?" I don't know. This parrot died last year, at the age of 87. Parrots can get really old. And I guess they are good company for the right kind of people.. that kind of people who likes noise and yelling at breakfast. Perhaps you have to be the owner of a parrot to understand the pleasure it is having a silly bird laughing at you when a pot of boiling water hit you hands, or to be insulted and bit day after day. I don't understand it. I find some people's parrots funny, but I would never have one myself. No way! My ears will do perfectly well without!

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                              01.07.2001 18:12

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                              I have three favorite parakeet species and they are, Rosellas, Quaker's, and my #1 favorite, the blue ringneck. I have a 16 month old blue ringneck, and she is the best pet ever! I was going to get a large parrot, but because I have a 2-year old, I went for a smaller parrot. My birds name is Asia, she is blue and has a red beek. I bought her from a breeder which is so much cheaper than a pet store. Ringnecks live in warmer habitats such as, Asia and Africa. They have distinguishing features and are so lovable. My ringneck loves to snuggle up to me and have her neck rubbed. I think ringnecks make great pets for children. They are not to small or to big, they are a good size bird. Asia rarely bites, only when aggravated, other than that she is very friendly. In my opinion, If someone wanted to get a bird for a pet, they should definitely get a ringneck parakeet!

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                              25.06.2001 03:45
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                              Couldn't resist this one. My daughter told me her husbands pet shop had just taken in two parrots and they were hand reared and tame at only seven week old or so, was I interested? By the time I said yes there was only one left, the other had been sold, so into the home he/she came. Tiny, green, sleek with a little pink under the wing, this miniscule conure captured our hearts. He/she could only make a sound that came over as awk! but whew! Eight years down the line he/she is fabulous and part of the family including two Sheltie dogs. It seems odd perhaps but I have a conversation most mornings: "Dennis! Dennis! Where's Dennis" "What do you want Dudley" (the parrot) "What you doing" "I'm getting ready for School" "Oh! come here, come on" So I go up to the cage and ask "What do you want" Whispers "Give me a kiss" Then I have to have a laugh and it starts my day right. This Conure is so funny, he/she even calls the dogs in from the garden. It has a vocabulary that is quite extensive but not a voice as good as say an African Grey or an Amazon, it has the parrot feel to its voice. A workman who was left in the conservatory to sort out his things thought he was alone but when the parrot, who was behind him, shouted "What you doing" the poor old guy came running out scared half to death. Super pet/part of the family but be warned, they can be a bit messy with their seed and sometimes violent to people they don't like.

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                                12.05.2001 06:55
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                                • "CAN BITE"

                                African Greys are highly intelligent and have excellent abilities for mimicry. Young African greys adapt readily to new surroundings. Adult birds are less adaptable to unfamiliar environments, dietary changes, etc and may feather pick in response. African parrots, especially African greys are highly playful and easily become bored, so plenty of toys are important. They should always be provided with wooden blocks that can be chewed and branches from non-toxic trees. In order to ensure safety, PET birds should not be allowed unsupervised freedom in the home.They often encounter toxins or dangerous items like plants and sprays. Take time with new cages, toys, visits to the veterinarian, handling by friends Routine bathing or showering is vital to maintaining good plumage and skin condition. Birds can be misted and allowed to dry in a warm room or in the sun, or dried with a blow drier. Care should be taken not to clip the wing feathers excessively. African Greys often fall and injure themselves often requiring surgical repair. Clip only enough so the bird will glide to the floor. All companion and breeding birds should be individually identified to assist in recovery if lost. While they present a slight risk of entrapment, closed bands are preferable to no identification, especially for breeding birds. Microchips, which can be implanted into the muscle or under the skin, are a reliable means of identification but require electronic readers to verify identification. Tattoos may be used but often fade or become illegible with time. African parrots are very active and should be provided with as large a cage as possible. The cage should have at least two perches so the birds can move between them. Toy and activities should be provided. Life Span: Up to 50 years, the average being 20 years Age at maturity: 3-5 years.

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