Never thought that your pet parrot requires grooming? Well, it’s never too late to start. Like most pets, your feathery chum would benefit from regular grooming on multiple fronts.
On top of keeping its bright, beautiful plumage looking fresh, regular grooming sessions could also help your parrot feel better, both physically and emotionally!
For instance, did you know regular and proper grooming could prevent your pet parrot from engaging in self-destructive behaviours like over-preening or feather plucking?
Read on to find out what makes a well-groomed parrot.
Besides removing pollutants and softening dirt caught in the feathers, bathing keeps your parrot’s skin and feathers moisturised.
It’s easy to introduce this into your parrot’s routine, especially when your pet will do most of the work. All you need to do is provide it with a water source, such as a water dish or even a bunch of wet lettuce leaves, and just wait for your feathered friend to take a dip.
If faced with a bird that resists bathing, the Association of Avian Veterinarians suggests misting your parrot with clean, plain water daily to encourage preening. And while soap is largely frowned upon most times, in instances where feathers are unusually dirty, mild baby soap can be used but must be rinsed off thoroughly after.
Imagine long, sharp nails digging into your bare skin. Sound familiar? Most bird owners would have experienced this when their birds’ nails have been left to grow for longer than they should.
Left unchecked, overgrown nails can make perching uncomfortable and lead to larger issues like foot injuries as they become trapped on clothing or the cage.
To avoid this, seek the help of your vet (or a professional groomer) to trim your parrot’s nails during regular health examinations. If you prefer to do this at home, make sure you learn from a professional before attempting it on your own!
Nail trimming should be done carefully as each nail has a nerve and blood vessel running through it that is called the quick. As Dr Rick Axelson of VCA Animal Hospital shares: “The longer the nail, often the longer the quick. In light coloured nails, the quick is visible as the pink area in the centre of the nail. In dark or black nails, the quick is not visible. When cut, the quick may bleed profusely and it may be difficult to stop the blood flow.”
As a result, always err on the side of caution and trim it little by little to reduce the chances of bleeding. If you are trimming your parrot’s nails at home, some handy tools to keep by your side include a dog/cat nail clipper, a strong torchlight to help you find the quick better, and a clotting agent to stop the bleeding if it occurs.
To prevent any accidents, do also make sure your bird is safely restrained when attempting to cut its nails.
If nail trimming sounds too intimidating, here’s some good news – giving your parrot access to a variety of perches could do the job too. Dr Axelson explains that wild birds normally sit on an array of perches varying in size and texture, which naturally wears down their nails.
Pet birds however, typically only have smooth surfaced perches, and it is this lack of variability often results in overgrown nails. Pedicure-style perches such as cement perches can help to keep your parrots’ nails blunted without the need for trimming.
However, these should not be your parrots’ main perch as their rough surface may lead to pressure sores when used for a prolonged period. Instead, place it where your pet stands for brief periods, such as in front of its food bowl. Braided rope perches are also a good alternative; just make sure you replace them as soon as they become frayed.
If your pet parrot’s beak looks overgrown and you are tempted to trim it – don’t. Dr Axelson cautions that you should never attempt to do this at home as there is a large blood vessel running down the centre of the beak that makes it dangerous.
If you find something amiss with your parrot’s beak, bring it to the vet as an overgrown beak is usually a sign of an underlying health issue. Otherwise, perches with appropriate surfaces and/or chewing toys and activities would usually do the job.
(Pro-tip: Chewing toys not only help to maintain your pet’s beak but also double up as a great source of entertainment.)
“The beak is constantly growing but tends to stay a relatively constant length, because the bird is always wearing it down at the tip as it eats, climbs, and plays. After a bird eats, you may see it wipe and clean its beak on an object in the cage such as a perch. This action helps wear down the beak,” explains Dr Axelson.
Ultimately, parrots are pretty self-sufficient in keeping themselves clean. All you have to do is set up the right environment for your feathered friend to succeed in its grooming endeavours.
Text: By Sherlyne Yong
PARROT COMPLETE FOOD
Cunipic's Complete Food offers a rich source of proteins and amino acids essential for the maintenance of optimal health in parrots. It is a product recommended by veterinarians and packaged in modified atmosphere to ensure its freshness.
There's extra supply of calcium to prevent deficiencies such as hypocalcemia, a frequent syndrome in grey parrots. High content in vegetable fat and extra vitamins for strong and healthy birds.
The complete formula comes with essential amino acids in appropriate quantities to ensure strength and steady growth of the feathers, enhancing the natural colours of the bird.
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HYGENIC SAND FOR BIRDS
Cunipic Hygenic Sand for Birds with Aniseed is especially developed to always keep the bottom of the bird cage fresh and clean.
It eliminates bad smells and makes cleaning easier and dust-free. Cunipic also enriches its Hygenic Sand for Birds with grit, a mixture of different shells that provide calcium and help the bird's digestion. Birdsand, helpful in keeping the feathers in good condition and also helpful in digestion process.
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GLYCERINE SHAMPOO FOR BIRDS
Menforsan's natural shampoo for birds cleans, lifts and polishes the plumage of canaries, parakeets, parrots, pigeons and every other type of bird.
It contains glycerin, a softener and lubricant that maintains the natural humidity of the plumage. The shampoo can be applied directly on the bird or in the bathing pool used during hot weather. The product, made in Spain, does not contain any odour or colour.
TO BUY: PET LOVERS CENTRE