This week we have been bird-sitting my brother’s beautiful bird “Richie”.
Richie is an Alexandrine Parrot and he is about 12 months old. My brother adores his bird and he was going away for a week and decided it would be best if I looked after him. My girls , husband and I were more than happy to oblige as I love birds and actually would love to get a cockatoo one day.
Alexandrine Parrots are medium sized birds and are known to be friendly, intelligent and talkative, which is why my brother chose to get one. We are still unsure if Richie is in fact a boy or not, as the way to tell is that the males develop a beautiful red and black ring around their necks as they get older and the females don’t. This ring can take up to the age of three to develop, so Richie is still too young to be sure. He is a beautiful colour with varying shades of blue and green with red patches on his wings and a striking orange red beak.
Richie is a great pet and seems to have adjusted to our household very well. We were a little bit concerned on how Lilly, our dog, would react to him but she has pretty much ignored him, unless he dropped food then she would go and eat it up. Richie is very noisy and always seems to be squawking, whistling or (almost) saying hello. He is also very messy, constantly tipping his water over and flooding his cage or having a bath in it. There is a non stop mess around his cage consisting of seed, fruit, feathers and of course poo. He is also pretty destructive, with his very strong beak and claws he manages to chew everything.
When at home Richie is very spoilt by my brother and he spends a lot of time out of his cage, with free run of the house. He even has two cages, an outdoor one where he spends his days on the deck and an indoor cage for nighttime and bad weather. Both cages are huge and filled with a variety of toys to keep him amused. Richie also loves his food. It seems that he wants to eat everything he sees you eating. He has a constant supply of mixed seed, with nuts and fruit in it, but his favourite thing is the Vetafarm Parrot Deli Treats. He just goes crazy when he sees you get the box out to get him some. Richie also has a good mixture of fresh fruit and vegetables daily including apples, carrots, corn and cucumber. When my brother dropped him off I was given a lecture on what human foods were safe for him to eat and decided it was best to check it out to be sure. I found this website http://www.animalloverspetshop.com/BirdCare.html it has links for lists on what is safe to feed your bird and other bird care tips.
I asked my brother if he has ever wormed Richie and he said no, he didn’t realise he needed to. This is commonly overlooked by bird owners, but like all pets they do require worming. I bought my brother some Avitrol Plus Worming Syrup to worm Richie with once he goes home and is less likely to be stressed. There are also many vitamin and mineral supplements available for birds that may be lacking something or perhaps are unwell or during molting. Overall Richie seems to be in good health and is a very happy bird.
Birds make good pets and can be very interactive and affectionate and are possibly a little bit less work than a cat or dog but they do still require a lot of care. Birds, like Richie, that are tame and interact a lot with people require a lot more attention than perhaps budgies or smaller birds that are happier to be left in their cages. Tame and very interactive birds can be quite demanding and relentless until you give them the attention they are craving. If you have your bird inside you will be constantly cleaning their cage and the mess around it as they seem to spread food and feathers everywhere. Make sure when deciding to get a bird that you choose one that will suit your lifestyle and the house or space that you have available. Birds like Richie or larger birds can be very noisy and aren’t really suitable for units or when you have close neighbours as they can disturb everyone. Also take into account whether they will live in an outside cage or if you want an indoor bird. Most importantly decide whether you want a tame and trainable bird that you can have out of the cage on a regular basis or one that stays in a cage.
Overall we have thoroughly enjoyed looking after Richie and we will be more than happy to look after him again. Although Richie has been quite noisy and messy I still think I would like to get a bird one day as I think they make great pets, especially for older kids.
Until next time,