• Webinar recorded on Thu 24th March, 2016
  • 0 hours 54 mins
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Most of the problems I experienced in avian clinical practice with parrot species involved behavioural conditions rather than infectious disease. Parrots are intelligent, inquisitive, demanding, and long-lived birds. At the same time – with the exception perhaps of budgerigars, cockatiels and perhaps lovebirds – they are not domesticated species. They are just a few generations removed from their wild ancestors. They therefore retain many of the instinctive behaviour patterns of their wild cousins, associated with survival, foraging, and communication over long distances. Yet we have bred them in captivity and hand-reared them within human families. We expect them to fit into our lifestyles and our behaviour patterns. We want them to be as biddable as the pet dog, and as permanently cuddly as the docile, loving babies they were when we collected them at 12 weeks old from the pet store or breeder. They are sociable birds, yet we expect them to live for decades in isolation in a wire prison, with eventually just perfunctory attention to food and water, as the novelty of the new toy or status symbol wears off. We find we cannot cope with the mess, the destructiveness, or the screaming. Is it any wonder then that so many of these beautiful birds end up being passed from home to home, ending up in parrot sanctuaries or rescue centres? It is not their fault: it is entirely the result of our ignorance and misunderstanding of parrots’ nutritional, physical and emotional needs; and our misinterpretation of the signals they give out. The problems encountered are primarily – feather plucking, screaming, aggression, and aberrant breeding behaviour. The webinar will address the choice of parrot and its housing, diet, and management, with specific pointers to avoid and deal with these vexing problems.

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