Happy New Year Everyone! 

I hope everyone had wonderful and relaxing holidays!  Now, we’re all off and running for 2020!  The beginning of the year is always a time for resolutions to get organized and healthy and all kinds of other well meant intentions that are usually lost by March!  It is also the time of year that I receive the most calls from folks wanting to get rid of their birds!  This year, why not make a resolution to learn one new thing about your particular parrot (or parrots in general) every month?  Even if you have had your parrot for years, you may be surprised at what you may learn.  For example, most parrot owners are surprised to learn that parrots have seasons!  We get used to dogs and cats that come to us as puppies and kittens and then, other than getting bigger, they really do not change much except in their energy levels.  Parrots however, have a molting season and a breeding season that significantly influence their behaviors. For example, when a parrot is molting, (a process where old feathers fall out and new ones grow in, typically twice a year), a parrot may not seem to be eating as well or as much, and usually will be a little “grumpy” to use human terminology! A lot of energy is being expended with all the new feather growth and the new feathers can also be irritating or itchy. (look up “pin feathers” in parrots)  When a  parrot is in breeding season, he or she will be shredding papers or chewing wood toys with more enthusiasm than normal.  They may also become protective of their cages or their “mates”, parrot or human.  They are also known to screech especially loudly at this time!!  Parrots often are labeled as “mean” or “aggressive” in human terminology during this time.  In fact, they are not behaving so, they are “just being parrots”!  We need to be careful how we label them, because they are parrots, not “mini-humans”!  I am not saying that the behavior is acceptable or enjoyable, but understanding why your parrot is behaving that way and understanding your parrot from a parrot’s point of view instead of a human’s point of view will go a long way in helping to live with feathered companions.  For fun this month, look up breeding behavior in parrots.  I promise you will be enlightened!  Please feel free to tell me something you learn!  I like sharing info!!


      I am so glad you asked!  The majority of my clients fall into one of two categories.  Those who come too often and those who do not come often enough!  There are a minority of you who are at a happy medium!  The average time for grooming unless you own an African Grey or a member of the Poicephalus family, is 4 months.  I know that may shock some of you!  As much as I love seeing all of you, if you are coming more frequently, you may want to reevaluate just to be sure you are not having your parrot groomed too often.  There are also things you can do to eliminate the need for too frequent grooming.     

     First of all, why does a parrot need grooming?  Actually, they do not!  In the wild, a parrot needs a sharp beak and sharp talons to eat and climb and build nests and feed offspring and even for self defense.  A parrot needs to fly in the wild, so it does not need a wing trim.  “Grooming” a parrot is NOT a natural thing for a parrot.  Even though I make it look easy, it is still a stressful and unnatural activity.  It is not something I really expect them to “get used” to. Why would we?  For most healthy parrots, they can handle the stress of grooming without a problem.  However, if a parrot has a known or obvious health issue, grooming could put it at risk.  There are times when an underlying health issue that is not obvious can even cause issues.  So, grooming should only be done when absolutely necessary.  

     What is absolutely necessary?  Basically, a companion parrot,  living in a house with humans, needs its’ wings trimmed when it is flying so much that it is at risk of hurting itself or even escaping outside.  A parrot needs its’ talons trimmed when they are to long for the PARROT to get around safely.  Sharp, pointy talons are not the same thing as long unsafe talons!  I understand that holding a parrot with razor sharp talons is uncomfortable, especially on sensitive skin, I just urge you to tolerate a small amount of discomfort for the parrots’ sake.  They need some sharpness in order to hold on to their perches properly.  If a parrot is too unsteady and falling, it can create behavior issues related to insecurity.  

     Now, my favorite, beak trimming!  I personally do not think a beak should be trimmed unless it is growing improperly.  I know, I know, I do it for all my clients because I feel it is safer for me to do it than you!!  A parrot has a quick in the beak just as in the talon, and trimming the beak improperly or too short can cause great damage to them.  Again, sharp and pointy is not the same as overgrown and unsafe!  That being said, I will always smooth and “round off” the beak slightly during grooming, but as with the nails, I encourage you to tolerate a little sharpness for your birdie’s sake!   

     So, what can YOU do to help your parrot groom itself at home?  Check your perches.  Rope perches are great for sleeping perches, (best placed as the highest perch in the cage) but they don’t wear down the nails at all.  Make sure that you have proper size perches and different sizes and shapes (in your parrots’ size range). Perches that are too hard or too slick cannot be chewed on nor will they wear the nails down or allow beak grooming.  If you have a “pedicare” perch, make sure it is turned properly. Some are supposed to be turned a certain way so that the nails grip it in a way to be worn down. Experiment where you place the perch.  

Just a few ideas here.  I love all of you ant truly appreciate you trusting me with your feathered companions, and waiting in line for me to groom them!!  It means a lot to me.  They and YOU become like friends and family to me over the years!  I thank God every day for all of you!  I don’t take your trust lightly!

© stacy 2015